Morning lovelies. Today I’m on the blog tour for Search for the House of Dreams by Alison Burke, and am thrilled to bring you an extract. Here’s everything you need to know first thought…..enjoy!
about search for the house of dreams
It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears.
Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there.
Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover.
To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris.
Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?
The heroine, Genevere, a pure and lovely young singer in a notorious supper club, is on her way home, having just fled from a confrontation with the wealthy handsome man she loves, despite having reason to hate him.
I am just tired, tired because it is the end of the week, that is why I am so upset by seeing him, I told myself when I began to feel calmer. I sank wearily back into my seat, going over the events of the evening for the rest of the journey to my lodging house, the door of which was lit by a nearby street-lamp. Heavy with sadness, I had alighted and paid the cabby before I realised that a second vehicle was drawn up behind mine. In the lamplight’s glow I saw George Coleman jump down and come towards me.
‘Genevre,’ he said softly, ‘I could not bear to see you cry,’ and he stood there, for once hesitant and unsure, as if he half expected me to send him away. All my instincts swept me towards him, and I was clasped in his arms, his lips brushing my hair with kisses as I pressed myself against his chest and sobbed with relief to be near to him.
‘My darling girl,’ he murmured softly, his arms tightening about me, ‘If only you knew how I have longed for this, all these months. How I have wanted you, so much.’ I looked up at him and, when he bent to kiss me, it was a long, gentle yet passionate mingling that made my heart race.
When at last we draw apart I heard myself whisper, ‘Come up to my room with me.’
He was silent for a moment and I saw an expression of doubt flicker across his face as he held me away from him.
‘Genevre, I know that you are innocent. Are you sure that–’
‘It is what I want,’ I told him with quiet conviction. I turned away and took up the lantern left for me by the watchman, knowing that he would follow me up the dark flights of stairs and across the narrow landings to the top of the house.
Once inside the garret room, he asked me again, ‘Are you sure this is what you want?’
I went to him eagerly. Somehow, between our kisses, we disrobed, then we were in bed with the hard strength of his body pressed against my own softness, exciting me beyond all my wildest dreams so that I abandoned myself to the act of love.
The next minutes, the next hours fulfilled all the romantic yearnings that had so disturbed me. The reality of the physical union, at once so primitive and yet so deeply satisfying, both shocked and delighted me. At last, I lay in his arms, all passion spent, and slept a deep, dreamless sleep until I woke and heard him tell me softly,
‘To me, this is the meaning of happiness. Simply to be here at last with you in this poor room is better than anything I can remember,’ and, as I turned my head to smile at him, he went on, ‘You must believe me, Genevre, when I tell you there has been no other woman in my life or in my bed since that day in the cottage in Fernley.’
‘And the young woman you brought to Shepperton’s last night?’ I asked, laughing, half disbelieving.
‘One of many introduced to me by well-meaning friends, alarmed by my sudden abstinence,’ he told me firmly, ‘And she will be the last, for we must always be together now. I cannot offer you marriage, but I offer you all I can give in love and security.’ He kissed me, lightly this time and went on, ‘I am still amazed to find you in London. How do you come to be here?’
about the author
I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.
follow the tour
Thanks for Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour, and to Alison for sharing an extract with us.
Have a brilliant day all!