Welcome! Lesley Eames was born in Manchester and she currently lives in Hertfordshire. Lesley's career includes charity fundraising and the law. She currently devotes her time to writing and teaching creative writing. Lesley has won the Festival of Romance's New Talent Award and the Romantic Novelists' Associations Elizabeth Goudge Cup. Readers can follow Lesley on Twitter (@LesleyEames) and Facebook (@LesleyEamesWriter).
The Brighton Guest House Girls by Lesley Eames takes readers back to February of 1923 in Brighton, England. Theodora “Thea” Fairfax believes now that her mother and her awful stepfather are deceased, that the family home will come to her according to the will her mother drew up three years prior. Then Stanley Ambrose, her odious stepbrother, returns to England claiming the house belongs to him. Stanley has an updated will leaving the estate to his father who in turn left everything to him. Thea has her doubts and wants to do a little investigating. However, she only has until the end of May and Thea needs funds to live on until that time. Anna Watson is pregnant and her fiancé, Piers supposedly drowned while returning from Brazil. Her father threw her out and Piers parents do not believe her claims. Thea, after rescuing Anna’s bag from a thief, invites her to live with her and help her turn the home into a guest house. Daisy Flowers is lacking in the domestic arts, but she loves to work with horses. Daisy needs to spread her wings as well as escape a local man who wishes to court her. She ends up in Brighton helping Anna and Thea with their new venture plus helping Thea with her sleuthing. The three ladies clean up the home on Clarendon Place and turn it into a lovely guest house. In their spare time, they search out the witnesses to the will attempting to prove Stanley’s fraud. Will they succeed before Stanley returns to claim the house?
The Brighton Guest House Girls is a charming story. This historical drama drew me right in with its engaging characters, lovely seaside town, and diverse storylines. I thought the characters were developed. The three ladies come from different backgrounds, but each is struggling to get ahead. I like how they bond together. They end up becoming a family and support each other. The author has an engaging writing style and the book had lovely flow. I just wanted to keep reading to see how The Brighton Guest House Girls would end. The story does have its villains which just encouraged me to root more for our ladies. I like how the three women worked to overcome adversity and the hurdles put in front of them. We get to see Daisy, Anna and Thea grow from their challenges. They become stronger and more prepared to handle what life will throw at them in the future. The ending is gratifying and uplifting. The Brighton Guest House Girls is a heartwarming story that will give you the warm fuzzies.
Extract from The Brighton Guest House Girls:
‘Away with you,’ her father said. ‘Get out of my sight.’
Anna hesitated for just a moment then ran upstairs to the room she shared with her brothers and sisters where she leaned her palms on top of the small chest of drawers and let her head drop forward, breathing deeply to try to quell the mounting panic. But it was only a matter of time before her mother and the children came up, and Anna didn’t want them to find her looking scared. Pushing herself upright, she studied her reflection in the small mirror that hung on the wall.
Her face was even paler than usual while her dark eyes were large with fear. Swallowing, Anna smoothed her hands over the heavy brown hair that she kept drawn into a bun on the nape of her neck like a Victorian governess, then attempted a smile. She didn’t linger to see if she’d succeeded but turned away from the mirror to pack her things.
The tiny house – surely long overdue for demolition – had only two rooms upstairs, a crude curtain separating the bed in which Anna slept with her sisters from the bed in which her brothers slept. Having brought home cardboard boxes so they could keep their possessions in an orderly fashion under the beds, Anna kept the room spotlessly clean and tidy.
Those possessions were admittedly few. There were the books, writing tablets and pencils that Anna had bought, the doll that had been passed down between them and scraps of fabric that Anna had used to teach the girls sewing. There were also wooden carvings made by the man at number twenty-six who’d been blinded by gas in the war, catapults, a ball and things scavenged from the banks of the Thames when the tide was out – small bottles, pipes, a model boat with the rigging missing, and bits of glass worn smooth after years in the river.
Anna took a bag from her box, opened a drawer and began to pack her modest collection of clothes, aware that her fingers were shaking badly. Her mother and the children crowded into the room after her. They were white-faced and saucer-eyed, and little Mary was crying openly now.
Anna took a deep breath and renewed her attempt at a smile. ‘It’s going to be fine.’ ‘But where will you go? How will you manage?’ her mother asked. ‘I have friends, Ma. I’ll cope.’ ‘Your pa says you mustn’t even write to us.’
‘I’ll write care of Mrs Fawley next door but don’t fret if you don’t hear from me for a while as I get myself established.’ Anna turned to Mary. ‘You’ll keep up the lessons?’
Mary worked in a bakery but the other children were still in school and Anna had always given them extra lessons. ‘’Course I will,’ Mary promised.
‘What’s happened to me changes nothing,’ Anna insisted. ‘The better you’re educated, the more choices you’ll have about how you earn a living.’ Earning a good living was the way out of slum housing and poverty. The way to dignity and satisfaction too.
‘Listen to what Mary tells you,’ Anna bade the others. ‘We will,’ Lizzie promised, then she held out her shiny sixpence. ‘I want you to have it.’ Anna’s throat tightened. ‘I’ve got tuppence you can have,’ Joe said. ‘And I’ve got ninepence,’ Mary said. ‘Here, love.’ Anna’s mother held out five or six coppers. ‘It’s all I’ve got till your pa gets paid.’
Anna swallowed. ‘You’re all wonderfully generous but I can’t take your money.’
She took her mother into her arms instead and kissed her, then did the same to each of the children. ‘I love you all dearly,’ she told them.
I hope that tidbit has wet your appetite for more. The Brighton Guest House Girls is available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and iBooks. Thank you for joining me today. Tomorrow I am sharing my review of Manor of Dying by Kathleen Bridge. I hope you have a jolly day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader