Available in Ebook & Paperback (17 June 2020)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Life can change in a single moment…
Living under the watchful eye of her controlling and abusive father, Hannah Dawson’s hopes for freedom and happiness seem a distant dream. Her mother, passive and ashamed of her self-preservation, refuses to challenge her husband. It is the mysterious circumstances of her long-lost Aunt Lizzie’s disappearance in the 1920s that inspires Hannah to seek a better life.
Since escaping his family’s notoriety in Australia Will Kidd has spent a decade sailing the seas, never looking back. Content to live the life of a wanderer, everything changes in a single moment when he comes face to face with a ghost from his past on a cloudy beach in Liverpool.
Hannah and Will are thrown together by fate and bonded by secrets from long ago. Now, they discover a love like no other. But with Hannah’s father determined to see her wed to a man of his choosing they must fight against a tyrant who has ruined many lives. Even if they succeed, can they escape the chains of their histories? And will their plans for a future be possible when the whole world is changing forever…?
A compelling tale of family secrets and undeniable love against the odds, perfect for fans of Susanne Goldring and Fiona Valpy.
Just before a quarter to five, she tidied her desk and was putting on her coat when there was a knock on the door and before she could react, it opened. Hannah gasped as the man who had called her Elizabeth stepped inside.
‘Are you alone, Miss Dawson? Can we talk now? Please.’
He looked desperate for her to agree.
Her heart pounding, she said, ‘Not here. We can’t talk here. And not now. My father—’
‘Wouldn’t like it, I know. Your colleague told me. Can we go somewhere else?’
‘We could get a cup of tea. There’s a café round the corner.’
‘No.’ Hannah knew if her father should pass by and see her inside a café there’d be ructions. ‘I have to go home.’ She was about to suggest he walk her home, but decided it wasn’t a good idea for him to find out where she lived. She couldn’t risk him turning up on the doorstep as he had done just now. ‘Perhaps tomorrow morning. We could go for a walk on the beach. It’s too dark now.’
‘My ship sails tomorrow morning. I have to be back on board tonight. Please.’
Curiosity about what he wanted to tell her, and a strong desire to spend time with him, fought against her sense of self-preservation. His expression was so sincere. But if her father were to catch them… He seemed to take her hesitation as a signal, as he said, ‘Please let me walk you home. Where do you live?’
Hannah battled with herself again then said, ‘Close by. Just north of here. In Bootle. You can walk with me part of the way.’
He held the door open for her and followed her outside. Hannah remembered Mr Busby’s instructions about locking up and hiding the key. She locked the door, made a rapid character judgement, and put the key under the fire bucket without trying to conceal what she was doing from him. Will Kidd showed no reaction. Anyway, what was there worth stealing in there? Mr Busby’s pencil sharpener?
They walked in silence for a few minutes. Hannah hoped he couldn’t hear her thumping heart. Conscious of the mounting tension between them, she started to speak, only for him to speak in the same moment. Hannah conceded, then immediately wished she hadn’t.
‘Why did you have your face covered up when I saw you the other day?’ he asked, his eyes full of concern.
‘It was cold.’ She knew she sounded unconvincing.
‘You’ve not been at work. I came several times. When I was in port. That man said you were ill with the flu. But it wasn’t the flu, was it?’
‘Why would I lie? I told you, my face was covered because I was cold.’
Will said nothing.
‘Look, Mr Kidd, I thought you wanted to talk about my aunt.’
‘I’d rather talk about you.’
She pulled up.
‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. What would you like to know about Lizbeth?’
‘Why do you call her that?’
He gave a little laugh. ‘I always called her Lizbeth. My special name for her. It was something between just the two of us.’
‘My mother called her Lizzie.’
Hannah couldn’t see his face clearly in the twilight, but she sensed he was smiling.
‘Tell me about her.’ she said. ‘What was she like? I was only small when she left, but I remember crying for days when she disappeared.’
‘I loved her.’ He quickly added, ‘I mean she was a wonderful woman. I was so happy that she was part of our family. She and I would talk for hours. About everything – the names of the stars, how she loved music – and I taught her the names of our Aussie birds.’ He became animated as he spoke about Elizabeth, and Hannah suppressed an unexpected twinge of what she realised must be jealousy. She longed for someone to speak about her in that way – no, more than that – she wished Will Kidd were speaking about her.
My thanks to Kelly of Love Books Tours for the tour invitation and to the publisher for the extract.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she’s not gazing out of her windows at the sea. Clare is the author of eight novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement -her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2. Clare is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Alliance of Independent Authors.