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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...
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.
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.
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.
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