Title: I Know You, Don’t I?
Author: Bethany Askew
Genre: Women’s Fiction / General
Blurb: When Carly Spurway is mistaken for old school friend Caroline Westminster, she has the chance to re-invent her life.
As the lines between fantasy and reality become blurred, the web of deceit Carly weaves around herself for protection threatens instead to trap her.
But what has happened in her past to make Carly want to escape? And is Caroline’s life as perfect as Carly thinks it is?
This story explores how well we really know the people we have relationships with; the different versions of the truth we tell ourselves and others; and the impact of the past on the present.
A tale of the grass is always greener, Carly believes the life of former classmate, Caroline, is better than her own, after seeing her Facebook photographs. Little does she know, appearances can be deceiving. I very much enjoyed this exploration of how we perceive others through the stories we tell on social media. It’s a stark reminder that not everyone has an easy ride through life, and coming to terms with who we really are is better than pretending to be someone we’re not.
“I know you, don’t I?”
“No,” she says, “you must be mistaken…”
“Caroline,” he says firmly. “Caroline Westminster…”
She shakes her head but he’s seen the flash of recognition in her eyes.
“I used to teach you,” he says. “At East Devon College. Maths. You were very good…”
He’s older, of course. His hair is greying and there are laughter lines around his eyes, but there’s no mistaking him. This is her moment to correct him.
“I’m not Caroline,” she should say. “I’m Carly. Carly Spurway.” but the moment’s gone and she finds herself shaking hands with him automatically. “Mr. Exton…” she says politely.
“Mark, please.” He laughs. “What’re you doing here?”
She glances around at the pictures on the walls.
“Not here, literally.” He laughs again and she can see now that he’s a bit nervous. “I mean, here in Taunton?”
“I live here. Well, only just. I’ve been here a few weeks. You?”
“Oh, we’ve been here for years. I’m teaching at Wyvern’s now. The sixth form college.”
The ‘we’ isn’t lost on her. Married, obviously. Well, of course, he would be by now. He must be, what, early forties? He was probably only a few years older than them when they were in the sixth form, though he seemed so much more mature, not long out of university; the good-looking Maths teacher that all the girls fancied and all the boys wanted to emulate. He’s still good-looking, despite the slightly greying hair. More confident now, though. Slim, athletic-looking. Clearly he looks after himself. He senses her examining him and his dark eyes hold hers. Embarrassed, she looks back at the painting.
Someone pushes past them, jogging his elbow so that his red wine spills slightly over the back of his hand. He bends his head to lick it off and says, “It’s getting crowded in here. Why don’t we go through to the bar?”
“I’ve got to go,” she says quickly, glancing at her watch for authenticity.
“Oh, please,” he says. “Just a few minutes. I don’t often bump into former students. You’ve all moved away…”
She knows she shouldn’t. This goes against everything she’s moved here for. But he doesn’t know who she is. He thinks she’s someone else. She doesn’t have to see him again.
About the Author:
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm.
Bethany likes to write about women’s lives and is particularly interested in their role in society, their positions as wife and mother and the impact of marriage, children and divorce on family dynamics.
Bethany was born and brought up in Somerset and has lived there all her life. A Dispensing Optician by profession, she was able to fulfil her lifelong ambition to be a writer when she retired from employed work seven years ago. She is married and has four grown-up children and six grandchildren.
Facebook: Bethany Askew Novelist
Publisher’s Author Page: https://www.wallacepublishing.co.uk/bethany-askew.html
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