‘Wobble’ By Barbara Jane Mackie
Intro: ‘Wobble’ is the second novel in the Alpha O’ Mara series – Alpha being found, as we know, in ‘Eat the View’, my first novel set in South West France. We are back in the UK for ‘Wobble’ and I have picked up the story of Alpha and Will, her long-suffering partner in Ryde, Isle of Wight, where they are washed up. A Rom-Com, ‘Wobble’ , follows Alpha, now split up with Will after another miscarriage, living next door and sharing their children, Dex and Maisie. Alpha’s ‘quest’ in ‘Wobble’ is to win back the estranged man she still loves … but it won’t be easy!
Wobble – Synopsis
Alpha has landed on the shores of the Isle of Wight. Her Brighton bezzies, Mags and Fanns wail down the phone: ‘Come back to Brighton, baby-cakes!’ It’s been eighteen months since they left France and Alpha is now separated from Will, her husband, who has invested in two seaside villas in Ryde, side by side. Will is renovating one house as Alpha lives in the other. Alpha’s miscarriage with Will six months earlier, has knocked their marriage into a cocked hat. Their children, Dex (13) and Maisie (11) are shared by both parents, accessing the two houses via a ladder in the back gardens. A ‘working separation’ there is just one thing wrong: it’s not working. The wife wants the husband back!
Alpha, out cycling with her friend, Kat (36), a yoga teacher, bemoans her ‘writer’s block’. Her first novel, Moonbathing was a moderate success, but now supporting herself without a husband or a paid job, things are desperate again. Alpha’s in a grim mood on her forty-second birthday. Kat points out that Alpha’s ‘block’ could be from grief over her miscarriage a year before. Alpha denies it: she’s over it.
As the two friends picnic overlooking a small cove and plot how Alpha can get Will back, they notice someone in the sea – thrown up by the surf. Lucas, a handsome and hunky, American movie Producer, suffering from sudden memory loss is washed up in the surf, bewildered and semi-naked. Alpha amazed, starts plotting: good bait with which to win Will back! The gods have answered her prayers!
Alpha decides, against Kat’s advice, that they should hide Lucas in a nearby cave. It’s summer and there are a couple of Hippy-homeless guys in the caves too. Lucas, bewildered, is happy to be hidden. Back in Alpha’s study, Raymond, the ghost of Alpha’s father, berates her. This is nothing more than another time-wasting distraction from her writing with this befuddled American! She needs to bash out a second novel with a leaking roof and bills to pay! The pressure is on.
Rory, Alpha’s lodger, a humorous, well-meaning ‘eco-sculptor’, is building a sculpture of Alpha made of reclaimed materials: ‘woman on the edge’ he is calling it. Alpha bumps into Leslie, aka ‘the snake’, a snake-hipped temptress of a mum in the school playground. Alpha is there to pick up Maisie, but this phoney woman, a supposed Reiki ‘healer’, is gunning for Will. That night, Alpha, tipsy and excited about her ‘man on the beach’. She’s impulsive and decides to knock on Will’s door and suggest they give it one more go: Leslie,‘the snake’, is there in the background, arms wrapped around Will. Will has broken ‘the rules!’ Their agreed ‘rules’ that neither of them should have an affair without first discussing it with each other! Alpha is fuming and demoralised and drunk, cycles off along the beach. She will take up with the handsome Lucas and teach Will one big lesson!
At the beach that evening, Lucas is charming everyone with his open trusting nature. He has befriended two Hippy Homeless guys, Karl and Digby, who live in a cave on the same beach. They came to the Isle of Wight festival ten years ago and never left. Alpha joins them by the camp fire and, helping Lucas discover his true identity, feels herself drawn in by this ‘dream’ man. Alpha vows to help Lucas if he will help her: a deal. A Yacht on the Solent with an X-Ray of a Hollywood Wife on board. This is Zeta (30’s), Luca’s hysterical, high-octaine, B Movie Film star wife.
Lucas, a powerful Hollywood Film producer, fell over-board and banged his head on a lifeboat after a drinks party. Zeta needs to find Lucas and fast as they must get to Cannes for the première of their latest movie! The coast guards are out looking night and day and circle the Isle of Wight. At Alpha’s house, Lucas is settling into the spare room. There is a growing attraction between Lucas and Kat, Alpha’s friend and lodger, but when a Lucas makes a move, the suspicious Kat rejects him: he can fool Alpha, but not her!
Dex tries to help Lucas piece together his past. They work out that Lucas is from LA but Lucas is now convinced he must be gay: he is attracted to Kat, but when tried to kiss her, he didn’t feel a thing: strange? The same night, as Alpha is out in the garden, spying on Will and Leslie next door, she falls off the ladder that connects the two back gardens. Falling on top of Lucas and Rory, Alpha’s lodger, who both try but fail to break her fall, she breaks her leg. Will climbs over the fence to find Lucas bending over Alpha and he assumes Lucas is attacking her. Will charges at Lucas and a big fight breaks out on the lawn. Will is threatened by this handsome jock and Alpha is thrilled: her jealously plan is working!
At the hospital, Alpha is surrounded by Will, Kat, Lucas, with her leg in plaster. Kat, reassured that Lucas is gay due to man trouble in her past, has now happily befriended him. She can trust him now. Alpha suddenly feels uneasy about Lucas – who is he really? Zeta’s boat is docked at Cowes Harbour for repairs. She stumbles into a tacky night club where Lucas is now working as a male Drag Artist. Lucas makes a fool of himself on stage, and gets booed off, breaking down in the wings. Zeta has walked in and sees him – Lucas? Her husband? Not possible!
Alpha is backstage consoling Lucas and when the hugging unexpectedly turns into kissing, Kat walks in and, horrified by what she sees, runs off. Kat moves out of Alpha’s house and rents a cottage near the cove where they first found Lucas. An Island Speed Dating walk is coming up and Leslie, aka ‘the snake’, cuts Alpha a deal: if Alpha can secure Lucas for her, she will give back Will. Leslie now fancies the pants off hunky Lucas! Alpha reluctantly agrees to the vile Leslie’s plan. One problem: Alpha is on crutches and can’t walk. Leslie, hissing, isn’t deterred: she will rub her crystals and find a way!
Lucas has rallied a mob of Homeless men – including Karl and Digby, the homeless cave dwellers: Lucas’s new cause. He will bring attention to the lack of housing on the island. They will march and protest, as a country like Britain shouldn’t have men living in caves, Lucas declares.
The Speed Dating walk. A crocodile line of single women walking in twos across a huge field over looking the coast. A forelorn Will is there, as is Kat – trying to get over Lucas. Dex urges Will to do something to get Mum back: his Dad has been frozen for too long!
Alpha is being pushed in a wheelchair at the front of the homeless march of men, with Lucas leading. The two marches come together in a huge field. There, out at sea, is Zeta bellowing through a loud-hailer for Lucas to get back on the yacht!
Dex presents Will with a love poem that Will wrote years ago for Alpha. Will, watched by the walkers, reads his love poem and lovingly asks Alpha for a second chance. He shouldn’t have been unfaithful. The single female walkers swoon as Alpha and Will now hug in her wheelchair. Alpha is thrilled!
Lucas now remembers who he is: Lucas Jones, a successful film producer. Kat rushes off upset, but Lucas follows her – he didn’t like his former life one bit. Will she give him a chance? Kat agrees. Lucas tells Zeta he is staying on the island, and Zeta staggers around in the mud, attempting to get back on the yacht. Her agents rings: if she is now a single parent, she can, like Angelina Jolie, adopt a ‘rainbow family’ and revive her career!
We see Alpha and Will stand around a tree being planted for their lost baby in a woodland burial ground. Now they can move on. Back at the seaside villas, Rory the eco-sculptor, helps Will knock down the high brick wall that separates the two houses. Up in Alpha’s attic, Raymond, the ghost of her father, winks warmly at her. It is time to really get writing! Alpha nods, grinning happily, tapping in the title of her second novel: `Wobble’ by Alpha O’Mara.