Title: THE SUMMER OF PRINCESS DIANA
Author: MARTHA REYNOLDS
Genre: WOMEN’S FICTION, COMING OF AGE FICTION
Publisher: STILLWATER RIVER PUBLISHING
Diana Driscoll has no problem manipulating her father into funding her whirlwind tour of London to attend the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in the summer of 1981. There's no way she'd miss the wedding of the century, and the thought of bagging her own prince along the way has crossed her mind once or twice.
But when her father is arrested and his assets are seized, and her credit card is rendered useless, Diana is stuck in a pitstop in Switzerland. What she once thought of as picturesque has now turned into her nightmare. Without funds and options, she takes a job as a nanny to a dysfunctional family. To make matters worse, she has to live with them.
In this coming-of-age story, Diana learns that fairytales only exist in books, and life's lessons don't come easy.
The shrill screech of tires on the road in front of Diana’s house caught her attention. One minute, she’d looked away for one minute! Dropping the latest copy of Glamour, she bolted from her lounge chair and ran barefoot across the front lawn to the road. Chip and Cam were in their Big Wheel, Chip at the wheel and younger Cam standing up behind him, his tiny hands on Chip’s narrow shoulders. Two towheads on a primary-colored trike, in the middle of the road. A mustard-yellow convertible was stopped just a foot from the boys in the road. Diana’s feet skimmed the finely manicured grass and skidded to a stop at the edge of the street.
“Hey!” She grabbed Chip, six, by the arm and tugged him, his brother, and their toy tricycle onto the grass.
“You shouldn’t let them play in the street.” The voice belonged to the man behind the wheel of the convertible. His eyes were hidden behind mirrored aviator sunglasses, and his dark oily hair glistened under the sun. So did the gold watch on his wrist. Diana squinted at him. He looked like Tom Selleck in Magnum, especially with the mustache. He was wearing a pale pink shirt, unbuttoned to show a thatch of dark chest hair. He waggled his index finger from Diana to the boys before giving them a bared-teeth grin. The woman sitting next to him flipped down her sun visor and twisted a hot-pink lipstick up from a shiny gold tube, then pursed her lips and reapplied. Her copper hair and bronze shoulders were as buffed and polished as the burnished teakettle that sat on their kitchen stove.
“Sorry,” Diana muttered. The man lowered his sunglasses to look at her. He grinned again, then shifted gears and sped away. “Boys, what were you doing? You know you’re not supposed to play in the road. You could have been killed!” Her little brothers were like puppies sometimes.
Cam, four, giggled. “We won’t get kilt! Chippy has magic powers!” He slapped his little hands on Chip’s shoulders.
“Yeah, okay. Well, get your Big Wheel and your magic powers back to the house. It’s almost lunchtime.” She walked behind the boys as Chip pedaled the tricycle up the long curving driveway, around to the back of the house and the play area where the boys were supposed to stay. “Go on inside and wash your hands. Trudy has lunch ready. I think it’s your favorite, tuna fish sandwiches.”
“With pickles?” Chip asked. His brown eyes were big and round in hopeful expectation. Diana gently pushed the white-blond hair from his forehead.
“Of course. Go on now.”
Diana let the screen door bang shut and stood on the back step, listening to the high-pitched, singsong voices of her brothers. She was supposed to watch the boys, keep them safe, and she’d failed. Caught up in an article in Glamour titled “How to Make Peace with your Mother,” she had neglected her duties and let them pedal their tricycle into the road, where they could have been hit by a car, or worse. The worst didn’t happen, but Diana couldn’t bear to imagine life without Chip and Cam. With just her and her parents.
Martha Reynolds was born and raised in Rhode Island, and spent a year of college in Switzerland, the memories of which inspired her debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, and its sequels, Chocolate Fondue and Bittersweet Chocolate. She has traveled back to the country numerous times, and continues to be inspired.
She is the author of ten novels, including the Amazon #1 bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. Her novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. Her writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and her very short poem was read by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz during National Public Radio’s "Tell Me More" poetry challenge.
Her 10th novel, The Summer of Princess Diana, was published in October 2021, and she is presently working on a thriller (something different!).
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