The Buttonmaker's Daughter

The novel is set in the long, hot summer of 1914 on a large estate famous for the beauty of its gardens. Summerhayes should be a place of calm and tranquillity, but is riven with conflict – between neighbours, within the family itself, and on a far larger scale with the rumblings of war in Europe growing louder every day.
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This is an image of a court presentation in the Edwardian era. My heroine's father goes to great trouble and expense to ensure his daughter is presented to the king and queen (Edward VII and Alexandra) to increase her chances of a 'good' marriage.

This is an image of a court presentation in the Edwardian era. My heroine's father goes to great trouble and expense to ensure his daughter is presented to the king and queen (Edward VII and Alexandra) to increase her chances of a 'good' marriage.

The Summerhayes mansion contains a great deal of decorative stained glass. Joshua Summer was a one time button maker and has an eye for beauty. When the sun shines, the walls are massed with swirls of reflected colour.

The Summerhayes mansion contains a great deal of decorative stained glass. Joshua Summer was a one time button maker and has an eye for beauty. When the sun shines, the walls are massed with swirls of reflected colour.

An art deco sitting room. I chose this image in particular because of the colour and the smell of the wood. This is how I imagined Summerhayes to look - its golden oak making it light and bright, despite the conflicts raging within.

An art deco sitting room. I chose this image in particular because of the colour and the smell of the wood. This is how I imagined Summerhayes to look - its golden oak making it light and bright, despite the conflicts raging within.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Merryn Allingham to Virtual Book Club, the interview series in which authors have the opportunity to pitch their novels to your book club.  Merryn Allingham worked for many years as a university lecturer and between job, family and pets, there was little time to write. But when the pressures eased, she...» Continue Reading

Today I’m delighted to welcome Merryn Allingham to Virtual Book Club, the interview series in which authors have the opportunity to pitch their novels to your book club. Merryn Allingham worked for many years as a university lecturer and between job, family and pets, there was little time to write. But when the pressures eased, she...» Continue Reading

The first jigsaw puzzles were produced in the late 1700s by mapmakers mounting maps on hardwood and cutting pieces out with a maquetry saw. But the jigsaw's heyday was around 1900, when puzzle makers began to experiment with smaller pieces, often using people as their subject. This one is called Poinsettia and features at the end of the novel to suggest a resigned calm at Summerhayes.

The first jigsaw puzzles were produced in the late 1700s by mapmakers mounting maps on hardwood and cutting pieces out with a maquetry saw. But the jigsaw's heyday was around 1900, when puzzle makers began to experiment with smaller pieces, often using people as their subject. This one is called Poinsettia and features at the end of the novel to suggest a resigned calm at Summerhayes.

Summerhayes doesn't look exactly like this, but the chimneys, the lawn, the pergola are all aspects of my fictional house. It's owner, Joshua Summer, set out to build a spanking new mansion in 1900 and that meant the Arts and Craft style.

Summerhayes doesn't look exactly like this, but the chimneys, the lawn, the pergola are all aspects of my fictional house. It's owner, Joshua Summer, set out to build a spanking new mansion in 1900 and that meant the Arts and Craft style.

I love this art deco bedroom - the beautiful wardrobe and those wonderfully patterned rugs make me very jealous. They had to go into a novel! For me, this was Elizabeth's room, a bedroom fit for a heroine.

I love this art deco bedroom - the beautiful wardrobe and those wonderfully patterned rugs make me very jealous. They had to go into a novel! For me, this was Elizabeth's room, a bedroom fit for a heroine.

I took this photograph at Standen House in West Sussex. It's a reminder of just how much drudgery was involved in maintaining a large house and estate such as Summerhayes and affording its inhabitants a life of leisure.

I took this photograph at Standen House in West Sussex. It's a reminder of just how much drudgery was involved in maintaining a large house and estate such as Summerhayes and affording its inhabitants a life of leisure.

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