All is not well in the village. The local meadows have been the pride of Bishops Well for hundreds of years, but now they are facing the sharp blades of developers. The landowner is a rich and reclusive author who is happy to see them destroyed, but the villagers – including Sam Dee and Maggie Kaye – are fighting back.
Until, that is, someone decides to silence one of their number permanently.
As Maggie and Sam soon discover, there is more than a quick buck to be made in the developers’ plans. There are age-old secrets and personal vendettas that could have deadly repercussions in Bishops Well today.
With Sam’s legal expertise and Maggie’s… well, Maggie-ness, they delve into the past, determined to unearth the truth. And, as sparks begin to fly, could there finally be something more between this sleuthing duo?
Here’s my review
Cause of Death is the third book in The Shires Mysteries, but the first one I’d read. I think this left me at a little bit of a disadvantage to begin with as Maggie has a quirk, that I didn’t know about, and it took me a while to work out what it was. Also, and this is a very personal complaint, so I apologise – this book has two points of view, but one is told first person, one third person and then there’a also an omnipresent narrator – I really struggle with books that don’t stick to one tense, and writing style.
That said, the story is intriguing, and I did want to know who the murderer was, so I continued reading, despite all my misgivings about tenses. Maggie is an intriguing character, but rather pushy and overbearing. Sam is a milder character, and more likely to apply reason to his conclusions. The story is quite twisty and there’s a touch of humour to it in places. The author has no qualms about making the resolutions quite complex and employing a large and diverse set of characters.
Overwhelmingly, this was an enjoyable and satisfying read, and I might just go back and read books 1 and 2:)
Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome Strung to the blog. Please check out the excerpt from the new book.
(aka Prologue, Scene II)
Captain Ibalis returns the ocean’s salt from his mouth and hikes the top of his chapped lip in satisfaction. For five months, they’ve been making sweeps along the edge of The Brine—the uncharted expanse of sea surrounding Iodesh’s pangea—half-heartedly carrying out their contract.
But the Earl was set on bedding a Haywood, and the Lady in question was a Faye-nutter herself: “A gesture this grand would guarantee the marriage seal, and earn My Lady’s deepest appreciation. I flatter myself, it’s fool-proof!”
Fool’s errand, rather, though Ibalis wouldn’t have risked shattering the Earl’s delusion by saying so. Better to be free on the high seas than to have your ship and crew commandeered for the Kingswar, after all, and better still with a fool volunteering to fund your truancy. Ibalis had ordered his men to sign the Earl’s ridiculous writ of silence and they’d left within a week. Today, their contract came to an unexpected end.
After the midday sun erected too-tall columns under the hold’s grate, Ibalis had altered course for a resupply. That’s when the crow’s nest saw it: a brief sparkle on the horizon. The same sparkle reported in every sea encounter with the Faye. It’d taken the entire day to catch up to the slippery bastards, and now…
Uproarious cheers from his crew pulse outward from the deck, riding dusk-lit waves below. Ibalis eyes the lone scow drifting towards him as the larger, stranger, blue vessel behind it gains an impressive burst of speed.
He’ll be rich. The Faye are real, and they’d willingly given up one of their own.
First thing he’ll do is threaten to talk. The Earl wants all the glory, but his writ of silence failed to include provisions for disembarking. Ibalis should be able to squeeze the dolt for enough to buy a title. Then maybe he’d call on the Haywood mare himself.
Cheers reach a fever pitch as the scow scrapes along the side of his ship. Shadows of empty lifeboat hooks slither down grimy wooden planks—crooked rust stretching for water. Ibalis’ sneer expands to a grin.
No, first he’ll find out just how many Fayetales are true.
Few in the world of Iodesh believe the Faye are more than legend—until an unwanted suitor captures one as Lady Lysbeth Haywood’s bride price.
Presented with the Faye, Lysbeth is torn between her excitement to learn more about the legendary people, her dread at the possibility of a forced engagement, and her battle of attrition with Avon society.
It’s worth the struggle, for as layers of the Faye’s extraordinary mysteries are peeled away, their revelations—and Lysbeth’s own role in them—reach farther than she ever thought possible.
Mild self-harm, off-screen abuse, and brief on-screen violence.
⟅R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ is Strung’s diegetic author and illustrator. Its real-world counterpart began building the world of Strung at age 12 to disassociate from budding bisexuality and physical disabilities—and eventually traded adversity’s escapism for inspiration.
Twelve moving short stories inspired by the everyday lives of women.
A single woman on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Italian lakes still dreams of adventure. Can she find it closer to home?
A grieving widow finds comfort in the company of a stray cat that bears striking similarities to her dead husband.
An estranged daughter confronts an unspeakable tragedy from her past as she attempts to reconcile with her long-lost family.
Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. The women in this, her first published anthology, may be at different stages of life but all of them are experiencing the ground shifting beneath their feet. Their tales of love, longing and redemption will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.
Riding Pillion with George Clooney and other short stories is an engaging collection of short stories of women, many of them bitter sweet, but all empowering. A particular favourite of mine was ‘After Harriet’ a story of grief, guilt and the need for forgiveness.
All of the stories are told with skill, ensuring the reading understands the characters they meet. Riding Pillion with George Clooney might well be the story that snags the attention of the reader, but all of the women we meet are endearing to the reader, highlighting struggled which many of us might understand only too well.
A delightful collection of short stories, that I highly recommend.
Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies but these days the only use she puts it to is to identify which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. She worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language for many years, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown up responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then her stories have appeared in Take-a-Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written 2 young adult novels- ‘Model Behaviour’ (published by Scholastic) and ‘The Lies and Loves of Finn’ (Channel 4 Books.) This anthology of previously published short stories will be, she hopes, only the first of several.
Today, I’m really excited to share an excerpt from Lelita Baldock’s new book, Where the Gulls Fall Silent. I hope you enjoy.
Porth Gwynn, Cornish Coast 1852
The high noon sun beat down on the port, a gentle breeze swirled about the rippling currents of the bay, and the children ran.
The white sand of low tide puffed beneath their feet, their squeals of laughter pealing out across the water. Two mothers, skirts hitched to their thighs, arms wet with the sea they’d walked out to meet, looked up from their nets, sun-browned hands shielding their eyes to watch the children pass, then, heads shaking, bent back to their task. The men did not look up from the slimy silver flash of pilchard bodies that squirmed within their catch.
Back on the shore the children closed in. The leader, Rewan Lobb, a boy of about ten summers, dark of hair and eye, whirled a kerchief above his head in defiance and grinned, before leaning to his task and putting on speed. He loved to tease the little ones. Near the back of the pack Kerensa Williams, small and fair, loped, her uneven gait hindering her pace, but not her determination. Gerens, a smaller, lighter version of the boy with the kerchief, kept pace beside her, uninterested in defeating his older brother and claiming the kerchief, just happy to be part of the group. Suddenly, Derwa lunged, hand brushing along Rewan’s untucked shirt, almost catching him. Rewan spun, running backwards for a few steps, taunting. Then, without warning, he spun round, feinted left then darted right up the naturally rocky outcrop that lined the bay. Long legs cleared the rocks quickly, landing on the pebbled streets of Porth Gwynn. On the top he paused, jogging on the spot, watching his pursuers as their shorter legs navigated the rocky climb. Derwa cleared the gap first, Rewan let out a laugh of delight and shot ahead towards the cluster of stone cottages that hugged the bay’s edge. Just coming to the rocks Kerensa looked up, a heavy frown on her face. She watched Rewan gliding fast along the foreshore, his eyes checking over his shoulder periodically, focused only on those upon his heels. The rocks would slow her, the pebbles too. Sand was more forgiving to her uneven gait.
She shot left, running as fast as her mismatched legs allowed, skirting the line of the rock barrier. Confused, Gerens paused, one foot already placed to climb. He watched. The shoreline before him curved in. He saw Rewan moving along the curve, saw Kerensa matching his direction, but from the inside of the curve. He understood. Slowly Kerensa came up closer to Rewan, then in line, then, amazingly started to slowly pull in front. Rewan did not look down to the beach, his eyes saw only Derwa, closely followed by Cardor and Treeve. Letting loose a whoop of delight, Gerens set off along the beach, following Kerensa’s path.
Kerensa’s breathing was ragged and her right foot ached abominably, but she would not stop. Ahead of Rewan now, the end of the bay was approaching, changing suddenly from flat sand to rocky cliff face. Rewan would veer inland, circling through the cottages and huts, back towards the centre of town. She had to intercept him before then. It was time to make her move. Taking a deep breath and bracing herself for the pain, Kerensa bolted right, leaping onto the rocks, hands and feet splayed to scramble up the incline. A sharp edge caught her hand, slicing the tender skin of her outer palm. She didn’t notice, didn’t stop, eyes fixed on the top of the climb, on the street, on her goal.
Scrabbling she cleared the rocks, pulling herself up to standing. Rewan’s head was turned, watching the other children, his loping stride bearing down on her fast. Kerensa braced herself, feet planted firmly, hands out ready to snatch the kerchief.
She didn’t see Kenver, running down from the fish sheds, but Gerens did. Eyes wide he tried to call out a warning, but it was too late.
It all happened at once. Rewan looked forward and saw Kerensa standing in his path, shock loosened his mouth as he tried to slow his forward pace. Seeing his body twitch, anticipating his next move, Kerensa lunged to the side, arms reaching, just as Kenver hit the pebbled streets, the momentum of his downward run affording him no opportunity to change direction and then – bam!
All three children came together at once in a ball of limbs, bones, scrapes and cries of shock.
The pebbled street came up to meet Kerensa’s cheek bone. She rolled with the impact, the wind knocked from her lungs, coming to a stop on her side, the weight of someone else’s legs sprawled across her waist. The legs moved and Kerensa sat up. Kenver, whose legs had landed on her, stood up, shaking with rage.
“What the hell Rewan?” he shouted. “Look where you’re bloody going!”
Sat in the dirt of the street Kerensa brushed down the front of her cotton dress, checking for tears, her nimble fingers finding one just above her knee. She inspected it quickly, it would need a patch. Something to do before mother comes home…
Kenver looked over at her, “You all right there Kez?” he asked, offering her his hand to stand. Kerensa ignored him, pulling herself to her feet, wobbling slightly. He looked away, back to Rewan, laying on his side, face away from them. He hadn’t moved.
The rest of the children arrived, circling around the trio, Gerens coming up the rocks behind Kerensa. Silently he stood by her side, eyes quickly scanning to check she was all right. A small graze on her cheek was slowly welling with blood. He knew better than to say anything, though.
Still Rewan hadn’t moved.
“Rewan?” Kenver called again, voice wary now, his initial fury replaced with a twinge of fear. Slowly the children stepped forward, inching towards their leader. Rewan, the oldest of their group by at least two summers, son of the town’s most successful fisherman, who would inherit the fine boat known as the Silver Sea, whose last summer of childhood was now waning… what if?
Kenver reached down, gripping Rewan’s shoulder, “Rewan, say something,” he pleaded, then rolled his friend’s body onto his back.
Rewan’s face was split wide in a huge grin of amusement, his body shaking with mirth. He was laughing, laughing uncontrollably. And he laughed, and laughed, and laughed and laughed.
Here’s the blurb:
A small fishing village, a shunned healer, her daughter, tradition, superstition and a world set to change.
Kerensa lives with her mother, the healer Meliora, on the edge of a small fishing community on the Cornish Coast.
The townsfolk, who work the fish runs of pilchard and mackerel that make their way up the Atlantic coast, call on her mother for help with their ailments, but never for her company.
Kerensa does not know why.
Curses and superstitions whisper around her as she grows into a competent young woman, fighting for her place amongst the people of Porth Gwynn.
But what has caused the rift between her and the town?
And can their traditional way of life survive in the face of changing winds?
Where the Gulls Fall Silent is an historical fiction that explores the lives of the fishermen and women who made their living from the rough Atlantic Ocean; the hardship they faced; the secrets that divided them; and the community spirit that pulled them through.
Lelita Baldock is an author of historical fiction and crime fiction.
She has a passion for dark stories, with an unexpected twist.
It was during her years studying English Literature at University that Lelita discovered her love of all things reading and writing. But it would be another 15 years before she would take up the challenge and write her own novel.
Her debut novel, the historical fiction Widow’s Lace, is an Amazon best-seller.
Her follow up, The Unsound Sister, saw her take a different direction in her writing, trying her hand at crime fiction and has been warmly received globally.
Her third novel, Where the Gulls Fall Silent, a traditional historical fiction set in mid-1800s Cornwall, is out now.
Lelita also runs a blog and newsletter featuring fellow authors and other creatives.
Having survived a grave illness to become one of 11th-century England’s wealthiest landowners, Godgyfu of Coventry (Lady Godiva) remains forever grateful to the town whose patron saint worked such miracles. She vows to rebuild Coventry’s abbey and better the lives of its townsfolk. But the wider kingdom is descending into political turmoil, and her husband, Earl Leofric, starts to break under the strain. Godgyfu finds her own plans unravelling the moment she meets Thomas, a Benedictine novice with perverse secret desires. Three lives become dangerously entangled in a shocking web of ambition, voyeuristic lust, and horrid obsession. Can Godgyfu escape the monk’s menacing wiles and Leofric’s betrayals to secure her future in a changing kingdom? Perhaps, but first she faces a dark test of wills leading her perilously closer to a legendary ride…
Sexual situations, psychological abuse, violence, brief references to suicide.
Christopher M. Cevasco was born in New Jersey and spent a memorable decade in Brooklyn, New York, but he feels most at home in medieval England, Normandy, Norway, and Greenland. A lifelong passion for history and fiction led him to earn degrees in Medieval Studies and English and later to embark upon a writing career that merges these two loves.
Chris was the founding editor of the award-winning Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction from 2003 to 2009. His own short stories appear in such venues as Black Static, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Distant Echoes(Corazon Books, UK), and the Prime Books anthologies Shades of Blue and Gray: Ghosts of the Civil War and Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages.
A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, Chris currently serves on the society’s North American conference board as registration chair for the upcoming 2023 conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Chris lives with his wife and their two children in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
If you’ve been with Coelwulf, Rudolf, Icel, Edmund and Pybba since the beginning, then you’re probably with me in trying to work out how 2 years have gone by since the release of the first book.
I thought it worthy of a huge celebration, and so The Last King is on blog tour for today only with a whole swathe of hosts from Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out their posts and blogs, and you really might enjoy those hosts that have an excerpt from the book. When I was choosing them, it reminded me of all the things that drew me these characters, and this book, and made me write it the way that I did. The exuberance is difficult to ignore. (And remember – there are Clean(er) versions of all the books available in ebook format without the more offensive word that rhymes with something that quacks).
I’m going to pop some links here to blog posts I’ve shared in the past.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. (These are Rachel’s Random Resources terms and conditions – as the author, I am responsible for sending the winner their book:))
Warrior and combat medic, Titus Cervianus, must lead a legion and quell the uprisings in Egypt in a new Roman adventure from Simon Turney. Egypt. 25 BC.
Titus Cervianus and the Twenty Second Deiotariana have been sent to deal with uprisings and chaos in Egypt. Yet the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion. Founded as the private royal army of one of Rome’s most devoted allies, the king of Galatia, their ways are not the same as the other legions, a factor that sets them apart and causes friction with their fellow soldiers.
Cervianus is no ordinary soldier, either. A former surgeon from the city of Ancyra, he’s now a capsarius – a combat medic. Cervianus is a pragmatist, a scientist, and truly unpopular with his legion.
Marching into the unknown, Cervianus will find unexpected allies in a local cavalryman and a troublesome lunatic. Both will be of critical importance as the young medic marches into the searing sands of the south, finding forbidden temples, dark assassins, vicious crocodiles, and worst of all, the warrior queen of Kush…
I really enjoyed The Capsarius. I’ve read some of Simon Turney’s Roman fiction in the past, but this book, without its focus on Roman Rome, is a little different, and very enjoyable.
I didn’t read this book quickly – rather I enjoyed it slowly, taking delight in reading a small amount each day over an extended period. It’s a story rich with detail, as our main character, The Capsarius, travels through a land he is clearly excited to visit, being so very strange to his birth lands, and yet one he understands is filled with danger. The heat, the lack of water, and the need to stay close to the great river Nile, bring into play some very dangerous enemies, the crocodiles of the delta.
The Capsarius is not your usual Roman warrior. He’s a skilled and widely read individual, keen to hold on to the ideals he has as a medic in the Roman army, even though he’s pitted against just about everyone in the legion, and his superiors really don’t seem to like him a great deal – not that it worries him. He’s a man of reason, and yet one who’s thrust into a strange land, with even stranger gods, and gods who seem to speak to him. The interplay between the reasoned man forced to question his beliefs because of the pervading Egyptian religion is skillfully drawn.
This is a slow burn, which rewards the reader with two really quite different battle scenes in the second half of the book when our Roman hero finally encounters his elusive enemy, and I’m already looking forward to book 2.
A wonderful read – with just the right amount of humour and peril – set in a wonderfully drawn land of intrigue and danger.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy, and for inviting me onto the new release blog tour.
Meet the author
Simon Turney is from Yorkshire and, having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites, fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Rome, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. His works include the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, the Tales of the Empire and The Damned Emperor series, and the Rise of Emperors books with Gordon Doherty.
1957. Blackleigh is an elite public school for boys in Yorkshire where prejudice and seething hatreds are never far below the surface. Violence erupts against any Junior who the Seniors deem unfit.
Jonathan Simon is 16, in his third year, and is self-conscious about being Jewish and having a birthmark on his cheek. He knows that: 1) The school code of conduct mandates no snitching, 2) The student Prefects, not the faculty, have absolute power to discipline and 3) Mr. Paul Wood, the temporary Headmaster, is weak and ineffectual.
Jonathan meets Bobby Stuart, an American transfer student, who is also worried about being accepted. Their friendship binds them together as they soon run afoul of three ruthless and ambitious Seniors in the House; Gabriel, Murray and Hausman – also known by their fanatic followers as ‘The Black Armbands’.
As the pressure mounts, ambitions grow, friendships become closer and scheming increases. As for Jonathan, the year is only beginning…
Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. This is the third novel in the Oath series, taking readers on a journey through the lives of three dynamic schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 15, and the extraordinary triumphs and tragedies that they experience. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.
Michael says, “The books in the ‘Oath’ series are all inspired by my incredible experiences at a Boarding School in the North of England and on School Boards in Los Angeles. Each book in the series stands alone with totally separate main themes united by the exploration of prejudice, the unequal playing field in education, and the abuse of human rights. They will appeal to adults as well as young adults and are entirely set in an elite public school in Yorkshire.”
I’m delighted to welcome back Andrea Matthews to the blog with a post about her new book, Shake Loose the Border. Find the previous blog posts here and here.
Maggie blinked as dawn broke that Saturday morning. She had survived the harrowing experience of the previous Thursday night and the tiring prenuptial feast of the night before and now looked forward to the start of a wonderful life with her new husband. He would always be there, guarding her, protecting her, but she had discovered an inner strength in herself as well.
Today, however, was her wedding day, and Will’s sisters fussed around her like she was a fairy-tale princess. In fact, when they had finished, she was. Her long auburn hair fell down her back in gentle waves. Just as on the day of her handfast, braids had been plaited at her temples, woven with ribbons, and pulled back and tied at the nape of her neck. On her head was a floral crown of wildflowers, bound together with rosemary and ribbons of blue and green to represent both their families. They matched the swathbonds that encircled her waist and the bridal laces that hung from her satin sleeves. A number of ribbon garters were tied to her legs, and they too were the colors of choice. But the gown itself was of the deepest blue, decorated with small beads and delicate lace trim. The square neckline revealed only the slightest bit of her chemise so that her neck lay bare, except for the small string of ivory roses given to her by Will at their handfast, and her kirtle was of silver damask.
Mary wore a dress of pale blue while Eleanor and little Peggy donned gowns of forest green, in keeping with Maggie’s colors. But Annie wore Betty’s wedding dress, which was the same beautiful shade of rose that colored Maggie’s nosegay and adorned her hair. The same soft shade that had filled her cheeks after Will first made love to her and would no doubt touch them anew when next they met.
Annie smiled broadly as she tied the last ribbon to Maggie’s dress. “There! A more bonnie bride they’ve never seen in all of Tynedale, and to think ’tis to be wasted on that nae-account brother of mine.”
“You don’t mean a word of that,” Maggie said with a grin, for it was no secret how close Annie and Will really were.
“Ye’re right there. If ’twere no’ for our Will . . . ’Twas him what found me that morn, ye ken. I didna want him to touch me, I was that ashamed, but Will never gave up, talking to me, bringing me flowers, telling me how bonnie I looked, liar though he was. I never would have made it without him. When yer kin carried him off, nowt what happened to me seemed all that important anymore.”
Maggie rested her hand on Annie’s. “Don’t ever let what Ian did to you make you think poorly of yourself. Turn it against him by letting it make you stronger.”
“I am trying, though ’tis hard at times.”
“You’re going to wear this dress someday soon, Annie.”
“I hope so, though I’m no’ sure who ’twill be . . .” She looked around, making sure no one else was listening, though Maggie was fairly sure what she was about to say and equally certain it was common knowledge. “I do care a great deal for Dylan Hetherington, but I’m afeard I’m no’ alone there.”
Maggie tried to conceal her smile, wondering if Dylan would ever confide his twentieth-century origins to the girl. “And have you spoken to him about it?”
“A wee bit, and he says his heart belongs to none but me, yet he’s made nae promises either. I can hope, though, d’ye no’ think?”
“I just don’t want you to be hurt if . . . Annie, I love Dylan dearly, and I do think he’s a good soul, one who can give a great deal of love. But he is still searching for something, and he is a bit of a . . .”
“A rogue. Oh, I ken that right enough, but how’s a lass to win him if she’s afeard of rising to the fray? I’ll be all right, Maggie, for if he takes a liking to someone else, ’tis his loss, no’ mine.”
Maggie smiled and hugged Annie warmly. The morning sun was just beginning to peek over the windowsill, and she could hear the sounds of preparation going on below. Biting her lip, she took a peek outside. Will was already there, and she listened intently to the sound of his voice. How she wanted to join him, but it wasn’t yet time, so she contented herself with gazing out across the dew-covered fells dreaming of the night to come.
Here’s the blurb:
With Will and Maggie’s wedding just a week away, the last thing they need to stumble upon is Johnnie Hetherington’s dead body tied to a tree, especially one that’s so close to their cottage. Recognizing it as a sure sign that Johnnie has betrayed the family once too often, Sergeant Richie Carnaby gathers Will and his family together for questioning, though it seems obvious only a fool would kill a man on his own land. Then who did murder the rogue, and why?
Feeling confident it wasn’t any of the Fosters, Richie allows Will and Maggie’s wedding to proceed, but the couple has barely exchanged vows when the Armstrongs attack in force. Geordie is determined to rescue his niece from the clutches of Will Foster, whether she wants to go or not. And if he happens to make her a widow in the process, so be it. Will senses the danger and implores Dylan to get Maggie away to safety, no matter where — or when — that may be.
Though Maggie protests, Will assures her he will follow as soon as he is able. Yet how can that be possible when Dylan whisks her back to the twentieth century? Sharing her fears about Will, and unable to forget his own love, Annie, Dylan attempts to return to the past one last time despite his growing concerns over the disintegrating amulet stone. But will he make it in time to rescue Will, or will the villainous Ian Rutherford, who has already killed in cold blood once, win the ultimate battle and see Will and Maggie separated forever?
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
I’m excited to share an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s new historical mystery. Enjoy.
The pendulum on the grandfather clock next to the grand piano swung rhythmically back and forth, back and forth. The hour hand was approaching two. She should leave. The lawyer had asked her to stop by his office before she left town, and the train ride home would take three quarters of an hour.
What was she to do? Lilly leaned back into the soft pillows. Was it all true? Had she inherited a fortune, and could she picture herself living here? What about Father? She’d moved into her own place a while back, but would he insist on living at Rosenli with her? His daily pessimistic outbursts and derogatory comments had taken their toll on her, but what would her father say if she moved away? Who would calm him when his temper steered his mood? Maybe more than anything, was she capable of taking care of Aunt Agatha’s estate?
She stopped by the casket one last time then grabbed her handbag and walked into the hallway.
The butler stood by the wardrobe as she came out. It was as if he expected her.
“Mr. Bing, I need a word with you.”
“You may call me John, miss. Now that we’ll be seeing more of each other, you should know we go by first names in this house. Agatha insisted on it.”
“Very well. Then I would like you to call me Lilly.” She showed him the photograph. “Please tell me about this man. Who is he?”
John smiled. “Oh, so you found the picture. Good. Agatha placed it there for you to find. She had much to tell you, and now it’s up to you to discover what. Find her story, and you’ll understand who that man is.”
Lilly widened her eyes. “That sounds intriguing, but I must warn you; I’m usually not very patient. At least show me where to look?”
“You’ll understand. Just follow your heart.”
John handed her a miniature box tied with a red silk ribbon. “She wanted you to have this.”
Lilly gingerly unfastened the ribbon and opened the lid. Inside was a small silver amulet. She picked it up. Half a heart. She lifted her gaze to John, but he said nothing. The old man stood there with a stoic but friendly look on his face.
“What does this mean, John? How can I follow my heart if I only have half of it?”
The butler smiled but didn’t answer her question. He didn’t even ask her if she planned to move in. Lilly narrowed her brow, confused at such limited information. She’d grown used to working with numbers, patterns, and orderly schedules. How did one learn something new by merely listening to their heart? She pulled her shoulders back. “I will try, John, but I hope for some help along the way. I truly want to understand who Agatha was. Even if it might seem late now that she has passed, I’d like to become acquainted with her.”
John touched her shoulder. “That’s the spirit.”
Here’s the blurb:
Betrayal and trust go hand in hand in the first book of Heidi Eljarbo’s new turn-of-the-century series.
It’s 1898, and Lilly has spent most of her life motherless and living with a father who never looks for a silver lining. When her great-aunt Agatha passes, Lilly’s existence takes a drastic turn. She packs her few belongings and moves into the old lady’s magnificent estate, Rosenli Manor.
In the days that follow, Lilly tries to understand who Agatha really was, and hidden secrets slowly rise to the surface. Her great-aunt’s glamorous legacy is not quite what Lilly had imagined. She must trust in newly forged friendships, and to her surprise, she discovers what it means to truly fall in love. But not everyone is happy about the new mistress of Rosenli.
Intrigue, mystery, and a touch of romance in the Norwegian countryside fill the pages of Secrets of Rosenli Manor.
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.