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Hacking back the undergrowth, and this weeks offers and new releases…

I’ve said before that our Victorian terraced house doesn’t have a massive garden and that I’m a keen gardener. Let’s not mention nasty words like obsessive here. Not when we’re all friends. Let’s just say that I throw my heart and soul into it, because, as the sign a friend bought me so accurately states ‘Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes…’

So now the bluebells have finished flowering under the fruit trees, and the flowering variegated periwinkle is on its usual campaign of world domination and I have to get in there with secateurs and cut back hard before we start to harvest the fruit at the end of the month. (2 sorts of apples, 1 cherry tree, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries since you asked.) Then I’ll put down a mulch of seasoned manure and all will be well and it’ll look lovely, especially when the hydrangea bush comes out and the lemon balm scents the air when you brush against it.

And if you wondered where Peter Cunningham’s love of restoring his garden came from and the gardens at Lavender House, then just remember that fictional gardens are so much easier.

Anyway, here’s a picture but please bear in mind that it isn’t finished yet and another one of a bit that is pretty much finished so I can show off my husband's hard work, repainting the windowsills. He was fuelled by all his favourite meals while he worked, including a cream tea in the garden. If you look closely amongst all the plants you can see the chairs where I often work because it's just outside the back door so convenient for the fridge and hearing the front door and if anyone needs me and shaded most of the day. For a long time, it was a problem spot, but now I think it's pretty much my favourite part of the garden and I'm sure I can squeeze another few plants in....

. And who am I kidding? A garden’s never finished, and I think that’s why I love it so much. Plants want to grow and flower and in the midst of bad news they keep right on doing it, just like the swans and ducklings and cygnets do in my beloved park. And seeing them all reminds me that what I think is important now almost certainly won’t seem to have been in five years time.

Have fun this week, and do something for yourself. If anyone asks, you can blame me for that moment of self care that is so not playing truant!

New books released - 08/06/23

A Very Personal Invasion - An Esther and the Professor Cosy World War Two Mystery

Esther is an intelligent, sensible and resourceful woman who is both enjoying and struggling with the freedom that World War Two is bringing her and every other woman as they fill men’s roles while they’re away at the war.

Only her husband isn’t away any more, and she doesn’t know how she’s going to cope with seeing him now she knows he’s an adulterer who’s quite possibly fathered a child. Nor can she define her relationship with her boss, the often acidic, ferociously intelligent and tuberculosis survivor Professor James Lomax. She’d hoped that their first adventure had taught him that not being able to fight formally didn’t meant they couldn’t play their part and grateful for his help on the canteen van she drives in the evening, but there’s no denying that it’s a complication that she didn’t need, and it soon turns out to be the first of many.

Can they thwart an invasion attempt? And which man does she love? And can she blame her husband too much when she’s horribly afraid she’s fallen in love herself?

Promotions. 7/6/23 - 14/6/23 (Or 6/7/23 - 6/14/23 for my American friends.)

Knight to Pawn - writing as Eleanor Neville. Shadows Romantic Suspense

A genuine knight in shining armour is needed after an attempted murder of a politician with a cross bow because there seem to be plans to blow up the Government’s party conference. Andrew Stannard seems to be ideally placed for the job of observing a group of historical reconstructors who’ve taken over an old castle for the school summer holidays, but it’s going to test him as never before, and it would have done even without Maria Jordan complicating things… A fun summer read, with more sex and violence than Tia but still not too shocking.

Ghost of Christmas Past - An Amy Hammond cosy Mystery

Amy’s niece is getting engaged to the son of an earl. Her sister isn’t pleased because she can’t help remembering Princess Diana and fearing the aristocracy. At first, Amy thinks she’s over-reacting, but then a body falls past the dining room window of the stately home where her niece is staying on Christmas Eve and her fiance is the likeliest suspect for the murder.

This time, Laura wants her to sort it out but doing that takes her into a Royal scandal that could be used to bring down the Royal Family today and she learns more about Peter. Add to that his cousin coming for Christmas and life’s never going to be simple for her, is it?

The past is always with us - An Amy Hammond Cosy Mystery

Look forward to summer with a heroine who doesn't never wanted to be one. She did want a more adventurous life so she took redundancy from a bank after the parents she'd cared for for twenty years died within weeks of each other. Now she's got the job of her dreams running the craft centre at the beautiful Swansmere Estate, which is in the heart of the equally beautiful Dorset countryside. It's better sitll that she's found love, but her life might have been a lot easier if Peter Cunningham hadn't been a nothing like as retired as he wants to be spy.

Right now, she's getting ready to teach her first ever course on quilting. She isn't sure that she wants to do it or can do it, so the last thing she needs is her niece finding an old photograph and letter in a chest of drawers that she’s restoring.Her attempts to reunite them with their owners lead Amy and Peter to an old mystery, and some very modern threats, As if all that wasn’t enough, her boss wants to promote her and she doesn’t feel ready to take on anything else so she keeps saying that she wants to be left alone to get on with things. Then people do, and the trouble they find leaves her wishing that they hadn’t.

Will there be a happy ending? That all depends on how you define 'happy', which is yet another question that she doesn't know how to answer.


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