Rose Villa has held a curse in its bricks since 1843, and the Yorkshire village has held the secret of a murder since 1987. In 2007, Jonathan and Kirsty meet on Facebook twenty years after they last saw each other and Kirsty visits Jonathan in his home, Rose Villa, only to find the house has affected him and he’s no longer the person she once knew.
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Good things come in small packages. And Samantha Priestley’s micro-collection, The Letters, is a wonderfully engaging read that feels like coming home to something exceptionally good in your mailbox.
In four skillfully crafted flash pieces, Priestley’s characters reverberate with life, longing, and a sense of searching in what they’ve chosen, what they hope to find, and the very things they choose to leave behind.
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When does passion turn to love? When does responsibility mean guilt? When does a death become a murder?
In A Bad Winter these hefty questions stir up echoes through time, from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, to create an intimate and powerful tale of personal lives in freefall. With her trademark pictorial prose and beautifully phrased metaphors, novelist Samantha Priestley has created a ghostly romance set among wintry Derbyshire hills, and a shivering good read.
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Seeking sanctuary from his memories, a man carries a balloon, but its orange glow marks him as different from others: wounded. Water has fallen “from the heavens and covered him till it was in his eyes and mouth and ears.” All but drowning in the consequences of a moment of inattention, he blindly walks and prays, afraid of what he may find if he allows himself to look.
short fiction by Samantha Priestley
illustrations by Megan Grausteinm
‘The lower-middle-class gentility of Lyme Regis makes an appositely deceptive backdrop for a tale that gets darker as it gets more complex. Ultimately, what I love about this book is the scope of the journey, from a moment of almost idle curiosity to a string of dramatic payoffs, each more satisfying than the last, keeping the reader in suspense till the final page. A fine achievement.’ – John Lake (The Leeds 6 Trilogy).
When a hand delivered invitation to a funeral is dropped through Kate’s door by mistake, she immediately knows she needs to attend. During the service she whispers ‘Please forgive me’ to the dead man Peter, and afterwards meets his son Anthony for the first time. Why does Anthony feel to blame for his dad’s death when Kate knows she was entirely to blame? And why does the previous tenant of Kate’s flat feel so much to blame for his death that she cannot sleep until she has returned from Portugal to apologise to Peter’s wife? As more and more strands of the events leading up to Peter’s death are gradually unravelled, Kate and her two new friends tell each other they should not blame themselves, but it turns out that they themselves have proved Peter’s own words to be true: ‘Rope is more reliable than people.
Dreamers is a powerful story of trying to find your way in life. It considers how our dreams clash with societal conventions and the nightmare that can endure when we make choices about which route to follow. Samantha Priestley’s prose is sharp and vivid; the three characters are deftly drawn. The ending will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading.”
–Naomi Frisby, reviewer at THE WRITES OF WOMAN(http://thewritesofwoman.wordpress.com/)
In a repurposed London church, Fran and Pete discover new sides to their friend Rob during his first photography exhibition. But their dream day out turns into a nightmare when Rob, encouraged by Fran’s experience with the metaphysical, moves too quickly. The inseparable are torn apart. In the aftermath, Fran finally discovers irrefutable proof that dreams do manifest themselves in the physical realm, but simply waking up is not an option.
‘Despite Losing it on Finkle Street the debut novel by Samantha Priestley explores the dynamics of two very different families. The themes of the scapegoat and the unwanted child are present – plus a mystery that unfolds slowly as the plot develops. There is violence and fear – love and tears, this is a novel of universal appeal written in tight spare prose.‘ – The Portico Prize
Rachel Murdoch is living a lonely village life in the Lake District in the shadow of the memory of her grandparents. When she finds a young man who connects with her, she wonders if she may have at last found the new start she is looking for, despite the opposition she faces from his family.
But is Will hiding a secret, or is it just that the emotional holes in his life go to a depth that will stretch her beyond her limits? It is up to Rachel to put together the pieces of his past, and to decide whether she is still committed enough to stand by him.