Exclusive extract! The Secrets of Castle Du Reve by Hannah Emery

20 Feb

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in Hannah Emery’s blog tour for her new novel, The Secrets of Castle Du Reve. Hannah loves writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. She studied English at the University of Chester, and now works in a College where she mentors degree students. The most important things in Hannah’s life are her family, her friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. Hannah lives in Blackpool with my husband and two daughters. Read on for an exclusive extract from the book!

Secrets of Castle du Reve

In the quaint, seaside town of Silenshore, a legacy of secrets is about to be revealed…

Growing up in the imposing Castle du Rêve during 1940s wartime, young Evelyn longs for a life outside the castle walls. She dreams of attending glamorous parties, gracing the silver screen and being swept off her feet by a dashing, debonair beau. But innocent Evelyn is unaware that her bid for freedom from the oppressive castle will change the course of more than just her life…

In the early Sixties, sweet, intelligent Victoria meets the man of her dreams! Yet the expression of their love comes with consequences. In the shadow of the mysterious castle, is their relationship doomed from the start?

In the present day, Isobel has just learned she’s pregnant. An unexpected challenge she can only hope she’s up to. Except living in the father of her child’s family home, beneath the eyes of the castle, all is not as it seems… Soon secrets that have been hidden for decades threaten to change the lives of Isobel’s new family irrevocably.

Three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets, scandal and deceit, as the legacy of Castle du Rêve is finally discovered…


When Isobel first met Tom just over a month ago, it was a cloudless September day, bright with the heat of late summer. Silenshore Castle High School was hosting the first ever summer fair in its own grounds. Isobel was in charge of a second-hand bookstall, her shoulders burning fluorescent pink in the sun. The day smelt of dry, hot paperbacks and coins dampened by moist hands; of barbecued beef burgers and sausages that were being served to the meandering crowds by the school chef. It was as Isobel was rearranging the curling books on her stall that she felt a shadow descend on her. A customer, she thought idly, or a colleague. But then she lifted her eyes and saw Tom.

‘Any recommendations?’ he asked, gesturing towards the pile of titles that was spread across the foldout table.

His cool green eyes were almost translucent in the sun and his smile was wide and white. His face was exquisite. Isobel suddenly felt dizzy. She clutched the edge of the table, hoping he wouldn’t notice the effect he was having on her.

‘What kind of thing are you looking for?’

The man put his hand up to mask his face from the sun as he spoke. ‘Something a bit different, I think.’

‘Well, there’s a good pile of mysteries here. A book of fairy tales, though that’s probably not your style. Or there’s this one, a crime thriller? That might be the most manly of the bunch.’

‘I’m gratified that you think that’s what would suit me,’ the man said, his arm still poised crookedly over his head. His hair was dark, flecked at the sides with the kind of grey that made a man more distinguished and attractive. He was older than Isobel, but not too old. Definitely not too old.

‘I’ll tell you what,’ Isobel said, bending and taking out a paper bag from the pile under the table. ‘If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll give it to you for free.’

She felt a thrill run through her at the flirtation she heard in her voice. Freebies because the customer was a gorgeous older man had not been something they’d talked about in the endless staff meetings about the fair. She imagined telling Iris, both of them hooting with laughter.

‘Okay,’ the man said after a minute. ‘How about this: I’ll take it as a review copy. And then once I’ve read it, I’ll take you out for dinner and tell you what I thought.’

Isobel scribbled her number down on the inside cover, her hands trembling slightly, and then handed him the book in a blue paper bag.

‘I’m Tom,’ he said, holding out his hand for her to shake it. His was cool, in spite of the roaring heat. As she gazed at his face, she wondered for a frightening moment if he might be the father of one of her pupils. She did some quick calculations. Could be possible.

‘I’m Isobel Blythe. I teach English. Do you know one of the pupils here, or…’ her words drifted off as Tom shook his head.

‘No. I don’t know the school at all. I just find the castle fascinating. I’ve always wanted to visit and have a look around, but never had the opportunity. I saw a poster advertising the fair today, and thought I’d wander up.’

‘I’m glad you did,’ Isobel smiled, relieved.

‘Me too,’ said Tom. And as Isobel watched him wrap the bag tightly around the book and place it in his back pocket, her world shifted. The day was simple and incredible, bright with heat and possibility.

And now, it is almost winter and everything is different.

The Secrets of Castle Du Reve is out now in ebook formats.

Find out more about Hannah and her books at: http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/tag/hannah-emery/ 

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