The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton Summary
Quirky and charming, big-hearted and moving, The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton proves that it’s never too late to let go of the things that don’t matter…and welcome the people who do.
Amy Ashton once dreamed of becoming an artist and creating beautiful objects. But now she simply collects them. Aquamarine bottles, bright yellow crockery, deep Tuscan red pots (and the odd slow cooker) take up every available inch of space in her house. Having suffered a terrible tragedy—one she staunchly refuses to let herself think about, thank you very much—she’s decided that it’s easier to love things instead of people.
But when a new family moves in next door with two young boys, one of whom has a collection of his own, Amy’s carefully managed life starts to unravel, prompting her to question why she began to close herself off in the first place. As Amy embarks on a journey back into her past, she has to contend with nosy neighbors, a meddlesome government worker, the inept police, and a little boy whose love of bulldozers might just let Amy open up her heart—and her home—again.
About the Author
Eleanor Ray has an MA in English literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children. Eleanor was inspired to write The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton by the objects her toddler collects and treasures–twigs, empty water bottles, and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.
The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton Introduction
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It really was too much. Amy’s colleagues were nice enough, in their way, but she’d spent all the working week with them. Surely on Friday evening she should be free to go home, take off her shoes, and relax on her sofa. Alone.
But here she was. Standing in a cloud of cigarette smoke outside a crowded pub, shoes cutting into her feet, being jostled by people pushing past her struggling to carry a round of three pints in two hands.
Something was bound to get broken. Amy felt her body tense in anticipation, and she clutched her warm glass of Prosecco closer to her chest.
“It’s a lovely change to have you out with us, Amy,” said Mr. Trapper, one of the eponymous partners in Trapper, Lemon, and Hughes, the medium and not-at-all-growing firm of financial advisers where Amy ran the admin team. “Good to let our hair down once in a while.” He laughed, tapping his balding head to signal it was a joke at his own expense. Amy’s dark hair stayed tightly pulled back in a ponytail. “Builds morale,” he added. He had a Prosecco bottle in hand and proceeded to refill Amy’s glass.
“I couldn’t miss Emma’s leaving drinks,” said Amy. She’d tried. When five o’clock came, she’d stood up, shaken Emma’s hand, and wished her all the best for the future. Duty done. But Emma had clung to her, insisting that she come to the drinks. Amy couldn’t for the life of her work out why Emma seemed to think they were friends; Amy had been nothing but businesslike.
She’d given Emma adequate instruction on what her role was to be and what was expected of her. She’d declined all the meeting requests for awful-sounding “girls’ lunches,” and she’d certainly ignored all of the little messages with smiley-face emojis on the office instant messaging system that some of the team used to waste their time.
Thinking about it, she had made the mistake of once making Emma a cup of tea when she found her crying in the toilets, presumably the result of a boyfriend’s actions. She’d even patted her gently on the back. And now in return she could see her plans for a comfortable evening dissolving like the Alka-Seltzer poor Emma would need the next morning.
Mr. Trapper moved on to refill more glasses, and Amy was left on her own for a moment. She glanced at her watch. She’d been here forty-five minutes. Now was the perfect time to make her escape. “Hey, Amy,” said a voice. Amy spun around and found herself face-to-face with Liam, the new head of marketing. “I haven’t seen you out for drinks before,” he said, smiling at her.
“I’m usually busy,” she replied, stepping backwards. “And actually I need to—”
An arm snaked round her waist from behind. Before Amy had time to react, she felt a wet warmth by her ear. She spun round again: people from the office kept sneaking up on her. Thank goodness at work she had a desk with its back to the wall.
“I’ll miss you,” said Emma, her voice already a little slurred as she leaned into Amy. Amy smelled Red Bull and Jägermeister on Emma’s breath and was suddenly reminded of the 2017 Christmas party she’d been forced into attending two years ago. Emma looked at Amy’s expression and laughed, giving her a wet kiss on the cheek. “You’re special.”
“Yes,” said Amy, disentangling herself. “Indeed.” Carthika appeared, and Amy successfully transferred Emma across. The two of them swayed together in what Amy assumed was meant to be some kind of dance. “Just nipping to the loo,” she said, as she saw Liam approaching her once more.
The swarm around the bar was four people deep, but the rest of the pub was quiet. It was a warm day in early July and people had chosen the pavement rather than the dark pub room. An abandoned wine bottle sat on a sticky round table, with two empty glasses for company. Amy paused and glanced at the bottle. It looked almost black in the dim light of the pub, but Amy could tell it would have a beautiful green translucence if held to the light: like the lime-flavored hard candies Tim used to enjoy.
Amy climbed the steps to the loo and sat down in the cubicle, thankful for a few moments to herself with the weight off her feet. She thought about the bottle again. It had a perfect shape to it: a long, elegant neck and straight body. Symmetrical. Perfect. It couldn’t just go in the bin. It wouldn’t be right.
She went back downstairs and discovered that the bottle still sat there. Empty. Forlorn. Amy made sure no one was watching. Thankful for her large handbag, she grabbed the bottle and popped it inside. The neck peeped out like a little lapdog, but Amy didn’t think anyone would notice. She fought the urge to take the glasses too—they looked so sad, sitting there. No. That would be stealing.
But the bottle wasn’t stealing. No one wanted it.
She’d make sure it was taken care of.
Amy found she was glad she’d come after all.
NORMALLY THE TRAIN home on Fridays was less busy than the rest of the week. People paused for drinks after work, spreading the usual 5 p.m. commuters thinly as butter across the evening.
Two trains in a row were canceled. Amy joined the throngs of people staring up at the departures board as if it were a movie screen. Every once in a while a new number appeared, and a portion of the throng separated and rushed to their platform. A collective sigh of disappointment was released by those left behind.
Finally Amy’s train was announced and Amy allowed herself to be carried along in the commuter current. She boarded, spotted a single seat in a group of four, made her way towards it gratefully, and sank down. As the train filled up, she noticed a man near her. He was standing a little awkwardly, and Amy looked at him more closely.
His arm was in a sling.
Of course, there was only one right thing to do. Amy immediately stood up, stepped to one side and gestured with a silent half bow that he should take the seat. It was only fair. Before he could, a young woman with a nose ring pushed past him and hurled herself into the new vacancy. Somewhere a whistle blew, and the train started to move.
Amy looked at the man. He was maybe in his late forties, about ten years older than Amy herself, and he seemed tired. She noticed that his shirt was wrinkled and she felt a little flicker of recognition in her heart. He had no one to iron it for him while his arm was out of action.
The man caught her gaze and gave Amy a good-natured shrug, accompanied by a little the youth of today eye roll. He stoically held on to a pole with his good hand.
Perhaps it was the warm Prosecco. Perhaps the blister developing on her heel. Perhaps the way the wrinkled-shirt man just accepted his fate. Amy found she just couldn’t bear it.
“Excuse me,” said Amy, her voice polite. The woman was peering at her phone, completely engrossed. She didn’t look up. Amy coughed. “Excuse me,” she said more loudly. Some of the other commuters glanced at her. Still the woman ignored her. Amy stepped forwards, entering the sacrosanct space between the facing seats. Knees on both sides of her recoiled as if they were snails retreating into their shells.
“She can’t hear you,” said a man sitting next to the nose-ring girl. He was wearing a pretty floral shirt. “She’s got earphones in.”
Amy looked. Sure enough, the woman had bright-white wireless earphones nestling snugly in her ears. Feeling bold, Amy reached forwards and tapped the woman on the shoulder. Finally she looked up.
“What?” the woman asked. She removed one of the earphones and frowned at Amy.
“That man has a broken arm,” said Amy. “I gave up my seat for him. And you sat down.” She waited for the woman to jump up and apologize.
“This isn’t a disabled seat,” said the woman, not moving.
“I’m not disabled,” ventured the man with the sling. “I just fell down some stairs.”
“That’s not the point,” said Amy. “It was his seat. I gave it to him because he needed it.”
“I don’t see his name on it,” said the woman. The other commuters, sensing the start of some unexpected drama, looked up to watch.
“But he’s got a broken arm,” said Amy.
“It’s actually my wrist that’s broken,” said the man. Both women ignored him.
“He can have my seat,” said the man in the floral shirt. He made to get up.
“She should stand,” insisted Amy.
“Make me,” said the woman, a latent threat lacing her voice. Amy stepped back, alarmed by the escalation.
“Calm down, love,” said a suited man sitting by the window, glancing up from his paper. Amy looked at him, and to her surprise, he was looking back at her. He was telling her to calm down, after that woman had clearly threatened her.
“I’m not the one who needs to calm down,” she said, realizing her voice was starting to crescendo. “That woman stole a seat from a man who needed it and now she’s threatening me. You all heard her.” She looked around the train carriage. A silence took hold, as if people had suddenly remembered that no one was meant to speak to strangers in the city. Certainly not on public transport. “Didn’t you?” she asked. Her voice sounded too loud, even in her own head.
“I’m fine to stand,” said the injured man, looking embarrassed for his part in the drama.
“What’s wrong with you?” the seat thief asked Amy.
As if complicit with the commuters, the train jolted. Amy was thrown forwards. She clutched a pole and regained her balance, but her bag swung from her shoulder and the empty wine bottle fell out. It hit the floor of the carriage with a thump and rolled under a seat.
“She’s drunk,” declared the seat thief, as if that justified her own actions.
“I am not drunk,” said Amy. “I just…” She saw everyone staring at her.
It was none of their business why she had that bottle. It was none of anyone’s business.
Amy bent down to escape their gaze and retrieve the bottle. It rolled farther away from her, and Amy found herself on her hands and knees on the sticky floor, surrounded by shoes. She saw a blue M&M, an empty Coke can, and a half-eaten burger under the seats. It smelled of pickle. The bottle had gone, rolled out of sight as if it were embarrassed by her too.
It was too much.
The train came to a halt, the doors opened, and Amy felt fresh air rush into the carriage. It was three stops early, but Amy knew she had to get into that air. Away from these people. Away from the bottle that had abandoned her.
Maybe it didn’t deserve to be rescued after all.
She straightened up, pushed her way off the train, and stepped out into the July evening.
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The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton PDF
|Posted on||March 29, 2022|
|Page Count||320 pages|
The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton PDF Free Download - HUB PDF
Quirky and charming, big-hearted and moving, The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton proves that it’s never too late to let go of the things that don’t matter...and welcome the people who do.
Author: Eleanor Ray