As Ellie stood on the boat, watching the small island come into view, she wondered what awaited her on shore. What secrets would she uncover in this place?
When Ellie Roberts inherits a cottage on a remote Scilly Isle, she’s shocked. She’s never heard of the previous owner, Patience Ellis, so why did she leave Ellie her legacy?
Overwhelmed with unanswered questions, Ellie travels to the isolated island. Windswept from the boat, salt spray still on her skin, she searches for Patience’s whitewashed cottage, hidden behind overgrown ivy. But when she steps inside, the house feels strangely familiar, and she has a memory of laughing as a child with her beloved mother in the window seat overlooking the sea… The mother she lost when she was only a child.
Determined to find out more, Ellie meets enigmatic local Branok Shore. While at first he seems uninterested, he believes he can help. Charmed by his green eyes, and curious about his past on the island, he and Ellie grow closer, but Ellie knows she needs to understand her own story before she can embrace the future. And when Branok prises open Patience’s dresser, filled with letters from the Second World War, Ellie discovers the shocking secret Patience was forced to hide – and the truth that will change her own life forever.
The letters tell the story of a brutal storm on a dark night in the depths of war, and of an injured soldier who begged Patience for help, and asked her to make an impossible choice…
But the letters don’t hold the answers Ellie so desperately needs. Why did Patience leave her home to her? And how can Ellie have memories of the cottage, when she’s never been there before? When Ellie finally uncovers the truth, will she be strong enough to put the fragments of her life back together?
About the Author
I write crime and fantasy, with an interest in folk and superstitious beliefs. A Baby’s Bones (out in 2018) asks the reader: is a dark house haunted by the dreadful violence committed there in the past, or is there a scientific explanation that triggers the darkness in the people who are working there?
I’m fascinated with the psychology that creates crime, how someone overcomes a lifetime of societal pressure not to harm someone. What kind of people find that possible (or, even, easy?). A Shroud of Leaves (out July 2019) asks that question, why a young girl would be buried in a pile of leaves on an estate that seems haunted by the disappearance of another young girl in the past. But she isn’t the first young person to go missing there… the story explores a family that seems haunted by psychopathy.
I’ve been interested in fantasy since being read my first fairy tale. When I started writing seriously, as part of an MA in creative writing, fantasy crept into what was going to be a crime story. It’s since crept into everything I’ve written – historical, mystery, romance. I think it’s because I keep finding references to magic everywhere. It’s our first belief system: a fat man will come down the chimney at Christmas, tooth fairies steal teeth and exchange them for money, black cats are lucky. When I was a psychologist, people came up with superstitions and beliefs that made no empirical sense yet made a good story. Living on the Isle of Wight then Devon I couldn’t get away from superstitions and our magical history.
I wrote The Secrets of Life and Death series out of that love of magic and fantasy. I tried to bring a single element of fantasy into the real world and it seeped in all directions. Dr John Dee believed sorcery was possible – it was his idea of technology. I just wondered … what if he was right? What if a child’s life could be saved by magic when medicine fails? Then I had to go back and follow Dee and his sidekick, Kelley, as they did their experiments and worked out how magic works in the castle of Elizabeth Bathory, the sadistic ‘Blood Countess’.
I blog about writing at http://witchwayblogspotcom.blogspot.co.uk/