Imagine discovering that your sixty-something gran was once a rock legend’s muse…
And not only that, the charismatic Sixties star is back on the scene and wants to track down the beautiful girl who inspired the song that the world fell in love with.
The fun-loving baby boomer generation will never simply fade way as long as their literary champion Maeve Haran is around to fan the memory flames of free love, wild adventure and crazy fashions.
Author of the bestselling 1992 novel Having It All, which captured the dilemma of the working mother, Sixties survivor Haran is now writing warm, wise and wonderfully witty fiction for sixty-something women tired of girlish chick-lit but not yet ready for Barbara Cartland.
What Became of You, My Love?, a seductive blend of music, nostalgia, farce and fairy tale, homes in gleefully on Haran’s own contemporaries, the evergreen baby boomers who embodied the spirit of youth and never dreamed they might one day grow old.
In 1969, 18-year-old Stella Scott was an art student, an ethereally beautiful blonde who liked exotic, Bohemian outfits and was the inspiration for her singer boyfriend Cameron Keene’s rock classic that became a worldwide lovers’ anthem.
But she always retained a sprinkling of suburban discomfort at her outrageous behaviour and when ambitious Cameron wanted her to leave for America with him to enjoy fame and fortune, she turned him down.
Half a lifetime later Stella Ainsworth is going on 65 and a successful pet portrait painter married to curmudgeonly and obsessive retired accountant Matthew and living in an Arts and Crafts house in a leafy London suburb.
Their daughter Emma, her husband Stuart and their three children live not too far away and, like all families, take Stella’s presence in their lives for granted.
Her days with Matthew seem to have sunk into the last stage of the falling in love, settling down, having children, paying off the mortgage, retiring and watching box sets sequence of married life.
But her suburban peace is shattered when Cameron returns from America and pops up on Radio 2 to tell the world that his most famous song was written about Stella and that he has come back to find her.
With a little help from the local press, Cameron is soon parking his multi-coloured luxury Airstream trailer on Stella’s drive, reuniting her with some familiar faces and allowing a crazy selection of groupies to run wild.
And before she knows it, Cameron and his colourful cohorts have joined Stella’s fight to save the local high street from the developers… but can she save her own marriage?
The idea for this funny, life-affirming novel, Haran has revealed, sprung from wondering what it would be like to have a really famous song written about you, and a fascination with the power of music to take us back to an important moment in time.
But with her trademark style, Haran manages to keep several balls in the air as she expands her paean to the Swinging Sixties generation into a wryly funny and acutely observed romp through the timeless joys and frustrations of family life.
Littered with caustically accurate one-liners, embellished with a cast of lovable characters, imbued with the wisdom of age and experience, and beautifully wrapped with genuine insight and affection, this is a fabulous box of tricks for every generation to enjoy.
(Pan, paperback, £7.99)