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Susan Sallis is the bestselling author of many novels including Choices, Come Rain or Shine, The Keys to the Garden, The Apple Barrel, Sea of Dreams, Time of Arrival, Five Farthings and The Pumpkin Coach. She was brought up in Gloucestershire and now lives in Clevedon, Somerset.
Judith is suddenly all alone in the world. Her husband, Jack, has left her - why, she doesn't really know. Her two sons are in Australia, and both her mother and her best friend Naomi have recently died. Embarking on a journey to Exmoor to meet the famous artist Robert Haussman, with an oddly assorted group of fellow-enthusiasts, Judith finds herself a prey to all sorts of irrational fears. Chief amongst them is the increasing conviction that Jack is dead. Why did he leave her? Where has he gone? And why does Robert Haussman exert such a strange influence on her? Set in the Somerset countryside which Susan Sallis knows so well, this heartwarming novel shows how life, love and art cannot always meet happily together.
Daisy and Marcus, sixth formers in a Gloucestershire School, are given an A Level project on the bombing of Coventry in 1940. They go to talk to May, now living in sheltered accommodation nearby; a friendship is forged which bridges the gap between them. The two youngsters have their own problems, but as their lives unfold they become involved in the strange history of May's missing brother and of the promise, made all those years ago, which still has its repercussions today.
A great saga writer with a 1940â€™s romance, perfect for long nights in and real coal fires!
For Alice Pettiford, living near Gloucester in the late 1940s, leaving school for a job as a railway secretary makes perfect sense. Most of her family have worked for the railway over the years, and her best friend Hester's father would be in the same office. What Alice does not expect is that she would fall in love with Joe Adair, a colleague, almost as soon as she meets him. But Joe has to go overseas on National Service, and in the meanwhile Hester's brother, the enigmatic Valentine, finds that his fondness for Alice is deepening into something much stronger. When he and Alice discover an old railway coach, long abandoned, hidden in a clearing in the Forest of Dean, Alice realises that it has been a very special, magical place. What she doesn't know is that the coach has played a secret part in the history of Joe's family, and that Joe's mother named it 'the pumpkin coach'. Now her own destiny will also be shaped by this enchanted refuge. The Pumpkin Coach, by bestselling author Susan Sallis, is full of the passion and drama that have won her a huge and devoted readership.
There were four of the Thorpe family in the Anderson shelter the night of the raid on Coventry. Mum and Dad, Florrie and little May.... Jack was missing. He was one of those who had not come back from Dunkirk. And May had to promise to keep a terrible secret, a promise which affected the lives of all the survivors, until May herself was the only one left. Seventy years later Daisy and Marcus, sixth formers in a Gloucestershire School, are given an A Level project on the bombing of Coventry in 1940.They go to talk to May, now living in sheltered accommodation nearby;a friendship is forged which bridges the gap between them.The two youngsters have their own problems, but as their lives unfold they become involved in the strange history of May's missing brother and of the promise, made all those years ago, which still has its repercussions today.
The Rising sisters - the Daffodil Girls - are older now.The anguish of growing up in the twenties has gone.All three are -apparently - happily married and there are children to swell the vibrant Rising family.But the problems that had begun in youth still remained. March, the eldest, the most difficult, loves but cannot trust her clever, manipulating husband.He deserted her once and she has never quite forgiven him. May has her own worries - a son who seems more than usually promiscuous, and a husband who grows more attractive and handsome even as she approaches her fortieth birthday. April has a husband she loves, and two small, gentle daughters. But she is the only one who knows that Davina is not her husband's child.
They discovered the empty cottage in 1940 - when they were still at school, four teenage friends from wildly different backgrounds and with the war casting its shadow over their lives. The cottage became a place of refuge for them - symbolising their loyalty to one another which held in the face of jealousy, passion, tragedy, and betrayal. It was to the cottage that Monica came, pregnant, alone, frightened, and it was there that their story really began. For Bessie, born secretly and shamefully to one of them, raised by another, and loved by them all, came to represent what was the very best in their lives.
Jess Tavener would have said that her life in a Somerset market town, with her husband Matt and their small daughter Lucy, was happy and settled. The recent death of her beloved father had cast the only shadow on their tranquil domesticity. But returning to work after her bereavement, Jess found a sketch, drawn by Matt, of her father, and, in the same mysteriously grand and unknown setting, a sketch of someone totally unexpected. In the events following this discovery, Jess began to realize that her family and friends had secrets which, as they were gradually revealed, affected the foundations of all their lives. She was to experience heartbreak and loss before she could begin to reach out to a new, and different, kind of happiness. Five Farthings is another wonderful, heart-warming, and utterly involving novel from bestselling author Susan Sallis.
Nell knows that she shares a very special past with her cousins, Edmund and Perry. In their young days in Gloucestershire they used to play, quarrel... and perhaps fall in love a little.When a strange young man arrives in their midst, Nell discovers with a shock that he, too, shares some of their past - and that it is connected with the mysterious, magical old railway coach in the forest where Nell's parents first fell in love.But the forest still holds its secrets, and the uncertainties which Nell and her cousins come to experience can only be satisfied when the mystery is revealed. Passion, loss, tragedy and new beginnings - a moving and heartwarming novel from the well-loved and bestselling author of The Pumpkin Coach.
It is 1951, and the 8.45 from Bristol to Paddington is preparing to leave. Albert, the driver - whose father and grandfather before him worked on the railway - says goodbye to his wife with mixed feelings. Their seeming inability to have a child has overshadowed their happy marriage. Jenny, clumsy but loveable, longs to make a success of her job in the restaurant car, where she attracts the interest of Marvin, the steward. The passengers - some regulars on the line, others making a rare visit to London - settle down for the journey. Some talk and get to know each other, some while away the journey working or sleeping. But as they near their destination, disaster strikes...
Out of heartbreak comes a new life... Gussie, Ned and Jannie are not quite siblings, but they share a fiercely close and affectionate family bond. In their bohemian Cornish home, with a famous and distinguished artist as their father figure, they glory in their unusual upbringing and their unconventional, loving family life.... Until one day a terrible tragedy destroys the foundations of that family, and they have to learn to cope on their own. Moving from Cornwall to New York and back again to the West Country, Susan Sallis's warm and powerful novel shows us love andsorrow, andfamily life in all its guises.
A Scattering of Daisies: Beginning the wonderful, heartwarming story of the Rising family. Will Rising had dragged himself from humble beginnings to his own small tailoring business in Gloucester - and on the way he'd fallen violently in love with Florence, refined, delicate, and wanting something better for her children. March was the eldest girl, the least loved, the plain, unattractive one who, as the family grew, became more and more the household drudge. But March, a strange, intelligent, unhappy child, had inherited some of her mother's dreams. March Rising was determined to break out of the round of poverty and hard work, to find wealth, and love, and happiness. Daffodils of Newent: They were called the Daffodil Girls, spirited and bright, enduring, loving and dancing their way through the gay and desperate twenties. April, who married the tortured and sexually suspect David Daker, convinced she could blot out his memories of the trenches. May, pregnant by her handsome music-hall star husband, who refused to settle down and become a family man. March, loved and betrayed by the man who had fathered her child, and who still wanted her, in spite of everything.
The twins were born in war-torn Plymouth in 1944, two little girls whose parents - touring actors - didn't altogether want them. Their unorthodox childhood, first as evacuee babies in Cornwall, then at boarding school, then living with their Aunt Maggie, made them grow up uniquely self-sufficient. They didn't need anyone else. They had each other. Miranda was the vibrant, flamboyant one, determined to be an actress, determined never to conform or be dull and conventional. Meg was quieter, more self-effacing. But it was Meg who always knew when anything bad was happening to Miranda. As they grew up, the bond between them held - until Meg went back to Cornwall to buy a house, to paint, to fall in love. And for the first time events conspired to drive a rift through their special relationship. Their lives shifted - for Miranda found herself trapped into domesticity, and Meg - feeling herself betrayed - had to seek a new path that ultimately took her to unexpected success. But the link was still there, in spite of all that was to happen, in spite of violence and tragedy, and finally it led to happiness that came when they had ceased to expect it.
An idyllic summer ends in tragedy... Cornwall, 1960 - and a whole new world unfolds for young Connie Vickers as she holidays with her brand-new fiance William. But a strange encounter with a beautiful blond boy on the beach leads to a terrible tragedy, the consequences of which are to affect Connie and William for the rest of their lives.
Madge was four years old when she first saw the Cornish sea and fell in love with it, and it was there that her family grew and suffered and loved. It was there she and her mother went to recover from a heartrending family tragedy - there she was forced reluctantly into marriage - there she fell into a wild and passionate wartime love. And it was there she saw her children grow and love and cope with the secret legacies the years had left them, until finally they became more than just summer visitors.
Emmie Dart was nearly forty years old and servant to old Canon James when Walter asked her to marry him. He was the Canon's son, younger than she was, and a gentleman - even though a rather dilettante drifter who had really done very little with his life. But Walter had a secret in his past that he asked Emmie to share with him - and she, in turn, told him of her harsh and cruel background that made her feel unworthy to be anyone's wife. In spite of everything the marriage worked. Walter became Station Master at the lazy, sundrenched little country station of Dymock. Emmie set about rearing her three children, all so different. As Walter and Emmie watched their children grow, marry, have children of their own, so three women began to dominate the family - Dorothy, who was proud, loyal, strong, and frequently extremely angry with the James family into which she had married, Kildie, illegitimate, manipulative, and causing constant strife and drama, and Holly, the third generation, whose loving spirit often held them all together. It was more than fifty years before Walter James's secret was revealed - a secret that nearly broke the family apart.
They were just schoolgirls - evacuees - when they first met the Reid brothers. Berry was the one who dazzled them - handsome, funny, sexy, he somehow symbolized that golden summer of the war when they all worked together on the farm. Then their world collapsed around them. Morag, the strongest and quietest of the three girls, lost everything she held dear in one savage bombing. Vallery's beloved brother was killed in the desert war, and Jannie - well, Jannie had never had much to start with anyway. With a father away at war and a succession of 'uncles' passing through her mother's bedroom, she grew up both insecure and promiscuous. But still, she had Morag and Vallery. When the Reid boys returned from the war it was Berry, the vibrant one, who had changed. Crippled, both in mind and body, he held the dream of Morag in his mind, even though it was Vallery he married. As they settled to a life in the remote cliff-side Abbey, away from everyone, so the old ties between the three girls and the Reid brothers grew more intense, more confused - and Morag, Vallery and Jannie discovered that Berry still had the power to draw them all to him.
Widowed Martha Moreton was a devoted mother to her only child, Lucy. When Lucy married Len on a golden July day, Martha tried hard to make the best of things. Len was a good man who would make Lucy happy. They wouldn't be living far away. And the arrival of grandchildren was something she anticipated eagerly. Unexpectedly, Len's job took the newly married couple overseas, where their first child was born. But sorrow, not joy, came with Dominic's birth. On their return, Lucy's best friend, Jennifer, as flighty as Lucy was conventional, was anxious to provide her own kind of consolation... Martha, who was experiencing unlooked-for and at first unwelcome changes in her own life, clung fast to the maternal bond that meant so much to herself and Lucy. Everything she had come to depend on was overturned, however, before Martha was able to find her own kind of happiness in a very different existence. One of Susan Sallis's most poignant and involving novels, The Keys to the Garden explores the mother-daughter relationship with a rare insight.
When Lydia celebrated her coming of age, the whole of her Exmoor village celebrated with her. Two men attracted her interest that night: handsome, ambitious Gus Pascoe, who coveted the land her father farmed; and Wesley Peters, brought up as a strict Methodist, whose seemingly upright religious family hid a terrible secret. Wesley wanted only to protect and cherish Lydia, but when his sister became the scandal of the neighbourhood and was forced to marry Lydia's brother, Alan, a bitterness grew up between the two families which threatened to keep Lydia and Wesley apart forever. In despair Lydia fled to Bristol, where at last she could free herself from the tragedy and heartbreak of her past life.