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A Sneak Peek from MILLIE'S ESCAPE by Marcia Clayton

Books and Benches is pleased to welcome author Marcia Clayton to the blog and to share a snippet of her historical novel set in North Devon, England, Millie's Escape. Even the title invites intrigue and adventure! Scroll down for a look.

“I’m a huge fan of the Hartford Manor Series and Millie’s Escape is a wonderful addition to the Victorian Saga. Just like the rest of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed Millie’s Escape and I’m looking forward to what comes next. Highly recommended!” —Tracey G., Amazon Review

Millie's Escape by Marcia Clayton

Millie's Escape by Marcia Clayton

Book Four of The Hartford Manor Series

1885 North Devon, England

It is winter in the small Devon village of Brampford Speke, and a typhoid epidemic has claimed many victims. Millie, aged fifteen, is doing her best to nurse her mother and grandmother as well as look after Jonathan, her five-year-old brother. One morning, Millie is horrified to find that her mother, Rosemary, has passed away during the night and is terrified the same fate may befall her granny, Emily.

When Emily’s neighbours inform her that Sir Edgar Grantley has also perished from the deadly disease, the old woman is distraught, for the kindly gentleman has been their benefactor for many years, much to the disgust of his wife, Lilliana. Emily is well aware that Sir Edgar’s generosity has long been a bone of contention between him and his spouse, and she is certain Lady Grantley will evict them from their cottage at the first opportunity.

As she racks her brain for a solution, Emily remembers her father came from Hartford, a seaside village in North Devon and had relatives there. Desperate and too weak to travel, she insists Millie and Jonathan leave home and make their way to Hartford before the embittered woman can cause trouble for them. There, she tells them, they must throw themselves on the mercy of their family and hope they will offer them a home.

With Emily promising to follow as soon as possible, the two youngsters reluctantly set off on their fifty-mile journey on foot and in the harshest of weather conditions. Emily warns them to be cautious, for she suspects Lady Grantley may well pursue them to seek revenge for a situation that has existed between the two families for many years.

Publication Date: 2 November 2023

Sunhillow Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction/Family Saga/Women’s Literary Fiction

At this posting, this title is available to read with #KindleUnlimited.

All the books in The Hartford Manor Series can be ordered from any bookshop.

Millie's Escape by Marcia Clayton

“I love the authors style of writing. Every book compels you to keep turning the page. As always,there are so many lovable characters and a heartbreaking tale to tell. Well done Marcia, another highly recommended read!” —SE, Amazon Review

Enjoy a Snippet from Millie's Escape

Living in Pengelly Court was quite an eye-opener for Millie and Jonathan, but they were well-treated, given enough to eat, and not harmed. The women tended to rise late in the mornings, for they knew there would be little trade early in the day, and they usually needed to sleep off the effects of the alcohol and drugs they relied on to cope with their sordid life. They would leave the house late in the morning and then come home around tea time for their main meal before going out again to work the night shift.

Millie and Jonathan were fascinated by Fanny Prowse, the landlady of the house. No one knew how old Fanny was or how she had come to own the place, but she was quite a character. Her plump face was lined with wrinkles and fine red lines, and her large, slightly purple nose was a testament to her life of alcoholism. She had wispy white hair, thinning on the top and barely hiding her shiny scalp. She was seldom seen outside the house without her faded yellow bonnet tied with ribbons under her chin. A prostitute herself in her younger days, three of the girls were her daughters, and she did her best to keep them as safe as possible. Fanny knew enough muscle around the town to frighten off any men with ideas of becoming the girls’ pimp, and few would dare to cross her.

At first, Millie and Jonathan were frightened of this formidable lady, for her language was ripe, with every other word an obscenity, but one day when Jonnie was suffering from an earache, she mixed up a potion to ease the pain, then cuddled him on her lap until he fell asleep. She was the same with all the youngsters, and Millie thought the old lady loved them more than their mothers.

End of Excerpt. Excerpt © Marcia Clayton

Millie's Escape by Marcia Clayton is another hit in her Hartford Manor series. Marcia has a way of pulling all her characters together and giving each one a specific personality. Love and caring is a major theme in this story, but hatred and revenge play their part to add to the adventure.” —Amazon Review

Meet Author Marcia Clayton

Author Marcia Clayton

Marcia Clayton is the author of five books in The Hartford Manor Series, a heart-warming family saga stretching from the Regency period to Victorian times. A sixth book is to be released in 2024.

Marcia was born in North Devon, a rural and picturesque area in the far South West of England. When she left school, Marcia worked in a bank for several years until she married her husband, Bryan, and then stayed at home for a few years to care for her three sons, Stuart, Paul and David. As the children grew older, Marcia worked as a Marie Curie nurse caring for the terminally ill and later for the local authority managing school transport.

Now a grandmother, Marcia enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She’s a keen researcher of family history, and this hobby inspired some of the characters in her books. A keen gardener, Marcia grows many of her own vegetables. She is also an avid reader and enjoys historical fiction, romance, and crime books.


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