Saturday 26 August 2017

Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Secret of Summerhayes by Merryn Allingham

I am delighted to introduce a new regular feature

His Fic Saturday will focus on all the lovely historical fiction which comes my way. 

There will be novels which are newly published, others which have been published in the last twelve months, and some which have lingered on my book shelves for far too long.

 A real mixed bag ranging from historical sagas, romances, and adventure through to the pageant of  medieval worlds with kings and queens. From the Battle of Hastings WW2.

Let's go back in time....

27 July 2017

What's it all about..

Summer 1944: Bombed out by the blitz, Bethany Merston takes up a post as companion to elderly Alice Summer, last remaining inhabitant of the dilapidated and crumbling Summerhayes estate. Now a shadow of its former glory; most of the rooms have been shut up, the garden is overgrown and the whole place feels as unwelcoming as the family themselves.

Struggling with the realities of war, Alice is plagued by anonymous letters and haunting visions of her old household. At first, Beth tries to convince her it’s all in her mind but soon starts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the aristocratic family’s past.

What did I think about it...

When Canadian soldier, Jos Kerrigan arrives at Summerhayes in April 1944, he and his fellow officers are preparing for a secret invasion of France. Living in basic conditions at this beautiful old country house estate in Sussex and walking in its overgrown gardens offers Jos an antidote to the terror of what is happening just across the English Channel in Northern France.  When Jos meets Bethany Merston, a spark of attraction is lit between them but in these dark and gloomy war time days, romance is far from either of their minds.

What then follows is a continuation of the story which began in The Buttonmaker's Daughter and reintroduces us, several years on, to some of the characters who we first met in that novel. It was interesting to see how time had left it's mark on Summerhayes and for those who haven't read The Buttonmaker's Daughter, the author fills the gaps really nicely so that the two stories continue to develop quite seamlessly.

The Secret of Summerhayes is  a lovely story written by an author who is able to carry her readers into a forgotten age with comparable ease. There is much to like about how about the story develops, with interesting descriptions of the soldiers preparing for the invasion of France on D-Day and of the shadow of  uncertainty that everyone lived in during these momentous late days of WW2. Within the story there are some quite dark moments but these are combined with lovely romantic interludes which help to give the story its light and shade.

There is certainly scope for this series to continue as I would love to be able to meet up with the characters in peacetime to see how Summerhayes survives in post war Britain.

A lovely summer read, perfect for an afternoon in the garden.

You will find my review of The Buttonmaker's Daughter by clicking here

More about the author can be found on her website 

Twitter @MerrynWrites

My thanks to Phoebe at Midas pr for my review copy of The Secret of Summerhayes



  1. Love the sound of this novel.

  2. Thank you,it's a lovely story. I really enjoyed it.


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