Three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning of betrayal.... For team leader Rachael Lambert, the project is the perfect opportunity to rebuild her confidence after a double betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Botanist Anne Preece, on the other hand, sees it as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace Fulwell, a strange, uncommunicative young woman with plenty of her own secrets to hide....
"Worth the Wait"
Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully called Jimmy Randall and has a baby boy by him. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the girls to an orphanage, not knowing that the papers she has signed will entitle them to do what they like with the children. And it is not long before the powers that be decide to send a consignment of orphans to their sister institution in Australia. Among them - without their family's consent or knowledge - are Rita and Rosie.
"Depression Era Story"
Susannah Leyton has grown up behind the counter of her father's apothecary shop in bustling Fleet Street. A skilled student, her father has granted her the freedom to pursue her considerable talents. But Susannah is dealt a shocking blow when her widowed father marries again, and her stepmother seems determined to remove her from the apothecary shop. A proposal of marriage from the charming Henry Savage seems to offer Susannah an escape. But as the plague sweeps through London, tragedy strikes, and dark secrets from her husband's past begin to unfold.
"Keeping my attention"
Married Love is a collection of short stories to treasure, a masterful new work from one of the UK's most accomplished storytellers. Lottie announces that she is getting married. The youngest daughter of a large and close-knit family, Lottie is 19 but looks five years younger. Her fiancé is Edgar Lennox, a lecturer at Lottie's university, 45 years her senior. We follow as Lottie's life unfolds; it is a story of romantic dreams and daily reality, family loyalties and the comedy and solace to be found in small moments.
1688: Beth Ambrose has led a sheltered life within Merryfields, her family home on the outskirts of London; a place where her parents provide a sanctuary for melancholic souls. A passionate and gifted artist, Beth shares a close bond with Johannes the painter, who nurtures her talents and takes her on as his apprentice. But as political tensions begin to rise in the capital, Noah Leyton arrives at her family home in the middle of the night with a proposition that turns Beth's world upside down.
"Just as enchanting if not more!"
It's 1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia's father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings, and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.
"British Recency romance mystery"
Dulcie Ballantyne knows that creative writers’ groups attract an unlikely bunch of people, so when she starts up Hidden Talents, she is well prepared for the assortment of people she is bringing together. But what they all have in common is a need to escape, as well as a desire to keep their lives as private as possible - even Dulcie, who at the age of 63 has been having an affair with a married man for three years. As they grow more confident in their writing skills, friendships develop and gradually they come to realise that a little openness isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
"A feel good story that leaves you with hope"
A hot summer on the Northumberland Coast, and Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water, and covered with wild flowers. This stylised murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But then a second body, that of beautiful young teacher Lily Marsh, is discovered in yet another watery, flower bestrewn grave.
When Daisy's family lose their croft on the Connemara coast, her Aunt Jane, housekeeper to Dr. and Mrs Venables, offers to take Daisy back to Liverpool.
After her French father and English mother are brutally murdered, bluestocking Madeleine Moreau impulsively travels to France to find the family she didn't know existed. Madeleine is in favour of the people's revolution, but her views are shaken after she arrives in Paris and witnesses Louis XVI's death by guillotine. When France declares war on England, Madeleine is trapped, but enigmatic Comte Etienne d'Aubery comes to the rescue when he offers her shelter in his home, Chateau Mirabelle.
There are some things which even the closest friendship cannot survive.... Neighbours Edie Kelsey and Lil Horton have been friends for more than twenty years, sharing the joys and sorrows of tough lives as the wives of fishermen in Grimsby. So it was no surprise that their children were close and that Edie's son, Frank, and Lil's daughter, Irene, would fall in love and marry at a young age. But the declaration of war in 1939 changes everything.
Aunt Mildred declared that no good could come of the Melbury family Christmas gatherings. So when Sir Osmond Melbury, the family patriarch, is discovered - by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus - with a bullet in his head on Christmas Day, the festivities are plunged into chaos. Nearly everybody stands to reap some sort of benefit from his death excepting Santa Klaus, the one person who seems to have had every opportunity to fire the shot.
"Golden Age Holiday Mystery"
Nothing ever happens in August, and tenacious sleuth Kate Shackleton deserves a break. Heading off for a long-overdue holiday to Whitby, she visits her school friend Alma, who works as a fortune-teller there. Kate had been looking forward to a relaxing seaside sojourn but upon arrival discovers that Alma's daughter, Felicity, has disappeared, leaving her mother a note and the pawn ticket for their only asset: a watch-guard. What makes this more intriguing is the jeweller who advanced Felicity the 30 shillings is Jack Phillips, Alma's current gentleman friend.
Helen-Alice Dear was only 15 when she left London to visit Bulgaria on a family holiday in 1937. Just weeks after her arrival, she found herself unable to leave and struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile and terrifying environment. Her marriage to a Bulgarian man bore her four children but they were often homeless, cold and hungry. Despite these hardships, Helen refused to give up hope and bravely managed to protect and raise her family.
"Beautiful & honestly written memoir"
As WWII rolls across Europe, Kitty boards a ship set for England. Money is what she really needs right now, especially with tiny baby Billy back in Dublin. In Lancashire, Kitty settles into the hard work and soon makes new friends, playing in the Bomb Girls Swing Band by night. Life seems to be looking up. But when a letter arrives from home, she realises she might need her friends’ help before it's too late and she loses her baby forever....
Since the death of her husband, Anne Blakhall has carried on their shared tailoring business in the heart of London. Rather than remarry, she has taken on a lover: Daved Weir, a foreign merchant who must conceal the fact he is a Jew, or face deadly peril. Dame Frevisse of St Frideswide's nunnery is in London to arrange funeral vestments for her cousin's murdered husband, the Duke of Suffolk. She encounters Anne and Daved: but her duty and their love become more dangerous as a rebel army approaches the city.
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe. But it just so happens that Freda's nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet.
When Lucy's parents are killed in a train crash, her kindly uncle steps in to look after the little girl - to the initial apprehension of his wife and her son. However, Lucy's sweet, spirited charm slowly wins over her new family, and as she overcomes the trauma of her childhood, she grows up inspired to become a doctor, just like her father. But studying medicine in London takes Lucy far from her home in Hull and the people she loves, and she has to battle to be accepted in a man's world.
The tangled destinies of an unusual family are played out against the backdrop of the English countryside where two pretty sisters and a beautiful widow take centre stage in a drama of dangerous flirtation and backstairs gossip. Esther Musgrave, an attractive widow, has her hands full trying to keep her energetic family together – and on speaking terms! Her three daughters, prickly Delia, sensible Meg and carefree Rose, mean everything to her, especially since the death of her husband, Charles.
Hetty Gilbert is a canal child with no permanent address, so when she needs to join the library, she cannot do so. Miss Preece dislikes children, but Hetty's longing for books touches a chord and she stretches the rules to help her. Soon, Hetty's chief desire is to become a librarian like her friend. But with war on the horizon, their lives will never be the same.