Tuesday, August 23, 2016

VBT + #Giveaway: Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff @GoddessFish

Secrets of Nanreath Hall
by Alix Rickloff
GENRE: Historical Fiction


Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth finds herself unexpectedly assigned to Nanreath Hall-her dead mother's childhood home. All Anna has left of her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, are vague memories that tease her with clues she can't unravel. Anna knows this could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she's never known-and to learn the truth about her past.

Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices soon lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love.

As Anna is drawn into her newfound family's lives and their tangled loyalties, she must decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she's discovered is one she can keep.


“Pardon, miss. Street’s closed off. Unexploded bomb.” A policeman barred her way, twirling his whistle round his finger, rolling back and forth on the balls of his feet. “Bomb disposal’s on its way, but you’ll have to go round.” He eyed her dark blue gabardine Red Cross VAD uniform and the valise she carried, the weight of it dragging against her bad shoulder. “Home for a bit?”

“A week’s leave. My family lives just north of here. I thought I’d surprise them.”

His frown deepened. He caught his whistle in a closed hand. “A good daughter, you are, miss. I hope you find them well.”

Anna nodded her thanks and began the roundabout track that would take her east then back north. At this rate, it would be dinnertime before she dragged herself into the small front parlor in Queen’s Crescent. It was Friday, so Graham would be at the pub for his weekly pint of bitter and a jaw with the lads. Prue would be in her chair by the radio, listening to Vera Lynn or the comedy of Band Waggon, chewing nervously at the end of her spectacles.

Anna hadn’t seen either of them since July, when they’d visited her in hospital. She’d tried talking them out of the difficult trip from London to Surrey, but Prue had insisted, and Anna hadn’t the stamina to argue. It took all her energy just to scribble a few hackneyed lines on a postcard each week. There was no way she could make them understand her desire to be left alone without sounding cold and unfeeling. And she’d not hurt Graham or Prue even if it meant gritting her teeth through their hovering attentiveness.

Just as she’d expected, it had been an awkward reunion. They’d not known what to say as she lay plastered like a mummy, her face gaunt and marked by the constant nightmares that left her sick. She’d had too much to say and no words to speak of the horrible images seared upon her heart. By the time they left, she’d felt nothing but guilty relief and an overwhelming urge to be sick.

Then she’d received her new orders, and she’d had to speak to them. They were the only ones who might understand her emotional tug- of- war. She’d foregone a letter, choosing instead to ring them up with the news, spilling her confusion and doubts over the wires. Graham had listened to her calmly before handing the phone to Prue, who urged her to come home for a long- delayed visit. They needed to talk with her— about her mother.

Author Interview:

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

I couldn’t begin to list every author that has ever inspired me, but I do have authors who hold a special place in my heart. I dedicated one of my books to four of them; Mary Stewart, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jane Austen, and Rosamunde Pilcher. These are my four go-to authors. Different in genre, style, characterization, but I read their books over and over whenever I need to get lost in a familiar story where the writing is flawless and the characters are old friends. 

What drew you to the twentieth century and WWII as a setting?

My interest in the war began while I was in college. I watched Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver and was forever hooked on the time period. But for twenty plus years and nine plus books, it remained merely a side interest until a recent conversation with my agent during which she asked the fateful question; “What do you really want to write about?” Suddenly, I was confronted with all sorts of exciting possibilities in genres and settings I’d never considered.

What inspired you to write Secrets of Nanreath Hall?

The first kernel of the story came from watching an episode of Downton Abbey. I was intrigued by the fatherless heir and the child of a scandalous elopement. From that seed, my what-if process started as I tried to imagine what their lives would have been like as they grew to adulthood during WWII.

This is your first straight historical fiction novel, though you write historical romance under the pseudonym Alexa Egan. Was it a difficult transition to switch genres?

Not at all, though the romance novelist in me insisted on a happy ending. And if a love story turned up unexpectedly, well…old habits die hard.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a follow-up to Secrets Of Nanreath Hall. Lucy Stanhope is the spoiled daughter of an ex-pat socialite living in Singapore who is sent to England in disgrace just ahead of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Japan’s entrance into the war. There she befriends a young evacuee and the unlikely pair end up heading to London in search of his mother.

Can you tell us what you’ve got on your nightstand right now?

For work, I’m reading West End Front; The Wartime Secrets of London’s Grand Hotels by Matthew Sweet and for pleasure The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Willams, and Lauren Willig


Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance. Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series (Kensington, 2009), the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy (Pocket, 2011), and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series (Pocket, 2014). She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Buy Links:


A digital copy of Secrets of Nanreath

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