The Women of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley Release Tour
The Women of Heachley Hall
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Miriam has one year to uncover Heachley Hall's unimaginable past and a secret that only women can discover.
The life of a freelance illustrator will never rake in the millions so when twenty-eight year old Miriam discovers she’s the sole surviving heir to her great-aunt’s fortune, she can’t believe her luck. She dreams of selling her poky city flat and buying a studio. But great fortune comes with an unbreakable contract. To earn her inheritance, Miriam must live a year and a day in the decaying Heachley Hall. The fond memories of visiting the once grand Victorian mansion are all she has left of her parents and the million pound inheritance is enough of a temptation to encourage her to live there alone. After all, a year’s not that long. So with the help of a local handyman, she begins to transform the house. But the mystery remains. Why would loving Aunt Felicity do this to her? Alone in the hall with her old life miles away, Miriam is desperate to discover the truth behind Felicity’s terms. Miriam believes the answer is hiding in her aunt’s last possession: a lost box. But delving into Felicity and Heachley’s long past is going to turn Miriam’s view of the world upside down. Does she dare keep searching, and if she does, what if she finds something she wasn’t seeking? Has something tragic happened at Heachley Hall?
Arriving at Heachley Hall.
I shortened the lengths of my strides, ignored the numbing embrace of a premature autumn and allowed my senses the opportunity to coax awake quiescent memories.
Years ago, as a young girl, I’d walked the same path alongside my father and knocked on the front door of Heachley Hall. The gardens boasted pungent roses and mobs of fragrant lavender, songbirds chatted exuberantly to each other and there was the crisp flavour of sea salt in the air. The house itself was a blur of grey stonework and slate with an arched porch framing an impressive door. Beyond, a dark wood. The smattering of recalled images, no different from the jumbled pieces of a jigsaw, brought with them a maelstrom of muddled emotions.
Strange how memories lingered in the form of smell, sound and occasionally taste, but visually, they easily faded into a frustrating void. Nothing else discernible remained in those memory nooks. Somewhere, waiting to be rediscovered, was a clearer picture of that day. And the reason why I’d chosen to forget it.
The garden resembled a meadow. Thistles strangled the wild grasses and verdant moss roamed wild. Once a cultivated lawn, the generous frontage had lost its beauty to the unstoppable – time and the seasons. The gravel path scrunched underfoot, leaves rustled incessantly and a crow announced our arrival with a fanfare of squawks. Approaching the weather-worn door, I smelt the decay of mulched leaves. Of the house, especially its interior, nothing came to mind; it was a vacuum waiting to be filled.
The door’s diminutive size surprised me. Where was the grandiose entrance? I had been much smaller, seven, maybe eight years old, when we’d called upon Great-aunt Felicity. The visits were part of that pervasive nothingness that contained most of my early childhood.
Mr Bridge swung the key ring around his little finger. His car, an urban smart tattooed with the name of the estate agent, was squeezed next to a hawthorn hedge just outside the iron gates. He’d waited for me to arrive before crossing the threshold, as if the weed infested driveway, that cut a crescent shaped path through the lawn, was tainted in some way.
While Mr Bridge fiddled with the stiff lock of the front door, I stuffed my hands in my coat pockets and surveyed the ivy that choked the flintstone walls of the Victorian mansion. A cloak of fog swaddled the house, its tendrils swirled around the window sills, rising like a white creeper to the heights of the pointed gables where it stifled the huddled chimney pots. The poor house was smothered by nature.
He pushed the door ajar. ‘So this is your late aunt’s house, I gather? I’m very sorry for your loss,’ he said with appropriate solemnity.
I smiled sweetly. He wasn’t to know the circumstances. ‘Thank you. Sadly, I only found out about Felicity’s passing a few days ago.’ I acknowledged his sympathetic glance before continuing. ‘She died in February. Mr Porter had problems finding me.’ I’d missed her cremation.
‘Oh,’ Mr Bridge invited me to enter first.
About the Author:
Born in the Midlands, I grew up in East Anglia and am now firmly lodged in the North West of England. My first writing achievement was my Brownie badge and after that I've never let go of the dream of becoming of an author. Once a librarian and caretaker of books, I'm now a teller of tales and want to share with you the secrets that hide in the pages of my books.
Please stop by my website - rachelwalkley.com and find out more about my books in the making.