Heartwarming & Charming: Read an Extract from Lisa Ireland’s The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan

Heartwarming & Charming: Read an Extract from Lisa Ireland’s The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan

Chapter 1

Saturday

Tina, the receptionist, smiles as the automatic glass doors close behind me. ‘Good afternoon, Mrs Sullivan. Lovely weather we’re having.’

I make my way across the carpeted foyer to the imposing marble-topped reception desk and sign the visitors’ book. ‘It is a beautiful day. Looks like summer is getting ready to make an appearance.’

She nods enthusiastically and prattles on about her plans for the weekend while I cluck and nod, feigning interest in her social life like a benevolent grandmother. She talks about camping or hiking; I’m not sure which, because after a minute or two I tune out and start thinking about my own weekend. I create a mental checklist of all the tasks I have ahead of me to make sure tomorrow will go off without a hitch. I feel a bit like a secret agent.

When Tina runs out of steam about her weekend plans I force myself to engage by asking her how things are going with the new boyfriend. She blushes before launching into a fresh round of chatter. Obviously I make all the right noises, because when she pauses she’s looking at me with affection. ‘Where’s your daughter today, Mrs Sullivan?’

‘Oh, one of the grandchildren had something on so I caught the bus. Didn’t want to let Frank down. He’ll be expecting me.’

She pats my hand. ‘You two are so sweet. You give me hope, you know? My mum and dad got divorced when I was eight years old, but when I see you and Mr Sullivan, well, it reminds me that true love really does exist. He’ll be pleased to see you.’

Maybe he will. It depends what kind of day he’s having. On a good day Frank’s eyes light up the second he sees me. ‘There’s my girl, my bride,’ he says proudly. He sweeps me into his arms and twirls me around. For a moment the years melt away and we’re two young lovers dancing at the Palais Royal. But on a bad day he calls to the nurse to complain about the silly old woman who’s wandered into his room.

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Reviews

Read About the 'Gutsy Octogenarians' that Inspired Lisa Ireland's, The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan

Review | Author Related

11 May 2020

Read About the 'Gutsy Octogenarians' that Inspired Lisa Ireland's, The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan

    Lisa Ireland's The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan is a Delightful Reprieve From the World

    Review | Our Review

    11 May 2020

    Lisa Ireland's The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan is a Delightful Reprieve From the World

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      Podcast: Lisa Ireland on Giving Older People a Voice in Her New Novel

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        Synopsis

        'Elderly. Is that how the world sees me? A helpless little old lady? If only they knew. I allow myself a small smirk.'When Shirley Sullivan signs her 83-year-old husband, Frank, out of the Sunset Lodge Nursing Home, she has no intention of bringing him back.For fifty-seven years the couple has shared love, happiness and heartbreak. And while Frank may not know who his wife is these days, he knows he wants to go home. Back to the beach where they met in the early 1960s . . .So Shirley enacts an elaborate plan to evade the authorities - and their furious daughter, Fiona - to give Frank the holiday he'd always dreamed of.And, in doing so, perhaps Shirley can make amends for a lifelong guilty secret . . .
        Lisa Ireland
        About the author

        Lisa Ireland

        Although born and bred in the city of Melbourne, Australia, Lisa has always been a country girl at heart. After graduating from university, her love of horses, cattle dogs and tumbling-down farmhouses led her to accept a teaching position at a small school in rural Victoria. A flood, a bushfire, and countless snakes taught her there was more to life on the land than fluffy sheep and home baked scones! Lisa hopes her stories reflect the deep admiration she has for rural communities. She will never forget the hospitality she was shown as a wide-eyed city slicker, new to life in the bush.Lisa now lives in a small coastal town and spends her days dreaming up stories as she walks along the beach. (Don’t tell her husband — he thinks she’s there to watch him catching waves.) When not writing, reading or conducting conversations with characters in her head, Lisa is busy being mum to her three boys and trying her best to train her impossible but adorable Labrador.

        Books by Lisa Ireland

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