Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Product Details

First of a trilogy coming from Rosie Clarke in January 15

Emma works in her father's tobacconists shop.  She falls in love with a man she thinks a gentleman but discovers too late that he only wants her for one thing.  Caught in the trap so many girls have fallen into before her, Emma is forced into an unhappy marriage by an unrelenting father.

Her husband wants her father's money more than a woman he thinks of as a whore.  Will her father relent and can she ever find happiness in the future?


From the author of the Best Selling The Downstairs Maid.

Published by Ebury Publishing in January 2015
Coming In January 2015 from the author of the Downstairs Maid

Rosie Clarke
Published by Ebury

Betrayed by the man she loved and forced into an unhappy marriage, Emma must face brutality and regret before she can find happiness.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Downstairs Maid

The Downstairs Maid
Rosie Clarke
Ebury Publishing

Published on 22nd May 2014.

Emily is growing up on her father's smallholding, happy despite being poor until she is sent to the Manor as a skivvy.  Can she rise above her situation to find happiness and will the first world war intervene to spoil it all?


Emily could hear the row going on downstairs and she stuck her fingers in her ears, burying her head under the pillows to shut out the angry words. It was warm in her bed, because she had two wool blankets and a thick eiderdown filled with duck feathers, and the sheets smelled of lavender. At night when it was cold out, she liked to burrow right down into her soft mattress, pull the covers over her head and disappear into her own world. In Emily’s secret world she could be whatever she wanted to be – a princess living in a castle with jelly and cake for tea every day. Or a lady in a fine house with a big diamond ring like Miss Concenii had – or…there Emily’s imagination ran out, because she knew so little of the world. The Vicar spoke of foreign lands sometimes, but the stories he told didn’t seem real but more like the fairytales in the old books Pa sometimes brought home for her to read. Pa was always bringing some treasure home for Emily. Usually, the bits of glass and china were chipped or cracked.
‘I can’t sell them like that, Em’ lass,’ he would tell her, taking her on his knee to explain that the latest find was Derby or Coalport or Worcester porcelain and the glass cranberry or Bristol Blue or perhaps a very early Georgian wineglass with a spiral stem. ‘If they were perfect they would be worth money – this scent bottle has a silver top, see – look at the hallmarks; that little lion means it’s proper English silver and the leopard’s head means it was made in London and that one is the date letter. See those four letters; they’re the maker’s marks but they’re a bit worn and I can’t see, but there’s a feel to this piece. That was made by a good silversmith that was and I’m not going to scrap it even if it would bring in a couple of bob. If this was perfect it would be worth at least two pounds, perhaps more – but the cap is dented, the stopper is broken and the glass is chipped. I wouldn’t get more than a shilling.’
‘I don’t mind,’ Emily said and hugged him. ‘I love it, because it is pretty and I don’t care that it’s damaged.’
She thought she would like to learn all the silver hallmarks but Pa didn’t know them all. He needed a reference book, so he’d told her. Emily decided that one day, when she had lots of money, she would buy him one, to say thank you for all he gave her
Pa nodded and kissed the top of her head. ‘That’s right, lass. Always remember when you buy something to buy quality. If it’s damaged it will come cheap and that way you can afford things you’d never otherwise be able to own.’
In Emily’s eyes the fact that her father had given her the treasure and took the time to explain what it was, where it was made and what it was for, meant more than the item itself. She liked to be close to Pa, to smell his own particular smell and feel safe in his arms. Emily knew her father loved her. She wasn’t sure if her mother even liked her, though sometimes she would smile and tell her to fetch out the biscuits or cakes, though she more often received a smack on the legs than a kiss.
The row seemed to go on for longer than usual that night. Driven at last by a kind of desperate curiosity, she crept down the uncarpeted wooden stairs, avoiding the one that creaked, to stand behind the door that closed the stairs off from the kitchen. Because it wasn’t shut properly, Emily could hear what her parents were saying.
‘But you’re his only relative,’ Ma said and she sounded almost tearful. ‘It isn’t fair that he should leave everything to that woman.’
Pa’s tone was calm and reasonable, the same as always. ‘Miss Concenii has been with him for years and nursed him devotedly this last year. The lawyer said he changed his will two months ago. I was the main beneficiary in the first one – most of the money and the house and contents…but then he changed it.’
‘And we know who’s behind that, don’t we?’ Ma said in a sullen tone. ‘She must have guided his hand. I told you to go and see him. I would have had him here and looked after him myself if you’d bothered to do something about it - but you're always the same. You just leave things and now we’ve been cheated out of a fortune.’
‘You don’t know that,’ Pa said. ‘He probably thought she deserved the house and money for putting up with him all those years.’
‘She guided his hand that’s what she did. You should go to court and get your share.’
‘He left me fifty pounds, a set of chessmen in ivory and ebony, a mantel clock and a Bible – and he left Em a ring. I’ve got it in my pocket…’
‘She can’t have that, it’s too valuable,’ Ma said. ‘Give it to me. I’ll look after it for her until she’s older.’
Emily wanted to call out that the ring was hers. She was frightened her mother would take it and sell it, but her father was speaking again.
‘I’ll just keep it for her. Albert left you this, Stella…’
Emily heard her mother give a squeak of pleasure. Obviously, the bequest had pleased her. Emily craned forward to peep round the door and look. She could see something on the kitchen table. It flashed in the light and she thought it must be diamonds, though there were blue stones too.
‘That’s sapphire and diamond that is,’ Pa said. ‘It’s a brooch, Stella – and worth a few bob.’
‘I can see that but it’s not worth as much as a house – and three hundred pounds. Think what we could have done with all that, Joe. You’ve been cheated of your fortune but you haven’t the sense to see it.’
‘Even if I have there’s no proof,’ Pa said. ‘She made sure of that – the doctor signed to say Albert was in his right mind when he made his last will…’
‘And what did he get out of it I wonder!’
Ma was in a right temper. Emily turned and went back up to her bedroom. She ran across the stained boards and jumped into bed. Her feet had turned cold standing on the stairs listening to her parents and her mind was full of pictures that troubled her. What had Miss Concenii done to poor Uncle Albert to make him sign his house and most of his money and possessions over to her?
Emily’s eyes stung with tears that trickled down her cheeks. She didn’t mind much that they wouldn’t be rich. Fifty pounds sounded a lot to her and she was curious about the ring Pa was keeping for her – but she hoped Uncle Albert hadn’t been made unhappy when he was ill. She felt sad for him having his hand guided and she felt sad for her father, because he’d lost his fortune.
Joe Carter worked hard from early in the morning to late at night, mucking out the horses and the cows, milking and watering and feeding the stock. His was only a small farm and he eked out a scarce living from his pigs, cows, ducks and chickens. He had one ten acre field put down to arable, which he alternated between barley, rye, wheat and potatoes, with a patch for vegetables for the house. He worked alone most of the time, though there was a lad of sixteen who came to help with the jobs he couldn’t manage alone. Bert was a little slow in his head but strong and a good worker. No one else would employ him, because he couldn’t be left to do a job alone, but Pa gave him a shilling now and then and he was always hanging around the yard, grinning at nothing in particular and eager to help. Because he was harmless and would do anything, Ma tolerated him and if there was nothing else for him to do she asked him to chop the logs for her.
When Pa had nothing much to do on the land he went out buying the things other people threw away. He had a barn filled almost to the rafters with old furniture. Ma said it was all junk, but Emily had seen some things she thought looked nice.
Pa had shown her some chairs with turned legs and a wide carved splat at the back, which he said were Georgian. He’d told her they were quality when new, but he’d only got five of a set of six and two of them had broken legs. One day he hoped to mend the legs but he was always looking for a single chair that would match the set – because a set of six was worth a lot more than five.
Best of all Emily liked the selection of silver bits, china and glass that Pa kept in a cabinet in the barn. She liked the delicate silver jug with a shaped foot Pa said was Georgian, the little enamelled snuff or pill boxes with pictures on the lids – and the silver box that opened to reveal a singing bird. That was lovely and Emily would have loved to own it, but Pa had to sell his nice things because there wasn’t enough money coming in from the land. He’d talked of having a shop in Ely one day, but Ma told him he was daft because he could never afford to pay the rent.
If Pa had got Uncle Albert’s house and money he could have bought a shop. Perhaps then Ma and Emily wouldn’t have had to hide from the tallyman ever again.

I have 2 free copies of The Downstairs Maid/Rosie Clarke to give away.

The first replies to reach me will receive a paperback free of charge and post free to wherever they live if they supply a name and address.  Entry through contact me at

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Downstairs Maid

Hi everyone, I'm glad you've popped in to read the excerpt from my new book.

The Downstairs Maid/ Rosie Clarke
Published by Ebury/22/06/14


‘What’s wrong, Pa?’ she asked. ‘Where is Ma – is she ill?’
‘She’s not feeling very clever at the moment,’ he said, looking up at her. She was stunned as she saw the expression of despair in his eyes. Pa never looked like that no matter how bad things were. ‘Your Ma’s lost the baby, Em’. It was lucky I was here to get her upstairs. I sent Bert for the doctor but he was out visiting another patient. By the time he got here, three hours after Bert went for him, it was too late…He was sorry but there was nothing he could do…’
‘Oh Pa…’ Emily’s throat was tight and she was sad that her mother had lost the new baby. How could you lose a baby when it wasn’t even here? At least, Emily hadn’t seen it. ‘I don’t understand properly…’
‘Come here, love,’ he said and opened his arms. She crawled on to his lap and he kissed the top of her head. ‘It’s time you understood these things, Em’. The new baby was in your Ma’s tummy – or her womb, as it’s properly called. It shouldn’t have come out for another four months.’
‘Is that why she looked fatter?’ Emily asked and he nodded. ‘How did it get in there?’
‘Your Ma and me, we made the baby between us. It’s called loving and you’ll understand that bit when you grow up and get married, but you need to know that losing the baby has made your Ma ill.’
‘I’m sorry Ma is ill. What can I do?’
‘You were starting to clear up when I came down. You’ll have to do that for a while, Em’. It means no school for at least a couple of weeks, perhaps longer.’
Emily’s heart sank but she didn’t let her father see she was upset. It was her place to look after her mother while she was ill and she would. Besides, she would have done anything to take that sad defeated look from her father’s face.
‘It wasn’t your fault, Pa. You didn’t make Ma lose the baby.’
He was silent for a moment, then, ‘In a way it was, Em’. You see your Ma could have married anyone. She was pretty the way you are – all dark hair and eyes too big for your face. I promised her I’d be rich one day and she believed me, but all I’ve done is disappoint her.’
That was the first time anyone had told Emily she was pretty and she would have been pleased if Pa hadn’t been so sad over Ma losing the baby.
Emily puzzled over the rest of what he’d said. How could Ma be disappointed in him when he worked all hours for them? It wasn’t his fault that it rained and the wheat went down in the fields and was half ruined; he didn’t rule the low price of potatoes when there was a glut – and he couldn’t help it if a cow died in calf…
Thinking about the cow that died, Emily remembered the farmer bringing the bull to her some months earlier. She’d hidden behind the barn and watched what happened…it was sort of awful but fascinating to watch at the same time. Now she wondered if that was how Ma and Pa made the baby but it seemed improbable and unpleasant so she decided it couldn’t be the same for people.
‘I’d better get on,’ she said. He nodded and let her go. For a moment he sat in his chair and then he took down his pipe. His tobacco jar was filled, because he’d allowed himself a little money from Uncle Albert’s bequest, and he lit the pipe, smoking as Emily cleared the table and washed the dirty dishes. She looked round and saw a pile of ironing waiting to be done. The flat iron was near the range so it looked as if Ma had been about to put it on to heat up when she lost the baby.
Emily stuck it on the range, which was hot. Pa must have made the fire up at some time during the day. As Emily was putting the old sheets on the table in readiness for the ironing a woman came down the stairs. Her name was Granny Sawle and she lived with her husband in a cottage at the edge of the village.
‘She’s settled now and will sleep,’ she said to Pa. He nodded and took some coins from his pocket, offering them to her. ‘I don’t need paying, Joe. Stella has been good to me. She helped me out last winter when my Tom was down with the agues. I’m sorry we lost the boy but it was much too early. Even if the doctor had got here sooner I doubt the babe would have lived.’
Pa nodded but didn’t say anything more. She gave him a pitying look and then turned to Emily. Her dress was black and she had on a plaid shawl over her shoulders, her hair rolled tight into a bun at the nape of her neck. Emily could smell carbolic soap on her hands.
‘Your Pa’s upset over losing his son and heir,’ she said. ‘As for your Ma, she’s devastated. You’ve got to be brave and look after them both, Emily love. If you need me - or you’re worried - just send Bert to fetch me.’
‘Thank you,’ Emily said. ‘Is Ma all right?’
‘She will be. All she needs is rest and looking after,’ she said and went out without another look at Pa.
Emily carried on with the ironing. Her mother didn’t normally allow her to do it, because she said Emily might burn herself on the iron if it was too hot and she liked her things just so. Emily couldn’t put as much pressure on as Ma but she could make these towels and her Pa’s long-johns and shirt look all right.
Her father didn’t look at her. He seemed lost in his thoughts and after a few minutes he got up and went outside. He didn’t speak to Emily and she knew he was too upset, but she missed his smile and hoped it wouldn’t be long before he would be back to normal. Clearly he was upset about losing his son and heir, like Granny Sawle had said, because he always had a smile and a word for Emily.
She finished the ironing and was wondering what to do when the door opened and a young man entered. Emily frowned, because she didn’t like her uncle very much. He was her mother’s brother and Ma thought the world of him, but there was something about the way he looked at Emily that made her feel he wasn’t to be trusted.
‘Been doing the ironing, Em’?’ he said and she scowled, because that was her father’s pet name for her. ‘Where’s Stella?’
‘My name is Emily. Ma is upstairs sleeping – she’s lost the baby.’
Derek sat down abruptly, the colour washing from his face. ‘I told the stupid woman not to do so much. She ought to have had help while she was pregnant. If your father had anything about him he would have got a girl in to help out.’
‘I help sometimes.’ Emily was defensive, because no one was allowed to find fault with Pa.
‘What can you do? A bit of washing up or ironing? What about making the butter, scrubbing floors and all the rest of it. Stella works too hard and always has done. She should never have married that loser.’
‘Don’t talk about Pa that way…’ Emily was furious. She had the still warm iron in her hand and without thinking just threw it at him. It missed and fell a few inches short but it shook him. For a moment he stared at her, his eyes narrowed in anger.
‘You want to watch that temper, girl. What you need is a good smacking…’
‘You’re not my father.’
‘You little bitch…’ Derek lunged at her, grabbed her by the arm and hauled her across his knee. He slapped her hard several times and she gasped with pain but struggled and then nipped his leg through his trouser. He yelled and hit her harder.
‘Beast. I’ll tell Pa…’
‘Hurts your pride does it?’ he said and then his hand caressed her backside through her knickers. ‘Rub it better shall I?’ His hand had slipped beneath the cotton drawers and he was caressing her bottom. She felt a surge of revulsion mixed with anger and bit his bare arm hard. Derek shouted with pain and jerked. She rolled off his lap and ran across the kitchen, pulling open the back door and making a run for it. Her heart beating wildly as she made her escape, she fled through the yard and out into the fields beyond. The air was cold and damp but she hardly noticed in her panic.
Derek was horrid! She hated him now. What did he think he was doing, pretending to make it better after he’d hurt her? The thought of him touching her made her feel sick and dirty. She didn’t know why, but it had seemed wrong and nasty and she would have done anything to get away.
Emily knew that she would have to be careful when her uncle was around in future. He was mean and spiteful and he would get his own back one of these days.
If Emily had dared to tell her father he might have sent her uncle packing but she couldn’t do that, because it would cause another quarrel between her parents. Ma thought the world of Derek. He could never do anything wrong and she was always telling Pa how much better her brother was at farming than he could ever be.
All Emily had done was to throw the iron at him in a fit of temper, because he’d been rude about Pa – and he’d punished her. Pa never hit Ma whatever she said or did. He just looked at her in his hurt way and went out without speaking. Derek was a bully and he made her feel uncomfortable whenever he touched her.
She wouldn’t tell him on him, because Ma wouldn’t believe her and if Pa did there would be a row – so she’d keep it to herself, but she wouldn’t give him a chance to touch her again like that…
She made a bolt for the open fields. Ma was sleeping and if Derek woke her up she wouldn’t want Emily around. All Ma really cared for was her brother and money – and apparently, the son she’d lost. The son and heir that had made Pa lose his smile.
The tears building inside her, Emily ran and ran. She climbed the stile at the edge of her father’s meadow, where the cows were feeding on the meagre grass, raced across the dividing lane and scrambled over the stile into the next meadow, where she threw herself down on the damp grass and wept. The ground was soaking wet, because it had been raining and heavy clouds scudded across the sky even now. It was getting darker and turning much colder. Emily was too miserable to notice. She didn’t know why she was so miserable but her life just seemed to get worse and worse. She’d always been able to run to her father, but
now suddenly she felt alone, forced to stand up for herself.
She couldn’t ever tell what Derek had done so she would just have to keep her secrets inside her head.

Emily cried for a while longer and then sat up and wiped the tears from her cheeks. She was chilled because she didn’t have a coat but she didn’t want to go back to the house in case Derek was still there. Instead, she stood up and looked about her. She saw a youth riding on a pony and there were two smaller girls with him. It was almost dark now and she couldn’t see them properly until they came closer. Until this moment she hadn’t realised that she was on private land, because she knew now that these fields belonged to Lord Barton. Pa had warned her not to play here but she hadn’t thought about it when she jumped over the stile from her father’s land into the lane and crossed it.
She wondered whether to run away but curiosity made her stay where she was a little longer. Emily liked horses, even though all Pa had was a couple of heavy horses that pulled the plough and the wagon. She could see that the ponies the children were riding were beautiful; a grey with a silvery mane and two chestnuts. For a moment she felt a pang of envy as the well-dressed children rode up to her. The girls were both wearing riding habits, short jackets over long divided skirts under which were some kind of trousers. The youth had tight-fitting breeches, long brown boots with the tops turned down and a tweed jacket that fitted to his shoulders and waist. His stock was white and he wore a black velvet cap on his head, his gloves of tan leather; in his hand he carried a riding crop. Emily had seen people dressed like that riding through the village now and then, and on the road when Pa took her into Ely on the wagon and she knew they were rich. Her head went up and she stared at the youth boldly, expecting to be told she was trespassing.
‘Hello, little girl,’ he said and to her surprise his tone was gentle. ‘Are you lost?’
‘I’m not a little girl,’ Emily said, her eyes sparkling with ire. ‘I’m ten and I’m not lost – I live just across the lane.’
‘She must be the Carters’ girl,’ the elder of the two girls with him said, looking at Emily curiously. ‘Have you been lying on the ground? Your dress is muddy and so is your face.’
‘She’s been crying,’ the younger one said in a tone similar to the youth, who Emily surmised must be her brother. ‘Are you in trouble, girl?’
‘I’m Emily. I just forgot where I was. I’ll go now.’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ the youth said. ‘I’m Nicolas. My father owns these fields – at least Granny does. Father had his own estate until we moved here.’
‘Why are you telling her that?’ the elder girl asked. ‘She’s just a common farm girl and nothing to us.’
‘Do you have to be rude, Amy? I’m just being friendly. Emily is clearly upset about something.’ He gazed down at her, kind but autocratic, seeing her as the common little girl his sister thought she was. ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’
‘No thank you, I can manage.’ Emily looked at him proudly. She didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her, even though she’d been feeling sorry for herself a few minutes earlier. ‘I’m sorry to have trespassed…’
She turned and ran back the way she’d come earlier. She was cold, dirty, humiliated and envious. The clothes those girls were wearing and their ponies told their own story; they were gentle folk and she was a common farm girl. Emily had always known there was a difference but it had never been brought home to her in that way before.
Nicolas had been kind and the younger girl might have been, had Emily given her the chance but she didn’t want their kindness when she knew what they must be thinking of her. Looking down at the dress her mother had washed and patched so many times that it was little more than a rag, Emily felt ashamed. Most of the girls in her school had dresses their mothers had mended more than once and she’d never really bothered what she looked like before, but the look in that posh girl’s eyes had made her squirm.
Wiping the dirt from her face with the sleeve of her dress, Emily made a vow. One day she would have proper clothes – not the shapeless things her mother made on her treadle machine, out of remnants from the market or the cut-down dresses that came from second-hand stalls, but stylish clothes – like Miss Concenii had worn that day they visited Uncle Albert. She would have a big diamond ring too, though she loved the pretty daisy-shaped ring of different coloured stones that was her bequest from Uncle Albert. Her father had shown it to her, telling her that it was a keepsake ring and had belonged to Uncle Albert’s mother. All the stones were a different colour and the first letter of each stone spelled the word Regard. ‘That’s a ruby, emerald, garnet, agate, ruby again and diamond,’ Pa had said, pointing to each stone in turn and then he locked the ring in a tin box in his rolltop desk with his other papers and important things. She could have it when she was seventeen but not before because it was too precious for a child to wear.
The thought of her ring comforted Emily. At least she had something of worth, even if she did have to wear shapeless old clothes.
She saw Bert coming towards her as she approached the farmyard. He was grinning in his vacuous way, heading towards the barn, but stopped when he saw her, lifting his greasy cap to scratch his head.
‘There you be, little miss. Your Pa be looking for you – and he bain’t pleased. He baint pleased ‘cos you ran off and left your Ma alone in the house.’
‘Derek was there,’ Emily muttered but ran across uneven cobbles towards the back door. The black paint was peeling off in lumps and it looked dilapidated in the fading light, as did most of the sheds and the house itself. Emily hadn’t realised how poor they were until now. She was used to the shabby interior and the chairs that didn’t match; they hadn’t mattered but suddenly they did and she felt resentful. How dare that posh girl look down her nose at her!
As she opened the door and went in, she saw her father come downstairs with a tray. He’d taken some food up to her mother but by the looks of it she hadn’t eaten very much.
‘Your mother wants a cup of tea. Do you think you could manage that – or will you run off again as soon as I’ve gone?’ The tone in his voice was one that Emily hadn’t heard before and it stung her.
Pa was cross with her. He was never cross with Emily, but he was now. She felt as if she’d been beaten black and blue as she stared at him.
‘Derek was here. Ma wasn’t alone. I didn’t mean to leave her alone.’
‘Well, if he was here he didn’t stay long. Why did you run off – he didn’t upset you?’
Pa’s eyes were narrowed and angry. Emily was shivering inside but she lifted her head and gave him a proud look, then shook her head. She couldn’t tell him about that humiliating episode with her uncle.
‘I’m disappointed in you, Emily,’ her father said and his look of hurt bewilderment stung worse than anything that Derek had done. ‘I thought I could trust you to look after your mother while I’m working.’
‘You can, Pa. I promise I shan’t leave her alone again while she’s ill.’
He looked at her for a long moment and she’d never seen him so stern. ‘Well, I shall trust you this time, but I’ve got my eye on you, miss – let me down again and I shall have to punish you, Emily.’
He never called her Emily. The name was a reproach, because she’d let him down.
Her cheeks were flaming but she didn’t answer him back. She couldn’t tell him why she’d run off like that because it would cause more trouble in the house – and perhaps he wouldn’t believe her.
Emily had always felt secure in her father’s love, but now she wasn’t quite sure. Ma had lost the son he’d wanted – Granny Sawle had told her so. Perhaps he was so disappointed that he no longer cared about Emily in the same way.
Choking back her hurt, Emily went to fill the large copper kettle and set it on the range to boil. The outside of the kettle was blackened by use but the inside was clean because her mother scoured it out to keep it shiny. Emily hadn’t truly realised how hard Ma worked to keep things right, but in the next few days she was going to learn.
She would learn to do everything Ma did, because she had to make Pa smile at her again. If he didn’t love her the in the same way, Emily still loved him and she wanted things to be as they were before it all started to go wrong…

Sunday, 23 March 2014

News from Rosie

Hi everyone
I am feeling very pleased about the way things are going with my new saga.  The Downstairs Maid is due to be published on 22.06.14, and already the preorders have been a fair way up the kindle listings, even making a brief appearance in the top 100 of Military.  I was a bit surprised it should be in that list until I saw some of the other books and realised that all kinds of stories may qualify for this list.

The Downstairs Maid has links to WW1 although it is more truly a saga, of course.  I hope to post an excerpt here shortly but I'm just waiting to clear it with my publisher.  Hope to see you here soon.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

My New Saga

Rosie Clarke now has a presence on the Ebury website.  There is a bio, a picture of me and the announcement of the new book, coming next year.  I think about May 2014 but I will update the website as news comes in about progress.


This is the story of a young girl growing up on her father's smallholding in the Fens.  Emily doesn't truly think about being poor, except when she has to hide under the kitchen table so that the tallyman doesn't know anyone is home.  So when she meets the children from the Big House on their ponies on the day she learns that her father wants a son more than anything else in the world, it comes as a shock to be described as a dirty little farm girl.

Emily learns to accept her place in the world when she goes to work in the Big House.  She is just a servant and can look no higher...or can she?

Set against a rural background in the years before and during WW1 this is the story of a girl who strives to make something of herself, yet gives selflessly of her love and herself.

Coming next year from Ebury books!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Recent holiday

A photo taken recently on holiday in Spain, at one of my favourite restaurants.

I have for some years been enjoying holidays in the Marbella area of Spain.  We stay at a pleasant apartment in Miraflores, which overlooks the sea and a downsweep of trees, white villas and apartments, swimming pools and tennis courts.  There is always something to watch from the balcony, whether the children learning to play tennis or ships at sea or merely the sun dancing like a shower of diamonds on the sea.  The sky is nearly always blue with the occasional fluffy white cloud drifting by.  This time we got more cloud and some wind, but the warmth is delightful after the English winter.

We have two favourite restuarants; one is in Fuengirola and called Portofino.  We've been going there so many years that the owner and his waiters are like friends, and the proprieter is a very amusing man who makes lots of jokes.  His wife is the cook and the food is fantastic.

The other restaurant is in Marbella and is called Da Bruno.  This is a beautiful and impressive place, smart but relaxed and clean.  Some of the food served here is out of this world.  I sampled Lobster linguinni this time and it was delicious, but there are many lovely dishes here.(may not have spelled linguinni right).

The puddings here are simply delicious.  I particularly enjoy the flambe dishes they cook at the table - Crepes Suzette and flambed fruit - wonderful.  It really adds to the holiday to visit a restaurant like this one and enjoy special food.

When in Spain I love to swim in one of the pools close by or walk by the sea.  I also love to shop, particularly for fancy shoes and I have several pairs of lovely sandals bought from a smart shop in Marbella or Fuengerola.  When we first went out, we visited a lot of different towns and resorts to see the bullrings and various views but these days we spend most of our time either in Marbella or at Miraflores, where we relax in the sun.  Although I invariably do some work.  I never go anywhere without my computer and I work on my books for an hour or so in the morning or perhaps in the evening for a short time.

Now this is what I call a sandcastle - seen on the beach just across the road from Da Bruno in Marbella.  There is often a clever sand sculpture to be seen but I think this is terrific.

The artist at work on my flambe fruit and my husband's Crepe Suzettes!

These are the things that make wonderful memories for years to come.  I took the pictures on my ipad, which I love.  I didn't know what I was missing before I had it, but I enjoy it so much - the pictures, the iplayer, the music and the internet all in one clever pad!

Love to all my readers.

New saga coming from Rosie Clarke and Ebury in 1914!