Outback Australia, 1981
After a terrible childhood, Jane comes to Thornfield as nanny to the adorable Adele, watched over by the handsome and enigmatic Edward. Plain and inexperienced, Jane would never dream of being more than his hired help. But swept up in the dramatic beauty of the Outback, she finds herself drawn to Edward. And, to her surprise, he seems to return her feelings.
But Jane is not the first woman Edward has pledged to make mistress of Thornfield.
As a child, Betty was taken from her English home and sent for adoption in Australia. At first, no-one wanted her, deeming her hair too curly, and her skin too dark. Until the scheming Mr Mason sees a chance to use Betty to cement a relationship with the rich and powerful Rochester dynasty…
When Jane discovers Betty’s fate, will she still want to be the next Mrs Rochester?
Sydney, Australia. 1966
I was scared. This was my first time in Sydney. My first time in any big city. It was also my first time away from the place where my mother and I had lived since I was a baby. Even looking out of the window of the car was overwhelming – the size of the buildings, the number of cars, the rush and hurry all around me. I sank back into my seat until the car finally stopped and I couldn’t hide any longer.
‘Come on now, child.’ The woman sitting next to me poked me none too gently in the ribs. ‘Get out of the car.’
My new home was a huge mountain of red brick. I strained my neck, trying to see how very high it really went. It seemed to reach up almost to the clouds. I desperately wanted to go home. To my friends. To my mother. To the way things were before the police came.
I stared up at the building again. It was truly huge. I would get lost inside it, just as I was lost in this city. The buildings that towered over me seemed to lean in on each other, and there was nothing green. No trees, not even a blade of grass. I hoped I wouldn’t have to stay here long. Mum must be coming back soon to take me home to the place with the space and the grass and all the people I knew.
The woman took my two small bags from the back of the car. I didn’t own many things. At home everything was shared, so I didn’t need my own things. The woman in the car had told me there were other children in this house. My cousins. Maybe I would share with them now.
When we got to the big front door, I pushed it. It didn’t open. I tried to pull it, but that didn’t work either. The door stayed shut. Puzzled, I looked up at the woman. She rolled her eyes as she reached out to press a button in the wall.
‘Yes?’ The voice was loud and harsh.
For a long time there was no answer. ‘All right.’
I jumped as a loud buzz and a thunk sounded from the door in front of me.
‘Well, don’t just stand there. Open the door.’
I pushed the door hard, and this time it moved.
It was dark inside after the bright sunlight in the street. There was a big staircase made of wood that seemed to go forever.
The woman carrying my bags went and stood in front of another door. There were more strange sounds, and that door slid open, revealing a very small room.
‘Come on, Jane.’ She was starting to sound impatient.
I followed her into the box. I didn’t mind small places. That was why I almost always won when we played hide and seek. I was little and could fit into the tiniest places. The door slid shut all on its own. I almost screamed when I felt the little room start to move.
‘Oh, for goodness’ sake,’ the woman said. ‘It’s only a lift. Your aunt is on the top storey. Far too many floors to use the stairs, especially in this heat.’
Mum had told me to be brave, so I tried to pretend I wasn’t frightened as the lift went up and up and up.
When the lift stopped moving, the doors opened again and I jumped out quickly, in case it fell back down to the ground. There was only one other door that I could see. The woman nodded and I tried to open it.
She sighed, before rapping forcefully on the door with her knuckles.
t’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, but who’s around it that matters most.
All Suzanne McBride wants for Christmas is her three daughters happy and at home. But when sisters Posy, Hannah and Beth return to their family home in the Scottish Highlands, old tensions and buried secrets start bubbling to the surface.
Suzanne is determined to create the perfect family Christmas, but the McBrides must all face the past and address some home truths before they can celebrate together . . .
~I was sent a copy from the publishers - all opinions are my own~
I give it - 5/5
My review - If there is something Sarah Morgan knows how to do it is to write the perfect good feeling Christmassy story. It is the perfect book to curl up with on these cold nights (and days since it's freezing all the time) with a blanket and some hot chocolate and just get swept away in this book and, you won't be able to put down until you've finished it!
In this book we follow three sisters and their mother. We get chapters from each of these ladies and I really enjoyed finding out more about each of them and their thoughts. The sisters aren't close, something happened years ago that has made them this way and who they are today. We have Hannah who, is the oldest sister. Her jobs involve numbers and she is always flying off somewhere and returning to Scotland, to the family, is something she isn't really that keen on. Beth is the middle sister and is married with two cute kids but, is having her own crisis at the moment and then, we have Posy the youngest sister. She loves the outdoors and she is part of the mountain rescue team and of course we have the mother, Suzanne. She wants the closeness back between her girls and is hoping that Christmas is the perfect time for it to happen and she is running herself ragged to make sure everything is perfect.
Sarah has written something wonderful here. A story about finding your way back home, coming to terms with your past so you can move on with your future, make amends with your family and just have the best Christmas. I really enjoyed the flashbacks in this book as it gives you more insight to Suzanne and her girls and makes you understand them a little bit more. I really love reading about each of these characters, what they get up to, their thoughts about seeing each other at Christmas and it was just wonderful. Suzanne is determined is repair the bond between these girls.
A wonderful story about family and repairing old wounds and it is set in the beautiful Scottish highlands and it just really adds to the story! Another fantastic story from Sarah and I really cannot wait to see what she brings out next.
Cat is inexplicably drawn to a beautiful mansion where she is seduced into the world of modern witchcraft. Upon discovering a witch’s journal, Cat anchors her mind to the summer of 1940 where she witnesses events that lead to a secret occultist ritual. Plagued by the paranormal happenenings of the house and the desperate whispers of a long-dead girl, can Cat piece together a series clues to prevent a repeat of the disastrous ritual? What terrible price must be paid to stop it happening again? This time, on a devastating scale, engineered for the twenty- first century...
Emily Sadovna: Where I Write
When I started writing The Haunting of Violet Gray seven years ago, I lived in a house on the cusp of the New Forest, a short journey from Burley - a village synonymous with witches in fact. I began writing The Haunting of Violet Gray whilst pregnant with my first daughter, sitting at my desk with my windows flung open, so the scent of fallen apples and bonfires could drift in along with the buttery autumn light.
Since moving, I mainly write in my garden room - at the kitchen table. My writing desk shares its space with dinner, homework and various arts and crafts. When I completed the final chapters of The Haunting of Violet Gray, jasmine and honeysuckle plants were creeping in through the open windows. I love my slightly overgrown wild garden which is bursting with herbs for cooking and medicine, roses and trees. I am lucky to live close to the forest so the environment sets my imagination on fire.
When writing, I tend to sketch out a rough outline, starting with some spider diagrams and then a flow chart of the key moments. I then write directly onto my Windows Surface.
Parts of the book of which I most proud of actually came into fruition whilst I was staying in a shepherd’s hut on the edge of New Forest moorland during a freezing January.
I was gifted with a weekend stay for Christmas and I have been back there around four times since. I go alone, so the time for writing was precious. At home I was teaching part time and raising two young children and struggling to stay on top of day to day chores and squeezed writing in whenever I had a spare moment. When I was in the shepherd’s hut, I was there to write. I think the first time I went, I wrote until around 2 or 3am. I didn’t sleep very much either as I was also researching possible apocalyptical consequences for raising a second cone of power and scared myself silly in the process. The second time, I found myself weeping like a baby after writing a particularly sad section of the book. In the shepherd’s hut, I was able to fully immerse myself in the world of Violet Gray. I am chomping at the bit to go back and make some headway with the sequel.
Thank you so much for reading - happy reading, or writing!
Born in Essex, Emily Sadovna grew up near Oxford. Trained in fashion journalism, Emily’s career began as a window dresser and freelance stylist. Later, Emily launched her own deli and catering business and learnt the art of chocolate making. She went on to qualify as a food and nutrition teacher at a secondary school and now teaches primary school children to cook in afterschool clubs.
Emily’s pen name originates from her Polish grandfather. Her imagination derives from a line of formidable women all with wonderful stories to tell. She lives with her husband and their two daughters on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. The Haunting of Violet Gray is her first novel. www.emilysadovna.com
Libby Stone has lived in Lavender Bay all her life. She loves the little seaside town and has big dreams to turn her father’s greasy old chippy into a dainty teashop – not that she’s told him yet!
Finding love isn’t easy amongst the cluster of coastal houses, but it’s not every day that someone quite as handsome and mysterious as Owen Coburn walks into the local pub.
And as the snowflakes begin to swirl on the promenade, Libby realises she’s falling for him. But Owen has been keeping a secret that could destroy everything…
~I received a copy from the publishers - all opinions are my own~
I give it - 4/5
My review - This is the 3rd book in the Lavender Bay series but, you can read it as a stand-alone. But, it will make you want to read the others asap. This book is just so wonderful that I have already ordered the first two in the series just to be back at Lavender Bay! It was fun and just wonderful and I highly recommend for a Christmassy read with some hot chocolate!
In this book we follow Libby. She works with at a fish and chip shop which is owned by her father who, will be soon retiring and Libby hope the business is passed on to her. She wants to change it and make it into a cute cafe with cakes, sandwiches and patisseries. There isn't anything like this in Lavender Bay and hope to be one of the first bakeries within the place and keep her mothers memory alive with her baking.
Then we meet Owen. A businessman and wants to look at owning a new business but, he also has an ulterior motive in Lavender Bay. He's not having much look and the first time he meets Libby he insults her. But, she is intrigued by him.
Is the feeling mutal? What will happen when secrets are revealed, will romance still be on the table? New beginnings possibly about to happen?
I really enjoyed this book and all of the characters where really interesting and I adored reading about them. I liked reading about them and finding out more about each character and of course, Lavender Bay! It was such a warm, fun read that i just couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I felt I was in Lavender Bay with all of these characters and I didn't want to leave. I am excited to read the other books in this series and find out about more of the characters in this wonderful town. It is warm, cosy feeling story and very festive!