Agony Aunts & Advice Columns
Guest Post by Rosa Temple
You may not have written to an Advice Column or Problem Page before but I bet you’ve read one or two of the letters asking for help and advice. I, for one, can’t resist them. But are Advice Columns a generational thing? A thing of the past? I’m not sure I’ve seen one lately. Perhaps everyone Googles solutions to their problems or they find a YouTube video that puts everything right.
So, I suppose when my lead character, Sydney, in Dear…Anybody? ends up in a tiny countryside community and discovers that her new job as Editor on the local magazine also means becoming the Problem Page, Agony Aunt, she probably wonders if she’s gone back in time.
You don’t need qualifications to be an Agony Aunt but who is best qualified to give advice? A psychologist, a doctor, a therapist or just some really old person who has experienced a load of stuff?
Sadly, Sydney is none of the above. In fact, when she becomes Dear Vicky on the Bridley Green magazine, she feels totally out of her depths. For one thing she is on problem overload herself. Everything about her life is a problem or a complicated mess of some sort. Boyfriend trouble, binge-drinking and losing her job, to name a few. Sydney is up against it and surely not the right person to be responding to all the Problem Page letters.
Reading Dear…Anybody? you’ll see that Sydney’s life isn’t all doom and gloom. There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!
Writing Dear… Anybody? Made me think about the times I’ve had to be the Agony Aunt to a friend or two – or maybe six! For some reason, I’ve been the go to person for everyone else’s problems. It’s not that I mind. In fact, like Sydney, I found that experiencing problems in your own life is qualification enough to help someone else.
There are Good Samaritans all around us, all we need to do is reach out and ask. Sydney finds her Good Samaritan and can start to work some of her problems out. Sometimes we surprise ourselves when we’re faced with a crisis. But how great would it be if you had your own, personal, Agony Aunt and got the answers to all your problems just by writing a letter to her?
About the book:
Local newspaper journalist, Sydney, is like many women. Bored at work, bad hair days, karaoke nights, loving boyfriend and a fabulous best friend. But a huge discovery sends her whole world spiralling downwards and things will never be the same again. She’s lost her job, her boyfriend and, well, everything.
Unlike most women, Sydney’s answer is to resort to binge eating, binge drinking and never leaving her bedroom.
An unexpected job offer comes her way and Sydney leaves London for the tiny village of Bridley to become editor of a countryside magazine, not realising that part of the job means becoming the magazine’s Agony Aunt.
Resolving to make her mark as an editor and to set the problematic lives of Bridley villagers to rights, Sydney uncovers hidden truths, secret loves and the possibility of romance lies in wait behind the counter of her favourite coffee shop.
Is it that easy to turn your life around? Well, maybe not for Sydney …
Meet Sydney who has been working at The Kilburn Times for what seems like for ever. All of a sudden her job is gone, as is, her boyfriend, and, in her mind, her future.I felt for Sydney so much but to be honest I am always excited (I know, I’m so mean!) when things get flung all over the place in a story and our lead ends up in a place light years away from her previous life, and so well out of her comfort zone, as Sydney did, taking on a job that she wasn’t even sure she was able for in Bridley Green. I’ll admit, I didn’t always warm to Sydney, but the the cast of characters around her, from her mum to the stunning Carey, pulled me into this, a cosy read that I devoured in one night.A huge part of her job, analysing and replying to letters sent from people with problems was wonderful and I couldn’t wait to see who ‘L’ was. I really enjoyed this books with its ups and downs, excellent settings, warmth and humour. Definitely recommended!Rating: 4.5/5
About the author: Rosa Temple is the pseudonym of published author, Fran Clark.
To date, Fran has penned and self published four publications as Rosa Temple; Sleeping With Your Best Friend, Natalie’s Getting Married, Single by Christmas and Sleeping With Your Best Friend.
HQ Digital (Harper Collins) has published three books in Fran’s pseudonym, Rosa Temple. The first was Playing by the Rules in February 2017 followed by Playing Her Cards Right on 28th August 2017 and Playing for Keeps on 12th February 2018.
A mother of two, Fran is married to a musician and recently moved from London to Herefordshire. She spends her days creating characters and story lines while drinking herbal tea and eating chocolate biscuits.