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Synopsis

1924. The English Shires after the Great War – all crumbling country houses and no men. When her jazzing flapper of an aunt dies, Gerardina Mary Chiledexter inherits some silver-topped scent bottles, a wardrobe of love-affair clothes, and astonishingly, a half-share in a million-acre cattle ranch in south-west Texas. Haunted by a psychic cat, and the ghost voice of her aunt Leonie, Gerry feels driven to travel thousands of miles to see the ranch for herself. Against a background of big sky, cattle barons and oil wells, she is soon engaged in a game of power, pride, and ultimately love, with the Texan who owns the other half.

Publisher: New Romantics 4

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Book Categories: Romance

Cooper!

Gerry   backed into the   Hepplewhite sofa. For goodness   sake! Why hadn’t she   noticed him before? Six  foot something, without a   rag of formal dress to  his name? He stood   out a mile.

Their   eyes met, and as   Lord Evelyn galloped   merrily through introductions, Gerry completely   lost the thread   of what he   was saying.

A   fractional nod from   Cooper. ‘Mizz Chiledexter.’ Very formal, stiffly polite.

‘You’ve  met?’ Lord Evelyn  eyed them, curiously.

‘Oh, yes.’ Gerry’s throat  was dry. They certainly  had. Met, crossed swords and   parted. And he looked   even taller and   more forbidding than   the last time. ‘Yes, we have.’

‘Good  show! Capital, capital.’ Duty   done, their host swiftly  turned and left  them together.

An  awkward silence. Cooper leaned  against sombre wood   panelling and watched   her, with that odd  intentness.

‘Mizz   Chiledexter?’

‘Yes?’

She   didn’t like the   way he was looking at   her. He wasn’t going   to ask for a decision   on those papers   now, was he? Tonight? She felt  herself   flush. Too soon! Too  late, on the other  hand, to make a  run for it. She  was cornered.

‘You  appear to have  bare feet.’

‘What? Oh … yes, mud. On my   shoes. Someone’s cleaning them  for me.’

There  was a slight arching of   an eyebrow, as he   coolly appraised the   rest of her.

He   was on his guard, alright, Gerry thought. So  what? She was on  hers, too. Oh behave, she told   herself. He’s a stranger   ar from home, isn’t  he? Do unto others, blah, blah. Come along   now, best party manners.

Taking  another sherry from  a passing tray, she   gulped down a  warming mouthful, and said, as   sympathetically as she   could manage, ‘How is   your cold?’

‘Developing nicely. Will it ever stop raining?’

‘Oh, this  is just a  sprinkle.’ She found herself   rushing breathlessly to  the defence of  the English weather. ‘And why everything is  so green, of course.’

‘Yeah, I’d noticed. Green and drenched  and dripping.’

‘A   pity for anyone   visiting though, because …’

‘We  may drown?’

‘Because, there’s some  beautiful countryside here. Woods   and hills and …   yes, it’s quite … quite lovely in the Spring.’

‘Well, come Spring, when I’m back  in hot Texan sun, guess I’ll be kicking myself.’

His  voice was deadpan,  and as another burst of   rain splattered the   windows, Gerry sighed. If he  was waiting to  be amused, she was  already failing miserably. How had he managed   to weasel his  way in here, anyway?

‘So, how  do you … um, know Lord   Evelyn?’

‘You  mean, what’s a feller  like me doing   in a place like this?’

‘Erm … ’ She shifted her feet.

‘Guess  there’s no fooling   you.’ He stretched out  the vowels, laying on, she  suspected, a really thick  drawl. ‘We’re real plain  folks where I  come from. But me   and Lord Evelyn … we   got a lot in common.’

‘You have?’

‘Sure. Country estates. Chippendale   staircases.’

‘Really?’ Eyes widened.

He   raised an eyebrow. ‘More like common interests. Livestock and  breeding. Cattle, horses?’

‘Ah, yes. Yes, I see.’

‘He’s   real hospitable.’

‘Oh.’ She   shifted to the  other foot. ‘He certainly is.’

His   turn? The silence stretched  on. And on. Apparently, he didn’t   want another turn. Faced   with this bored  indifference, Gerry started to   feel awkward again.

It’s called a   conversation, she wanted to   say. First I speak  and you listen, then you do the   same. Keep up, man!

She   said, ‘Were you out   shooting today?’ but didn’t  really require an   answer. Here was a   merciless dead-eyed shot, if   ever she saw   one. How had he   got that thread  of a scar on his   face? The one showing   up so white against his   skin? Wrestling with bears?

‘Do  you shoot?’ he asked, and  she  shook her   head.

She  didn’t ride to  hounds, didn’t stalk or   shoot and couldn’t  cast a line, either, without   taking someone’s eye  out. ‘Men with big  guns shooting small  birds has never  appealed very much to me.’

There was a dry pause.

‘Guess  you won’t be   eating any of  the results, then. P’raps you’d   rather we used   catapults?’

‘I’ve   nothing against game   as such, just birds   being reared to   be shot for   sport. Some are too   fat to even fly.’

‘That’s   life, isn’t it. Far as   I know, no game’s   ever been born   plucked and in   a puddle of   gravy.’

Touché. Feeling foolish, un-sporty and utterly charmless, she picked at a   nail and polite   conversation dribbled away   again.

What   had Sully called   him? A man’s man. A   man for livestock, shooting and  the saddle. Not, apparently, one who felt the need   for small talk. Not   with her, anyway.

Another   sherry.

Glancing   over her shoulder   towards the door, she   intercepted a look   of unwavering dislike   from Mrs Dutt-Dixon-Nabb. Slings and   arrows, from all sides.

Minutes   passed by, dragging their   feet and noise   rose to a   crescendo around them. Gerry   found herself rendered   mute, and there wasn’t   so much as   another squeak from   the American.

If   only, she thought, they had   something in common,   anything in common. Oh, don’t be stupid! The only   reason he was   even condescending to   talk to her, was   because he needed   her signature on   a piece of   paper. Not that he   seemed to be   making much effort   to win her over.

Rooted   to the spot like some   faithful spaniel, she couldn’t   help noticing that   his very presence   was sending certain   other parts of   the room into   a deep swoon. Heads were turning , wondering who   he was, hoping he   would chance to   look at them. You   could ...

Book Reviews



 

Wonderful historical read full of glamour, romance and adventure

 

The 20’s Girl was an absolute delight to read.  It was a book full of huge contrasts, not just in the locations, but in the characters too.  We are first introduced to Gerry, very English, desperately trying to save her bookshop from closure, living in a small village where everyone wants to know everyone else’s business.  I instantly liked her and was rooting for her throughout the novel.  She gives us an insight into her late aunt’s unusual life and well, I for one, would love an aunt like Leonie.  From a ghost voice and a highly amusing psychic cat we end up being transported to the huge, dry, hot expanse of Texas and a cattle ranch, worlds away from 1920’s England.  We are now introduced to another raft of characters so completely different from those on the other side of the Atlantic.  There is adventure and mystery as the story takes on some unexpected twists.

 

This novel virtually warmed my hands as I was reading it.  I could almost feel the wind and the Texas heat wafting out of the book every time I turned the page.  However, to say that this is a great winter read, for that reason, would deny all those readers who are looking for a great summer read.  This truly is a book for all seasons and all weathers.

 

The book is full of 20’s glamour and glitz and I am so glad that Aunt Leonie left Gerry all her wonderful gowns and perfumes which June Kearns describes so beautifully.   I also liked the short quotations at the start of every chapter taken from books of the day.  They just reminded us of how it must have been for a single girl in the days after the First World War which had taken so many eligible young men.

 

There are also, for me, a few unanswered questions at the end of the novel which I very much hope means that there will be a sequel.

 

I would certainly recommend this book highly to anyone who wants an unusual, historical read with a good mixture of glamour, romance, adventure, mystery and intrigue.

 

Written by:

Sarah Houldcroft 300

Star Reviewer:

Sarah Houldcroft

Authors Uncovered

Books by June Kearns

Jane Austen meets Zane Grey! The American West, 1867.

After a stagecoach wreck, well-bred bookish spinster Annie Haddon, (product of mustn’t-take-off-your-hat, mustn’t-take-off-your-gloves, mustn’t-get-hot-or-perspire Victorian society) is thrown into the company of cowboy Colt McCall – a man who lives by his own rules and hates the English.

Can two people from such wildly differing backgrounds learn to trust each other? Annie and McCall find out, on their journey across the haunting, mystical landscape of the West.

 

Book Categories: Historical fiction (adults)

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