Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

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OUT NOW: Misty Mornings at The Potting Shed

I’m delighted to be able to announce that the third book in #thepottingshed #series is OUT NOW!

MISTY MORNINGS AT THE POTTING SHED

BLURB

Don’t miss out on the third lovely book in the brand new series by #1 Kindle bestselling author Jenny Kane.

Welcome back to The Potting Shed! As Maddie and Sabi re-open the doors of their family-run garden centre. Business is booming, and it’s time to give back to the community that has kept The Potting Shed afloat, by opening the Forget-Me-Not dementia café.

But, as the doors to the café open, Sabi is offered the chance of a lifetime, that could take her away from The Potting Shed for weeks, café manager Jo’s frail, elderly mother is taken ill, and Maddie’s partner, Ed, takes a job in a faraway city just when Maddie needs him more than ever. A new member of staff is desperately required – who will join Sara, Jo and Ivan as the busy autumn season fast approaches?

Misty Morning is now available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Nook and Waterstones as an ebook or paperback.

You can also preorder the story in audio format: Amazon UK, Amazon US.

It was so much fun going back to The Potting Shed to continue the adventures of Maddie, Ed, Jo, Sara and co. In book three there are new characters to meet – the lovely Belle, Jo’s mother Iris, and the not so nice Tristan!

Florrie, the lively Springer Spaniel/Border Collie cross, is still running rings around everyone, and the children’s gardening group, The Little Acorns, are on fine form as they make home grown smoothies in The Potting Shed’s newest attraction – the Forget Me Not Café.

If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter today, you’ll be able to hear some readings, and keep up with all the new release news.

It’s always a bit nerve wracking when a new novel is  launched. There is a real fear of failing your readership – so I always have to psyche myself up before I read reviews. It was therefore, with great relief, that I found some wonderful reviews awaiting me when I looked at my page on NetGalley.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to review. I can’t state enough how important reviews are. If you like a book, do your favourite authors a favour, and pop a little review on Amazon or Goodreads – or whichever platform works for you. While a poor review will break a writers heart (it really does), a good one can make the difference between them being asked to write another book, or not.

I’ll leave you with a few of those lovely reviews. I couldn’t be more thrilled with them.

PRE-RELEASE REVIEWS

‘Oh my, this book gave me such warm and fuzzy feelings! The friendships, love and community caring is literally the backbone of this story and it means everything! I will reread this again. I loved it. And the thought of a dementia cafe is genius! This needs to happen!’  Netgalley

‘I really need to learn that “I’m just going to read a few chapters” of a Jenny Kane book always becomes “I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one day”. I have loved this series from the beginning and it continues to deliver heart-felt and sweet stories. …’ Netgalley

‘Fantastic to be back at the Pottering. Can read alone. Lovely having Belle as a new character. The cakes sounded yummy. Tristan was a character and a half. I loved the twists with him. Happy and sad tears in the book. Maddie is a fab boss. Jenny Kane is a lovely writer.. Dementia is such a difficult subject and it was covered so well.. A great read. Loved it.’ Netgalley

‘Misty Mornings at the Potting Shed, what a sweet, warm installment in the series. I liked reading the progress of the characters – their personal and professional lives getting more and more towards their goals.
It is a warm friendly read, perfect for cosy winter days or just for some good ol reading time.’ Netgalley

‘What a sweet, cozy, heart warming story! This wasn’t what I expected…it was so much better! It really was a feel good community story that brightened my day. I loved the plant aspect, our characters, and the vibe to this.’ Netgalley

‘Thoroughly enjoyed the 3rd instalment of The Potting Shed series. Although this could be read as a stand alone it makes more sense if you have read the first 2. This develops the characters further and get to know Jo better and meet Sara properly. If you haven’t read 1 and 2 then I definitely recommend them and also this one. Great summer reading and escapism.’ Netgalley

‘I truly love this series. I have read all the books and I adore the characters. Even the slightly annoying one has made it into my heart (I won’t mention her name). The author has created a world at the potting shed that I wish I could live in. When they are looking for help to run it, I want to volunteer! They do not even have to pay me. I would love work in the café and to care for the plants also!
I enjoy stories that have characters of various ages, and this book has that quality. Several teens are instrumental to the story as well as some older folks.
This book is a great continuation of the series. Quite a bit happens in these pages, but as always in a sweet romance, all is good by the final page. I really needed an escape from real life and I thank the author, Jenny Kane for providing a place to regain my faith in people. I look forward to future books in this series and am hoping that they will be some!’ Netgalley

‘Jenny Kane has done it again. This was a lovely addition to the “Potting Shed” series. This was absolutely delightful. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were charming and witty. I highly recommend this fun and quick read! Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.’ Netgalley

Have a lovely day everyone.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Uplifting Reads: Bluebell Season Bargain!

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed has been selected to be one of Aria Fiction’s UPLIFTING READS for this summer!

BLURB

Maddie and her sister Sabi are back at The Potting Shed, but are their troubles over?

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed is the sequel of Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, part of a new series by #1 Kindle bestselling author, Jenny Kane, that revolves around a family-run garden centre.

Spring has arrived at The Potting Shed and things seem to finally be going Maddie’s way. Her relationship with lovable lawyer Ed is going well and the business is thriving with the help of her new friend Jo and his bright orange coffee van.

But troubles are just around the corner… The upgrade of The Potting Shed from a nursery to a garden centre is at a critical point – turning part of Maddie’s business into a building site, and just as she has to temporarily move out of her home, a major garden centre announces its grand opening only twenty miles away.

With money running out Maddie and her sister Sabi must think fast – they only have until the end of bluebell season to save The Potting Shed…

During July and August, you’ll be able to pick up Bluebell Season and a selection of other fabulous fiction from Aria for ONLY 99p.

You can find all of these books here:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/51C3B798-921C-4365-9551-DA199058599C

Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed follows Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, and precedes Misty Mornings at The Potting Shed.   

Each book can be read as a standalone as well as part of the series.

If you prefer a paperback, Bluebell Season is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, and Waterstones and all good retailers. Or if you’d like to listen to Bluebell in audio format, it can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US

REVIEWS FOR BLUEBELL SEASONS AT THE POTTING SHED

“….I loved the way that everyone pulls together and does all they can to make the potting shed a success, but do they manage to open the extension on time to save it or was it all a waste of time and effort?
A really good read, good characters and plot line.” readsandeats15

‘Get into this story from the very first page. Well worth 5 stars, shame it can’t be more.’ NetGalley reviewer

‘It was so good to be back meet up with the characters at The Potting Shed… I look forward to reading how the characters lives progress as well as Maddie and Ed’s relationship following his promotion…I recommend this book.’ NetGalley reviewer, ***** stars 

‘A great sequel to the 1st book… A lovely read, was great to catch up with all the characters. I hope there is a 3rd book.’ NetGalley reviewer, ***** stars 

‘A charming and heartwarming story set in the idyllic English countryside… engaging and uplifting, with a satisfying sense of closure that will leave readers feeling warm and content. Overall, “Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed” is a delightful read that celebrates the joys of friendship, community, and following your dreams.’ NetGalley reviewer, ***** stars 

‘I loved this! It was so great to be back at The Potting Shed with Maddie and Ed… A brilliant book from start to finish.’  NetGalley reviewer, ***** stars 

‘I read Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, thoroughly enjoyed it, and couldn’t wait to read the next in the series. I must say, it was as good as the first. I felt like I was visiting old friends the moment I dived into the first page… If The Potting Shed was real (it actually feels as though it is) I would love to pay it a visit!’ NetGalley reviewer, ***** stars
Happy reading,
Jenny x

Puddle Splashing

I am the first to admit that, over the years, I’ve stolen a good deal from my own life experiences and given them to various characters in my romcoms.

In the Mill Grange series, Thea Thomas is, like me, a former archaeologist. In Another Cup of Coffee, Amy and her friends studied at the same university as I did, while Amy’s friend Kit, is an erotica writer. (my first writing incarnation, was as erotica writer, Kay Jaybee) In my Cornish stories, the locations – Sennon Cove and Penzance – are childhood haunts of mine.

In Frost Falls at The Potting Shed, two major parts of my life have been shared – my love for garden centres and my hobby. Puddle splashing.

Any of you that follow me on Facebook, will be used to seeing pictures of my wellington boots kicking their way through the various puddles that frequently form across Devon’s muddy landscape.

If you read Frost Falls – or any of the sequels (Bluebell Season at The Potting Shed and more are coming in 2023) – you will quickly discover that my main protagonist, Maddie Willand, has a secret hobby – Puddle Splashing. And that she, like me, has blue and white stripy wellies.

There is something extremely therapeutic about kicking your way through puddles. The sound of the water, the cold chill of the puddle against the rubber of the boots, and the sheer freeing-childishness of it, is immensely freeing.

Like Maddie, I rarely have time off, and I’m appalling at relaxing – but when I put my welly boots on and kick my way through puddles, my head completely clears of all work, all worries and all stresses.

I can totally recommend it!

Frost Falls at The Potting Shed

Blurb

It has always been Maddie Willand‘s dream to take over her father’s plant nursery. But after his sudden death, she is devastated to discover that she might lose The Potting Shed forever.

Maddie’s bossy older sister, Sabi, is joint owner of the nursery, and she’s convinced that the best thing for both of them would be to sell up.

Determined to keep the business going, Maddie can’t afford any distractions, but staying focused might be harder than she thinks. Especially when a major garden centre chain puts in an offer for the land – and her search for legal advice throws her into the path of attractive lawyer Ed

As frost begins to fall over The Potting Shed, will Maddie find the strength to save her father’s legacy and open herself up to new beginnings?

Available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo, Nook and Waterstones

Happy reading,

Jenny x

Opening Lines: Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

As autumn is showing all the signs of being here to stay for a while, I thought I’d share the Opening Lines from Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange.

Blurb

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Welcome back to Mill Grange and the beautiful village of Upwich, full of larger-than-life characters you can’t  help but adore.

(Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange follows on from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, and is followed by Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange and Winter Fires at Mill Grange. It can also be read as a standalone novel.)

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

First 500 words

Prologue

September 1st

Rolling onto his side, Sam unfolded the letter he’d hidden inside his pillowcase. It was the third time he’d woken that night, and the third time he’d reached for the pale blue Basildon Bond envelope. He held it against his nose. The scent of his mother’s White Satin perfume was beginning to fade.

This was the fourth letter to arrive from Malvern House in the last month. One a week.

He had no idea how his mother had found out where he was living, nor why she wanted to see him after so long.

The letters, almost identical each time, said very little. Just that she and his father would love him to visit if he felt up to it. Sam groaned. ‘If he felt up to it’ was his mother’s way of asking if the debilitating claustrophobia he’d developed while serving in the forces had magically gone away.

As he slid the letter into its envelope, Sam’s gaze dropped from the tent’s canvas roof to Tina’s sleeping body.

The past was the past. He had a future now. He had no intention of looking back.

Chapter One

September 1st

‘Take pity on an old man, lass.’

Bert fluttered his grey eyelashes as he helped Tina carry a large cardboard box full of tea, coffee, milk and biscuits from her car into Mill Grange’s kitchen. ‘I love Mabel to pieces, but she is driving me mad.’

Tina laughed. ‘But it’s only been two months since the restoration project came to an end. Doesn’t Mabel have heaps of committee work to do? She runs every social club this side of Exmoor.’

As he placed the box on the oak table that dominated the manor’s kitchen, Bert’s eyes lost their usual optimistic shine. ‘Since Mill Grange was sold Mabel’s been so aimless. She led the volunteer restorers here for over five years and now that’s over…’

‘Mabel doesn’t mind Sam owning this place, does she?’

‘Not for a minute. For a little while it was all she could talk about. She’s that proud of your young man for buying the very thing that frightens him. For taking his fear of being inside by the scruff of the neck and buying a house to be enjoyed by other people.’

Tina put her box of groceries on the side and laid a hand on Bert’s shoulder. ‘I’ll talk to Sam. There must be something Mabel could do around here.’ She played with her pigtails as she thought. ‘I’m not sure we can afford to pay her yet though.’

‘You wouldn’t have to. Making her feel part of the team again is all I’m asking for.’ Bert’s smile returned to his eyes. ‘How’s it going here anyway? Sam getting into the house at all, or is he still overseeing things from that screen thing outside?’

‘He hasn’t been inside the manor since he bought it.’ Tina focused her attention on emptying the boxes of biscuits ready for Mill Grange’s first visitors, hiding her…

Available as an ebook from NookKobo, as well as on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US and all good retailers.

 

Happy autumnal reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Preorder: Frost Falls at The Potting Shed

 My next novel, Frost Falls at The Potting Shed is now available for preorder!

(Out on 27th October)

A long time to wait perhaps, but while you’re busy reading lots of other books in the meantime, I promise I’m hard at work writing it’s sequel.

Scroll down to read the blurb!

BLURB

It has always been Maddie Willand‘s dream to take over her father’s plant nursery. But after his sudden death, she is devastated to discover that she might lose The Potting Shed forever.

Maddie’s bossy older sister, Sabi, is joint owner of the nursery, and she’s convinced that the best thing for both of them would be to sell up. Determined to keep the business going, Maddie can’t afford any distractions, but staying focused might be harder than she thinks when – after a major garden centre chain puts in an offer – her search for legal advice throws her into the path of attractive lawyer Ed

As frost begins to fall over The Potting Shed, will Maddie find the strength to save her father’s legacy and open herself up to new beginnings?

***

If you fancy ordering either the paperback or ebook version of Frost Falls, then you can do so at all good retailers, including –

More news about The Potting Shed series coming soon!
Happy preordering, 
Jenny x

Opening Lines: Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

As autumn is well and truly upon us, I thought I’d sneak in an extra Opening Lines blog!

Blurb

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Welcome back to Mill Grange and the beautiful village of Upwich, full of larger-than-life characters you can’t  help but adore.

(Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange follows on from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, and is followed by Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange and Winter Fires at Mill Grange. It can also be read as a standalone novel.)

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

First 500 words

Prologue

September 1st

Rolling onto his side, Sam unfolded the letter he’d hidden inside his pillowcase. It was the third time he’d woken that night, and the third time he’d reached for the pale blue Basildon Bond envelope. He held it against his nose. The scent of his mother’s White Satin perfume was beginning to fade.

This was the fourth letter to arrive from Malvern House in the last month. One a week.

He had no idea how his mother had found out where he was living, nor why she wanted to see him after so long.

The letters, almost identical each time, said very little. Just that she and his father would love him to visit if he felt up to it. Sam groaned. ‘If he felt up to it’ was his mother’s way of asking if the debilitating claustrophobia he’d developed while serving in the forces had magically gone away.

As he slid the letter into its envelope, Sam’s gaze dropped from the tent’s canvas roof to Tina’s sleeping body.

The past was the past. He had a future now. He had no intention of looking back.

Chapter One

September 1st

‘Take pity on an old man, lass.’

Bert fluttered his grey eyelashes as he helped Tina carry a large cardboard box full of tea, coffee, milk and biscuits from her car into Mill Grange’s kitchen. ‘I love Mabel to pieces, but she is driving me mad.’

Tina laughed. ‘But it’s only been two months since the restoration project came to an end. Doesn’t Mabel have heaps of committee work to do? She runs every social club this side of Exmoor.’

As he placed the box on the oak table that dominated the manor’s kitchen, Bert’s eyes lost their usual optimistic shine. ‘Since Mill Grange was sold Mabel’s been so aimless. She led the volunteer restorers here for over five years and now that’s over…’

‘Mabel doesn’t mind Sam owning this place, does she?’

‘Not for a minute. For a little while it was all she could talk about. She’s that proud of your young man for buying the very thing that frightens him. For taking his fear of being inside by the scruff of the neck and buying a house to be enjoyed by other people.’

Tina put her box of groceries on the side and laid a hand on Bert’s shoulder. ‘I’ll talk to Sam. There must be something Mabel could do around here.’ She played with her pigtails as she thought. ‘I’m not sure we can afford to pay her yet though.’

‘You wouldn’t have to. Making her feel part of the team again is all I’m asking for.’ Bert’s smile returned to his eyes. ‘How’s it going here anyway? Sam getting into the house at all, or is he still overseeing things from that screen thing outside?’

‘He hasn’t been inside the manor since he bought it.’ Tina focused her attention on emptying the boxes of biscuits ready for Mill Grange’s first visitors, hiding her…

Available as an ebook from NookKobo, as well as on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Happy autumn reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Return to Mill Grange : Autumn Leaves

In two days time, Spring Blossoms at Mill Grange, will be published!

To help celebrate, yesterday I shared a little about Thea Thomas, who we first met in book one of the series, Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange. Today, I’m sharing an extract from the second book in the series,

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange.

Blurb

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Welcome back to Mill Grange and the beautiful village of Upwich, full of larger-than-life characters you can’t but adore.

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

Extract

Prologue

September 1st

Rolling onto his side, Sam unfolded the letter he’d hidden inside his pillowcase. It was the third time he’d woken that night, and the third time he’d reached for the pale blue Basildon Bond envelope. He held it against his nose. The scent of his mother’s White Satin perfume was beginning to fade.

This was the fourth letter to arrive from Malvern House in the last month. One a week.

He had no idea how his mother had found out where he was living, nor why she wanted to see him after so long.

The letters, almost identical each time, said very little. Just that she and his father would love him to visit if he felt up to it. Sam groaned. ‘If he felt up to it’ was his mother’s way of asking if the debilitating claustrophobia he’d developed while serving in the forces had magically gone away.

As he slid the letter into its envelope, Sam’s gaze dropped from the tent’s canvas roof to Tina’s sleeping body.

The past was the past. He had a future now. He had no intention of looking back.

Chapter One

September 1st

‘Take pity on an old man, lass.’

Bert fluttered his grey eyelashes as he helped Tina carry a large cardboard box full of tea, coffee, milk and biscuits from her car into Mill Grange’s kitchen. ‘I love Mabel to pieces, but she is driving me mad.’

Tina laughed. ‘But it’s only been two months since the restoration project came to an end. Doesn’t Mabel have heaps of committee work to do? She runs every social club this side of Exmoor.’

As he placed the box on the oak table that dominated the manor’s kitchen, Bert’s eyes lost their usual optimistic shine. ‘Since Mill Grange was sold Mabel’s been so aimless. She led the volunteer restorers here for over five years and now that’s over…’

‘Mabel doesn’t mind Sam owning this place, does she?’

‘Not for a minute. For a little while it was all she could talk about. She’s that proud of your young man for buying the very thing that frightens him. For taking his fear of being inside by the scruff of the neck and buying a house to be enjoyed by other people.’

Tina put her box of groceries on the side and laid a hand on Bert’s shoulder. ‘I’ll talk to Sam. There must be something Mabel could do around here.’ She played with her pigtails as she thought. ‘I’m not sure we can afford to pay her yet though.’

‘You wouldn’t have to. Making her feel part of the team again is all I’m asking for.’ Bert’s smile returned to his eyes. ‘How’s it going here anyway? Sam getting into the house at all, or is he still overseeing things from that screen thing outside?’

‘He hasn’t been inside the manor since he bought it.’ Tina focused her attention on emptying the boxes of biscuits ready for Mill Grange’s first visitors, hiding her face from Bert so she wouldn’t see her concern….

Available from NookKobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US.

On Thursday, Spring Blossoms comes out!

If you’d like to join in my launch day celebrations, I will be on Facebook and Twitter all day, chatting about what I love about springtime – plus, I’ll be doing a live reading from the book at 11a.m.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

OUT NOW: Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

Yippee!!!

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange is OUT NOW!!!

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

Blurb

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Welcome back to Mill Grange and the beautiful village of Upwich, full of larger-than-life characters you can’t  help but adore.

(Although Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange follows on from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, it can be read as a standalone novel.)

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

Available as an ebook NOW from NookKobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US 

To celebrate today’s launch, I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter all day, chatting about why I love autumn, archaeology, my love of Time Team, Exmoor, the Blackdown Hills and Cornwall.

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Opening Lines: Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

In two days time, Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange, will be published!

To help celebrate, I thought I’d have an extra Opening Lines blog this week to give you a taste of the novel to come.

Blurb

At Mill Grange, the work – and the fun – never stops! As autumn brings coolness and colour, change is in the air for all at the manor…

Sam Philips’ time in the forces changed him forever. Supported by his friends, Sam is keen to help make beautiful Mill Grange a safe retreat for injured army personnel… but his crippling claustrophobia means Sam is living in a tent on the grounds! Enlisting the help of charming village stalwarts Bert and Mabel Hastings, Tina Martins is determined to find a way to help him conquer his fears. But why does she feel like he is keeping a secret?

After discovering evidence of a Roman fortlet on the manor’s grounds, Thea Thomas is thrilled at the chance to return to her archaeological roots and lead the excavation. She spent the summer with handsome celebrity archaeologist Shaun Cowlson – but now he’s off filming his Landscape Treasures show in Cornwall, and Thea can’t help but miss his company. Especially as someone else is vying for his attention…

Welcome back to Mill Grange and the beautiful village of Upwich, full of larger-than-life characters you can’t  help but adore.

(Although Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange follows on from Midsummer Dreams at Mill Grange, it can be read as a standalone novel.)

Autumn Leaves at Mill Grange

First 500 words

Prologue

September 1st

Rolling onto his side, Sam unfolded the letter he’d hidden inside his pillowcase. It was the third time he’d woken that night, and the third time he’d reached for the pale blue Basildon Bond envelope. He held it against his nose. The scent of his mother’s White Satin perfume was beginning to fade.

This was the fourth letter to arrive from Malvern House in the last month. One a week.

He had no idea how his mother had found out where he was living, nor why she wanted to see him after so long.

The letters, almost identical each time, said very little. Just that she and his father would love him to visit if he felt up to it. Sam groaned. ‘If he felt up to it’ was his mother’s way of asking if the debilitating claustrophobia he’d developed while serving in the forces had magically gone away.

As he slid the letter into its envelope, Sam’s gaze dropped from the tent’s canvas roof to Tina’s sleeping body.

The past was the past. He had a future now. He had no intention of looking back.

Chapter One

September 1st

‘Take pity on an old man, lass.’

Bert fluttered his grey eyelashes as he helped Tina carry a large cardboard box full of tea, coffee, milk and biscuits from her car into Mill Grange’s kitchen. ‘I love Mabel to pieces, but she is driving me mad.’

Tina laughed. ‘But it’s only been two months since the restoration project came to an end. Doesn’t Mabel have heaps of committee work to do? She runs every social club this side of Exmoor.’

As he placed the box on the oak table that dominated the manor’s kitchen, Bert’s eyes lost their usual optimistic shine. ‘Since Mill Grange was sold Mabel’s been so aimless. She led the volunteer restorers here for over five years and now that’s over…’

‘Mabel doesn’t mind Sam owning this place, does she?’

‘Not for a minute. For a little while it was all she could talk about. She’s that proud of your young man for buying the very thing that frightens him. For taking his fear of being inside by the scruff of the neck and buying a house to be enjoyed by other people.’

Tina put her box of groceries on the side and laid a hand on Bert’s shoulder. ‘I’ll talk to Sam. There must be something Mabel could do around here.’ She played with her pigtails as she thought. ‘I’m not sure we can afford to pay her yet though.’

‘You wouldn’t have to. Making her feel part of the team again is all I’m asking for.’ Bert’s smile returned to his eyes. ‘How’s it going here anyway? Sam getting into the house at all, or is he still overseeing things from that screen thing outside?’

‘He hasn’t been inside the manor since he bought it.’ Tina focused her attention on emptying the boxes of biscuits ready for Mill Grange’s first visitors, hiding her…

Available for pre-order from NookKobo, as well as Amazon UK and Amazon US.

COMING 10TH SEPTEMBER

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If you’d like to join in my launch day celebrations, I will be on Facebook and Twitter all day, chatting about my favourite season, archaeology and Time Team – plus, I’ll be doing a live reading from the book.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx

Opening Lines: Sin as Red as Scarlet by Janet Few

This week I’m delighted to welcome fellow historian, and fellow Exeter Author’s Association member, Dr Janet Few to my blog, to share the Opening Lines from her brand new novel: Sin as Read as Scarlet.

Blurb

Sins as Red as Scarlet – the true story of a Devon town in turmoil by Janet Few

It is 1682. Across the land, the Age of Reason has begun; scientific thought is ousting superstitious belief. The menacing days of the witchfinder have all but gone. Nevertheless, in Devon’s county town, three impoverished women from Byddeforde are condemned to death for the crime of witchcraft. In Byddeforde we find the rich merchants, the flourishing tobacco warehouses and the bustle of ships setting sail for the Newfoundland cod-banks. Yet, barely hidden, are layers of intolerance and antagonism that have built up over decades. Sins as Red as Scarlet is the unfolding of the lives of those whose prejudices and fears were shaped by the turmoil of plague, of war and of religious dissent.

In an alternative 2020, sixteen-year-old Martha, herself a bullies’ target, undertakes a school local history project. Probing the motivations and beliefs of Bideford’s seventeenth century residents, Martha comes to understand how past events might lead ordinary people to become the victims, the accusers, or the accused.

First 500 words…

Prologue Bess’ Story

25 August 1682

I watch them die, these three. Their bodies twisting and gyrating in a parody of dance, as their bladders and bowels betray them. For those around me it is but a jaunt, a spectacle that will be on their lips for a space and then forgotten. For me though, for me, it cuts to the heart. I stand close, close enough to hear their last words. She speaks of sin, she does, she who is tied to me by invisible cords. She who is the first to swing. Sins as red as scarlet and yes, I know. I know sin stains many souls.

***

We’d arrived early, whilst the dew-scent still sullied the grass. The children became restive as we waited; young Nathaniel grew heavy in my arms. A sickly child, I dared not let him run free with his brothers. Had I kin to whom I could have entrusted my precious babe, I would not have brought him on such a journey. There was no one.  My brothers, long since gone for sailors; narry a word I’ve had from them for many a year. Most like they’ve minded to settle in the New World, as my father-in-law has done. We might have joined them, my good master and I but we are content to bide in Byddeforde and we prosper in some small way. He is a good man my Richard. Folk whispered when he took me to wife, murmured that I was not of his rank, prated that my sisters were whores and that my blood carried a papist stain. Yet he looked to ignore them Richard did and now I am Mistress Gard, respectable matron. I have given him five sons and we bear the sadness that two lie within the churchyard’s shade. ’Tis rare now that folk remember that I am sister to Kathryn and to Unis, who both brought forth babes afore they were wed. Few call to mind that I am my mother’s daughter and on a day such as this, ’tis a blessing.

The whispers of mist burned away as the sun climbed above the shimmering horizon; another day of heat and gathering storms. Undeterred, the bystanders gathered. Restless we stood, nameless within the crush of the crowd. They came to gawp, to exclaim, they came to tremble in anticipation. For them, the frisson of voyeurism. For them the comfortable relief that those who were to die were naught to them but mere players in a show put on for their gratification. The time drew nigh. They were all there, the accusers, the arresters, those who had come for the pleasure of it and in amongst them stood I, feigning indifference. The press of people on Magdalen Street parted as the women were led forward; women who knew that they would never see another sunrise. My eyes were drawn to the first. She looked slatternly, diminished. When did she become so very old? When did her vigour leave…

For more information and buy links visit

https://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com/historical-novels/sins-as-red-as-scarlet-the-story-of-a-devon-town-in-turmoil/, or the publisher’s website https://bluepoppypublishing.co.uk.

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Many thanks for your great opening lines, Janet.

Happy reading everyone

Jenny x

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