Anne Bonny #BlogTour Character Profile #VioletRayfield ~ A Thimbleful Of Hope by @eviegrace2017 #NewRelease #Saga @arrowpublishing

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A Thimbleful Of Hope by Evie Grace
Synopsis:

A tale of triumph over adversity from the author of the Maids of Kent trilogy. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Dover, 1864: Violet Rayfield leads a happy life with her family in a beautiful terrace on Camden Crescent.

But Violet’s seemingly perfect world is shattered when her father makes a decision that costs her family everything. Now Violet must sacrifice all she holds dear, including the man she loves.

As Violet strives to pick up the threads of her existence, a series of shocking revelations leaves her feeling even more alone.

But where one door closes, another opens, and the embroidery skills Violet perfected while a young woman of leisure win her vital work.

If she can find the strength to stitch the remnants of her family back together, there might just be a little hope after all…

A character profile of Violet Rayfield:

I’m delighted to introduce A Thimbleful of Hope and Miss Violet Rayfield whose story is set among the gas-lit streets of the historic Cinque port of Dover. Born in 1846, Violet cuts a striking figure with her deep blue eyes, and white-blonde hair which she wears scraped back into plaited loops at the nape of her neck. The only feature she would change if she could, is her nose which she feels is a little too large for her face.
Violet lives with her family and their servants in one of the best addresses in Dover, a large terraced house in Camden Crescent with views of the sea. Her father is a businessman, a successful shipping agent who’s made enough money to invest in a cargo ship and shares in the London Chatham and Dover Railway Company, meaning that his wife can lead a life of leisure, showing off their home and its contents to their friends and acquaintances.
Mr Rayfield employs a governess to educate Violet and her sisters, Ottilie and Eleanor, in the pursuits which are considered suitable for refined young ladies, and useful preparation for the advantageous marriages they’re expected to make. Although they’re taught how to play the piano, paint in watercolour and make polite conversation, Violet’s favourite hobby is embroidery. She has a natural talent for design as well as needlework, while she finds her younger sister’s desire to write sensationalist novels rather amusing.
One of her favourite things is her wooden sewing box with its velvet lining. It contains needles, chalk, scissors and her silver thimble, the tools with which she creates the butterflies in the latest ombre threads for the gown that she wears to her first dance, the ball to celebrate Dover’s annual regatta.
Violet is somewhat sceptical of her mother’s attempts to teach her and her sisters how to run a household. When Mrs Rayfield invites a decorator to give an estimate for redecorating parts of the house, Violet is unable to contain her laughter when he shows them proof that green wallpaper is no risk to their health. She also decides that she’ll never ask her servants to make mock turtle soup when shown how to make it herself – the sight of calf’s brain turns her stomach.
However, Violet is trapped by her upbringing and the expectations of society, and she knows that she’ll marry and take on an establishment of her own, just as her mother did. She’s kind, resourceful and resilient, and even when everything is against her, she finds the strength to carry on.
I hope you enjoy reading Violet’s story as much as I loved writing it. I felt quite bereft when I had to leave her and write, ‘The End’.
Evie x

evie grace
Evie Grace
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Murder Pit by @mickfinlay2 #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction @HQstories @HQDigitalUK #MurderPit Where Evil Lies Buried. . .

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The Murder Pit by Mick Finlay
Synopsis:

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes.
Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of London society. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of the city, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent, and considerably less well-paid cases.

Arrowood is in no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr and Mrs Barclay engage him to trace their estranged daughter Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant Barnett have tracked her down.

But this seemingly simple missing person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered . . .

Extract:

Chapter One

South London, 1896

Horror sometimes arrives with a smile upon her face, and so it was with the case of Birdie Barclay. It was early New Year, the mud frozen in the streets, smuts drifting like black snow in the fog. Shuddering horses trudged past, driven on to places they didn’t want to go by sullen, red-faced men. Crossing sweepers stood by waiting for punters to drop them a coin, while old folk clutched walls and railings lest they should slip on the slick cobbles, sighing, muttering, hacking up big gobs of germs and firing them into the piles of horse dung as collected at every corner.

We hadn’t had a case for five weeks, so the letter from Mr Barclay inviting us to call that afternoon was welcome. He lived on Saville Place, a row of two-bedroom cottages under the train lines between the Lambeth Palace and Bethlem. When we reached the house we could hear a lady inside
singing over a piano. I was about to knock when the guvnor touched my arm.

‘Wait, Barnett,’ he whispered.

We stood on the doorstep listening, the fog bunched thick around us. It was a song you’d often hear in the pubs near closing time, but never had I heard it sang so very fine and sad, so full of loneliness: ‘In the gloaming, oh my darling, when the lights are dim and low, and the quiet shadows
falling, softly come and softly go.’ As it built to the refrain, the guvnor shut his eyes and swayed with the chords, his face like a hog at stool. Then, when the last line came, he started singing himself, flat and out of time, drowning out the lady’s mournful voice: ‘When the winds are sobbing faintly, with a
gentle unknown woe, will you think of me and love me, as you did once long ago?’

I think it was the only line he knew, the line that spoke most direct to his own battered heart, and he ended in a choke and a tremble. I reached out to squeeze his fat arm. Finally, he opened his eyes and nodded for me to knock.

A broad, pink-faced fellow opened the door. The first thing you noticed was his Malmsey nose, round at the end and coated in fine fur like a gooseberry; beneath it the thick moustache was black though the hair around his bald scalp was white. He greeted us in a nervy voice and led us through to the front room, where a tall woman stood next to a pianoforte. She was Spanish or Portuguese or somesuch, dressed in black from head to toe.

‘These are the detective agents, my dear,’ he said, wringing his hands in excitement. ‘Mr Arrowood, Mr Barnett, this is my wife, Mrs Barclay.’

On hearing our names a warm smile broke over her face, and I could see from the way the guvnor bowed and put his hand flat on his chest that he felt humbled by the lady: by her singing, her deep brown eyes, the kindness in her expression. She bade us sit on the couch.

The small parlour was packed out with furniture too big for it. The pianoforte was jammed between a writing desk and a glass-fronted cabinet. The couch touched the armchair. A gilded Neptune clock took up most of the mantel, its tick ringing out maddeningly loud.

‘Now,’ said the guvnor, ‘how about you tell us your difficulty and we’ll see what we can do to help?’

‘It’s our daughter, Birdie, sir,’ said Mr Barclay. ‘She was married six months ago into a farming family, but since the wedding we’ve heard nothing from her. Nothing at all. No visits, no letters, not even this Christmas last. I’ve twice tried to call for her but they wouldn’t even let me in the house! Said she’s out visiting. Well, sir, it simply cannot be true.’

‘Surely young ladies visit?’ asked the guvnor.

‘She’s not the type to visit, sir. If you knew her you’d understand that. We’ve been driven wild with worry, Mr Arrowood. It’s as if she’s disappeared.’

Mick Finlay
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