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Set in Cornwall at the turn of the twentieth-century, Madeleine Brent's first novel follows the fortunes of Cadi Tregaron, a sixteen year-old fisherman's daughter. Happy in the small community of the coastal village where she has spent her life, the only hint of disquiet has been a recurring dream - of a great house standing in water and of a faceless man who awaits her there - a dream which is sometimes wonderful and sometimes terrifying. By a cruel blow Cadi is left alone in the world, but she is taken into a wealthy family where she lives like a lady with servants to wait upon her and is treated as one of the family. Too self-reliant to be spoilt by this change in her fortunes, she is perhaps too self-reliant for her own good, for at Meadhaven she finds mystery, danger and a hidden enemy. Is it the wayward young Richard Morton? Or the grey-eyed stranger who is forever watching her? Or is it Lucian Farrel, her benefactor's maverick nephew, whose face now becomes the one to haunt her dream. But the dream turns to nightmare, for she finds that the house standing in water is a reality and that she is bound to it by a freak of ancestry. Here, in the house of her dream and far from her own country, Cadi comes to know heartbreak and grief, and learns the frightening truth about herself and the hidden enemy who threatens her life.
When eighteen year-old Chantal first encounters the half-starved tramp who calls himself Martin, she is touring Hungary with a circus company as one of the 'Flying Gallettis', and prefers to forget every detail of her unhappy early years in faraway England. But a train of events is started which will bring her inevitably back to her destiny and to the unravelling of many mysteries that surround her life. Who is this Martin, who speaks like an English gentleman and looks like a tinker? Why is he in Hungary at all? Whose powerful malice has pursued her since childhood, and why? Who indeed is she? In Chantal Madeleine Brent has created one of her most appealing characters. Red-haired and spirited, her wilfulness and courage win hearts and bring trouble upon her wherever she goes, but although she has driven herself unsparingly to attain a rare skill as a circus artist, her true ambition is to become a doctor (no mean aspiration at the beginning of this century). The story moves from the warm, bustling atmosphere of a travelling circus to the cold correctness of English country house society, and back again to Eastern Europe, before all the complex strands are finally unravelled. Packed with incident and excitement, Kirkby's Changeling represents Madeleine Brent at her very best.
The year is 1897. Deep in the mountain wilderness of the Hindu Kush, a seventeen year-old English girl is brought to the primitive tribal kingdom of Shul to be sold as a slave. Her ordeal endures for two long years before at last there comes the chance of escape to Lalla, as she is called, who believes herself to be Jemimah Lawley, heiress to the great house and estates of Witchwood in the county of Surrey. On the hazardous journey of escape across Afghanistan with a man who hates her, she hears for the first time a name that will later echo menacingly in her life... the name Stormswift. Once home, she faces the shock of being compelled to doubt her own identity. Is she truly Jemimah Lawley, or is she suffering from a delusion caused by her degrading ordeal as Lalla of Shul? Soon she is plunged into a new world, where she finds there are others who, like herself, are perhaps not what they seem to be. Life in England brings her strange adventures and a touching friendship, but also the heartbreak of love without hope. In these pages Madeleine Brent has woven a tale of many surprises as mystery after mystery unfolds, but strangest of all is the mystery which causes Lalla of Shul to return to the barbaric land of her captivity, there to encounter the dark shadows of death and disaster before she at last finds the happiness she believed could never be hers.
Born in a Mission in China, Lucy Waring finds herself with fifteen small children to feed and care for. How she tackles this heavy task leads to her being thrown into the grim prison of Chengfu, where she meets Nicholas Sabine - a man about to die. He asks her the same cryptic riddle that Robert Falcon, another 'foreign devil', has asked her only the day before, and the mystery of this riddle echoes through all that befalls Lucy in the months that follow, when she is brought to England and tries to make a new life with the Gresham family. Unused to English ways, she is constantly in disgrace and is soon involved in the long and bitter feud between the Greshams and the family who live across the valley in the house called Moonrakers. There is danger, romance and heartache for Lucy, and there is mystery within mystery as strange events build to a point when she begins to doubt her own senses. How could she see a man long dead, walking in the misty darkness of the valley? Who carried her unconscious into the labyrinth of the Chislehurst Caves and left her to die? It is not until she returns to China, a country now at war, that Lucy finds amid high adventure the answers to all that has baffled her. It is here, too, at the darkest moment when all seems lost, that she at last finds where her heart belongs.
Bridie Chance has been brought up in luxury, but her world is shattered when she is told that for thirty years her much loved father has been a highly-successful criminal - and is now dead. With no home, no friends, and almost no money, Bridie finds herself responsible for a helpless mother, a younger sister and an elderly nanny - a crushing burden for a girl of twenty at the turn of the twentieth-century. Then come the new friends and the enemies, and how can she know which is which amid the mysterious events which gradually close in about her? There is Alfie Perkin, the music hall comic from her mother's past, Nathan McFee, the man from Wyoming; Philippe Chatillon, the French detective; and Victor Sarrazin... Bridie holds a secret she does not know she possesses, a secret that both friends and enemies are anxious to discover. As she struggles, in an astonishing way, to support herself and her family, Bridie meets with failure and success, finds love and heartbreak and danger - until at last the masks are cast aside and the true faces are revealed to her in a nightmare ordeal under the shadow of the Capricorn Stone. The Capricorn Stone is Madeleine Brent's fifth novel, confirming her reputation as an original and exciting romantic novelist. Her novel, Merlin's Keep, won her the Romantic Novelist of the Year Award for 1978.
It is 1890 and Hannah McLeod, an 18 year-old English girl, is living in Paris, where she works at a small restaurant. Only her neighbour, Toby Kent, a struggling artist, knows the strange and horrifying secret that makes her afraid to return to England. Then one night, rescuing a stranger, Andrew Doyle, from attach by Montmarte apaches, Hannah unwittingly becomes entangled in circumstances that force her to flee from France to England and take up the mysterious offer she had received to become French tutor in the household of a Mr. Sebastian Ryder. But why should Mr. Ryder want to employ her? Does he know something about her of which she is unaware? Are there still more secrets in her past? A Heritage of Shadows is the haunting story of a girl, ignorant of her true identity and convinced that she is forever denied love on account of her shameful past, who is plunged into a world of nightmarish intrigue. As the tale unfolds, carrying her from England to Mexico and back again to Paris, Hannah finds herself caught up in a vicious struggle between two men of great wealth and power - a struggle which threatens her life - before the final discovery of where her happiness lies. Madeleine Brent, the bestselling author, has once again written a story packed with drama and suspense. It vividly recreates the atmosphere of the 1890s, exposing the darker and more sinister elements that lurked below that outwardly respectable era.
Jani, the strange and lovely heroine, has been brought up in a remote region of the Himalayas in Tibet by a runaway English soldier. Both Jani's past and that of her soldier protector are shrouded in a mystery that grows ever deeper for Jani when the foreign demon on a black horse comes from the south to take her away to a new and frightening world - a London orphanage. Later, when she moves on and finds the Woman in Red, Jani becomes one of the family in a Hampshire household. And it is here that her past is gradually uncovered. She becomes locked in a macabre struggle, long prophesied by the High Lama of her Tibetan youth, against the strange and terrifying powers of the Silver Man. Madeleine Brent's story of love and loyalty, of mystery and danger, moves on to a startling climax back amid the Himalayas where it all began as Jani's secret is unravelled.
Mitji had lived with the Aboriginal tribe for as long as she could remember. With her white skin, thin nose and red hair, she does not look like the rest of the tribe but she has learnt their skills of survival in the arid desert. As she nears womanhood, her oddness has made her an outcast and she must leave her people. She goes on a walkabout, in search of the walypalya, the tribe with red hair and white skin like hers, who had come from the great waters. Perhaps they would receive her kindly and let her stay with them. On her wanderings she comes upon a white man, lying half-dead in the blazing heat, and nurses him back to health. Together they make their way to his home, and Mitji becomes Meg and has to learn to wear clothes, to sleep in a bed, to sit on a chair - and to speak English. But Meg has barely started her journey towards her true origins. In the world of the walypalya, there are new dangers and Meg must confront the terrors of a long sea voyage before she can find happiness on the other side of the world. Only the knowledge that she has learnt from her Aboriginal tribe can guarantee her survival and that of her friends.
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