Title: What the Future Holds (Magic of Mull Book 1)
Author: Joan Fleming
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Anticipating a relaxing holiday in her idyllic holiday cottage on the Scottish island of Mull, 29-year-old Amy Wilson realises her plans will be ruined by a letter she finds when she arrives. It contains a proposal to build a holiday complex directly in front of her cottage.
The application is in the name of a member of the McFarlane family who are distant relatives of Amy. In their youth, Amy and Sandy McFarlane spent holidays on the island together as part of a larger group of young people.
Whilst she has no wish to enter into a conflict with Sandy, Amy nonetheless determines to fight the plan. This sets in motion a chain of events which changes her entire life, not only in Mull, but also in Glasgow where she works as an accountant and lives with her partner, Matt.
She is about to lose control of the steady pattern of her life, and has no idea what will replace it, what the future holds...
It was early evening by the time Amy Wilson opened the bulky envelope. Sitting by the fire, with a glass of red wine in her hand, she drew a deep breath of sheer contentment. This was what relaxation was all about—the scent of burning peat, silence except for the faint whisper of the waves lapping over the rocks in the bay, and the view of the island of Iona no picture postcard image could ever reproduce.
Pure heaven. That was until she saw the contents of the envelope.
Flicking her dark brown hair behind her ears, she straightened in her armchair. At first, she stared at the papers, trying to work out what they meant. Log cabins? Holiday homes? Leisure facility? What had all this to do with her? She looked again at the envelope.
Miss A. Wilson
Isle of Mull
There was no doubt it was meant for her. But why was it delivered here at the cottage in Mull when she had arranged to forward her mail to her Glasgow address? Then she realised there was no stamp on the envelope and in a corner were the words “Hand Delivered”.
Closer examination revealed the paperwork had been prepared by a firm of solicitors. The covering letter explained the purpose of the communication—a proposal had been submitted to build twelve log cabins—a ‘holiday village’ to be named Oceanview—on a piece of ground by the sea shore on the edge of Amy’s land. Enclosed was a plan of the holiday facility.
The more she read, the faster Amy’s heart beat. Build on the shoreline! What a preposterous idea! There was no way anyone could be allowed to ruin the natural beauty of this spot on the island. Jumping up from her comfortable armchair, she ran over to the window to look out at the bay. With the plan of the proposed holiday village in her hand, she glanced from the plan to the bay itself, trying to visualise where the cabins would be, how they would look. Would they interfere with her view? Would she still be able to see the abbey on the island of Iona? Or the sea? No—this was unacceptable. It was out of the question. She would not allow it to happen!
When her mobile rang, Amy was so deep in thought about Oceanview she could barely remember where she’d left her phone. Just as it was about to go to voicemail, she discovered it in her jacket pocket. One of the joys of the island was that she had far fewer phone calls than in Glasgow.
“Hi, Amy. I just wondered if you’d arrived safely? You said you’d ring.” It was her partner Matt, the chill in his voice making it clear he was somewhat peeved.
“Oh, Matt, I’m sorry. I completely forgot.”
The silence at the other end of the line spoke volumes.
“I’m so sorry, Matt,” Amy repeated. “I’ve had something really important to think about since I arrived. I know I should have called you.”
“So what’s so important? I assume you had no mishaps on the way? The ferry crossing? The road through the Glen?”
Matt belonged to the band of men who believed a woman couldn’t, for example, drive on and off a car ferry as well as a man. Although he'd agreed somewhat reluctantly to come with her for this two week break on the island, Amy was secretly relieved when his work commitments forced him to cancel.
“No, no problems. The ferry was on time and the road from Craignure to Fionnphort wasn’t too busy. Once the traffic heading for the ferry back to Oban was through, it was fairly quiet.”
“So you didn’t get held up on the single track road through the Glen? And is the cottage okay?”
“Yes...well, I’m not sure if I can say that.” Amy’s voice was hesitant.
“What do you mean?”
Was that a yawn Matt was stifling? Amy knew he wasn’t nearly as interested as she was in the whole concept of a cottage in an isolated spot on a Scottish island, but on the other hand, he didn’t like being left alone in the flat in Glasgow.
“Oh, I’ll go into all the details when I get back, but I’ve got a letter here telling me a certain Mr. A. McFarlane wants to build a holiday complex on the strip of land down by the shore. It would ruin my view of Iona and no doubt the air would be filled by razzmatazz holidaymakers playing loud music half the night...”
“Steady, girl, steady. Don’t you think you’re overreacting a tiny bit? It could be civilised townies wanting nothing more than a few days’ peace and relaxation away from the stresses and strains of their everyday life.”
“Whose side are you on, Matt? Do you want the tranquillity of this area destroyed by a bunch of—”
“I’m not saying I’m in favour of it, Amy. But you’ve got to live and let live. On the other hand, it’s your land so this Mr. A. McFarlane would need your permission. And who is he anyway?”
“That’s the whole point. It isn’t entirely my land. There’s been a dispute for years about that strip of land that no one has ever been able to resolve.
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What’s your favorite thing about the Fall season:
The colours in the trees as the leaves turn from green to gold.
What inspired you to write this story:
I love the island of Mull, with its view of Iona. A beautiful place to fall in love.
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Runs September 1 – 30.
Drawing will be held on October 1.
Joan Fleming was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. After graduating in modern languages at the University of Edinburgh, she became a teacher of French and German. She now lives near Glasgow, in a flat overlooking the West Highland Way.
On leaving education, she turned to writing romantic novels, set mainly on the Scottish islands of Mull and Iona. Her début novel, What the Future Holds, was published in 2014. A finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award of the Romantic Novelists' Association in 2015, it became book one in the Magic of Mull Series, to be followed by Spirit of the Island, and Daughter of Mull.
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