"I just finished reading Brenda Foster’s 'All Passengers' and what a ride it was. Ms. Foster takes you right into the little Northern England village of Bogmire. . . .
"Her novel sweeps you up." — Sheila Hershon
"I was constantly delighted with her descriptive choices in dialogue, scenery and emotion. I felt much more like a resident of this small town than a mere reader or observer."
— J.A. Wetterer
Listen to author Brenda Foster read an excerpt from All Passengers.
Every day Edith Sharpe takes the No. 9 bus to her job at the Shield Insurance company in the English burg of Bogmire. Every night she's there to care for her invalid mother, Ruby, a cantankerous, bitter old woman who has nothing good to say about anyone, Edith included.
In between and until recently, her trysts with married lover Edwin served as a balm for the monotony of her predicable existence — even if he was a bit of a lovesick sap and really not that remarkable. As Edith describes him, "Apart from his two slightly prominent front teeth, which gave his pale face a look of perpetual anticipation, he looked quite ordinary."
Lately, though, Edwin's romantic prattle is grating on her nerves. So is Ruby. So is Bogmire and its kindly people with "faces that conveyed a simple acceptance of their lot in life." Good for them, but Edith wants out.
Careful what you wish for might be an apt way to describe what happens to Edith next as she searches for something real to hold on to. But it's not quite appropriate, for what Edith does wish for, deep in her soul, also reveals itself in a most wondrous way.
Of course change rarely comes easy. All Passengers is a tale with sorrows and confusion — but it also celebrates the healing power of friendship, family and, above all, determination. As Edith's best friend and insurance company-colleague Mavis intones, “Be good to yourself, Edith. If you don’t take risks, you go nowhere!”
Author Brenda Foster is a native of a town quite similar to working-class Bogmire, with its collection of eccentrics and salt-of-the earth characters like Mary, the big-hearted floozy, and Jimmy Jack, for 30 years the owner of the newsstand and proud of it. “I’m me own man, in me own place."
Edith finds her place, too. In All Passengers, she transits from just existing to finally feeling fully alive, in Bogmire or anywhere.