Continuing my series of #tinytasters. This week we’re taking a peep at,
Mill Grange is putting on a show this holiday season!
When young Dylan Harris’s former babysitter, Harriet, needs a last minute venue for her acting troupe’s outdoor production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, the staff at Mill Grange throw its doors open…but they may get more drama than they’d bargained for!
With a play to arrange, an unexpected arrival adds to the drama. It soon looks as if a miracle will be needed to make sure this Christmas is one that Thea, Tina, Sam, Shaun, Helen and Tom – along with retirees Bert and Mabel Hastings,– won’t forget…
Continuing the seasonal pattern set by the first three novels in the series – Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange and Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange – Winter Fires takes the Victorian manor house regulars, Thea, Shaun, Tina, Shaun, Tom, Helen, Bert and Mabel, through December, and the run up to Christmas.
Here’s a tiny taster…
Thea threw her arms around Shaun as he climbed out of his car. ‘You don’t happen to know The Winter’s Tale, do you?’
Shaun’s eyebrows rose. ‘I’ll be honest, that was not the first thing I thought you’d say to me after two months apart.’
‘Would you rather I’d have led with the news that Mabel has made bacon sandwiches for lunch in honour of your return.’
‘Too right. Although a kiss from my gorgeous girlfriend wouldn’t go amiss first.’
‘Before a bacon sandwich! I’m honoured.’ Thea leant in for a kiss, only to have it curtailed by a question.
‘The song by David Essex or the play by Shakespeare?’
‘Oh yes. The play.’ Thea peered into the back of the car. ‘That isn’t all dirty washing, is it?’
Shaun chuckled. ‘You sounded just like a wife then.’
‘Oh.’ Thea’s cheeks coloured. ‘Sorry, I just meant…’
‘It’s alright, I know. I was joking.’ He pulled her closer. ‘The weather was dreadful. I adore the North East coastline, but I don’t think we had a single dry dig day for the entirety of the filming. At least it’ll show Landscape Treasures’ viewers that archaeology isn’t just a fair-weather occupation.’
‘Did you find it?’
‘The Saxon farmstead?’ Shaun grimaced. ‘Ish. There’s never much to find on Saxon sites. A few traces of hut postholes. Usual stuff.’ He opened the car’s back doors. ‘Why were you asking about a Shakespearean play?’
Thea heaved two overflowing carrier bags of grubby clothes out of the car. ‘Dylan’s stepsister, Harriet, has a role in it. Hermione.’
‘Good for her.’ Shaun hooked his rucksack onto his shoulder before grabbing a third bag of muddy clothes from the boot. ‘It’s a great play. I played Polixenes in an amateur production when I was at university.’
‘No way!’ Thea was amazed. ‘I had no idea you’d trodden the boards.’
‘It was a one-time event. I don’t have what it takes to be in the limelight like that.’
‘What are you talking about? You’re a celebrity archaeologist! A television presenter! You’re always in the public eye.’
Pushing the back door to the manor open with his foot, Shaun laughed. ‘Believe me, it’s very different. You know what it’s like on Landscape Treasures. I only have to remember a few lines at a time, and if I mess up we can reshoot them. On stage, if you mess up, then everyone knows and no one ever lets you forget.’
Thea deposited the bags of washing in the hallway. ‘That sounded like the voice of experience.’
‘There was a tricky speech I had to do midway through the play. I left out one line. It wasn’t major in the grand scheme of things. Didn’t mess up the plot or anything, but the chap playing Leontes, David bloody Clark, would not let it go.’
Thea’s eyebrows rose further. ‘Not still bitter a million years down the line or anything?’
Shaun grinned. ‘It put me off acting for life.’ …
If you would like to read Winter Fires at Mill Grange, here are the buy links –
Amazon – http://mybook.to/MillGrangeFour
Waterstones – Winter Fires at Mill Grange by Jenny Kane | Waterstones