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

Tag: Rachel Ennis

Opening Lines Blog: Rachel Ennis’s Second Chances

It’s Thursday! So, go and pop your feet up for five minutes. It’s time to enjoy some more ‘Opening Lines,’

This week Rachel Ennis (otherwise known as Jane Pollard), is sharing the beginning of her Cornish Mystery, Second Chances.

For this series I have drawn on my experiences of village life though never using real people as characters. For the mysteries Jess Trevanion is asked to solve I had a wonderful time researching historical events such as ‘coffin ship’ runs to Murmansk during the first World War (‘Fallen Hero’); the aftermath of an underwater collision by a nuclear sub (‘The Loner’); intrigue and tragedy at the Congress of Vienna just before the Battle of Waterloo (‘Moving On’)  and the dangerous secret work undertaken by Cornish fishermen during WW2 (‘Silver Linings’)  None of the villagers who asked Jess to compile a family tree knew of the secrets buried in their pasts. But shocking revelations also brought new understanding.

The first 500 words of ‘Second Chances’

Jess hurried from the kitchen to answer the door. She didn’t recognise the knock. It wasn’t Elsie or Viv. They would have leaned in and called to her: Elsie to ask if she had a minute, and Viv wanting to know if she was decent.

Smiling at the thought, Jess wiped damp hands on her apron and opened the door.


‘I hope this isn’t – You’re not in the middle of something?’

‘Washing up. I’ve been baking. That always means a pile of dishes.’ Fiona had insisted Rob buy her a dishwasher, saying she had more than enough to do without spending hours at the sink. Pushing the thought away, Jess stepped back, opening the door wider. ‘Come in.’

As Fiona stepped inside, wiping her feet on the mat, Jess returned to the kitchen and reached for the kettle. ‘Cup of tea?’

Fiona hesitated.

‘Or how about hot chocolate? There’s coffee, only instant though.’

Jess saw Fiona suppress a shudder. Rob had shared his amusement at Fiona’s attachment to the coffee machine they had been given as a wedding present, with a tray of pods for every occasion and time of day. Used to snatching a mouthful of cold, scummy hospital coffee between patients, he was grateful for anything he was able to finish while it was still hot.

‘Tea would be fine, thank you.’

‘Why don’t you sit down?’ Jess indicated the sofa. She noticed that beneath expertly applied makeup her daughter-in-law’s face was drawn. ‘The kettle’s just boiled so it won’t take a moment.’

Fiona took off her belted camel coat and unwound the pale pink pashmina looped loosely round her throat. Beneath it she wore a rose cashmere roll-neck over a black A-line skirt and black mid-heeled boots. Jess could not fault her taste or style. Even the way she sat was elegant. And yet she looked pinched and cold, and had definitely lost weight.

Jess took down cups and saucers, poured milk into a matching jug and put four date, cherry and almond cookies on a plate, then carried the laden tray to the low table. She opened the woodburner and added two more apple logs to the glowing embers, then sat down opposite Fiona.

She remained silent while pouring the tea and adding milk. Handing one cup and saucer to Fiona, she picked up the other, took a cookie from the plate and made herself comfortable.

Knees together, feet to one side, Fiona sipped. The cup rattled as she replaced it on the saucer. ‘This isn’t easy…’

Jess bit into her cookie and waited.

Fiona sat up straighter and took a breath but her gaze remained fixed on her cup. ‘My… situation has changed. I was misled and made a bad decision. I deeply regret it, but it’s in the past.’

Jess took a mouthful of tea, picturing Fiona rehearsing those words, or others like them, during her drive here. Guilt pricked. Was she being too harsh? She recalled Rob’s features, haggard with stress and …

Blurb for ‘Second Chances’

Having rekindled their relationship, historical investigator Jess Trevanion is looking forward to spending more time with partner Tom Peters. She’s also got a new historical puzzle to solve: the mysterious family background of the local Reskilly clan.

Tom and Jess bond over their love of the sea but it isn’t all smooth sailing. They are forced to abandon a boat trip when they come across an old friend in dire straits ‑ an event which has serious repercussions. Meanwhile, a shock encounter with her daughter-in-law makes Jess worry for her son’s future ‑ and she isn’t the only one with unexpected goings-on in her personal life. Her friends Mor, Viv, and Annie have momentous news of their own, and Polvellan will never be the same again.

A combination of Jess’s historical discoveries and the ups and downs in the lives of her and her friends lead her to make a decision she’s been putting off ‑ but will she make the right choice this time? 

Buy Link:


Bio:    Writing as Dana James, Jane Jackson, and Rachel Ennis, Jane has been a professional author for over thirty-five years and shortlisted for four major awards. Happily married to a Cornishman, with children and grandchildren, she has lived in Cornwall all her life finding inspiration for her books in the county’s scenery, history and people.  ‘Second Chances’ is her 38th published book.


Wow- 38 books! That is amazing. Well done Rachel/Jane/Dana!!

I hope you enjoyed that. Next week Fiona Morgan will be here with 500 words.

See you then.

Jenny x



Guest Post from Jane Jackson: Being Mysterious as Rachel Ennis

Today I am welcoming the lovely Jane Jackson back to my site. On this visit Jane is chatting about her latest book, The Loner, which was written by the ‘other her’- Rachel Ennis!

Over to you Jane (or should that be Rachel?)…

For the past fifteen years I have been writing historical romantic fiction. I’m fascinated by life in the past, especially my chosen period of 1795 – 1905. Momentous changes were taking place in every aspect of life: the Napoleonic wars with France, railways that spread like tentacles across the length and breadth of the country, physician Edward Jenner’s development of a smallpox vaccine saving thousands of lives, the Falmouth-based packet service transporting mail all over the world, dispatches to theatres of war, and bringing back gold bullion from the sugar plantations of Jamaica.

The Loner

Society was changing too. The industrial revolution brought a massive exodus from countryside to cities and jobs in the new factories whose prosperous owners were the basis of a new middle class.

The fun and frivolity of the Regency was crushed beneath the repression and hypocrisy of Victoria’s reign. I’d need another lifetime to write all the books I have ideas for.

Then in November 2014 I was offered the chance to contribute to an anthology of Christmas stories published by Accent Press entitled ‘Wishing on a Star.’

Wishing on a Star

This was a great opportunity to write a contemporary story. But as I was stepping outside my comfort zone I decided to set it in a location familiar to me – a Cornish coastal village. I named it Polvellan (translation from Cornish is top – or head – of the mill, because there is an old mill at the back of the quay) and the story featured the birth of a baby during a carol concert, but with a very contemporary twist.

I loved writing it. My editor enjoyed it and suggested a series. That was how ‘Polvellan Cornish Mysteries’ and my new name of Rachel Ennis came into being.

Several authors published, like me, by Accent Press write murder mysteries and they are excellent. But this wasn’t a direction I wanted to take. Then I had my lightbulb moment. I would make Jess Trevanion – my main character – an amateur genealogist. Asked to find people’s ancestors she makes unexpected, shocking, remarkable, and occasionally tragic discoveries. And I get to explore more recent history!

Born and brought up in Polvellan, Jess returned to live there after her husband’s unexpected death left her in desperate financial straits. Because she is known and trusted, people confide in her.

Each of Jess’s friends: Annie, Gill, Morwenna and Viv, has their own story gradually revealed throughout the series, as are Jess’s past and current problems. She and childhood sweetheart, Tom Peters, are rebuilding their romance but both carry baggage from the past.

I never take people from real life as characters. Yet the villagers in Polvellan are as real to me as my family. In some ways I know them better, because in each story they reveal more about their secrets, fears and hopes.

As Jess’s reputation spreads she is asked to undertake more investigations. But some people aren’t happy, afraid of what might come out.

‘The Loner’ is the third in the series. Calling at the cottage of recluse John Preece to give him some tomato plants, Jess finds him dead on the floor.

Police and Coroner deem it an accident: he tripped on the rug and hit his head on the granite hearth.

When talk turns to the funeral arrangements Jess’s sadness becomes resolve when she realises that, like herself, very few people knew the real John Preece. Though he lived in the village for many years, his background is a mystery. Using her investigative skills to research John’s family, she is surprised and horrified by what she finds out.

Meanwhile, she is also investigating the history of Marigold’s, a famous local venue recently inherited by the new heir to the Chenhall estate. Who was Marigold and what was her claim to fame?


You can buy ‘The Loner’ 3rd of the Polvellan Cornish Mysteries as an Ebook Pub. for 99p from- and all good eBook retailers.


Jane Jackson TTH pic

You can find more about the work of Jane Jackson (aka Rachel Ennis) at-





Many thanks for a great blog Jane.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén