Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook.
As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.
This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.
Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!
Forget sending postcards saying ‘wish you were here’ - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.
There is a fantastic review today on Book Boodle.
There has been a tremendous response so far to The Guestbook, everyone seems to love Olly and Annie but one of the most popular characters seems to be Sophia Lorenzo, Olly’s aunt and the cleaner at Willow Cottage. So I thought I would bring her back with this interview with The Daily Moon.
Sophia, your cake making session is listed as one of the top ten things to do in Wells-Next-The-Sea. Why do you think the tourists love it so much?
I came second in the National Great Cake Making Challenge last year and I think the tourists like to be taught by an expert. The people that come along to my sessions learn how to make cake pops, butterfly cakes and fruit scones, we also learn about cake decorating too. It’s a fun session and when the weather is rubbish, sitting in a real cottage kitchen making cakes next to a wood stove is an attractive thing for the tourists.
Oliver Black, world famous crime writer, is your nephew, does he like your cakes?
He’s always had a bit of a sweet tooth. He’d always be hanging around my house when he was growing up and he’d always leave with three cakes in his hands. He and his brother Nick used to sit on my doorstep taking it in turns to lick the cake bowl out so I must have been doing something right.
Three? I thought you only had two nephews.
Yes, but Annie Butterworth was always hanging around with them as well, they were completely inseparable growing up.
Are they still inseparable now?
I also do a course on bee keeping too, the tourists learn about keeping bees and how to extract the honey. We also make beeswax candles dipping them into the pots of wax in the traditional manner.
Rumour has it that Oliver and Annie had an affair not long after her husband, his brother died. Is this true?
No they’re friends, that’s it.
What do you say about these photos that were taken a month after Nick died, this one show Annie and Olly holding hands on the beach. This one shows them hugging each other. Are you honestly saying that nothing happened between them.
Her husband had died, he was comforting her. There is no gossip here, no matter how much you want there to be. Are you actually here to talk about the tourist industry in Norfolk or just to try to get some non-existent gossip about Oliver from me. If that’s the case I assure you you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.
There were rumours in the papers recently that Oliver and Annie…
How dare you come into my house under false pretences and try to get me to betray the people I love. Do you have no conscience at all? You people make me sick. Annie is a grieving widow and Olly lost his brother and you think that this kind of ‘gossip’ is interesting for your readers. Get out of my house right now before I make you.