A morning at Misterley Manor

For a little bit of fun on the publication day of The Manor on the Moors I thought that I’d share with you what life might be like on a typical September day at Misterley Manor, the setting for the book, just as the novel begins.

Caroline is in her office. She’s been there since seven o’clock this morning. Her cup of coffee went cold long ago, and she’s considering that it might be time to get another one. The coffee shop should be open by now, it’s closer than the family kitchen, and she might pick up something to eat as well, she hasn’t had any breakfast.


She walks past Alice, hard at work in the Octagon Library. She’s digitising some of the Fox-Travers’ letters this morning. Alice has just turned her phone off and stuffed it into her bag – sometimes, when she just wants to get on with her work and Sebastian’s phone calls are very persistent she pretends that she can’t get any phone reception and just turns it off for the day. Peace and quiet to get on with her work …

Outside, Tom’s cutting the grass. In Alice’s imagination he’s cutting the grass, shirtless, with a scythe, even though it’s 2019. Let’s just leave that there for a few moments …

Duncan has just got a text from his daughter Emily’s sixth-form college, asking why she hasn’t arrived at college this morning. He’s on the road to Misterley, driving over before his first lecture at 10.30 to see if he can find out what’s going on. He likes to do these things in person.

Emily should be at college. She missed the bus, and she’s come back to wait for the next one (in an isolated place like Langbarnby there isn’t another bus for two hours) and she’s hanging round in the courtyard, hoping to bump into Mikey, the attractive builder’s apprentice with the big muscles. She dodges into a doorway when she sees her mother leave the office

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Sir Henry is in his rooms. Since losing his sight he never leaves them but somehow he still knows everything that goes on in the house. The slightest whisper can reach him through his open window. He’s the only person in the house who has noticed that Emily has missed the bus this morning.

Aunty Marjorie has put her boots on and gone for a walk in the shrubbery. She has walked right past Emily and hasn’t noticed her. She was too distracted by the sight of Tom cutting the grass. If she was only twenty … all right thirty … or forty years younger … She sighs. Life has never been the same for Marjorie since that summer with Pedro all those years ago …

marjorie boots



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