*This title is also published as Helena's Secret.*
A magical house. A momentous summer.
It has been twenty-four years since a young Helena spent a magical holiday in Cyprus, where she fell in love for the first time. When the now crumbling house, 'Pandora', is left to her by her godfather, she returns to spend the summer there with her family.
Yet, as soon as Helena arrives at Pandora, she knows that its idyllic beauty masks a web of secrets that she has kept from William, her husband, and Alex, her son. At the difficult age of thirteen, Alex is torn between protecting his beloved mother, and growing up. And equally, desperate to learn the truth about his real father . . .
When, by chance, Helena meets her childhood sweetheart, a chain of events is set in motion that threatens to make her past and present collide. Both Helena and Alex know that life will never be the same, once Pandora's secrets have been revealed . . .
Praise for Lucinda Riley: 'Thoroughly addictive storytelling with a moving, emotional heart' Dinah Jefferies, author of The Tea Planter’s Wife
For Lottie Swift, Arcadia has always been magical. The breathtaking art deco house perched above the shoreline of the well-ordered village of Merham seems to stand still throughout the years. It has never changed, not really, but Lottie's fate and fortune have been inextricably linked with that of the beautiful house, and it will forever be fixed in her mind as a symbol of adventure, youth, and of loves lost and gained. Even as her life—and the house—fall into disrepair.
Years later another young woman comes to Merham. A designer hired to make over the now-empty Arcadia, Daisy Parsons seeks a new beginning, as Lottie once did. Fleeing a broken relationship and now facing being a single mother, Daisy finds refuge in the house, and something more—a love she thought she would never know again and a friendship unlike any she’s experienced before.
When Tim confides in Mattie that he needs a sabbatical from work and a fresh place to live, she suggests he move into one of the cottages at her family's home in the beautiful English countryside. She senses there's something he's not telling her, but she has faith that he'll fit right in with the eccentric but affectionate crowd at Brockscombe.
As he gets to know the warm jumble of family who share their lives, Tim discovers that everyone there has their secrets. There's Kat, a retired ballet dancer who longs to take the stage again; Charlotte, a young navy wife struggling to bring up her son while her husband is at sea; and William, who has tried hard to get over his estranged wife—though it's much harder now that she's trying to move into the cottage Tim just occupied. And, even when she's far away, Tim knows there's Mattie...beautiful, engaging, clever Mattie. Can Tim open up to her? Would it matter, he wonders, if he did?
Marcia Willett, the master of the charming country novel, once again weaves the stories of her vibrant, lovable characters into this heartwarming read.
But then her mother asks me to marry her.
I say yes.
Now this woman will be mine forever.
Maybe the prophecy really is true. I’m committing to a woman that will never love me in return.
But it was better to be her husband than allow someone else to take my place. It was better to conquer her body every night than be lonely with someone else.
Esme has never lacked for admirers, but having Lord Windermere’s company goes a long way to ease the pain of losing her suddenly betrothed lover. And when Windermere suggests an affair, Esme is intrigued by the blazing-hot connection even while knowing their relationship has no future beyond his house party.
But as with any temptation, it’s a bargain they’ll soon regret.