Hello, Sunshines! I hope you are well? I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazingly epic blog tour for; The Sea gate by Jane Johnson. I have a brilliant exclusive excerpt to share with you all, which I am sure you will love. This book sounded so good that even though I initially signed up to this blog tour with an excerpt, I did manage to grab a copy of this book from NetGalley and I will be sharing my review of that in the next week or so. But, until then I hope you love the sound of this as much as I did!
The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
Genre: Time Slip, Women’s Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Ebook, Paperback, Hardpack
One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…
Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.
Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.
Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…
The Sea Gate is a sweeping, spellbinding novel about the lives of two very different women, and the secrets that bind them together.
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Praise for The Sea Gate
‘A beautifully written and intriguing story that stayed with me long after I had turned the last page’ Santa Montefiore.
‘I’ve so enjoyed the hours I’ve spent reading the novel. I loved the warm, vivid characters, especially salty Olivia, and was completely swept up in this intriguing and beautifully researched mystery of wartime Cornwall. It was quite magical’ Rachel Hore.
‘Full of secrets, passion, and with two strong heroines, this book satisfies every need. It’s utterly romantic and and page-turningly exciting. I can’t recommend it highly enough’ Katie Fforde.
‘I so enjoyed this. The relationship between the two women of such very different generations, the parallel love affairs, the feeling of place are all so well done. It’s a treat!’ Amanda Craig.
‘A beautiful evocative story capturing the darkness of Cornwall and its piercing beauty … This had me in tears’ Liz Fenwick.
‘The Sea Gate just blew me away. Utterly compelling and one of the few books for a long time that kept me reading deep into the night’ Barbara Erskine.
The next day James, Evie and I make our way to Mum’s flat, which lies at the top of an unprepossessing building on the edge of Warwick. James turns the spare key in the lock and pushes the door, but it won’t budge more than a few inches. I drop to my knees on the dusty doorstep and reach around the frame to find that the obstruction is a pile of unopened post. I claw it away till the door opens a bit wider and James steps inside. I am about to get up to follow him, but Evie presses a hand down on my shoulder and steps over me, placing the spike heels of her crocodile-skin boots carefully into the islands of floorboard revealed between the ocean of envelopes and flyers. ‘Good grief,’ she says as she passes. ‘Anyone would think she’d been dead for years.’
I stare at her retreating back in disbelief.
She stalks down the hallway and stares in passing at the framed pictures on the wall, dismissing them as worthless. Yes, Evie, they’re barely worth the cost of the canvas they’re daubed on: I painted them.
I gather the post into a pile, imagining Mum lying in her hospital bed with the stupid, oppressive reminders of ordinary life spilling through the letter box day after day. Sixty-four years old, gone without warning; of course the bills and letters and junk mail have kept on coming – no one expected this sudden departure. Again, the enormity of her passing hits me. I will never be able to call her on a whim, to ask if she’s seen the size of the moon tonight, or to check on her recipe for scones; never share another Christmas lunch with her, never have to sneakily return ill-fitting birthday presents to Marks & Spencer. Never be able to hear her say, Don’t worry, darling, I’m sure it’s nothing. I sniff back tears.
James reappears with a roll of black bin bags, a long length of which he tears off and passes to me. ‘Here you go. Evie, bless her, is going through Mum’s clothes.’
I feel suddenly hot with outrage. ‘Don’t you think you should have asked me to do that?’
‘Calm down! We thought it’d be too much for you, so Evie volunteered. You should be grateful: you know what a good eye she has. She’ll be able to tell at a glance if there’s anything worth selling on, though she said right away she thinks most of it will have to go into recycling or to charity shops—’
‘It’s not Mum’s fault she didn’t dress the way Evie thinks she should. Dad left with all the money and then fucked off and died after spending the lot on his mistress!’
James shuffles his feet. ‘No need to swear, not very ladylike.’
Not very ladylike, I mouth at his back. When did my brother become such a prig? Probably ever since Evie started campaigning.
Gathering the post into my arms, I take it into the lounge and dump it on the coffee table, knocking a framed photograph to the floor in the process. James picks it up and stares at it, hands it to me. The photo is faded into the ochre and pale blue of old Kodak stock. It shows the four of us, Mum and Dad with James and me, standing in front of a hedge and old gate, and beyond us a shining expanse of sea stretching into flared-out infinity. James and I look about eight or so. You’d never know we were twins. We don’t look alike, have never even had much in common. As soon as we’d developed our own little personalities the family had fractured along gender lines: me and Mum, with our fine, fair hair and introversion, our love of books and plants; James and Dad, dark and confident and loud, disappearing to take part in manly pursuits. It’s a window into a lost age.
*This excerpt has been used with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour.
About The Author
Jane Johnson is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.
Follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneeJohnsonBakr
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