Danger at Thatcham Hall, the second Thatcham Hall Mystery by Frances Evesham, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available in ebook and paperback.
Frances Evesham can’t believe her luck, spending her days writing and collecting grandsons, Victorian trivia and stories of ancestors. She’s fascinated by the Victorians, especially the women in England, so complex and human, hiding longings, ambitions and repressed passions under society’s stifling conventions.
Cooking with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, Frances devours books full of mystery, murder and adventure, their pages spattered with olive oil and scented with rosemary and garlic, their spines propped up on piles of lemons and oranges in the kitchen.
Writing the Thatcham Hall Mysteries leaves just enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns, and wish she’d kept on with those piano lessons.
Frances Evesham, Somerset author of An Independent Woman and Danger at Thatcham Hall, the first two Thatcham Hall Mysteries, both published by The Wild Rose Press, is so fascinated by genealogy and her own ancestors that she set her novels in the 19th Century. Find out more.
Her great aunts and grandmother, Annie, Winnie and Minnie, were tiny, feisty Victorians who kept a village post office, taught in schools and lived into their 90s. Philomena, The Independent Woman of the first novel, and Olivia, the heroine of Danger at Thatcham Hall are just such spirited women, determined to overcome every obstacle they meet.
Blurb for Danger at Thatcham Hall
Ambitious lawyer Nelson Roberts, jilted by his fiancée and embittered by war, trusts no one. He jumps at the chance to make a name for himself solving the mysterious thefts and violence at Thatcham Hall, a country house in Victorian England.
Olivia Martin, headstrong and talented, dreams of a career as a musician. She’ll do anything it takes to avoid a looming miserable fate as a governess.
The pair stumble on a body. Is the farmhand’s death a simple accident, or something more sinister? Who attacked the livestock at the Hall and why are the villagers so reluctant to talk? Can Nelson and Olivia overcome their differences and join forces to unravel the web of evil that imperils the Hall?
Buy links for Danger at Thatcham Hall
Reviews for An Independent Woman
A charming blend of mystery and romance … a sweet, clean romance, likeable characters and a perplexing mystery. (Rakes and Rascals.) Deceit, distrust, dark secrets and fiendish villains… heartwarming.
Frances Evesham slips the reader into a time of rapid change in England, uses light and dark character traits, light and dark places, and love that will not be denied to create a page-turning story. (LAS Reviews)
This is a fabulous tale. Well written and compelling it is more than just a love story and there is a good chunk of mystery in there too to keep the pages turning. (Amazon)
Buy links for An Independent Woman
For UK residents only, signed print copies from Frances Evesham’s author website at https://francesevesham.com/buy-an-independent-woman/
An Independent Woman
An Independent Woman is the tale of Philomena; a determined orphan from the slums of Victorian London, with a habit of tumbling from one disastrous plan to another, haunted by terrifying dreams of a man with cold green eyes.
Impatient with the social conventions she encounters in the great English country house, Thatcham Hall, she meets and crosses swords with the handsome, widowed Lord Thatcham, complicating life still further by falling for a man with secrets of his own.
As he bent towards Philomena, a sudden gust of wind blew a strand of fair hair across Lord Thatcham’s dark eyes. With a careless movement, he swept it aside. Would that lock of hair feel as soft and silken to the touch as it appeared? Philomena’s hand moved. She clenched it against her breast. She could not speak.
“The evening approaches early at this time of year,” Lord Thatcham spoke as softly as a summer breeze. “We should follow Selena and John into the house to avoid the chill.”
Neither moved. They stood immobile, barely inches apart. Philomena’s breathing quickened. Her heart pounded. She was alone with this man. Lord Thatcham’s face, so close, made her pulses race. She had never known such desire.
Her eyes travelled across every feature, as if she would learn it by heart. Strong, sharp planes angled below deep grey eyes. Lines ran from nose to mouth. Forbidding and frightening, Lord Thatcham fascinated her. Something seemed to melt inside. Philomena felt weak and her head swam.
A new light shone in the grey eyes as Lord Thatcham bent his head ever closer. She must move away. She begged her body to obey her. Instead, it leaned closer as though a magnet pulled the two together. She could not resist.
“Philomena,” Lord Thatcham murmured. “Is that name real? Who are you? What brought you here to make me—” He stopped abruptly and straightened a little, searching Philomena’s face. He lingered on the black curls, the blue eyes, and then his gaze slid down to rest on her mouth. His lips parted. “You are very beautiful.”
Philomena could not speak. Her body, responding to the hitherto unknown power of male magnetism, yearned for the first touch. Lord Thatcham’s breath escaped in a rough gasp. He surrounded her, his arms gentle, and eased her body forward until Philomena felt his heart beat in time with her own.
Her eyes were half closed. His lips brushed gently, soft and warm, over her mouth. For an endless moment, she stayed quite still, beguiled by the spicy sharp taste of his lips. A charge electrified her body.
Then her head cleared. She gasped. Was she mad? This was Lord Thatcham and she was nothing but a penniless waif in his power. He meant to have his way with her, just as Joseph had tried to do.
She tore herself away from the embrace. “How dare you.” Her voice shook with fury. “How dare you treat me so?”
Lord Thatcham’s arms fell away. Blood drained from his countenance, leaving the dark eyes aglow in a white face. He said not a word.
Cover art by Debbie Taylor
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Contact Frances by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Header image by Tom Murphy VII via Wikimedia Commons