Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Supernatural, Book Review
When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent café owner, Owen Maltby.
When her husband left her for his secretary, Alice Hart packed up and moved to Yorkshire with William, the spaniel. Her mother and step-father have emigrated to Spain and Alice is more than ready for a fresh start and to move on with her life.
New Cottage (a misnomer as it was built centuries ago to the specifications of the village cheesemaker) came with the divorce settlement but needs some TLC and Alice wants to renovate the barn that was included with the cottage, as a holiday let. She hires tall, dark and gorgeous local builder, Richard Wainwright to do the necessary work.
Despite not wanting another relationship, Alice finds she’s attracted to café owner, Owen Maltby. Owen, slightly mysterious and unpredictable, is a qualified pharmacist but gave up his career to become a healer, taking over from his grandmother when she passed away.
Even as she’s settling in and making friends, all is not as it seems in Alice’s world. Several times she’s caught glimpses of Owen in unlikely and random places but he disappears before she can reach him.
I swear it only takes me a few minutes, but by the time I walk down the drive Owen has gone. I pause at the gate, puzzled, but then I see hime walking towards Kirkby Fleetham, with no dog. I am about to call his name but something stops me. Instead I make an attempt to pull William to heel and we start to follow.
Only then Owen calls my name; from somewhere down the road behind me.
It’s not only the strange sightings of Owen, and what she can only describe as ghostly visions, that are playing on Alice’s mind; there’s also the crying at night that sounds like a baby, but she is unable to work out where the sound is coming from. Then Richard unearths a shocking find in the barn.
With the help of her new friend, Margaret, Alice researches the history of the cottage, attempting to unravel the mysteries of the confusion surrounding her. Well depicted characters drive the story, I particularly liked Alice and the way she took a portion of the blame for her husband’s infidelity, though if she did contribute to the break up, it was no excuse.
Set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, The Cheesemaker’s House is a well written, steadily unfolding mystery with a poignant glimpse into a past which has a bearing onOwen, Alice and Richard. An engaging, intriguing and mysterious story, including romance with a strong supernatural thread, full of emotions ranging from despair and sadness to a dawning sense of optimism and love.
I love that the inspiration for the book came from a find in the author’s own Yorkshire home. A home that had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726.
Perhaps writing is in my blood. My father, Mercer Simpson, was a poet; my cousin, Roger Hubank, a novelist; Roger’s uncle, John Hampson was also a novelist and fringe member of the Bloomsbury Group. And it’s even rumoured that John Keats is somewhere back there in the family tree. No wonder that I have always scribbled. It was reaching the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition in 2011 which made me take my writing seriously. The Cheesemaker’s House, a gripping romance-suspense, saw the light of day in September 2013 and I was delighted when it received great reviews from book bloggers and, just as importantly, from the people who bought and read it. My second novel, The Faerie Tree, came out in March 2015 and is a suspenseful romance about the tricks memory plays. I have recently signed a contract with Sapere Books for the re-issue of Another You (which I withdrew when the previous publisher went into liquidation) and a further timeslip romance looking back to World War Two.