Monday, May 30, 2016

A visit to a country house: Harewood House

Today I went to Harewood House, near Leeds, to attend the Good Food Festival, aside from the festival it was an opportunity to visit this lovely country house.

The gardens and surrounding parklands were designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. The lake was in the above photo was one of the creations. To prevent the lake leaking they drove cattle and sheep into the basin of it to stomp down the clay before the water filled it.
To learn more about Capabilty Brown visit this link

Details inside the house always fascinate me. Below stairs this bell system allows the staff to know which room needs attendance.

The terrace over looking the park and lake.

To learn more about Harewood House you can visit their website. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Longlisted for the HNS Indie Award

I'm happy to tell everyone that the Historical Novel Society reviewed my novel The Craigsmuir Affair and gave it an Editors Choice Award.  I'm still bouncing with pleasure over that, and you can read the review at:

Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite for an entertaining tale set in 1893 when young Daisy and Adam Grey fist meet....


Clennell Castle, Northumberland, 1893

Daisy Charlton swept the sheaf of papers into her arms, cast a final, satisfied glance around the small room that had been her work place for the last week and then closed the door behind her with a triumphant flourish. She hurried along the gallery toward the stairs, swung one-handed around the newel post and scampered down the first steps into the main body of the library. Now she had time to relax and enjoy herself.
Someone below snapped a newspaper straight.
Diverted, she looked down. A gentleman’s sun-browned hands held a newspaper open. She could see nothing of him but legs clad in riding breeches and brown leather riding boots. Her feet tangled in the folds of her long skirt. Her stomach lurched; she stumbled, missed the shallow tread of the stair and turned her ankle on the edge of the next.
She grabbed for the banister, missed and pitched forward. Her precious papers sprang into the air and fluttered around her like a cloud of newly released doves. Her hip and shoulder collided painfully with the shallow riser and she yelped as she bounced and rolled down the stairs.
‘Good God!’ The sound of crushed newspaper followed the exclamation.
Daisy struck something hard. Dazed and breathless, she inhaled the mixed scents of smoky sandalwood, starched linen and something spicy like black pepper. She lay unmoving for a long moment and registered a steady, rhythmic thud against her ear. She opened her eyes and stared at the fawn moleskin and engraved silver buttons of a gentleman’s waistcoat. Her right hand clutched the rough tweed of his sleeve. Her left trailed on the parquet floor.

and for the UK -