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.
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"
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.
Addy and Prue Fairweather live with their widowed mother Nell, in a flat above her shop. Addy is plain and always in trouble whereas Prue is as angelic as her looks imply. To make matters worse, Nell makes no secret of her preference for the younger girl, increasing Addy's jealousy. On the other side of the coin, Giles Frobisher and his twin sister, Gillian, live in a crumbling mansion in Devon. The family have lost most of their money in the Depression, so Giles joins the Fleet Air Arm.
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.
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"
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!"
Britain is at war and Ruth, a gifted pilot, is determined to join the Air Transport Auxiliary. Over in America, Jack and Lucy Nelson, are also keen to join. After a perilous journey by sea, Jack is posted to White Waltham, where he quite literally bumps into Ruth.
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"
Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the girls to an orphanage. 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, the throwaway children.
Charlotte Booth loves her father and the home they share, which is set high up in the limestone escarpments of Crummockdale. But when a new businessman, Joseph Dawson, enters their lives, both Charlotte and her father decide he's the man for her, and within six months Charlotte marries the dashing mill owner from Accrington. Then a young mill worker is found dead in the swollen River Ribble. With Joseph's business nearly bankrupt, it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems, and Joseph is not the man he pretends to be.
When a couple renovate a beautiful 17th-century house in the Cotswolds, they discover the ghosts of the Civil War are still in residence. As Guy and Ruth delve into the property's history, uncovering both joy and sorrow, the house finally relinquishes its secrets, revealing how closely the family from the past is intertwined with the present-day owners. Why do they seem so familiar? Have they perhaps met before?
Dana and Caitlin meet on the ferry from Ireland, both in search of new lives in Liverpool, having left their secrets behind in Ireland. But Dana is ambitious, and when the opportunity comes to own their own tearoom she persuades her friend to join her. No one is willing to rent property to a couple of girls, so when Caitlin’s new man-friend says he’ll back them, they are delighted. Soon the tearoom is thriving.
"Not as captivating"
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.
1860: Harriet Miles is trying to take care of her seriously ill mother, and just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse she is fired from her job at the hostelry. The last thing she expects after her mother dies is a marriage proposal from a man she barely knows, but her only alternative is the workhouse. And so begins her new life with Noah Tuke. But instead of marital bliss, Harriet finds herself in the cramped farmhouse Noah calls home, and in this overcrowded and angry household she meets with hostility and bitterness. The only person who offers her friendship is Noah’s brother, Fletcher.
Along a blacked-out wartime street a girl is scurrying, a basket on one arm. As sirens begin and bombs crash down, she is filled with panic and, with a heavy heart, abandons her burden in a sheltered doorway, meaning to return later. Even as she disappears in the resulting chaos, the bundle in the basket begins to wail.
Ellie is a sweet-natured brunette, generous of heart with a sparkling smile and an accent that reveals her East End background. Bonny is beautiful and spoilt, with cascades of blond hair, the brightest pair of blue eyes and a mouth like Cupid's bow. The two girls meet in London at the end of the war when, seduced and abandoned by two American airmen, they pool their wits and resources and set off to make a living on the stage.
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.
When Anna Harvik goes to Norway in 1946 this beautiful country is still recovering from five cruel years of Nazi Occupation. Her late husband was a pilot in the Royal Norwegian Air Force and she has come to visit his homeland and meet his family, in spite of being in doubt about how she will be received. She stays with Molly, who with other English war-brides makes her welcome.
"most interesting "