Happy Publication Day to Laura Briggs for her novel “A Garden in Cornwall“. I’m so pleased to be hosting this enchanting cover and enticing extract. Read on and enjoy.
With their lives exactly what they’ve always dreamed, Matt and Julianne await the arrival of the third member of their family — but their happiness is threatened when their landlady Mathilda announces her intention to sell their beloved Rosemoor Cottage for an impossible value. Devastated, Julianne struggles to accept the cold reality of her and Matt making their home elsewhere.
Matt’s life has taken a new turn as he finally puts aside his academic work to pursue his gardening hobby as a career: his first new job as a landscape designer involves neglected Penwill Hall’s ‘lost’ garden — one with a truly romantic Cornish past. But the task of restoring its legendary beauty from nearly seventy years ago proves difficult among the ruins lost in weeds and wilderness.
With notions of secret gardens and wartime stories echoing in her thoughts, Julianne is determined to help Matt and the estate’s new owner after the discovery of a hidden mural in the hall itself, depicting a breathtaking garden that may well be the lost one. Her efforts to uncover the past lead her to a curmudgeonly local gardener who just may hold the knowledge that would restore the ‘lost garden’ to its former glory. Will Julianne’s quest help her find a way to deal with losing the home she loves?
Hellos and farewells abound as Dinah returns to lend a helping hand at Cliffs House and Julianne relives her favourite memories of her and Matt’s beloved cottage in Book Twelve — the final instalment in the bestselling series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL.
Note from Laura
I would like to thank Nina for inviting me to share about my novella A Garden in Cornwall. It is actually the final book in a series about an American event planner named Julianne who found a new life and new job working at a Cornish manor house. The scene I’ve chosen to share takes place when Julianne is late to work one busy morning and first encounters the manor’s somewhat startling new housekeeper:
Before I reached the stairs, I stopped cold in the foyer. Between me and the path to my office stood a veritable statue of a woman, dressed in a lace-trimmed charcoal blouse buttoned to her throat and a black skirt ironed so straight and perfect it might as well be a slab of wood covering her sensibly from waist to mid-calf. From lace-up Oxfords and black stockings to match, to ‘helmet hair’ pulled back tightly and starched in place so severely that I imagined it would protect her in the event of a car crash, she looked the part of a prison matron or the stingy headmistress of an orphanage.
The black helmet framed a grim, impassive face. One that surveyed me in the manner of a cathedral’s gargoyle surveying a human from on high.
My body jolted with surprise. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t see you there. Are you … looking for someone?”
“Mrs. Norbit,” said the woman, stonily. “Head housekeeper of Cliffs House.”
It only took a second for my brain to process the fact that she was, in fact, the Mrs. Norbit spoken of, and not in quest of said person. “Oh,” I said. “Um … welcome to Cliffs House,” I said. “I’m Julianne Rose. I’m the event planner who works at the estate.”
I extended my hand. One presumably made of wood and steel was now clasped in it, but only briefly. The arm returned to its original place after this.
“You’re the one with the most untidy office,” she said. This was not a comparative example, but a descriptive adjective of severe lecture, I perceived. Had Mrs. Norbit’s cool and impassive voice been capable of italicization, this word would have received it.
“Yes,” I said. “I am. Sorry. Me and Gemma have been trying to tidy up for the past week or so.” I had been winnowing the number of paper files to reduce our wastefulness; Gemma had been meaning to take the paper to the recycling facility, but between inspiration for a second novel and a budding personal interest in Michael, her thoughts had been elsewhere lately.
“I see.” It was evident that Mrs. Norbit did not see this, however. “If you please, her ladyship is waiting for you in her office,” she said. “She did not give the reason.”
“Sure,” I said. “Come on up with me and we’ll find out.”
“I have my duties to attend, Ma’am.” With that, Mrs. Norbit descended the stairs and walked through the foyer in the direction of the drawing room. I noticed one finger broke away occasionally from her severe pose to trace the surface of a nearby table, then a picture frame, and a lamp, at random intervals along the way. A dust check.
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Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.
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