Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Returning to the Sea

By Rose Campbell from the Tea by the Sea mysteries by Vicki Delany

My life’s dream! Achieved. At eighty-five years old I am the proud owner of a grand 19th century Victorian house overlooking the sea.

My name is Rose Campbell, and I was born in Yorkshire England. In my youth I was a kitchen helper at Thornecroft Castle, not really a castle, but a grand country manor house owned by Lord and Lady Frockmorton.  One day I ran (literally) into an American soldier on leave in town.  I visited him in hospital regularly, and once he came out, we married and he brought me to his home town in Iowa.
Iowa. No place for an Englishwoman.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a long, happy, and prosperous marriage to my dearest Eric. We had five children, numerous grandchildren, a successful business and we loved each other until the day he died. But still, I did miss the sound of the sea every day.  Knowing how I pined for it, Eric brought me to Cape Cod over the years, where we’d rent a beach house for our vacation.  Still, renting a different place very year isn’t the same as owning it, is it?

When Eric died I knew it was now or never. Time to return to the sea. I sold our Iowa house, and took our life savings and bought Victoria-on-Sea.

I do love it. The house is a delight, all gingerbread trim, wide front verandah, turrets and gables (and even a secret room!)  on a huge piece of property with beautiful gardens, perched on the bluffs overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

One small catch is that I can’t actually afford to live in it. I can’t afford the taxes or the upkeep on the house and the gardens. So, in order to get by, I’ve had to turn my home into a B&B.  I hate having a B&B.

I was able to talk Lily, my granddaughter, into leaving Manhattan and coming here to help me out. She makes the breakfasts and well as running the crumbling cottage on the property we made into a tea room.   Lady Frockmorton loved entertaining guests at afternoon tea, and I was taught to prepare and serve it property.  Knowledge I passed on to Lily, who loves the ritual, and all the treats, of afternoon tea as much as I do.

With Lily’s help, I’m confident I can make a success of Victoria-on-sea. As long as that dratted golf resort and conference center doesn’t go up next door, as they are threatening. 

Over my dead body. Or someone else’s.

Tea and Treachery by Vicki Delany, coming July 28 from Kensington Books. Now available for pre-order.

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