After the Second World War, Ellen and her daughter Netta make the journey from Germany back to Scotland. Nestled in the hills of the Southern Uplands is the farm where Ellen grew up – the home she left to be with the only man she’s ever loved. She is still haunted by her memories… and the secrets she dare not share with anyone.
Having grown up in Freiburg, farm life is new and exciting to Netta. Determined to be useful, she offers to help new shepherd, Andrew Cameron. But doing so might put her bruised heart at risk…
The war took so much from Ellen and Netta. But maybe now the sanctuary of the hills can offer them the hope of a new beginning.
A heartwrenching Scottish saga, perfect for fans of Sheila Jeffries and Katie Flynn.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Q5lAEa
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK!
‘Here you are, ladies,’ he says, putting down the cake with a flourish onto a small table drawn up by the fire. He turns back, fetches the crockery, milk and sugar, and adds water to the teapot. He pours a little milk into the cups and tops each up with the tea with a dexterity born of experience. He passes a cup to each of his visitors and offers them a slice of cake.
‘You did not marry?’ Netta says, with a directness that brings a look of surprise to the man’s face. She has removed her headscarf and he can see the same shock of unruly dark hair and penetrating blue eyes that he recalls from her childhood. He chuckles.
‘I remember you well, lass. I was one of those called out to help when you got lost on the hills that snowy winter. You were lucky to be alive when we found you. No, hen, I didnae marry. I suppose it’s this job – tucked away, miles from the towns and cities, miles from anywhere, ken. I wasn’t always shepherding, mind. The last time we met I was with the gang coming to take over the building of the reservoir at the end of the Great War. I was only seventeen or eighteen, just young enough to escape being called up. Not that I would have been – they were needing the likes of us to finish the work that those German POWs had started.’
Netta glances anxiously at her mother who is listening intently to what Finlay is saying.
‘Did you no’ think they made a good job of it then?’ Ellen asks.
‘The Germans? Aye, they did. But there was a lot of work still to be done. There were certain things they were no’ allowed to do – using explosives, for example.’ He pauses. ‘I heard one of them was killed by a landslide while they were building the retaining wall. Is that right?’
‘Aye,’ says Ellen with a slow nod of her head. ‘Oliver Tauber was his name. He’s buried in the churchyard near the village.’
‘So how is it that you came to live here in the shepherd’s cottage?’ Netta asks.
‘Och, I liked the look of the farm work and I like the countryside hereabouts – so wild and out of the way. I started to help out on the farm as an extra pair of hands, when building stopped for the day. They needed help, shorthanded as they were after the war ended. I helped the farmer here – Kenneth Douglas – and I helped your grandfather after your father was killed and you had all moved away.’
Netta glances again at her mother.
‘Kenneth and Elizabeth Douglas,’ Ellen says, eyes wide with interest. ‘Are they still here? Do they still run the farm?’
‘Aye, still here, though the work is a bit much for him now. I try to take as much of the burden off him as I can.’
‘So you became a shepherd full-time?’
‘Aye. Kenneth offered me a job here. Duncan couldn’t manage on his own, so they took me on. I stayed in the cottage next door and moved into this one when Margaret moved out. There’s a bit more room here. Not that I need it. But the view from the window is even better than next door.’
‘You’ve worked here right through this war then?’
‘That’s right. I would have been on the borderline for enlisting anyway. Too young for the first war and almost too old for the second. In any case I was needed here.’
‘Does anyone else help besides you?’ Ellen asks. ‘After all, it’s a big farm and acres of ground to cover, and Kenneth sounds as though he’ll no’ be up to doing much walking.’
‘There’s a shepherd interested in coming to help around lambing time next year.’ Finlay lifts the lid of the teapot and stares into its dark interior. ‘Just enough for another cup,’ he says and gives each of them a refill. ‘So, ladies, what have you been doing all these years? It’s a gey long time that you’ve been away.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and brought up in the south of England, the eldest girl of nine children, Dee moved north to Yorkshire to study medicine. She remained there, working in well woman medicine and general practice and bringing up her three daughters. She retired slightly early at the end of 2003, in order to start writing, and wrote two books in the next three years. In 2007 she moved further north, to the beautiful Southern Uplands of Scotland. Here she fills her time with her three grandsons, helping in the local museum, the church and the school library, walking, gardening and reading. She writes historical fiction, poetry and more recently non-fiction. Occasionally she gets to compare notes with her youngest sister Sarah Flint who writes crime with blood-curdling descriptions which make Dee want to hide behind the settee.