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Summary

Two women. Five centuries apart. One life-changing secret about to be unearthed....

1538

Though Eleanor is not wealthy, the saffron spice she grows for her new husband is more valuable than gold. But as his reputation in Henry’s court soars, Eleanor soon understands that she has entered into a dangerous game. The king’s affections do not last forever, and she must do anything to protect her family.

2017

Following a tragedy, Amber channels her grief into cataloguing her grandfather’s library. When she finds an ancient book that reveals a dark secret, she feels compelled to investigate. But as the truth begins to unravel, she realises the answers to Eleanor’s story lie closer to home than she could have ever imagined....

A gripping dual timeline historical novel about a mother’s love and hope in the darkest of times, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes. 

©2020 Clare Marchant (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Emotional and intense, this is a page-turning story of secrets that echo through time." (Rachel Hore, author of The Love Child)

"A rich and vivid historical story, The Secrets of Saffron Hall is one of those rare books that is totally engrossing. I loved it." (Nicola Cornick, author of The Forgotten Sister)

"The past and present is skilfully entwined in this captivating and emotional debut." (Heidi Swain, author of The Secret Seaside Escape)

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    4 out of 5 stars

Very good read

I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be addictive listening. It’s a very sound dual timeline story, connecting two women who share a tragedy that many women have suffered. I have a few things I didn’t like so much about it, though overall I did very much enjoy it. Being an author and historian myself I understand what a mammoth task it is to write like this. However, the author used the English slang terms “sat, stood” etc instead of “sitting, standing” in both the modern and historical timeline. If used in dialogue in the modern timeline it would work, but used all throughout the book in descriptive and historical passages, it grates. There are a few instances of modern words being used in the historical timeline that are not great for historical context. Such as saying that a villager has bronchitis - a word no one in 1538 would have known. The character of Joan, best friend to the historical heroine Eleanor, was never filled out in the slightest bit. It left her much like an empty character, just a name to use to make the story work. In the final chapter Joan shows a tiny bit of life but we were never shown the bond between Eleanor and Joan, only told of it. The best friend to the 2019 heroine was more fleshed out. Since the book is set in 2019, and I read it in November 2020, I did want to shout at the 2019 Amber to brace herself. She thinks she’s over the worst of it - and she probably is - but she’s also about to step into a global pandemic. Although these small imperfections were a bit annoying at times, I did really enjoy this book, and I will be growing saffron next year. A solid four stars!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 21-08-20

I loved everything about this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. So much so that I hope a sequel is in the works as I need more!!!

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  • norma
  • 23-11-20

Enjoyed this book!

I love dual time stories! This one was a modern period with a connection to HenryVlll’s court. I hope a sequel will come that gives further meaning to one of the main character’s (Eleanor) motto “While I breathe I hope”. The narrator did a great job.

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  • sassia
  • 29-08-20

Uneventful

Uneventful and predictable. The narrator had a mellow voice that at times put me to sleep.