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Margaret Pemberton is the bestselling author of over thirty novels in many different genres, some of which are contemporary in setting and some historical. She has served as Chairman of the Romantic Novelists' Association and has three times served as a committee member of the Crime Writers' Association. Born in Bradford, she is married to a Londoner, has five children and two dogs and lives in Whitstable, Kent. Apart from writing, her passions are tango, travel, English history and the English countryside.
Sweeping from the Great War, through the Jazz Age to the 1940s, this unforgettable tale follows the entwined lives of the Fentons, an aristocratic family from Yorkshire. Thea, the eldest daughter of Viscount Gilbert Fenton, flouts the unwritten rules of her class by embarking on a love affair with Hal, the fiercely socialist son of one of her father's tenant farmers. Carrie, her close childhood friend and granddaughter of the Viscount's nanny, has always been expected to marry Hal - but when she goes into service she finds herself longing for the one person she can never hope to marry. Olivia, the middle Fenton sister, follows a more conventional path, forging friendships with the British royal family and attending a finishing school in Germany. Her relationship with Count von der Schulenburg does not raise eyebrows, but as the mid-1930s approach, she finds herself in a country experiencing rapid, radical and dangerous social change. Violet, the youngest of the Fenton sisters, is also the most reckless. She dreams of becoming an actress in Hollywood, unaware her life will be filled with more drama than any part she will ever play. And then there is Rozalind, their American cousin, who is secretly in love with a married U.S. senator. Her ambitions to become a photojournalist will also take her into the heart of Hitler's Germany. Set against the rich canvas of the first half of the twentieth century, A Season of Secrets is an unforgettable tale of passion and betrayal, love and war.
The Summer Queen is an evocative and grand historical novel from Margaret Pemberton, the bestselling author of A Season of Secrets and Beneath the Cypress Tree. August 1879, Osborne House. Queen Victoria has occupied the British throne for over forty years. Bringing together her extended family from across Europe offers a chance for old alliances to be strengthened and new unions to be forged. May Teck, daughter of a Duke and Princess, is constantly reminded that she lacks the pedigree to be a true royal. Considering herself an outsider, she finds comfort in meeting two kindred spirits at Osborne; creating a bond with them that she thinks will last forever. Alicky lives in the shadow of her older siblings and has never recovered from the death of her mother. Until she meets Nicky, heir to the Russian throne, who sweeps her off to his homeland where life will never be the same again. And then there is Willy, destined to be the future Kaiser of Germany. Suffering from a birth defect, he's always kept his true feelings locked away and all the world sees is the bombastic persona he projects. As shifting forces of power send warning ripples across Europe, an unavoidable war looms on the horizon . . .
A war that could turn friends into enemies, lovers into fighters . . . Summer 1935. In Margaret Pemberton's Beneath the Cypress Tree best friends Kate Shelton, Ella Tetley and Daphne St. Maur are on the cusp of a new life, having graduated with Classics degrees. Kate is desperate to start work on an archaeological dig straightaway and she is thrilled to be given a position at the famous Knossos palace site in Crete. However, she doesn't bargain for working with gruff site director Lewis Sinclair - nor for her own complex feelings towards him. In Yorkshire, Ella's family expect her to marry Sam, her steady friend who is training to be a doctor, but Ella too feels pulled to the Mediterranean by the promise of freedom. When she meets Christos, life as a country GP's wife seems even less appealing . . . Daphne however throws herself into London's high society, falling madly in love with diplomat and heir Sholto Hertford - but then his work brings them to Crete, and Daphne becomes enchanted by the island as well. Meanwhile, the threat of war rumbles on, as reports of Hitler's rapid expansion across Europe become impossible to ignore. It seems that nothing can touch the perfect, glittering sea and snow-capped mountains, but Kate, Ella and Daphne know that the island haven they now call home will never be the same again.
It is early summer in 1953, and the friends and neighbours of Magnolia Square are looking forward to celebrating the Coronation. The war has become a memory; the future seems rosy. Kate Emmerson looks on with pride at her growing family, including Matthew, whose father was killed during the war. But Matthew's wealthy relations have never really forgiven Kate for marrying Leon, a West Indian who works as a Thames lighterman, and when Matthew runs away from his smart boarding school in Somerset the tensions which exist between the two families come to a head. Meanwhile Zac, the wonderfully talented and handsome new signing at the local boxing club, is being eyed hopefully by all the young women of Magnolia Square. But he has eyes for only one woman - Carrie Collins, who has teenage children of her own and whose husband, Danny, seems more interested in the boxing club and his market stall than in her. In the weeks leading up to the Coronation festivities, drama and tragedy threaten to haunt Magnolia Square, but by the time the great day dawns, the bells ring out in celebration as the Londoners enjoy themselves as only they know how.
1945: The war was over, and the families who lived in Magnolia Square could look forward to their men coming home and their lives returning to normal. But for some, the end of the war brought serious problems. Kate Voigt was at last able to marry Leon Emmerson, the man she loved, a Londoner like herself, but of mixed race. When old man Harvey, a powerful and wealthy figure in South London and great-grandfather to Kate's small son, heard of the match he was determined that young Matthew should not be raised by Leon. Slowly, insidiously, he began the fight to wrest Kate's son away from her. And for Jewish refugee Christina, who had married Jack Robson, a commando and the handsomest man in the Square, the end of the war brought its own special torment. She was convinced that her mother and grandmother had somehow escaped the holocaust and were alive. It seemed that her determination to find them could put everything, even her marriage, at risk. As Magnolia Square, scarred and battered, but still surviving, prepared to enjoy the 'Peace', so the inhabitants of the Square begin to try and rebuild their lives.
Magnolia Square in South London was a friendly and vibrant place to live, not least for Kate Voigt and her father. Carl Voigt had been a WWI prisoner of war who had married a cockney girl and never gone back. Now widowed, he and Kate were part of the London life of the square with all its rumbustious and colourful characters. Then came the war. Suddenly it seemed the Voigts were outcasts because of their German blood. When Carl was interned, Kate's only support was her best friend Carrie, and Toby, the R.A.F. pilot whom she loved. Finally, when Toby was killed, and even Carrie turned against her, she found herself pregnant and totally alone. Late one Christmas evening, during the Blitz, she was approached by a wounded sailor asking for lodgings. Leon Emmerson, like Kate, was also a lonely misfit because if his parentage. It was to be the beginning of a new friendship, of startling and dramatic events in Kate's life. And as the war progressed, as the Londoners fought to help each other while their city was bombed and burned, so the rifts in the community were healed, and Kate and those she loved became, once more, part of Magnolia Square.
Olivia Harland is enjoying her stay with her aunt and uncle in the Western Hills fifteen miles from Peking. It is 1900 and the air is heavy with the talk of Boxers, the Chinese rebels who are driving the Europeans from China. Adam Ross is a doctor in the Northern Provinces. His Chinese wife has been brutally murdered in a Boxer attack, and he is leaving Peking after depositing his baby son there for safety. As he departs, Olivia rides out into the Western Hills to contemplate a proposal of marriage from handsome young diplomat Phillippe Casanaeve, and it is then that the Boxers attack . . .
`The Nile, the white fountains of the Nile. . .' Her father's last words haunt Harriet Latimer long after she has been rescued from the Nubian desert which they had been attempting to cross. Her rescuer, the insolent and devastatingly handsome Raoul Beauvais, is a French explorer and geographer with the same objective - to find the source of the Nile in Africa. Despite Harriet's requests, Raoul swears that women have no place on his expedition, but he makes an exception for the beautiful Circassian Narinda. Can Harriet realise her father's dream and make the journey that no European woman has attempted before?
Scratch the veneer of opulence at the `Enclave', a cluster of villas bought for the movie star Rosalind by her millionaire husband, and a reality of fear, frustration, guilt and love betrayed glimmer from beneath. Rosalind's cousin Jenny is there to fight her despair over killing a woman and child in a car accident. The stranger Jonathan is burdened by some darkness in his past. Mary also has something to conceal. When Rosalind is found dead, the knot of intrigue tightens. Blackmail, passion and revenge - each takes its turn in this tautly told story of mystery and malice.
In 1880 the meeting place of international royalty and the twilight world of the demi-monde is the dazzling casino at Monte Carlo. To the young and beautiful Charlotte Grainger, humble companion to Princess Natalya, one figure stands out above Sarah Bernhardt, the Prince of Wales and the crowned heads of Europe - Count Sandor Karolyi, the man referred to as the Devil's Spawn. Can she ever hope to understand the enigmatic Hungarian - a man of wealth and title, of notorious reputation, a man who regards her as mildly amusing? Will she learn the cause of the anguish he is so careful never to show in public, and can she help him to banish forever the past which threatens his future happiness?
Accused of witchcraft and hunted by Louis XIV's fanatical Inquisitor, Marietta Riccardi is only rescued from being burned alive by the intervention of Leon de Villeneuve - the Lion of Languedoc. Small wonder that she falls in love with him! Yet Leon is on his way to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elise, and to him Marietta is nothing but a tiresome peasant girl . . . beautiful and seductive perhaps, but an unwelcome distraction from his forthcoming wedding. Marietta knows that she should leave France - escape her persecutors and her hopeless love - yet she cannot tear herself away from Languedoc, or from Leon . . .
Lady Catherine Davencourt is heartbroken when her fiance is murdered, so she is doubly horrified when the disreputable Dominic, the new Marquis of Clare, offers to marry his brother's bereaved fiancee. Her only escape lies in disguising herself as a governess and fleeing to a position with a Russian family. But on arrival in St Petersburg, she finds that Dominic too has fled England . . . Why is she fated to be thrown into his company? Could she possibly be in love with him-a man she had left England rather than marry, a man who had left England rather than marry her?
Susan Carter's idyllic Bavarian holiday was rudely shattered while picnicking on the hillside by the sound of a speeding car, followed by a crash. Looking through her binoculars she saw the occupants leave their wrecked car and then take off in her own small Morris. If only Susan hadn't read the newspaper account of the murder of a German minister! If only she hadn't recognized the photograph of the car-said to have been used by the assassins! For Susan life gradually takes on the horror of a nightmare. Nor does she know which of her `rescuers' to trust -Stephen Maitland or Gunther Cliburn.
A broken love affair takes Lucy Matthews to the Villa d'Este as governess to the six-year-old Danielle Van de Naude. But instead of a refuge Lucy finds she has entered a world of intrigue and fear. Why did Danielle's previous governess die? Is someone trying to kill her too? Determined to find out, Lucy encounters death and murder as Danielle is kidnapped to thwart her father's political ambitions, and only Lucy can save her life. But who can she trust to help her? Ian Lyall, who watches her so disturbingly? Steve Patterson who wishes to marry her? The suave Bradley Van de Naude, Danielle's step-brother? Or Max Rampling, the man who has her heart but holds another woman in his arms? One of them is a ruthless killer, but who? And why? As Lucy faces death in an attempt to save Danielle, the facades finally drop and the truth is revealed.
Miranda Taylor drowns in Saligo Bay. Was it an accident - or suicide - or murder? Who is the mysterious Pete Mackay and why did Miranda say he would be able to explain everything? Sally Craig, her friend, determines to find out, and her quest leads her into a mesh of intrigue and danger, love and hate.
Alison Russell's holiday is rudely shattered by gunfire when Basque separatists try to smuggle arms into the quiet fishing village in which she is staying. Accompanied only by Miss Daventry, a tough old English eccentric who fought in the Spanish Civil war, Alison reluctantly goes to the aid of Jose and Luis Villada. It is a mission of mercy that turns into a nightmare. Miss Daventry and Luis disappear and Jose and Alison are hunted not only by the police but by the psychopathic killer, Angel Garmendia. They flee on horseback across the Pyrenees and into France, only to find that friend has turned into foe and the treachery of the war years stretches long fingers into the present. Terrified for the safety of her elderly friend, heartbroken at the death of the man she has come to love, Alison waits alone in the deserted village of Cotanes as the hunters close in.
They were girls of the 60s - as unlike each other as it was possible to be. Abbra - the quiet, lovely, Californian college girl - reared to a life of good behaviour and doing the right thing. She was swept off her feet into a whirlwind marriage before she had time to grow up. She never really got to know her husband before he was shipped out to fight the Vietcong. Serena was an English debutante, a spoilt brat who had everything. She married her equally irresponsible playboy husband because it seemed like fun. But the fun backfired and she found herself abandoned right after the wedding. Gabrielle - half French, half Vietnamese, with a foot in both camps. She fell wildly in love with an Australian newsman on his way to Saigon. Alone and pregnant in Paris, she never stopped loving him. As their worlds began to collapse around them, the three joined forces and, with a courage born of desperation, set out for Vietnam to find the men they loved - and to find themselves.