Welcome along today for my turn to share the love for the recently released Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther, and to share an exclusive excerpt too!! What lucky bunnies you are!! Hands up who is already wishing they could spend some time in that lovely cottage in such a beautiful setting?!
If you would like a looksie at my review for this fascinating read then please check out my review on GoodReads
Can you ever bury the past?
She’d recognised in him something of herself: that sense of not belonging, of secrets fiercely kept . . .
Five friends, newly graduated, travel together to the Lake District. Young and ambitious, they little imagine the events that will overtake them that fateful summer, tearing their fragile group apart.
Twenty years later, they return to the same spot, summoned by a mysterious bequest. It’s not long before old friendships – and old romances – are re-kindled. But soon, too, rivalries begin to re-emerge and wounds are painfully reopened . . .
How long does it take for past sins to be forgiven? And can the things they destroy ever really be recovered?
Praise for Rachel Crowther
‘A wonderful page-turner of a novel’
– Fay Weldon on The Things You Do for Love
‘The very best sort of fiction’
– Juliet Nicolson, author of A House Full of Daughters
Amazon UK – paperback £7.99
Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore – paperback £6.89
Book Depository – paperback £7.15
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Crowther qualified as a doctor and worked in the NHS for twenty years before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction, previously indulged during successive bouts of maternity leave. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Oxford Brookes, and a string of prizes for her short fiction.
Her first novel, THE PARTRIDGE AND THE PELICAN, was published in 2011 and was a Tatler ‘sizzling summer read’. THE THINGS YOU DO FOR LOVE is published in August 2016 and has been called ‘a delight of a read’ by Fay Weldon, ‘the very best sort of fiction’ by Juliet Nicolson (A House Full of Daughters) and ‘a richly textured tale of life and love’ by Richard Mason (The Drowning People).
Rachel has five children, two mad dogs and an abiding passion for music, art, cooking and travel, both in Britain and further afield. She currently lives in Surrey.
Now for the excerpt! Grab yourself a cuppa and get reading!!
Cambridge, October 1992
The entrance to the chapel was tucked away in the corner of First Court, easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. Crossing the square of grass and cobbles, already familiar after three days at St Anne’s, Judith felt a twinge of doubt. Not so much about the religion as the belonging, she thought. That was complicated: whether she wanted to belong, and what to. She loved singing, she wanted to sing, but she could tell from the way people talked about it that there was more to this choir than that.
While she hesitated, two people came across the courtyard from the other corner – a tall, spindly-looking boy with dark hair smoothed flat and a blonde girl of the kind there’d been lots of at Judith’s school.
‘No!’ she heard the girl say. ‘You must, of course. Nothing ventured …’
At that moment she glanced in Judith’s direction and smiled, a more straightforward smile than Judith expected, and Judith found herself smiling back. Nothing ventured: well.
The director of music was waiting just inside the chapel. Lawrence; not Dr Watts.
‘Welcome!’ he said. ‘Judith – Cressida – Stephen. The others will be along, I’m sure.’
It was still light outside, but the chapel was filled with a muted, dust-moted stillness that seemed to set it apart from the day, from the warm stone of the courtyard and the world beyond. The floor stretched away in a pattern of black and white tiles, flanked by oak panelling, towards the choir stalls facing each other at the far end, and the air was thick with smells Judith recognised from other occasions when she’d been in a church. Wax candles, old hymn books. A hint of lilies, perhaps.
‘You’re joining a wonderful group of people,’ Lawrence was saying. ‘And we’re very lucky, of course, with the organ.’ He glanced up towards the organ loft as he spoke, and the last words were caught by the acoustic, echoing back from the gilded ceiling. The building, Judith thought, was flaunting itself. Doubt surged again, more sickly than before.
‘Lucky with the architect, too,’ said Cressida. ‘Adam at his best. A late gem.’
She might have said more, Judith thought, but just then the door opened to admit a squarely built, red-haired boy wearing a No Fear T-shirt and faded jeans.
‘Hello,’ he said. ‘Am I last?’
‘Not quite,’ said Lawrence, as the boy shook his hand. ‘Do you know …?’
‘I’ve met Cressida,’ he said. ‘But we haven’t … I’m Bill.’
‘Stephen,’ said the tall boy. ‘I’m a late recruit.’
‘And …’ Bill turned towards Judith, and then he paused, the momentum of his arrival halted for the first time. The sickness in Judith’s stomach curdled, twisting into something both familiar and entirely unrecognisable. Bill was smiling at her, a wide grin that seemed to take in the whole group, the whole occasion, and at the same to be directed exclusively at her. He was so full of geniality as to be almost hateful, she thought, one of those cocksure musicians who don’t even realise they’re … but there was another feeling rising inside her too, altering the light.
‘I’m Judith,’ she said. ‘Hello.’
‘It’s very nice to meet you.’ Bill hesitated for a moment, appraising her, and Judith was grateful she’d got the words out before they dried in her chest. ‘Are you –’ he began: but then someone else was bursting through the door.
‘Ah!’ said Lawrence. ‘Marmion, welcome!’
‘Sorry.’ The girl called Marmion grinned apologetically, clattering towards them across the marble floor. Judith recognised her: she was the kind of person who stood out in a crowd without meaning to, her face beaming in the centre of the freshers photo, carrying across the JCR above the beer and the shouting. ‘I’m so sorry. I was with my tutor. I lost track of the time.’
‘Never mind,’ said Lawrence. ‘Never mind.’
As he made the next round of introductions, Judith looked back at Bill, with a tiny dart of anticipation about meeting his gaze again. But his smile had moved on to Marmion: not the same kind of smile, not at all, but even so Judith felt a shock of betrayal. Ludicrous, she told herself. Ludicrous. When Lawrence gestured them towards the choir stalls, she hesitated before following Bill and Marmion. Two wholesome people, she thought, chattering away in the way people do who have things in common: who recognise themselves as part of the same tribe.
But after a few yards, Bill glanced back.
‘Judith,’ he said, ‘Marmion says you play the flute.’
‘Your room’s above mine,’ Marmion said. ‘I heard you playing last night. Syrinx, I think. Was it Syrinx?’
‘Possibly.’ Judith forced a smile, avoiding Bill’s eyes.
‘I do too,’ Bill said. ‘We could play duets.’
‘Possibly,’ Judith said again. ‘My flute needs a service, though. The keys are sticking.’
Bill looked at her for a moment, one eyebrow lifting almost imperceptibly, and Judith felt a flush filling her cheeks. Shit: what was she doing? What could she possibly want with someone like Bill – or with the chapel choir? Perhaps she should cut and run. There was so much else on offer in Cambridge; so many people.
But the others were in the choir stalls now, and Judith found herself following. Her arm brushed against Bill’s as she took her place, and she was absurdly conscious of it, of the prickle of excitement that seemed to fast-circuit from her skin to her belly. She kept her eyes on the folder of music in front of her, the fall of light from the tall windows that straked the floor with bright narrow lines.
‘Ah, good!’ Lawrence said, as the door opened once again. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, can I introduce Deep Patel, our organ scholar?’
Patel, Judith thought. So she wasn’t the only … but she hated herself for the thought. That wasn’t her tribe either. She didn’t have a tribe. Deep looked nice, though, slight and shy and quick-gestured. He darted up the chapel to say hello, then whisked away towards the organ loft. After a moment they heard the faint wheeze of air in the pipes, then a declamatory arpeggio.
‘Let’s start with a hymn,’ Lawrence said. ‘Number 137, please.’
And then Deep was playing the introduction, and they were all singing, and the sudden shock of the sound made every hair on Judith’s body stand on end. Only five of them, but they filled the chapel, flaunting themselves back to that big-hearted acoustic. Beside her, Bill’s rich tenor soared up to the high notes, and she revelled in the pleasure of it: the chaste, suggestive pleasure of singing together.
This was something worth having, she thought. Perhaps she wouldn’t run away just yet. But, she promised herself, she would resist whatever it was that Bill kindled in her. Plenty of fish in the sea, as her father would say: why choose one who disconcerted her so much? Why deny herself the delicious, tantalising diversion of pretending she didn’t care?
Hope that has whetted your appetite for more! Links up above for a few different places to grab your copy! Been an absolute delight to be part of this Blog Tour! Hope you’ll check out the other stops along the way!!