1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.
There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…
2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.
Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?
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(Stuff you may or may not already know!)
I studied European medieval cultural history for my degree – no surprises there! In fact, I did it through the Open University here in the UK before we had the internet so all my work had to be sent by post. Because of family constraints at the time, I couldn’t go to any lectures so I would just emerge once a year at exam time and then disappear again! Later I did an MA in feminist art history which was fascinating, I have a great love of art and especially the Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites. Because I love studying and viewing art, I have travelled across Europe many times to see some of the great works, as well as a visit to New York to go to the Met. And any visit to London here at home isn’t complete without a mooch around a gallery.
Due to the IT work I used to do, I have lived in numerous parts of both England and Wales and have managed to live in houses (and a converted oast house with the roundels on top) from the 16th, 17th, and 19th centuries. I have yet to manage the 18th century, but never say never! I do love old houses, there is nothing better than walls that aren’t straight, wonky floorboards and beams.
Because of my fascination in both history and old buildings, I spend quite a lot of my spare time visiting local historic attractions. We are very lucky in my home county to have many monastic and castle ruins which are so atmospheric and perfect to wander around whilst making up stories of what happened there hundreds of years ago. We also have a castle (a complete one!) built by William the Conqueror nearly 1000 years ago. And every village here has a church which is great to wander around, together with some very old gravestones which make intriguing reading. And no day out in Norfolk would be the same without a visit to the beach which isn’t far from home – it’s often too cold for a paddle here, but never too cold for ice cream! We have a very sweet elderly miniature schnauzer called Fred who also enjoys a trip to the seaside.
I love lots of wildlife, especially otters, and I have a great desire to see one in the wild. To this end, we have camped (thankfully we also enjoy camping) in some pretty remote parts of the UK where they are likely to be, but sadly I’ve never seen one. These days as they become less endangered, they are even in the rivers closer to home so I need to do some more stalking! I am always on the lookout for owls too, I can often hear them in the woods near to where I live but they are very difficult to spot…
And what do I do when the English weather sends me inside? I enjoy baking cakes, and luckily, I have a family who likes eating them. I am pretty rubbish at any other kind of cooking though, my husband and children know to expect dinner to be partially cremated! I play the saxophone (badly!) however I try not to do that too often because it probably annoys the neighbours; but my sax is one of my most prized possessions, it’s great for relaxing if the writing has come to a standstill.
up in Surrey, Clare always dreamed of being a writer. Instead, she followed a
career in IT, before moving to Norfolk for a quieter life and re-training as a
Now writing full time, she lives with her husband and the youngest two of her six children. Weekends are spent exploring local castles and monastic ruins, or visiting the nearby coast.