Unexpected Friendships and Joy: Read an Extract from the Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital

Unexpected Friendships and Joy: Read an Extract from the Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital

Normally so comfortable, Chloe’s Docs may as well have been made of lead. Each clomping footfall echoed off the sterile corridor walls, her mother’s words pulsing in her ears as she ran.

‘Don’t be late, Chloe.’

Don’t be late. Shit. Her mother was going to go ballistic after all the strings she’d pulled to secure this volunteer position at the very last minute.

‘I’m onto it, Mum,’ she’d insisted, referring to the blank paperwork sitting on her desk. She simply hadn’t got to it yet, that’s all.

Chloe had been a bit miffed when her mother insisted on taking over and calling Hilary, the manageress, on Chloe’s behalf. She might be the youngest child but she was nearly eighteen.

Tonight, Chloe would have to explain why she’d been late on her first morning. She imagined trying to tell her mum she’d been distracted taking a photo of a toddler on the bus. The sun had been shining through the kid’s blond curls and they looked like an angel’s wings. Chloe missed her stop and had to walk back to the hospital from the next one.

Her mother would sigh, head on one side. Chlo-ee. The disappointment was way harder to handle than a full-on dummy spit. She wouldn’t understand how taking a photo could make someone miss their bus stop. No point explaining that the best shots were always the candid ones, and that if Chloe didn’t capture the beauty of the moment it would be lost forever. If the inside of a bus could be considered beautiful. Later, she would edit the photo on her laptop, cropping out the ugly background and experimenting with different exposures and filters…

Continue reading the extract here…

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                  Publisher details

                  The Tea Ladies of St Jude's Hospital
                  Author
                  Joanna Nell
                  Publisher
                  Hachette
                  Genre
                  Fiction
                  Released
                  29 September, 2021
                  ISBN
                  9780733642906

                  Synopsis

                  The Marjorie Marshall Memorial Cafeteria has been serving refreshments and raising money at the hospital for over fifty years, long after anybody can remember who Marjorie Marshall actually was. Staffed by successive generations of dedicated volunteers, the beloved cafeteria is known as much for offering a kind word and sympathetic ear (and often unsolicited life advice) as for its tea and buns.

                  Stalwart Hilary has worked her way up through the ranks to Manageress; Joy has been late every day since she started as the cafeteria's newest recruit. She doesn't take her role as 'the intern' quite as seriously as Hilary would like but there's no doubt she brings a welcome pop of personality. Seventeen-year-old Chloe, the daughter of two successful surgeons, is volunteering during the school holidays because her mother thinks it will look good on her CV.

                  Chloe is at first bewildered by the two older women but soon realises they have a lot in common, not least that each bears a secret pain. When they discover the cafeteria is under threat of closure, this unlikely trio must band together to save it.

                  Joanna Nell
                  About the author

                  Joanna Nell

                  Joanna Nell was born in the UK and studied medicine at Cambridge and Oxford universities. Her short fiction has won multiple awards and has been published in various journals and literary anthologies. A former ship's doctor and now a GP with a passion for women's health and care of the elderly, Joanna is drawn to writing character-driven stories for women in their prime, creating young-at-heart characters who are not afraid to break the rules and defy society's expectations of ageing. Her first novel, THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE, was a national bestseller. Joanna lives on Sydney's Northern Beaches with her husband and two teenage children.

                  Books by Joanna Nell

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