Elvi Rhodes was born and educated in Yorkshire, and now lives on the Sussex coast. She is the author of many bestselling novels including Opal, Doctor Rose, Ruth Appleby, The Golden Girls, Madeleine, The House of Bonneau, Cara's Land, The Rainbow Through the Rain, The Bright One, The Mountain, Portrait of Chloe, Spring Music, Midsummer Meeting, The Birthday Party, Mulberry Lane, A Blessing In Disguise and The Apple Tree.
After her husband's death, Caroline leaves her home in Bath to buy a dilapidated old house in Brighton. Will this be the place she finds new love and will her family and friends be supportive in the new changes in her life? Elvi Rhodes delivers another dose of romantic drama, with well-rounded characters, which makes this a delight to read. Comparison: Susan Sallis, Sheelagh Kelly, Josephine Cox.
In Blessing in Disguise Elvi introduced a single mother vicar, Venus, to a typically English village, Thurston. You can imagine she had a lot of folk to win over. Now Venus, well settled, is to marry the local doctor and add â€˜communityâ€™ wife to her many roles. Elvi is such an accomplished author who makes her characters very real and Venus is quite a woman.Comparison: Susan Sallis, Katie Fforde, Marcia Willett.Similar this month: Charlotte Bingham, Sara MacDonald.
Poppy's family is gathering to celebrate her eightieth birthday. Her children, grandchildren and even one great-grandchild are converging on her Sussex home. As she prepares to welcome them all, her mind goes back over her life - to her tough childhood in Yorkshire, to her mother, who scrimped and saved to bring her up decently, to her three husbands and to Alun, the great love of her life who was taken from her by the war. Yes, she has had a full life - a lot fuller than her family realises. As they toast their beloved matriarch, little do they know what an extraordinary and often shocking life she has led...
She was twenty-three when her husband died, leaving her with three small daughters and nothing else. The day came when she was so hungry, so tired and worried, that she was reduced to going to Akersfield market and asking Dick Fletcher for help - Dick who had loved her years ago, who was now running his own successful market garden - and who was engaged to someone else. It was Dick who took her back home to her village in the dales, gave her a job, helped her to gain her self-respect again. But the time came when she knew she must stand on her own - make a life for herself and her daughters without him, and use all her courage and determination to become successful. It was to take many years, and all the tragedy of the 1914 war before Eleanor was able to repay Dick Fletcher for the great debt she owed him.
At twelve she stood by her mother's grave on a bleak Yorkshire moor. Life, as the daughter of a Victorian millhand, had never been easy, but now she was mother and housekeeper both to the little family left behind. As one tribulation after another beset her life, so a longing, a determination grew - to venture out into a new world of independence and adventure, and when the chance came she seized it. America, even on the brink of civil war, was to offer a challenge that Ruth was ready to accept, and a love, not easy, but glorious and triumphant. A giant of a book - about a woman who gave herself unstintingly - in love, in war, in the embracing of a new life in a vibrant land.
Young, attractive, a widow with a ten-year-old daughter - Venus Stanton was certainly not the vicar that the traditional parish of Thurston had been expecting. The village was agog, the congregation surprised and in some cases not at all pleased. Venus - a name wished on her by her otherwise conventional parents, and which she felt wholly inappropriate for a woman priest - had to endure curiosity, misunderstandings and even downright hostility. But she also found warmth, friendship and kindness - sometimes from the most unexpected quarters. Still mourning the death of her husband, and having to cope with the problems of single parenthood, Venus began to think that she would never manage the task she had set herself. Perhaps the doubters were right - she was not suited to be a vicar, to care for the souls of the parish. But the handsome local doctor thought otherwise, and so did many others who came to regard her not only as their priest but also their friend.
In 'A Time to Remember', Kate can hardly contain her excitement when she finds out her daughter has gone into labour: she is going to be a grandmother! As the time passes whilst they wait for news of the new arrival, Kate finds herself reminiscing of her relationship with her own grandmother, and how time has flown. In 'Model of Beauty', Jilly has been enjoying her painting classes. She has been mocking the ample-sized model who has been sitting for them lately, but the tables are turned when the teacher decides they are all to paint each other - and Jilly becomes the model herself. Will she think her portrait a true likeness? And what will come of having someone pay such close attention to her?In 'View from Beacon Hill', Alison enjoys her time on Beacon Hill. It is where she has the space to consider her life, and the choices she has made and has yet to make. Eight and a half months pregnant, with only days to go until her due date, her life is about to change forever. But might she change her mind about the decisions she has made?Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promises and Other Stories.
In 'Channel Crossing', holidays can provide a huge relief from the daily grind...a fresh experience, new surroundings. Such a relief, in fact, that for many people it can signal the start of a new life, in a foreign country. But is the grass always greener on the other side? In 'Roundabout', it is Miriam's wedding day, which she thought would be a no-fuss affair. But she has her chief and only bridesmaid, Joan, bustling around, insisting she have flowers, and fussing about the arrangements for the day. However, it is also Joan who is there to reassure Miriam when she has her last-minute doubts - because the bond between these two women runs far deeper than that of bride and bridesmaid. In 'The Meeting', Meg moved around a lot during her childhood, so meeting up with the rest of her family has always been a big event. But with a ten-year gap between meetings, the numbers dwindle, and the family are faced with the difficult decision of whether they should meet again.Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'Leave it to Mavis', Mavis has been helping to make the arrangements for her daughter Julie's wedding - most importantly, booking the village hall for the reception. But when busybody Edith Prosser comes to visit, it seems that the wedding plans may not be running quite as smoothly as everyone had thought...In 'Night Flight', Ruth can't sleep. Her husband should be in the bed next to her, but he's been out a lot recently, during the small hours of the morning. As Eddie travels home, he can't wait to get into bed - he can barely keep his eyes open. But he finds no one in the house, just a note from Ruth.In 'Wedding Shoes', Penny is thrilled to be the only bridesmaid at her best friend's wedding. But when she finds the perfect shoes for her outfit, there is only one size left - half a size too small. Surely she can squeeze into them if she tries? Little does she know the events that will unfold because of her shoes...Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In ' A Little Light Flirtation', when a husband and wife on holiday quarrel one morning, everyone in the hotel hears. But what they don't hear are the thoughts running through her head. A walk around the sights of this foreign city could open up all sorts of possibilities...In 'A Question of Choice', Kate hasn't had the smoothest ride in life. She had a miscarriage when she was three months' pregnant, and lost her partner of three years with it. When she returns to the UK from New York she is shocked to discover there is a rift between her and her friends who are happily settled with families. But Kate knows deep down that her life's direction is merely a question of choice.In 'Flight of Fancy', for Joe, the mundanity of prison life is lifted by two things - his pet budgie, Beauty, and visits from his wife Miriam. He counts down the days until the end of sentence - dreaming of returning home and trying to remember how different life is there. But his homecoming won't be quite what he expects...Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'A Trip to the Park', Cassie is excited to arrive in New York, but disappointed when her fiance's job takes him away from her on her first weekend in the city. He makes her promise she'll stay in the apartment where she'll be safe, but she can't resist a little walk around Central Park - she is here to see the sights, after all. There she meets Dan, who manages to persuade her that he should show her the sights of the city. She knows Richard would be cross, but what harm could come of it?In 'Come Home With Me', when Genevieve meets Nicholas, she can't believe her luck. Everything about their relationship seems just perfect. But when the time comes to introduce him to her family, she is sure that will be the end of them. Her family are so completely mad - there's no way he'll want anything to do with her after that! Or perhaps she shouldn't be so quick to assume what he is thinking...Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'A Summer Remembered', as Laura is busy with the Christmas preparations, while looking after her children Richard and Millie, she can't help but wish she were back on their summer holiday in Normandy. When her husband presents her with her Christmas gift - a holiday to a destination of her choice, money no object - it is still Normandy she yearns for...but what secret is she hiding from her husband?In 'Be Your Age, Dear', Chloe Patterson is lucky enough to not only have a daughter and a granddaughter around her, but also her own mother. But she battles with the dilemma of how she is perceived as a grandmother - and how she should be behaving as such - and how she really feels about herself deep down. Sometimes it seems that the older women in the family are the most free-willed and keen to have fun, and the younger seem the most responsible. As a local newspaper asks to write a feature on the four generations of women, tensions come to a head as these women finally realize who they really are...Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promises and Other Stories.
In 'Meet the New Caroline Pritchard', Caroline Pritchard thinks her boyfriend Richard is going off her. And she's addicted to makeover shows on the television - imagine if that could happen to her! That would surely solve everything. And then her dream comes true - she is selected by a magazine for a makeover. As she is having her set of 'Before' photographs taken, she is secretly glad Richard is away. Although she doubts he is where he said he would be, this gives her the chance to have her makeover completed! Hairstyles, facials, and many beauty treatments later, Caroline is a new woman - ready to present herself to Richard. But will he like the new Caroline? And more importantly, will she still like him?In 'The Centre of Attraction', Mel Salter is peacefully painting in the town square when his landscape is ruined by the arrival of Bertha Conway. She introduces herself and orders sangria. Mel is all the more irritated when Bertha returns the following day with her needlework - at siesta time, when he usually relies on the plaza to be empty as the locals rest for a few hours of the afternoon. But then Mel catches sight of her work, and is astounded by its beauty. And soon finds that the source of his irritation may not be that much of a nuisance after all...Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'A Matter of Time', Martin has inherited a house from his late aunt in New York, and his girlfriend Linda has moved over there with him. She finds herself feeling very lost, though, and wondering why she is there. She loves Martin, but will her new surroundings ever feel like home?In 'A New Beginning', Primrose is becoming bored of the tedium of farm life. She knows she will miss it - the farm and its surrounding hills and river have been her home for the past twenty-four years. But she is convinced that the bright lights and buzz of London is what she needs now for her new start in life. But a new friendship in the Yorkshire Dales forces her to reconsider whether a new beginning really means moving away.Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'Festival at Rowdean', Melanie has spent an exciting year abroad nannying for a family with two children, so her return home seems something of an anticlimax. Everything now seems so dull in her home village of Rowdean. She is mortified when the village committee then insist she be involved in the organisation of a village festival. But could this be just the thing to bring her home town back to life for her?In 'A Very Special Painting Class', among her other part-time jobs, Lisa works as a model for a painting class. Sitting completely still for long periods of time can be uncomfortable, but the money helps her to keep her flat and bring up her daughter Janie. But as one of the students begins to notice Lisa's features, could an unlikely friendship form?Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
In 'Summer Promise', Linda, recently divorced and in need of a break, decides to take her two children on a fortnight's holiday in France, renting a house from a friend of a friend. However when she arrives at the house, she finds a man already there, claiming to be the owner. It emerges that this man, Graham, is the ex-husband of the woman who suggested the idea to Linda, and that she had forgotten to inform her that the situation had changed and that Graham now owns the house outright. He makes it clear to Linda that they can't possibly stay there as he is busy with work and it would be an inconvenience. But as Linda frantically tries to find a hotel, her youngest child James falls ill with chicken pox. Graham relents, and agrees to let them stay in the house, packing his bags to move out for two weeks. But as he is leaving, they both realise that perhaps this situation could work out for both of them after all... In 'A Gull Named Helen', when little Daniel clams up following the death of his grandmother, everyone thinks a school trip to the seaside will be just what he needs. In the lighthouse where they are staying, Daniel is offered the little room right at the very top of the tower, while the other children must sleep in the basement. Watching from his bedroom window, Daniel becomes mesmerised by the seagulls circling overhead. As he spends the next few days feeding them scraps of bread, he forms a bond with one bird in particular, who he decides is called Helen - the same name as his grandmother. But little does he know that what he learns from these birds could help him for years to come.In 'Children on the Shore', Claire Foster has been used to living her own life, her own way. Her daughter lives abroad with her own family. Claire was widowed years ago. So when she takes a temporary job as a secretary at a hospital, she is startled to find herself beginning a relationship with one of the doctors. Meanwhile, her daughter begins writing to her frequently, begging her to move closer to them so that she can be a part of her grandchildren's lives. And then she is offered a new job, working for an author, which would reduce her free time dramatically. Which path - if any - should she choose?Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection 'Summer Promise and Other Stories'.
In 'The World is a Smaller Place', everything seems perfect for Ruth, engaged to the man she loves. But things begin to change, and she is unable to work out whether it is for the better. But when she meets Martin, a professor over from New Zealand, her life no longer seems perfect, but full of impossible choices.In 'Whose Baby are You, Babe?', when a junior lecturer comes across a baby in the senior common room, she is both startled and intrigued to know how it came to be there. Her students look on curiously as she has the baby in a carrycot on the floor beside her as she teaches. But what secrets lie behind the child's identity?Part of the Storycuts series, these two stories were previously published in the collection Summer Promise and Other Stories.
Molly O'Connor's life was not an easy one. With six children and a husband who earned what he could as casual farmhand, fisherman, or drover, it was a constant struggle to keep her family fed and raised to be respectable. Of all her children, Breda - the Bright One - was closest to her heart. As, one by one, her other children left Kilbally, Kathleen and Kieran to the Church, Moira to marriage, the twins to war, so Breda, the youngest, was the one who stayed close to her parents. Breda never wanted to leave the West of Ireland. She though Kilbally was the most beautiful place in the world. Then tragedy struck the O'Connors and the structure of their family life was irrevocably changed. Reeling from unhappiness and humiliation, Breda decided to make a new life for herself - in Yorkshire with her Aunt Josie's family. There she was to discover a totally different world from the one she had left behind, with new people and new challenges for the future.
She was born plain Dora, in a bleak northern town where her future seemed all too predictable. But from the moment she first walked, pursuing a coloured ball across the floor, she went after what she wanted, and got it. At the age of eighteen she wanted freedom and a new life - and a new name, Chloe. She went to Brighton, to work as a mother's help to a Member of Parliament and his wife, and she glimpsed for the first time a life of luxury and wealth - a life which, she believed, could be hers. But her new circumstances brought with them difficulties which she could not have foretold, including the passionate interest of her boss and the unexpected bond which she discovered with the small children in whose charge she had been put. Torn between the interest of an attractive older man and her feelings of affection and loyalty towards his wife and children, Chloe embarked upon a dangerous course. Then a near tragedy changed everything for her, although it also brought a new love into her life and helped her to grow up and to appreciate what she had.
Edgar Carson has returned from the trenches to find that the land fit for heroes didn't exist. The only nice thing that happened to him was Opal, the small, tough, Yorkshire beauty who married him. But by the time the 20s came, Edgar was on the dole, and Opal was pregnant for the second time. Bitterness began to corrode Edgar's spirit. But Opal was a fighter - she wasn't going to let the times, the drudgery, the poverty destroy her or her family. She started with a 'house shop', just sweets and cotton reels sold from the top of her sideboard, and from then on she didn't stop - for Opal's dream was her own department store and a grand life for all of them...
Naomi had been contentedly and, she thought, happily married for nearly all of her adult life when her husband Edward explained kindly to her one day that he had fallen in love with a twenty-six year old and wanted a divorce. She had to leave the comfortable home she had shared with Edward and their three children, now all grown-up, and move into a small flat in the middle of Bath. The dramatic change in her lifestyle threatened to overwhelm her. But gradually Naomi began to appreciate the changes, and even to enjoy them. For the first time in her life she could do what she liked, and make her own friends. If these included men friends - well, why not? Unfortunately her children could think of many reasons why not, and Naomi began a battle to establish her own independence, and to persuade her family that she had moved into the springtime of a whole new life. In this warm and inspiring new novel, Elvi Rhodes's wonderful storytelling skills are used to explore a dilemma faced by many women today.
Petra came into the close village community of Mindon when she was unexpectedly left a cottage there by an old friend of her mother's. She was lonely and unsettled - her parents had been killed in a car accident, her boyfriend had decided to go back to his wife, and as a painter she led a solitary life in her North Yorkshire home town. But she felt immediately at home in the gracious stone house that had been bequeathed to her, and was made welcome by the local residents - in particular, by the members of the Mindon Amateur Dramatic Society (somewhat appropriately known as MADS) presided over by the formidable Ursula. Ursula liked to run things her way, and brooked no opposition when the ambitious decision was made (largely by herself) to put on A Midsummer Night's Dream as their next production. Petra , to her surprise and pleasure, was put in charge of the wardrobe. Rivalries, squabbles, love affairs and seething resentments threatened to scupper the production, and all Ursula's managerial skills were needed to prevent disaster. But Petra had more pressing things on her mind than the costumes for the cast. A mystery from her past began to haunt her - and the answer to that mystery might solve the puzzle of why she had been left such a beautiful house by a total stranger.
Cara Dunning first came to the wild and remote Beckwith Farm in the Yorkshire Dales as a young landgirl during the Second World War.Beckwith was isolated, sometimes beautiful, sometimes inhospitable, and had been owned by the Hendry family since 1700. When Cara fell in love with Edward Hendry, it was not what her family had intended for her.Edward was fifteen years older than Cara, a pacifist, and a widower with two children, one of whom bitterly resented her new stepmother.But Cara was determined to make the marriage work, in spite of the hard life on the farm, in spite of Edward's reserved personality and the shadow of Nancy, his former wife. Her greatest friend on the farm was Edward's mother.Edith Hendry, a loyal and wise daleswoman, was to see the young bride through many tragedies, many vicissitudes and the years of trying to run the wild sheep farm on her own.And as Cara's life began to change, so Cara changed too, finding a complete and utter happiness where she had never expected to.
When Frances changed her unsettled life in Brighton and bought an old farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales to run as a guesthouse, she was going into uncharted territory. The villagers were very friendly and talked about the previous owners of Beck Farm but there seemed to be some mystery about them. What had happened to the wife of the previous owner - and why was she still resented? Frances was to find out while at the same time rebuilding her own life.
The inhabitants of quiet, tree-lined Mulberry Lane take a keen interest in the comings and goings of their neighbours. When number fifteen comes onto the market they are naturally intrigued to see a good-looking man being shown the property, and they hope to find a pleasant, quiet family moving in. But they are to be sadly disappointed - the house is to be a hostel for young offenders. Feelings run high. Opinions are divided - some fearing that they will be murdered in their beds, others wanting to welcome these youths into their community. However friendly the newcomers may be, there are others in Mulberry Lane who are determined to scupper the scheme at all costs...
Jack Tempest spent the first twelve years of his life on the canals. Then, when his grandfather died, everything changed. His mam and he moved to Skipton, Mam worked in the mills, and they lived as best they could. It was there that she bought the picture of the mountain, and when she died it was one of the few things he took with him. But the mountain was more than just a picture. It was a real place - Whernside - set amidst the rugged hill country of Yorkshire, and it was to Whernside that Jake was drawn, especially when he found they needed men to work on the new railway lines, cutting valleys, building viaducts, and carving a tunnel right through the great mountain itself. As he settled into the new harsh life amongst the rough shanty villages of the railway workers, one woman lit his very existence - Beth Seymour. Beth was strong, brave, compassionate - and she was also married. Once she and Will had loved one another, but life for the rail builders was savage and coarse and Will Seymour was rapidly becoming brutalized by the manner in which he lived. Beneath the shadow of the mountain, in all its seasons, the passionate story of Beth, Will and Jake was played out to a dramatic climax.
This is a collection of stories to suit the reader's every mood - tender, funny, romantic, ironic, bitter-sweet, nostalgic. The couple in Summer Promise are, at first glance, placed in an appalling situation, but nevertheless in the warmth of southern France their relationship develops in an unexpected way. Be Your Age, Dear is a delightful tale of a generation gap which, in one family, seems non-existent - or has it gone into reverse? The Meeting describes the ten-yearly reunion of a group of friends which, for obvious reasons, dwindles each time. The two members most closely involved come to a decision that was, perhaps, inevitable. Model of Beauty is set in a painting class, where the temporary illness of the generously endowed model brings about surprising consequences. These enchanting stories are guaranteed by turn to entertain, soothe, intrigue and touch you.
Although Madeleine Bates and Sophia Parkinson were both eighteen years old, the contrast between their two lives could not have been greater. Sophia, spoilt pretty daughter of Helsdon's richest mill owner, lived a life of petted indulgence at Mount Royd, the Parkinson home. Madeleine - daughter of a tyrannical and bigoted father who worked in the Parkinson mill - spent her time either at chapel, or working a fourteen hour day as housemaid at Mount Royd, a victim of Sophia's whims and occasional spitefulness. But Madeleine - who beneath her obedient and dutiful exterior was volatile, strong-willed, and rebellious - was not the kind of young woman you could overlook, and when Leon Bonneau - younger son of a French wool baron - came to stay at Mount Royd he was, against his own inclinations, startled into noticing the dignity and beauty of the young housemaid. From that moment on the lives of everyone at Mount Royd began to change, and Madeleine stepped forward into a new and challenging future.
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