Sarah Marie Graye shares an extract from her book, The Second Cup.

Today, we’re taking part in the blog tour for The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye. One Amazon reviewer describes the book as “dark chick lit with no sugar coating” so if you fancy an extra helping of realism, read on.

Today, we’re saying “hello” to Faye, one of four main characters from The Second Cup. Faye is easily the most like a traditional chick lit character – and we catch up with her when she’s decided to see if a clairvoyant can help her find her first true love.


The lady behind the desk, who I assume is Floella, but looks far too young to tell fortunes, looks up at me and smiles. She seems to be playing a strange form of Patience with her Tarot cards.

She quickly tidies them away, shuffling them into a neat pile, but rather than paying me any attention, she shuffles into the back, behind layers of beaded curtains. I hear the sounds of tea being made, but I’m still surprised when she returns with a pot of tea and two dainty china teacups with matching saucers.

She motions for me to take the chair on the other side of her table and proceeds to pour out two cups of tea, pouring out mine first.

“Only the first cup from the pot can be read,” she says.

For a split-second I wonder if I missed a conversation where I’d asked for a tealeaf reading instead of a palm reading as I’d planned. Seeing the look of confusion of my face, Floella speaks again.

“Tea leaves are much better for matters of the heart. I always use Keemun tea as the leaves are a good size and they’re not at all uniform in shape. None of that Ceylon and Assam nonsense – the leaves are far too small to deal with life’s larger events.”

The tea she has made with fresh tea leaves smells amazing and I can’t quite help but feel melancholic for all the life lessons trapped in teabags, sitting on the shelves of anonymous supermarkets – maybe even in boxes Beth has designed, which makes me feel more sad.

She tells me to drink my tea slowly while thinking of the issue at hand, but to stop short of drinking the final mouthful. She then stops talking, sits down and sips at her own cup. I’m curious to ask her how she knew why I was there and why tea leaves were best, but there was something about the way she sits so resolutely still except for the tilting of her cup that makes me sit down and do the same.

When I finish all but the final gulp, Floella takes my cup and saucer and places them carefully in the middle of the table. She then turns the cup three times – I think it’s anticlockwise – and turns the cup upside down onto the saucer, humming to herself while she does so. She then turns the cup back up again and leans down towards the cup to have a good look at any emerging patterns.

“See this,” she says, pointing to the bottom of the cup, smiling, “it’s empty. It means there’s no extended future to your question – it is almost upon you. It’s terrible when the bottom is clogged full of leaves because it means people have months, years even, to wait for the answer.”

She pauses.

“It also looks like you could have quite an abrupt end to your search, so best prepare yourself for that.”

She pats my hand then points to the clump of leaves by the handle.

“This hook shape means someone has got under your skin.”

I look again at the clump, trying and failing to see any sort of hook shape.

“The area by the handle reflects our emotions. So that means there’s a hook in your emotions,” she explains, reading my dubious expression as being unsure why it’s about my emotions, rather than why it’s supposedly a hook.

But Jack has got under my skin. The leaves are right.

“It’s also very much like a sword, which is where you’ve been betrayed.”

“Which is it?” I ask.

“It can be both dear, if they’re connected. You feel betrayed by this person.”

I did feel betrayed by Jack. She’s right again.

She starts to work her way round the edge of the cup just below the rim, explaining that any leaves here signal activities over the next few days.

“Is that a triangle?” I ask, pointing to the next clump, which looks nothing like a triangle but has three definite corners poking out at odd angles.

She smiles at me again

“You’re a natural.”

Apparently this triangle represents a three-way relationship, which is ridiculous because it was only ever me and Jack. But, unperturbed, she continues, explaining the triangle is also a hat, which means this person wants to reconnect with me.

“Is there someone else from your past, dear? Someone it could be?”


Enter here to win one of three 3 signed copies of The Second Cup
(Open Internationally)

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression. It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision. Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.

Twitter: @SarahMarieGraye

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