'Vivid, enthralling, absolutely first class' Daily Mail
Summer, 1947. Kate Herrick, widowed in the war, returns to Rose Cottage, her childhood home, to retrieve a few family papers before the house is sold. But Rose Cottage is not the idyllic paradise she remembers from her childhood. The papers themselves are missing, and neighbours tell stories of night-time prowlers. Kate discovers that the long shadow of an old secret lies over the house, and in bringing Rose Cottage into the light she will finally be forced to confront the truth of her own past.
Beyond the weedy garden with its riot of rose bushes, nothing had changed. The beck, wide here and quiet, slid past below the bridge. Willows and wild roses, cuckoo pint and king cups, and a wood pigeon crooning in the elms. And someone crossing the bridge to approach the garden gate. Someone I knew well...
Mary Stewart's last novel, Rose Cottage is a classic of her writing. Featuring a sparky heroine, an exceptional eye for detail, romance, intrigue and the gentle promise of a bright future, Rose Cottage is a must-read for all fans... and everyone who loves a good story beautifully told.
'There are few to equal Mary Stewart' Daily Telegraph
'A comfortable chair and a Mary Stewart: total heaven. I'd rather read her than most other authors' Harriet Evans
In an old-fashioned romantic tale, veteran novelist Stewart (My Brother Michael, etc.) paints a nostalgic portrait of a dying way of life in rural post-WWII Britain. Young Kate Herrick, a newly wealthy war widow, is sent by her grandmother to retrieve some furniture and family heirlooms from Todhall, where the older woman was cook to the titled Brandon family. Kate, or Kathy (as everyone in Todhall village calls her), was born out of wedlock and raised by her grandmother after her mother "ran away with the gypsies." Kathy never knew who her father was--it may have been a gypsy or even Sir Brandon. The mystery may be untangled by papers left in the safe her grandmother has instructed her to empty; when Kathy manages to crack the safe, however, with the aid of good-looking young carpenter Davey Pascoe, it's empty. Then the local mystic claims to have seen Kathy's mother and a gypsy in the cemetery standing over her grandfather's grave. The harassing question of Kathy's parentage, the plundered safe, her class status (Kathy Welland or Kate Herrick? London widow or Todhall cottager?) and her perhaps forever-broken heart, are all resolved in one long night of tea and buttered toast, during which half the village seems to crowd into the tiny cottage kitchen. Stewart writes a bit like the old milk pony, Rosy, who knows her route by heart.