Release Day: Summer’s Secret Marigold by Kirsty Ferry
Summer’s Secret Marigold is the fourth book in my dual timeline/timeslip Cornish Secrets series, which is based at the fictional Pencradoc Arts Centre in Cornwall. In this book, readers who have enjoyed the previous stories may be happy to know that we have finally reached Lady Elsie Pencradoc’s story with the historical thread, and are focusing on Sybill and Coren’s story in the contemporary timeline. Sybill and Coren have been attracted to each other from Book 1, A Secret Rose, but they’ve never managed to do anything about it – so hopefully this story will tie up a few loose ends for people when they read it!
The ‘grown-up’ Elsie was a brilliant character to get to know – when I wrote the book I was really thinking ‘what would upset Society the most in a young lady from 1911?’. So, I basically made Elsie into as much of a rebel as I could. She works, as well as carving out a career as an artist, drinks too much champagne, has the occasional cigarette and her best friend is a young man with a few secrets of his own. There’s more, much more to her life as well, but you have to read the book to find out the biggest secret of all! It was great to revisit other characters as well, which is always the lovely thing about writing a series. For example, Holly, from Holly’s Christmas Secret is similar to Elsie and her rebellious ways in the fact that we find out she has been on a few suffragette marches, and, along with Pearl, the wealthy American girl we also met in the Christmas book, the three of them make up a very unholy trinity of young Edwardian women! It was an absolute joy to write about them all. And, to make it extra special (I wrote the book in lockdown, so I had to cheer myself up somehow and lose myself in my imagination) the story is also set around midsummer, which is one of my favourite times of year. I just love the long days and light nights, although to be fair I love the build up to midsummer most of all – the fact that we can see and experience the nights getting lighter. It’s ‘just wunnerful’ as Pearl would say!
Elsie lives in the very Bohemian area of Bloomsbury, London, and I did a lot of research about the Bloomsbury Group and the famous artists who were in that set at the time. I also read a particularly weighty tome (lockdown has a lot to answer for!) on Rupert Brooke and his Neo-Pagans – a set that moved in the same circles as the Bloomsbury Group, but to my mind the two groups were like a Venn Diagram. There was a little crossover between the two, but neither set seemed to mix fully with the other. By immersing myself in art exhibitions, books and also DVDs about the people who lived at that time, it was pretty easy to imagine Elsie in the middle of it all. Oh – and I have to mention the fact of Elsie’s bicycle. It has a basket on it, much like my beloved bike. I got it when I was a teenager and always wanted to be Myfanwy from the David Essex video – and by default from the John Betjeman poem the song was based on. The poem – and definitely the song – were a bit later in the century than my book is set, but I strongly recommend you read the poem or watch the video and drool over, I mean listen, to the David Essex version. The girl he describes is exactly the Elsie of my imagination. I do hope you enjoy the book, and are happy with the way things turn out. I know I am – and, for anyone who’s asking. I have left myself open for a fifth book and have a couple of characters in mind. I’ll never say never, although we are creeping up to WW1 in timescale, and I’m not sure I could do that time period justice, as I found writing about WW2 very difficult in Watch for me by Twilight. I’ll have to have a think … In the meantime, as I say, please do enjoy Elsie’s story and let me know what you think of it!
Summer’s Secret Marigold is available as an eBook and will also be out in audio/paperback soon:
Can a summer secret from the past allow a new future to bloom?
For two people who run competing arts centres in Cornwall, Sybill Helyer and Coren Penhaligon get on rather well. So well in fact that Sybill often wishes the owner of Pencradoc Arts Centre would look up from his spreadsheets for a minute and notice her. Unfortunately, even that's too much to ask from workaholic Coren.
However, when the pair join forces to run an exhibition on the wild and wonderful life of Elsie Pencradoc, a talented artist who lived at Coren's estate in the early twentieth century, they're in for a surprise. How will a secret sketchbook and an exquisite gothic dress from a long-ago midsummer costume ball lead them to the scandalous truth about Elsie – and perhaps encourage them to reveal a few long-kept secrets of their own?
About the author:
Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.
Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.
Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.
For more information on Kirsty visit: