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Friday, 21 July 2017

Merryn Allingham The Secret of Summerhayes Blog Tour and give away

Merryn Allingham

The Secret of Summerhayes
Published by HQ in paperback original on
27th July 2017 - £7.99

A war-torn summer
A house fallen into ruin
A family broken apart by scandal…

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 stunning garden is overgrown and the whole place feels as unwelcoming as the family themselves. What secrets does the hidden garden hold and what will it mean to uncover it?

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.

An evocative and captivating tale, The Secret of Summerhayes tells of dark secrets, almost-forgotten scandals and a household teetering on the edge of ruin.

Merryn Allingham spent her childhood moving around as a soldier’s daughter, and the desire to travel stayed with her into adulthood when working for an airline introduced her to a vast range of people and adventures around the world. Later settling down in Sussex to raise a family, Merryn earned a PhD from the University of Sussex and for many years taught university literature until turning to her own writing. She has published six Regency period novels under the name Isabelle Goddard, and The Secret of Summerhayes is the 6th title under Merryn Allingham.

When I received this book to read my eyes went straight to the cover, its so bright and attractive, deep colours plus I took a look at the lady on the front cover who seems to be looking back over her shoulder at something or maybe someone. There's a large house or mansion in the background that caught my eye too, she appears to be standing in the grounds of it.

In 1944 Bethany was a school teacher, a primary school teacher, but the school got bombed.
So now Bethany is without employment and needs to find work.
She applies to become a companion to an old lady who lives in the Estate of Summerhayes. 

Going back to the front cover, you can see in the distance Summerhayes, I lovely building, regal standing there but, inside its fallen to pieces over the years. The old lady Alice lives in just two rooms.

With the war going on the Military have taken over parts of the building. Even the grounds are suffering. 

The companionship between Bethany and Alice grown, but then things take a turn. Alice starts to receive letters from her daughter who she hasn't seen in years. 
This takes Alice repeatedly back in the past. Bethany sometimes struggles bringing Alice back to the present. 

Are these letters actually from her daughter though? Or are there more mitigating circumstances.

This is a well written easy to follow read which lead me on quite a journey with Bethany taking care of her caree Alice. I thought the bond between them became stronger as time went on. 

I did feel complete sorrow for Alice where any Mother would react the way she did when a letter comes out of the blue, so many things, so many memories and so many wounds.

My thanks to HarperCollins UK for supplying me with this fabulous book. 

Released 27th July 2017

Please see my blog for the tour and book giveaway.

About HarperCollins Publishers
HarperCollins UK publishes a wide range of books, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction, to block-busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics. It also publishes a great selection of non-fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books, and its digital business is thriving. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins UK publishes some of the world’s foremost authors, from Nobel prize winners to worldwide bestsellers. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
HarperCollins Publishers is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at

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