British housewife slammed by locals for basing raunchy novel on neighbours
The peace and harmony of a suburban neighbourhood of a town in England has been shattered after one of its residents wrote a steamy novel, likened to EL James' 'Fifty Shades of Grey', which locals say features characters based on them.
Angela Hargreaves from the Staffordshire town of Eccleshall, published 'Rotten Row' earlier this year, and its characters include a philandering boyfriend, a buxom, saucy caterer, a "decrepit old wreck" of a gentleman fond of hunting and breasts and a sex-crazed widow described as a "termagant little hag of a woman".
According to the author's publicity, the story revolves around the "petty spitefulness and complexity of living in close proximity to some neighbours". There are tales of "love, death, nostalgic regret, sexual encounters, romance, marriage, divorce and desperate times".
However, one neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said that the book had caused "major problems" due to its central character, a sex-obsessed florist who appears to be based on an elderly widow living by herself near the author.
"There have been a lot of tears shed," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"How would you like to live next to somebody who was writing things that were talked about in private into black and white? It is unreal. People have turned their back on her now. I don't know why she has done it," she said.
Emma Williams, a civil servant who lives next door to the 57-year-old author, said that she features in the book as "Lucy", a "boring" woman with a "mundane" job.
Many of her private conversations with Hargreaves, whom she has known for 10 years and with whom she has regularly socialised, have appeared in the book.
"It's so upsetting, because it's my next-door neighbour," she said.
"The things I've been involved in have now come out in a book. I haven't spoken to her since the novel came out and she is no longer a friend," she said.
On the other hand, Hargreaves denied that the characters were based on her neighbours, even though one outraged reader turned up on her doorstep.
"Some locals made it very plain that they thought some of my characters were based on them or others," she said.
"We've been crossed off the invitation list for Christmas parties and cards.
"When Rotten Row first came out I was really excited, but when I realised that a few people thought they were the characters in the book I was quite upset, because my characters are fictional," she added.