Thursday, 2 March 2017

Debut Spotlight: Anna Mansell

March is certainly proving to be a busy month for books, especially by debut authors including Anna Mansell, so it's my pleasure to be shining the spotlight today on Anna and sharing with you all an extract from her debut novel How to Mend a Broken Heart which was published yesterday.

Anna spent almost twenty years trying to shoehorn writing in to her career as a marketing manager for dance and theatre companies. Eventually, she did what you are not remotely supposed to do and walked away from an excellent job in order to try and become a published author. Three years, lots of tears and some slightly hairy bank balances later, she met Kirsty Greenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Anna lives in Cornwall with her husband and two kids. She feels very fortunate!


Sun scorches my skin. There’s no breeze, no respite, just the comforting discomfort of prickling pain. Heat-softened tarmac warms my body.    
     I’m alive.
     Despite this, and some discomfort, I’ve found a strange kind of peace. Peace amongst the rising panic in the voices around me. Peace amongst the rumble of queuing cars, engines running on standstill, the buses, the immaculate Chelsea tractors. Sheffield’s buzzing suburbia, brought to a dramatic standstill. 
     Yummy mummies leave the coffee shop, passing my now vacated table, with spent coffee cup now stained with froth and sprinkled chocolate. Their necks crane as they push Bugaboos by the scene. Chubby hands reach for tiny, sockless toes and something somewhere, deep in my subconscious, recalls a feeling. A past.
     I stare at the endless, denim-blue sky. There’s a whisper of cloud in the distance; a plane dawdles its vapour trail from east to west. A face obscures my view. 

     Rough, sweaty hands cup my face. It’s a man wearing the green shirt and trousers of a paramedic. ‘Can you hear me? I’m John, I’m here to help you.’ His eyes seek mine for a response. Beads of sweat form across his forehead. He wipes them with his arm; his shirt soaks up the dew. ‘Can you tell me your name? Can you tell me what happened?’   
     But I can’t tell him. Or I won’t tell him. Because, really, what’s the point? I close my eyes and dream of a Grimm tale without the Disney ending. 
     Apparently this summer’s going to be a long one. Like 1976. I suppose it would have been a shame to miss it.

Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…

When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.

There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.

Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…

Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?


  1. Not my usual favourite genre but loved the book, very evocative of time and place with good characterisation. I so wanted it to end right and it did!

  2. Could not put this book down! Nearly ran out of tissues but managed till the end, which doesn't disappoint. Loved the bio of this new author & applause her for her honesty.