Friday, 29 May 2015

Available Now: Casablanca, My Heart by Hannah Warren

Hannah Warren

ISBN: 9781310880223

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $4.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

Heather Simpson takes a cruise to get away from her husband. Far away from judgmental eyes she meets Ghalib, a French-Moroccan aristocrat who seems to know everything about her and has been eager to meet her for years. When the ship docks in Casablanca Ghalib invites this soulful author into his home and into his heart.

Returning from Morocco to every day life, Heather faces a dilemma. Sometimes it seems we are destined to meet the love of our life for only a fleeting moment, leaving us thinking, 'Did fate work so hard to bring us so little or is there more to come?'

This glorious romance will take you to the exotic, stranding you in love's oasis, feeling as if you too have captured the diaphanous emotion of soul-love, questioning your choices and your destiny.

• • •

Male Attention
Atlantic Ocean, 2 July 2005

We all think we know who we are, until life slaps us in the face just when we least expect it. And then we wonder why. Is it to keep us on our toes, to show us life can be just a random happening, to fulfil that unfathomable Karma assigned to us?

No matter how long and hard I have mulled over these questions, there are no answers. All I know is that I had the greatest happiness on earth and I lost it just when I thought it was truly mine. In a split second I wrecked it all, squandered it for good.

But even assigning blame doesn’t rub out the pain; in the end it only increases it. Luuk, my beloved husband is dying, and I am taking a vacation on a luxury cruise ship on the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of miles away from his still, white bed, his shallow breath, and the tireless monitors.

Don’t tell me all this is just to escape the inevitable. I know. I loathe myself, sitting here all dressed up at a table with total strangers when I need to be with the one person I love. All this entourage is staged because I cannot really be with him anymore.

I keep wondering whether he still loves me. There is no way he can tell me anymore. And what has that done to my love for him? Will it last forever?

If only the questions would cease to roll in like the waves on the sea shore. I am so tired of them, and still they come. At least they are more bearable here than when I’m at home. I need the distraction. I desperately need nonsense to rattle through my brain so as not to hear my own sombre thoughts.

I blink at the brilliance of the thousand-armed chandelier above our heads, forcing myself to turn my attention outwards, to this ship and to the people on it.

Where did I read that sentence: ‘Let everyone be better than you'?

I am one of fifteen semi-strangers sitting around the oval dinner table, our separate conversations muted slightly by the room’s heavy velvet drapes. To my left lounges Henry Fisher, a retired chemistry professor from Boston, Massachusetts.

As this is already our fourth day aboard the British liner Costa Victoria, Henry has had ample opportunity to regale me with stories about his wife’s childless womb, her rheumatic joints, and the unsavoury details of the illness which had recently transformed him into a widower. Having exhausted these now familiar musings, he is ready to strike a more cheerful note: his publications.

“I must admit, my dear Femmy,” he says, dabbing the corner of his mouth with a linen napkin, “it is a profound surprise to me that the world's leading scientific journals, Scientific American and The Scientist, are still lining up to publish my articles. What with all the young blood and all … What's more, considering today's extremely advanced research techniques, one would think they had better things to do than print my fossilised ramblings.” He chuckles, a wheezy sort of cough I’ve heard repeatedly over the past four days. “Why, just last month …”

Henry's rosy cheeks glow with pride, emphasising a myriad of tiny veins which distract my attention from his voice. Still, I am glad he is doing all the talking. I can confine myself to throwing in a timely 'Aha', 'Is that so?', 'Really?'. I imagine if we continue at this pace, there will be enough favourite-Henry-topics on my plate to take up the next seven days.

So far he has shown little interest in my life. I cherish this anonymous role in which he has placed me, as I prefer to travel unnoticed. I am sure the circles in which I move are different from his, so I feel safe with him. He is a likeable old chap, absolutely harmless and the perfect table companion, under the circumstances.

On my right rocks a plump English teenager who is travelling with her mother and grandmother. The three have similarly shaped figures, possessing little conversation but sufficient appetite to fill their loose-fitting garments. They barely even speak among themselves, apparently preferring to expend their energy scanning the food laid out before us.

I've met this small female ensemble only at meal times, when the young girl in particular shows a single-minded interest in the puddings and ice creams passing under her nose, spooning heaps of them into her mouth while her eyes scan Elle or Cosmopolitan.

I haven't spoken with the ladies since the introductory round on the first day, and we limit ourselves to a brief 'hello' every time we sit down.

Fortunately, Henry makes up for what they lack in dazzling repartee. An irrepressible urge to interrupt Henry's monologue creeps up on me and I decide it's time to side-track him.

• • •

Hannah Warren was born in Paris (Fr.) in 1956 as a second child to a Dutch father and an English mother. She has lived in The Netherlands almost all her life but maintains strong ties with her own favourite triangle: France, UK and Holland.

Hannah studied Dutch literature and Mass Communication at the University of Amsterdam and later obtained a B.A. in English Literature and Language and a B.A. in Translation from Rotterdam University. After having been a lecturer and a translator for many years, she now works as a staff member at the International Office of HZ University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen.

Her free-time is taken up by writing fiction and doing Yoga. She also likes going on long hikes while listening to audiobooks. After having been a single mum for nearly two decades, her three children have flown the nest. The great sadness that befell Hannah in March 2014 was the loss of her eldest child, daughter Joy, who died after an intense two-year struggle against bile duct cancer. Currently her second child, son Ivor, is fighting a brain tumour. Her whole life and the future of her children (-in-law) is totally upside down. Writing fiction is Hannah’s main outlet in her grief.

From the age of 8, Ms Warren has written poetry, novels and short stories but it took her over 50 years to become a published author. In the past four years she signed with two small Indie publishing houses, who released Hannah’s first two novels, a literary romance and a suspenseful family saga. She is currently writing the sequel to the second book and also a five-book series about five generations of daughters between 1876 and 2015. Hannah found her niche in writing fictional stories about strong women who lead challenging lives.

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