It’s 11 years since Jem and Ralph first got together. They were the perfect couple. Then two became four and now in the chaos of family life, Ralph feels as if he’s standing on the sidelines, and Jem that she’s losing herself As they try to find a way back to each other, they both become momentarily distracted - but maybe it’s not too late to recapture happily ever after…
WW II is drawing to a close in Europe. For three eventful years, the land girls at Post Stone Farm have worked together, defying Hitler in their own way. They have witnessed love and loss, found their independence, and made lifetime friends. Now, in the final months of conflict, Alice Todd prepares for life at the farm to change forever.
When the fiercest storm in living memory pounds the shores of 19th century Cornwall, wrecking ships and bringing death and destruction to seafarers and coastal communities, a young girl is found, barely alive, washed up among the rocks of a remote North Cornish cove. Her arrival and the mystery surrounding her background will affect the lives of those who come to know her and, for Alice Kilpeck in particular, nothing will ever be the same again.
I used to love the rattle and whoosh of my grandma's buttons as they scattered from their Quality Street tin. An inlaid wooden chest the size of a shoe box holds Lynn Knight's button collection. A collection that has been passed down through three generations of women: a chunky sixties-era toggle from a favourite coat, three tiny pearl buttons from her mother's first dress after she was adopted as a baby, a jet button from a time of Victorian mourning. Each button tells a story.
Having sent his last wife to the block, the tyrannical Henry VIII sets his lustful sights upon an innocent and unworldly and recently widowed, Katherine Parr. In mourning for her late husband, and yet desperately in love with another, Katherine is forced to choose between the man she loves and a crown of despair.
Nobody believes Lord Pickhurst's new wife is as demure and devoted as she seems, but where in the West Country would she find a suitable paramour? When there is a spate of jewel robberies and a brutal murder Sergeant Beddowes must solve the riddle of how elderly Lord Pickhurst died, or an innocent man will go to the gallows, while the guilty get away scot free.
For Miss Cordell, principal of Persephone College, there are two great evils to be feared: unladylike behaviour among her students, and bad publicity for the college. So her prim and cosy world is turned upside down when a secret society of undergraduates meets by the river on a gloomy January afternoon, only to find the drowned body of the college bursar floating in her canoe. The police assume that a student prank got out of hand, but the resourceful Persephone girls suspect foul play, and take the investigation into their own hands. Soon they uncover the tangled secrets that led to the bursar's death - and the clues that point to a fellow student.
Hampshire, 1850. Beth Langton has been running her large family estate for 9 months, after the death of her father and under the eyes of her guardian, Lord Edward Sharland. When the father of her best friend, Lady Helen Denton, shoots himself after running up gambling debts, Beth persuades Helen to come and live with her. But further tragedy awaits when Beth's beloved guardian dies. A stranger claims to be Edward's heir, making him her legal guardian - and he has the paperwork to prove it. But can they trust him? And should they?
A sniper is killing police officers all over the UK. The atmosphere at Thames Valley Police HQ is tense and DI Hillary Greene is feeling the strain but it is business as usual when a woman is found murdered in Bletchingdon. Then she learns DC Keith Barrington has been keeping secrets that could disrupt the team.
The only women to nurse on the front line, Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm were decorated with 17 medals for bravery and self-sacrifice after setting up their own first-aid post in the village of Pervyse, near Ypres, risking their lives to save wounded men. But returning home and adjusting to peacetime life was to prove even more challenging than the war itself.
The fake diamond in Dilys Holland's engagement ring implies that all is not well with her marriage. And Bea Abbot has already clashed with Dilys's husband, the bullying Benton, when she refuses to help him rescue his ailing company. But matters are about to turn a great deal worse when Dilys tries to commit suicide. Or does she?
Bea Abbot's friend Leon Holland has asked for her help in establishing an alibi. But why would he need one? First, he tells her, he had a narrow escape from being run down in the road, and then he was lured to a car park to meet someone who didn't turn up. Matters escalate when two bodies are found in the car park, stabbed to death. Then everything is thrown into chaos as a devastating virus infects the agency's systems. A hidden camera. Hate mail. A nasty practical joke. It's clear that the Abbott Agency has been targeted. But why? And where is it leading? Bea is about to find herself drawn into a vicious power struggle.
When Zander requests that Bea accompany him on a visit to a grieving widow, it’s an awkward situation. After Zander exposed a scam that his boss had been running his boss unexpectedly died. His widow wants to sue and the paperwork that could have proved her husband’s guilt has gone missing. Although the first death appeared natural, those which follow definitely do not.
Bea Abbot's plans are disrupted by the unexpected arrival of one of her clients, bearing a brown leather briefcase full of expensive jewellery. Magda Summerleys has been working as a housekeeper for wealthy art expert Lucas Rycroft who, she says, entrusted her with the briefcase for safekeeping - and who seems to have disappeared without trace. Drawn into the tangled affairs of the dysfunctional Rycrofts, Bea soon discovers that other members of the family are determined to get their hands on the jewels - by whatever means necessary. Also caught up in the chaos is her ex-husband Piers, who had been commissioned to paint Lucas Rycroft's portrait. Then a body is discovered at Lucas's home.
While Bea Abbot worries that she's lost control of her domestic agency, she's asked to find some domestic help for an eccentric musician falsely accused of murder. She doesn't realize how dangerous this might be until Jeremy--fleeing from attempts on his life--lands on her doorstep.
Bea Abbot’s agency does not investigate murder- until she finds a dead man dressed as a pantomime dame. It looks like suicide, but Matthew Kent was a modest, private man, so why had he staged this grotesque charade in death? And why is his daughter so keen to hustle away his remains? And which of the women around him really cared about him, rather than his money?
When the party wall dividing the gardens of Bea Abbot and her fiance Leon collapses, amongst the ensuing chaos a human skeleton is unearthed in Leon's garden. Having only just purchased the property, Leon and Bea set out to discover more about the house's previous owners. Before they can proceed in their investigation however, the pair fall victim to an elaborately-laid trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, Bea appears to be the subject of a meticulously-planned vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming strangely distant?
Everyone knows three things about the Women's Institute: that they spent the war making jam; the sensational Calendar Girls were WI; and, more recently, that slow-handclapping of Tony Blair. 215,000 women in the UK belong to the WI. This fascinating book reveals for the first time how they are - and always were - a force to be reckoned with.