Friday 15 December 2023

Head back in time to 1885, England in Marcia Clayton's new release - Millie’s Escape


Millie’s Escape
By Marcia Clayton

Publication Date: 2nd November 2023
Publisher: Sunhillow Publishing
Page Length: 348 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Women’s Literary Fiction

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.


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.

Grab your copy HERE!
This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription. 

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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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring Marcia Clayton with a snippet from Millie's Escape today.

    Take care,
    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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