Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge, A new start can come from the most unexpected places…It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.
After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.
Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlor she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbor, Ben, steps in to help. As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realizes she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.
A butterfly’s story is one of transformation and new beginnings
Caroline’s phone rang and she left as she answered it. Ben readjusted the bag on his shoulder as we walked to the front of the house. ‘Sorry about that. Caroline wanted moral support and I didn’t want her entering the property on her own in case she ran into trouble.’ He smiled. ‘She means well but can be a bit… dramatic. Leafton is a small place. Anyway, I live three doors down so if you need anything, feel free to knock.’
I glanced in the distance at a cottage smaller than mine with a lilac door. Lace curtains filled the windows and ceramic dragonflies decorated its front. The small lawn was mowed and the well-stocked borders indicated the owner was an experienced gardener. An ornamental cat slept by the front door step and a coral colored Fiat 500 was parked out the front.
‘Your place puts this one to shame.’
‘If it’s any consolation the tidiness is nothing to do with me. Apparently, some scientist said messiness is a sign of genius so I wouldn’t be too worried.’
A comfortable silence fell for a moment. I noticed the freckles on Ben’s face, all different shapes.
‘There’s a decent teashop on the high street called Blossom’s Bakes. You must be thirsty after driving all this way.’
‘Tell Tim, the owner, that I recommended him.’ Ben turned to go. ‘You should get a discount.’
I wanted to talk to him for longer. It sounded odd but this Ben made me feel less like a stranger. And I could have stared at that smile all day…
I gave myself a little shake. I barely knew him. The sun must have gone to my head.
I grabbed my small rucksack from the car and gazed back, keen to explore the building. But Ben was right, I was thirsty, and hungry after the drive. I passed the estate agency on the corner and headed right, into the center of Leafton, afternoon sun scorching my pale skin. The stone cottages had such short front doors, opening straight onto the pavement. I stopped outside Styles by Stacey and looked through the window at the simple pastel decor, a framed sketch of Elvis on the wall, a rotary dial phone on a desk and a rudimentary price list on the window that didn’t mention Brazilian blow dries or extensions.
It was as if my journey here had hit a time warp and oddly that was a reassuring thought.
A grey-haired couple walked past, the grandfather proudly pushing a buggy, the toddler waving a large lollipop at me and I winked. His gran shot me a proud-as-punch look. Further down the street a pensioner with a knotted handkerchief on his head had placed a deckchair outside his front door and was stretched out, watching the world go by, whistling a merry tune as I passed, blissfully unaware he was blocking the way.
I surveyed the handful of locals on the opposite side, with their conservative hair and unsurprising clothes. The scene took me back to my younger years, with the perfect braids and shiny shoes. A teenage girl passed by and we smiled at each other. I crossed the road and reached The Pen Pusher – a stationery shop. Its front was comprised of brown painted wood framing two bay windows – one either side. Set back in the middle was a white door to match the letters painted across the shop’s top. Inside, on the left, I could see practical shelves bearing students’ essentials. The right couldn’t be more different with colorful displays showcasing colorful gift cards.
Next door to that was the tea shop. It had a glass door and the front’s wood was painted sky blue. To the right of the door an ornamental bicycle with a shopping basket full of flowers was attached to the vertical slats underneath a window. A door entry bell announced my arrival.
About The Author
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency.
In2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQ Digital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.