Available as a Kindle ebook here Now also in paperback.
Also in a bargain pack here, with two other stories featuring the Reverend Rosalind Maclaren.
The scent of an old rose, lingering after the flowers have gone – is this a last trace of the long-dead occupants of Holywell, new home for Juliet and Leo Marston?
Devastated by the death of their only son, Juliet and Leo have left behind their London home with its painful memories and moved north to mediaeval Holywell. At first it seems that in restoring the old house they can mend the growing rift in their marriage and build some kind of new life together. Juliet even rediscovers an old friend in Rosalind Maclaren, rector of nearby Meadhope. And there is the scent of roses in the overgrown garden, where Juliet finds unexpected solace.
But in uncovering the past glories of the house it seems they are opening the door on an ancient tragedy, with increasingly terrifying consequences. Overwhelmed by her own grief and the growing terrors from the past, Juliet turns to Rosalind for help. Can the resources of the Church bring healing and hope for the future, or will the dark forces unleashed at Holywell bring her to catastrophe?
From Chapter One:
Breathing deeply, she pushed her way along what must once have been a path, a line running directly ahead of her, still faintly visible if only as a scarcely perceptible difference in the shade of green. Confronted soon with a more than usually vigorous bramble, she halted again. It was so warm here, the air soft – and a new scent reached her now, a heady domesticated perfume, strong, musky: old roses. Somewhere in that tangle of growth there must be an old rose still in bloom even so late in the season. She looked about her for what the scent brought to mind – the folded petals, crimson, pink, the colours that were the essence of rose.
She couldn’t see it. The scent was stronger than ever as she stooped, parting the fronds of grass, the harsh scratching brambles. But still she could see no sign of it. There was blood on her hands – it was impossible to avoid the thorns, but they weren’t from roses, or none that she could see. In all this lavish growth she could find only weeds; yet the scent was so concentrated, filling her senses. She must find it! A rose so sweet should not be lost, not choked by weeds. She would give it space to breathe, cherish it, nurture it, take cuttings if need be so that the garden would be filled with its perfume – as it was filled now. Strange, when she had still found nothing else to indicate the presence of the rose…
‘What are you doing?’
She turned to see Leo watching her from just outside the gate. ‘Looking for a rose. The one you can smell.’
‘I can’t smell anything.’
‘Come over here. It’s beautiful.’
‘If you think I’m going to get myself scratched to pieces you can think again. I shouldn’t think a rose would stand a chance in there.’
‘That’s why I must find it.’
First Parish and Lifelines also feature the Reverend Rosalind Maclaren