The Girl from Summerhayes
1914, England. Will her decision unite her family or tear them apart?
Surrounded by beautiful gardens in the glorious Sussex countryside, Summerhayes House seems like a true hidden paradise, but behind its polished floors and perfect green lawns is a family divided. The Summer family’s beloved home is under threat, and nineteen-year-old Elizabeth Summer finds herself caught in the heart of the crisis.
Elizabeth’s father believes his daughter marrying well will save Summerhayes. But Elizabeth is distraught at the stifling future ahead of her. A chance meeting with green-eyed Aiden Kellaway, the handsome architect’s apprentice working on the estate’s prized gardens, changes everything. For the first time, Elizabeth pictures an entirely different life, and – despite her father’s wishes – she is determined to take hold of it.
But war is brewing in Europe, and when its long shadow touches Summerhayes, Elizabeth realises her rebellion will come at a price. Desperately torn between family loyalty, society’s expectations and the bright chance at happiness she glimpsed in Aiden’s arms, she is forced to make an impossible choice.
As Elizabeth’s future – and her family’s – hangs in the balance, she must ask herself, is the price worth paying? And can she live with the consequences?
The Secrets of Summerhayes
1944, England. A chance meeting with a soldier unravels a long-buried family mystery…
England is in the devastating grip of World War Two, and Bethany Merston’s life changes in an instant when bombs screech down over London. Heartbroken, she leaves the shattered ruins of her home behind. In the Sussex countryside, she takes a job as companion to elderly Alice Summer, mistress of the crumbling and over-grown Summerhayes House.
Its once-pristine grounds are now home to a regiment of soldiers preparing for an invasion across the channel. But Bethany’s wartime experiences mean she can find beauty in broken things, and she is captured by the estate’s magic. When she meets handsome, blue-eyed Lieutenant Jos Kerrigan in the gardens one morning, it is clear he has also been captivated by Summerhayes. As their friendship grows, Bethany realises that it’s not just the house she’s falling for…
But something is stirring beneath the surface at Summerhayes… When Bethany discovers that Alice is receiving anonymous letters that have opened up old family wounds, she is determined to find out who is responsible. Convinced that Summerhayes itself holds the key to the mystery, Bethany and Jos explore the grand house together.
The answers lie in a long-forgotten painting in the dusty attic, unravelling the mysteries of the Summer family. And as the truth about Alice’s past comes to light, it has the power to change Bethany’s future.
Will Bethany and Jos’s blossoming love survive the war, or will the secrets of Summerhayes tear them apart?
About the author
Bestselling author Merryn Allingham was born into an army family and spent her childhood on the move. Unsurprisingly, it gave her itchy feet and in her twenties she escaped an unloved secretarial career to work as cabin crew and see the world. The arrival of marriage, children and cats meant a more settled life in the south of England, where she’s lived ever since. Having gained a PhD, she taught university literature for many years and loved every minute of it. What could be better than spending one’s life reading and talking about books? Well, writing them perhaps.
Six Regency period romances followed, then those itchy feet kicked in. The Regency was abandoned and Daisy’s War, a wartime trilogy, found its way to the top of the Amazon charts, followed by the Summerhayes books—a saga of romance and intrigue set in the Sussex countryside during the summers of 1914 and 1944.
But itchy feet never rest and in 2020 she finally went over to the dark side! The crime series, the Tremayne Mysteries, is set in locations around the world and features Nancy, a feisty 1950s heroine, turned amateur sleuth.