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Four Novellas

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Denise Allan Steele


Rewind … because part of us will always be seventeen years old.


Karen Alexander lives in California and has it all: teenage children who allow her to be seen in public with them now and then, a successful architect husband who still kind of fits into his I Hate Maggie Thatcher T-shirt, and a teaching career she loves, especially in the school holidays. And she has  Carol—her official Best Pal since their days of platform shoes, flicked-out hair, lip gloss shoplifted from Woolworths, Ally’s Tartan Army, and dancing to ABBA and "The Hustle" at the local disco.

Thirty-five years later, they worry more about a good foundation to cover the wrinkles, a reliable hairdresser to cover the grey, stylish but comfortable shoes, shapewear that gives them the semblance of a shape, and husbands who fall asleep on the couch.

Back in Scotland for a funeral and a cringe-worthy sixtieth birthday party, Karen runs into her teenage crush, Bobby Henderson, the former local punk rocker and all-round bad boy who broke Karen’s sixteen-year-old heart by not noticing her. When he walks into the party in his leather jacket and winks at her, Karen’s heart skips a beat like it was 1978. Is the first cut really the deepest? Has Karen spent the last thirty years with the wrong guy?

Can you rewind the tape of love, and if you can, should you?


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“Any time we try to go home again we wonder … should we? Especially if going home involves disco music. Rewind is touching, funny, and very, very Scottish! What more could we ask for?”

—Claudia H. Long, author of Josefina’s Sin, The Harlot’s Pen,
and The Duel for Consuelo


“Like a long-running in-joke, Denise Allan Steele’s Rewind delivers, again and again. Her voice is impeccable. While the book is a romp, there is also real pain, real conflict. Steele’s eye is on the story, and thus so is the reader’s. She never gets in her own or our way, and the read is a delight.”

—Stephanie Zappa, Cabot College


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