GENRE: Historical Fiction
Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth finds herself unexpectedly assigned to Nanreath Hall-her dead mother's childhood home. All Anna has left of her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, are vague memories that tease her with clues she can't unravel. Anna knows this could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she's never known-and to learn the truth about her past.
Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices soon lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love.
As Anna is drawn into her newfound family's lives and their tangled loyalties, she must decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she's discovered is one she can keep.
"I am dying.”
Prue puts down her sewing and eyes me through her cheaters, but in no other way does she reveal the shock she must be feeling at my news.
“Cancer, so Mr. Porter tells me.” I blunder on before she can gather herself to speak. “He suggests I put my affairs in order while my strength remains, but what’s there to organize? The last payment I received for modeling was just enough to pay the doctor’s consultation fee. By the time Andre returns from Biarritz or San Remo or wherever he’s gone in search of lucrative commissions, I won’t be in any position to pose for him or anyone else.”
We are taking advantage of a mild winter’s afternoon to take the air in Prue’s small back garden. Laundry flaps on the line, and in the corner by Graham’s potting shed, the earth has been turned in preparation for planting cabbages and cauliflower. My journal lies open in my lap where I have tried to capture the poignant intimacy of the scene, but my mind won’t focus. Memories laced with regret and grief simmer too close to the surface for me to concentrate on my work.
I chose my moment carefully. Graham is at the pub, leaving Prue and me alone in the little house on Queen’s Crescent. I know I can no longer hide my illness from her. She is far too observant and has already noticed my lack of appetite and how quickly I grow tired from the least strenuous of activities. It’s just as well. I need her counsel and her quiet common sense. She’ll not burden me with useless sympathy. That isn’t her way. For good or ill, life must be faced head- on. She has taught me that if nothing else.
“There’s Anna,” she says simply, as if reading my thoughts. “You must make arrangements for her.”
Anna. My daughter. My dearest treasure.
Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance. Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series (Kensington, 2009), the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy (Pocket, 2011), and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series (Pocket, 2014). She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.
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Alix will be awarding a digital copy of Secrets of Nanreath to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.