I’m super delighted to be taking part of this blog tour and I’ll definitely be sharing my review about the book soon.
About the book:
A saga of immense charm and warmth, with three characters you won’t forget. Thea, Anna and Daisy forge an unbreakable friendship through adversity.
Thea’s loathsome stepbrother is trying to trick her out of her inheritance of her parents’ beautiful house in the seaside town of Brighton by means of a Will which Thea believes to be forged. He gives her three months in which to leave. Afterwards she will face destitution.
Anna is pregnant and grieving, her explorer fiancé lost at sea. Her violent father drives her from the family home in the back streets of London’s Bermondsey and her fiancé’s upper-class relatives cruelly reject her.
Daisy is in search of independence, running from a man she doesn’t want to marry.
Together the three girls setup Thea’s home as a guest house and embark on a mission to outwit her stepbrother by proving his fraud. In a race against time, nothing will turn out to be quite as it seems.
An excerpt from The Brighton Guest House Girls, courtesy of Aria
‘Away with you,’ her father said. ‘Get out of my sight.’
Anna hesitated for just a moment then ran upstairs to the room she shared with her brothers and sisters where she leaned her palms on top of the small chest of drawers and let her head drop forward,breathing deeply to try to quell the mounting panic. But it was only a matter of time before her mother and the children came up, and Anna didn’t want them to find her looking scared. Pushing herself upright, she studied her reflection in the small mirrorthat hung on the wall.
Her face was even paler than usual while her dark eyes were large with fear. Swallowing, Anna smoothed her hands over the heavy brown hair that she kept drawn into a bun on the nape of her neck like a Victorian governess, then attempted a smile. She didn’t linger to see if she’d succeeded but turned away from the mirror to pack her things.
The tiny house –surely long overdue for demolition –had only two rooms upstairs, a crude curtain separating the bed in which Anna slept with hersisters from the bed in which her brothers slept. Having brought home cardboard boxes so they could keep their possessions in an orderly fashion under the beds, Anna kept the room spotlessly clean and tidy.
Those possessions were admittedly few. There were the books, writing tablets and pencils that Anna had bought, the doll that had been passed down between them and scraps of fabric that Anna had used to teach the girls sewing. There were also wooden carvings made by the man at number twenty-six who’d been blinded by gas in the war, catapults, a ball and things scavenged from the banks of the Thames when the tide was out –small bottles, pipes, a model boat with the rigging missing, and bits of glass worn smooth after years in the river.
Anna took a bag from her box, opened a drawer and began to pack her modest collection of clothes, aware that her fingers were shaking badly. Her mother and the children crowded into the room after her. They were white-faced and saucer-eyed, and little Mary was crying openlynow.
Anna took a deep breath and renewed her attempt at a smile. ‘It’s going to be fine.’‘But where will you go? How will you manage?’ her mother asked.‘I have friends, Ma. I’ll cope.’‘Your pa says you mustn’t even write to us.’
‘I’ll write care of MrsFawley next door but don’t fret if you don’t hear from me for a while as I get myself established.’ Anna turned to Mary. ‘You’ll keep up the lessons?’
Mary worked in a bakery but the other children were still in school and Anna had always given them extralessons. ‘’Course I will,’ Mary promised.
‘What’s happened to me changes nothing,’ Anna insisted. ‘The better you’re educated, the more choices you’ll have about how you earn a living.’ Earning a good living was the way out of slum housing and poverty. The way to dignity and satisfaction too.
‘Listen to what Mary tells you,’ Anna bade the others.
‘We will,’ Lizzie promised, then she held out her shiny sixpence. ‘I want you to have it.’
Anna’s throat tightened.
‘I’ve got tuppence you can have,’ Joe said.‘And I’ve got ninepence,’ Mary said.
‘Here, love.’ Anna’s mother held out five or six coppers. ‘It’s all I’ve got till your pa gets paid.’
Anna swallowed. ‘You’re all wonderfully generous but I can’t take your money.’
She took her mother into her arms instead and kissed her, then did the same to each of the children. ‘I love you all dearly,’ she told them.
About The Author
Born in Manchester but currently living in Hertfordshire, Lesley’s career has included law and charity fundraising. She is now devoting her time to her own writing and to teaching creative writing to others. In addition to selling almost 90 short stories to the women’s magazine market, Lesley has won the Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award and the Romantic Novelists’ Associations Elizabeth Goudge Cup.
You can check out the rest of the tour here: