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Release date 28th May 2019
What if you had a unique talent, but everything conspired against your dreams?
France, 1897. Born to a modest farming family, Marie-Thérèse has a remarkable singing voice and wants to become a professional singer. But too many obstacles, including her parents’ opposition, stand in her way. And, through no fault of her own, she makes a dangerous enemy of the local landlord.
When the family circumstances change suddenly, Marie-Thérèse and her mother must move to Paris to work in her aunt’s restaurant. Her ambitions rekindle, but the road to success is paved with setbacks until a chance meeting gives her a precious opportunity.
She is close to achieving all her dreams, but the ghosts of the past come back to haunt her and threaten Marie-Thérèse’s life as well as her career.
Overture is the first in a trilogy set in France, starting in 1897 and finishing at the end of World War II.
Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again. What if the story of Romeo & Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?
This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.
If you love the Romeo & Juliet story but hate the way it ended, this is the book for you.
‘An excellent novel that takes a well-loved tale and gives it new life with twists and turns that The Bard would be proud of.’ R. Clarke
‘If you adore the Romeo and Juliet of old, you will love the beautiful twist on what could have been.’ T. Hill
‘A brilliant ‘what-if’ retelling of a timeless classic, The Ghostly Father has a sweet flavour all of its own.’ Calico Jack
‘What a great story! It gripped me from the start… I read most of this book in one day as I found it compulsive reading. Sue has a very easy-to-read style; the story is friendly and uncomplicated. This would make a great holiday read as you relax on your sun-lounger, cruise deck, beach, or, like me, just in your room.’ Jeanette Taylor Ford, Author
‘I really enjoyed this book. The central heroine has none of the qualities I have come to dislike. She was not 1) Too Stupid To Live, 2) depressed, 3) in a financial quagmire, or 4) too snoopy and wouldn’t listen to people telling her to back off for her own good. Instead I found a fun ensemble cast, a touch of romance, and an interesting and fun plot. It was the perfect way to spend a few hours.’ Anonymous Kindle customer
The past uncovered.
Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to discover more about her forebears. She comes across a series of passionate love letters and delves into their history.
The story unfolds of a secret romance at the start of the 20th century between a village schoolteacher and Maria, the daughter of a bourgeois family. Maria’s parents have other plans for her future, though, and she sees her dreams crumble.
Her life is played out against the backdrop of Corsica, the ‘island of beauty’, and the turmoil of World War I.
‘Vanessa Couchman writes with intelligence and skill.’ Historical Novels Review
‘Vanessa Couchman will be an author to watch.’ Discovering Diamonds
‘A lovely book.’ Trip Fiction
Can Valeria Peretti escape the destiny that is mapped out for her?
While the island struggles for independence against its Genoese masters, she must marry an older, wealthy man. A quiet, respectable life apparently awaits Valeria, but a prophecy on the eve of her betrothal spells misfortune ahead.
As her life unfolds, Valeria’s attempts to fight against her fate bring her into conflict with the unbending moral code of Corsican society. She must make a choice between her personal wishes and social duty that will cast her far away from Corsica’s shores.
‘A perfect read for those who enjoy historical fiction where the trials of life in a different era are expertly woven around love and emotions that have changed little over the years.’ French Village Diaries
Short stories for fans of all things French.
Steeped in history, France is a country whose landscapes and light have enthused writers and artists for centuries. Beneath the dust of ages lie buried countless personal histories, which have inspired this collection of twelve fictional short stories.
Can Arlette resolve her predicament while her sweetheart fights in the trenches on the Western Front? By escaping to the countryside, will a woman be allowed to leave behind her troubled past? The celebrated painter Edgar Degas wants to paint an exotic circus performer, but will the portrait match her expectations? Can the unsightly Pierre Turnip Nose get the girl he is afraid will never want him?
These are just four of the dilemmas that must be resolved by the end of each of the twelve stories.
‘The characters are so well-drawn that the reader comes to know and care about them in a few short pages.’ BookMuse
France, December 1941.
The Occupied Zone is under the German yoke, but resistance is intensifying and a high-ranking German officer is shot dead in Western France. Fifty hostages are shot in retaliation, and 50 more will be executed if the killers are not handed over.
Jewish communist Joseph Mazelier is on the list. His wife begs Countess Ida, a former opera singer, to risk her own life to help Mazelier escape. Will Ida agree?
‘I thought it was brilliant.’ Ellie Keaton, author of the Women and War series.
‘A wonderful story…Tense and evocative, it brought to mind the work of my personal historical hero, Nicholas Winton. Wonderful.’ Screenwiper
Cailean MacDubhgaill, a knight from a small western island fighting for the Scottish cause, joins the battle at Falkirk but is wounded when he takes a blow to the thigh by an axe. Sir Eoín de Moray, uncle to his late friend, the former guardian, Andrew, helps him escape the carnage and takes him into a nearby forest, but is killed whilst fighting off pursuers.
Once Cailean has recovered from his injuries with the help of the healer Eithne, he rushes to de Moray’s manor on the northern shores of Loch Ness to convey the news to de Moray’s daughter, Isobel, but he is too late. He finds the manor burnt down, its people displaced, and Isobel abducted. Determined to honour the knight who had saved his life, he tracks Isobel down.
Finding herself taken away from her home against her will, to be married off to an English lord in service to King Edward I, Isobel de Moray ponders her fate when a nighttime raid on the mercenary camp sees her freed – only to fall into the hands of a strong-minded knight. The stranger takes her to his keep on the remote island of Eorsa, to keep her safe.
But Isobel has other ideas…
AD 2016, Languedoc, France
According to her mother’s will, historian Maddie Winters must live in her house in southern France for one year before she can claim her inheritance – and sell it! Reluctantly leaving her small, modern flat in York, England, she sets out to renovate the house in the hope of making it more attractive for future buyers.
What she does not expect to find are human bones under the kitchen floor!
Escape to the Highlands
Betrayed by her brother’s lies, Catriona MacKenzie is banished from her home to her godmother’s manor in the remote Scottish Highlands. While her family ponders her fate, Catriona’s insatiable curiosity leads her straight into trouble–and into the arms of a notorious Highlander.
Five years after an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion, Rory Cameron works as a smuggler to raise money for the cause–until Catriona uncovers a plot against him and exposes his activities. Now, Rory is faced with a decision that could either save their lives or destroy both of them. But he’s running out of time…
‘A compelling story teller.’ Romancing the Book
‘The author has a wonderful way of describing the highlands.’ Booked Up Reviews
‘She brings her characters to life with feeling and emotion.’ The Romance Studio
‛…combines a very human and personal story with a very believable vision of Late Iron Age society in Northern Britain.’
AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Nara of the Selgovae’s future takes a new direction. The Rites of Beltane loom but being captured by Lorcan of Garrigill, an enemy Brigante, thwarts her plans. Time runs out for her secret quest.
When legions of the Roman Empire relentlessly march northwards, Lorcan uses Nara to bargain with the Selgovae, believing unity will mean strength. Callan of the Selgovae agrees but sets impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.
Will Nara have her Beltane choice?
‘Entertaining and will hit all the right spots for devoted romance fans.’ Discovering Diamonds
‘This is a well told tale of love and adversity. Set in a time when tribal feuds were on-going and chieftains ruled through the power of the sword.’ J. Glen Bauer
‘…the author brings the culture and society of Celtic Britain vividly to life – and in this book there is also an intriguing contrast with the ordered, militaristic lifestyle of the occupying Romans.‘
AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Ravaged at the Battle of Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed.
Brennus embraces a new identity as Bran, vowing to avert Roman domination of Brigantia. Though how, when he and Ineda – his healer’s granddaughter – are forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion? Trading with the usurpers provides opportunities for gathering information, but after they are attacked by a Roman patrol, Ineda cannot be found.
Distraught with her loss, can Bran find a new occupation?
‘A fantastic follow-up to the brilliant Beltane Choice. The author really gets inside the heads of the characters so you completely empathise with, and understand, their feelings and actions – even when you/they disagree with them. Highly recommend this series of novels.’ K. Peacock
‘…if the Celts are to achieve freedom from oppression, the rape of their lands, the slaughter of their people and hold fast to the dream of one day setting the might of the Roman Army to flight, they must stand and fight!’
AD 73 Northern Roman Britain
Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, Ineda escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.
Confrontation begins against the Roman Empire at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?
‘…the entire series is set firmly among the very best of early Romano British novels.’ Helen Hollick DD reviews
Northern Roman Britain AD 84.
Enya of Garrigill is in search of her brother and cousin, missing after a disastrous battle. She is faced with a heartrending choice between looking for her brother in Vacomagi territory, swarming with Roman auxiliaries, or seeking her cousin further south, where he is probably held captive by the Roman Commander Agricola’s soldiers. Meanwhile, Agricola is finding that his plans to invade the whole island are not going as he intended.
When Luke Salieri inherits a dilapidated English estate from a woman he’s never heard of – with quirky Dickensian conditions attached – it’s a mystery he wants resolved immediately. But there’s a catch: just how far will he have to go to persuade the right woman to help him?
Rhia Ashton wants the job of researching Greywood Hall and all of its fantastic contents, but can she live in close proximity with gorgeous Luke Salieri for a whole year? Rhia has her own ideas about what will make it worth her while.
Neither expect more than friendly relations!
A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg involves Keira Drummond in the search for a collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor – the set last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910. Who of Geertje’s descendants can Keira rely on, since distrust among them is rife? Who is the deadliest third-cousin, determined enough to hire thugs to tail Keira and Teun Zeger, a Californian she is very drawn to, as they pair up to unearth the jewellery? And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?
Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust and love.
‘…With beautiful description, it feels like you’re travelling the globe with handsome Nairn and feisty, capable Aela, and the sub plot of sabotage, will keep you reading till the end.’
‘Take Me Now is a fun contemporary romance set in Scotland, a swift-paced story with humorous moments that will leave the reader laughing and sighing.’
‘Take Me Now is an enjoyable read for those who like contemporary romances with swift pacing and entertaining storytelling.’
England 2011 – to 1485
The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal.
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different.
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?
Find out in this ‘giddily romantic’ romp, set just prior to the Battle of Bosworth.
‘Absolutely fabulous escapism for every girl who dreamed of meeting her prince.’ Michelle Ryles, book blogger.
‘A well-written touch of forbidden romance – and a great ending.’ Being Anne, book blogger