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Author Spotlight | Meet prolific author Kate Darroch and a sampling of her books #booksworthreading



A lifelong reader of sleuths like Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown, Kate loves travelling, has lived in many different towns, cities, and rural retreats on three continents, and is settled happily in a remote seaside resort in gorgeous Devon, England. Everyone is so friendly and easy going, it’s like living in a time-warp!


The colossal sense of community in the hamlets of Devon took Kate back in spirit to the Glasgow of her childhood, and that's how Màiri was born. Màiri is a Scots Irish school teacher whose hometown is Glasgow as it was in the 1970s.


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Title: Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay


Author: Kate Darroch


Genre: Christian Second Chance Romance: Recovery and Redemption


Book Blurb:


Christian Second Chance for Lasting Love in idyllic Welcombe Bay.

A Recovery and Redemption novel from Kate Darroch, 2022 Incipere award holder, Best Christian Fiction.

The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

Their moving story unfolds by the sea in a caring Christian community on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England.

A sweet story of warm friendship and flawed yet caring people moving towards committed love.


Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay reminds us that God Is Love, and with Love, all things are possible.


Early Readers say:


A perfect feel-good story

The story is wonderful.

Super sweet. This is how life should be.

I'm totally taken by this story and its tone and atmosphere of kindness and openness. Really stirs the heart.

It felt like I could step into the pages and just be there.

I wanted to climb in and give the characters comforting hugs.


Editorial Reviews:


Nino Lobiladze for Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review extract


A beautifully narrated, character-driven story. Kate Darroch did a tremendous job of creating complex, memorable characters. The main and secondary characters are equally realistically described and relatable. Father Tom's wife, Nina, is a remarkable secondary character. Kate reminds us about the true essence of Christian faith in simple words: 'Our faith doesn’t promise an absence of storms, but it gives us the strength to walk through them.' Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay by Kate Darroch is a thought-provoking read about many life lessons we should learn


Edith Wairimu of Readers' Favorite 5 Star review extract


This unforgettable story is a powerful illustration of love and redemption... A captivating romance story about recovery, healing, and second chances... offers an eye-opening look into alcoholism and the journey to sobriety. 

It also masterfully tackles other important topics. I loved that both main characters face struggles that will resonate with many readers.


Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay by Kate Darroch is an enthralling Christian romance told with faith and heart. Readers will love its authentic characters, lovely backdrop, and powerful lessons.


Excerpt:


Nestled on the breathtaking Devon coastline, facing the Bay of Golden Sands at Welcombe, sits Sweets By The Sea, a small café which holds a special place in the hearts of the local townsfolk. Five generations of the Baker family have toiled in this “shack on the sands” as the present owner, 28 year old Lily, laughingly calls it.


A shack Lily's café most definitely is not, although it does sit on the sands, the only establishment so favoured, offering a panoramic view of Welcombe’s stunningly beautiful bay and sparkling azure waters. Patrons vie for a table on the weathered wooden porch, adorned with delicately crafted, centuries-old wrought-iron; there to enjoy the best pies for eighty miles around, tantalised by fresh sea breezes as they drink in both Lily’s excellent coffee and the vista across the bay to where sea and sky merge in a symphony of blues.


Lily believes that her scrumptious pies taste best with coffee, but if you prefer tea she will happily serve it to you. In a pot, as tea ought to be served, and drunk from a paper-thin bone china cup. Accompanied by finger sandwiches, sumptuous cream cakes, delicate macarons, and luscious tarts. But not pies. Lily is just a tiny bit of a tartar about her pies, as true artists tend to be. She was in the fruit market at 4 a.m., selecting the very best of fresh local produce to fill her flaky or shortcrust pastry – whichever best complements the most delectable of the day’s fruits.


You are served coffee with your pie, or perhaps hot chocolate, or ice-cold home-made lemonade. Your tastebuds will thank Lily for whichever selection she makes. If you are so cross-grained as to think that such a choice should be made by the customer, then Lily will smile and give you whatever you ask for, but never again will you be favoured with a table on her quaint old porch.


It’s doubtful that you’ll realise you’re in the doghouse, for the interior of Sweets By The Sea is almost equally delightful. As you step inside, the cosy coffee house welcomes you with warm colours and charming decor. The walls are adorned with seascapes painted by local artists. Tastefully small cards placed beside the paintings indicate that for a price, you may take your favourite piece home. A small notice-board is crowded with Thank You notes and cards from the café’s patrons. Vintage photographs of Welcombe Bay’s town and shoreline hang over the bakery counter, and baking memorabilia crowds the door mantel. The aromas of artisan coffee and fresh baking fill the air. If you weren’t hungry when you stepped over the threshold, you surely are now.


Small iron tables covered with crisp white tablecloths dot the room, cleverly arranged to give almost every customer a clear view of the breathtaking bay. No, you will have small reason to think that you have lost favour in the eyes of your hostess, and she continues to wait upon you gracefully.


The glass display cases below the counter offer a feast for the eyes, an array of freshly baked pies and gateaux. From traditional fruit pies to decadently delicious chocolate layer cakes topped with walnuts, Lily’s freshly baked sweets offer something for every taste.


As she waits on you dressed in a floral frock with a freshly starched white apron, her brown curls bouncing and her hazel eyes glowing, a sweet smile curving her pale pink lips, Lily looks the picture of serenity, but the truth is that she’s a bundle of nerves.


She got a letter postmarked London in this morning’s post. Only her ex-husband’s solicitors would write to her from London. She shudders at the memory of what she suffered at Gary’s hands. Four years further on, she still wonders how she ever found the courage to leave. When she looks at that envelope, it’s as if he’s right here in the café. Sneering at her in that paralysing way of his. She averts her eyes hastily. It will be something about the divorce papers. She ought to open the letter right away, she knows that. But she has no intention of doing so.


After the lunchtime crowd has gone, Lily will leave her teen waitress, Jill, in charge of her small café and go looking for Father Tom, the comforting vicar of St. Michael’s, her parish church. Lily can’t face opening that envelope without his support. Until then, she will smile as if she hadn’t a care in the world. The customers expect it, and Lily’s business finances are not in a condition that would allow her to ignore customer expectations.


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Author Biography:


Living on the picturesque Devon coastline, Kate Darroch combines her passion for reading and her experiences living in many countries to create compelling Travel Cozies, Sleuth Satire, and Christian Love Stories.


Màiri Maguire, a Scots Irish schoolteacher from 1970s Glasgow, the heroine of Kate's debut novel, Death in Paris, earned Kate many international book awards, including a Readers Favorite Gold Medal, consolidating her reputation as a notable author.


Kate hopes her readers will enjoy Màiri's adventures as much as she enjoys Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, and The Perils of Pauline.


Kate’s next creation was Huntingdon Hart, a dry, witty, prescient, tongue-in-cheek combo of 007 and Sherlock Holmes, who's in love with a much older woman.


Kate's most recent opus is the Christian Second Chance for Lasting Love series, Sweets By the Sea, a depth saga of Recovery and Redemption which her readers insist is even more adorable than her Cozy Mysteries.


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https://books.KateDarroch.com/ (a basket of free books)


Title: Christmas in Welcombe Bay


Author: Kate Darroch


Genre: Christian Second Chance Romance: Recovery and Redemption


Book Blurb:


Christian Second Chance for Lasting Love in idyllic Welcombe Bay.

Christian Second Chance for Lasting Love in idyllic Welcombe Bay on the gorgeous Devon coast.


The second book in the Sweets By The Sea Recovery & Redemption saga from Kate Darroch, 2022 Incipere award for Best Christian Fiction.


Powerful stories of men and women hoping to find togetherness in a caring Christian community.

We follow Eric and Lily after their Thanksgiving feast and join the Christmas festivities preparations of the townsfolk.


Bob rents a cottage from Miss Agatha over Christmas. Nurse Ruth finds her hospital nights filled with more than just routine ward checks. Hector, a children's entertainer volunteering over the Christmas season, weaves tales of magic and hope that captivate her and touch her heart.

For Ruth, will this be third time lucky in love? Early readers say:


Ruth: rarely have I seen so strong a Christian character portrayed so humbly.


The entire community is wonderfully depicted.


Kate Darroch has a real gift for showing the whole person of each character.


I'm instantly drawn to Hector.


A lovely story


Excerpt:


In the fading winter light, darkness closing in fast, Hector stands hesitating in one of the stark, antiseptic corridors of Sable Barns Hospital. Its walls are painted a pale pastel green. A softly ticking clock high up on one of the walls, out of his eyeline, marks the passage of time in this place of suffering and sorrow, where time so often seems to stand still. He ought to open the door to this room and go in, introduce himself. Yet he lingers.


At forty, Hector looks a lot more comfortable with the world around him than he really is. His smooth blond hair, kind grey eyes with faint laughter lines etched around them, and rather pudgy shape, all proclaim a man more attuned to garnering small comforts than tussling with the people who make the rules. This appearance is not deceptive. Hector lives his life in the realms of imagination. The fairy tales he reads to the children, wicked witches and ravening wolves notwithstanding, feel safer to him than the nursing staff’s break room he’s standing in front of now.


Hector feels unsettled and with good cause. He has been placed in a situation where he must deal with formidable adults again. He would much rather not be in that place. Who needs coffee at this time of day? Hector wants his supper. But what can he do? He wants to go on entertaining the children. He wants to make a real contribution. He wants to be part of what's happening in this hospital in a good way. He shudders a little, remembering the thousand anxious hours he has spent in this hospital, not in a good way. In emotional turmoil, hoping for his little sister Meg to get better. Telling stories to children who are in the same situation now as Meg was then feels like the right thing to do. A good way to cope with the uncaring world around him. His family's reaction to his devotion to Meg at a time when they felt that his attention was badly needed elsewhere is not something that this man can think of without pain. Especially since Meg now seems more aligned with his parents’ position than his own. In fact, at the moment Hector is not speaking to any of them. That hurts too. That little Meg would turn against him.


Hector shrinks from the maelstrom of hospital politics. He just wants to tell stories to the kids. Why can't he do that? A man who is very shy with women at the best of times, this storyteller doesn’t want to sit down with the ward sister and explain to her why she should allow him to continue soothing the ki-- children. He must remember to call them children.


Visiting the wards, telling stories in the children’s wards, had begun under the auspices of the Friends of the Hospital. They’d asked for volunteers. But apparently he has put in more facetime than is expected of volunteers, and now he must turn himself into an “initiative” if he wants to go on. . . and gain official permission first. Beginning with the ward sister and her nurses.


A slim auburn-haired nurse passes by and then suddenly halts, stopping dead in the middle of the corridor. She returns to the door he stands hesitantly in front of.


“They didn’t get around to giving you your key fob yet, eh?” she asks, her green eyes lighting up in a friendly smile. “Typical,” she adds, pulling out her access card and brushing it against the reader with an ease born of routine, her movements fluid and sure. “I could use a cup of coffee, anyway.”


She opens the door, and they enter the break room together. Suddenly, bearding dragons in their den doesn’t seem like such an impossible thing to do. Not with this pretty lady walking in beside him.

The smell of stewed coffee battling against the omnipresent sting of disinfectant seems less overpowering. The harsh fluorescents hurt his eyes less, the clatter of the vending machine seems less intrusive. Hector realises that he’s found an unlikely ally in this tired looking, gentle-eyed woman. Definitely not a girl. She has authority, but on her it’s not intimidating. How old is she? Thirtyish, perhaps. He has the weirdest feeling that she will help him to find his place in her world of pills and potties. And perhaps, who knows, he may be able to lead her into a wonderland of stories.


I’m Ruth,” she says, still smiling. “And you are…?”


Their journey has begun, a joint quest to make this small corner of the world a little brighter.


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Title: New Beginnings in Welcombe Bay


Author: Kate Darroch


Genre: Christian Second Chance Romance: Recovery and Redemption


Book Blurb:


From Kate Darroch, holder of the 2022 Incipere award for Best Christian Fiction and the Readers Favorite Gold Medal, comes another old-fashioned love story. In this book Lily and Eric take a giant step towards Happy Ever After and Irene sets out to unravel a mystery where every thread holds a secret. The Gee quilt has vanished! Dive into the heart of Welcombe, where Eric is building a new life and Irene -- ably helped by Bob -- decodes stitches, confronts the quilt thieves and mends a community tet seems to be coming apart at the seams when the Gee disappears. Can our friends find lasting love while searching for the quilt? New Beginnings in Welcombe Bay says simply that God Is Love, and with Love, all things are possible.


Early Readers say:


A perfect feel-good story

The story is wonderful.

Super sweet. This is how life should be.

I'm totally taken by this story and its tone and atmosphere of kindness and openness. Really stirs the heart.

It felt like I could step into the pages and just be there.

I wanted to climb in and give the characters comforting hugs.


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Title: Huntingdon Hart Investigates; The Case of the Manic Magpie


Author: Kate Darroch


Genre: Humorous; British detective


Book Blurb:


A read you will enjoy much more if you have first read Book 1 in this series of One Hour Reads, The Case of the Missing Peke, which is available as a Gift from Kate on https://books.KateDarroch.com/


Huntingdon Hart Investigates is a series of connected short stories. Each case is solved within the story, but each story is part of a much longer over-arching mystery/thriller Casebook. In some ways these stories are more like a serial.


Excerpt:


Prologue


Do you know how much attention a woman pays when a man says he will never leave her?


Just exactly none at all, that’s how much.


“Yes, dear,” she says, “That’s nice. Now run out and hunt a mammoth, will you, dear, please? The children are hungry and there’s nothing in the cave for their tea.”


Does her enslaved adorer wrestle her to the cave floor and cover every inch of her in kisses? No, the poor besotted fool goes out into the snow to hunt a mammoth.


~~~~


The first time I saw Sophia, Dowager Duchess of Blantyre, 23 years older than I am and as young as Spring, it went like this:


I had brought her back her missing peke puppy, a tiny scrap of fur called Monty.


The tiny peke is yapping madly. Her hands reach him, I let go, and little Monty is taken from my hands to hers and brought up to her face for a kiss.


I stand there watching them, jealous of a lapdog by all that’s crazy, knowing that I will never take another step without this woman at my side. Knowing that I will kill any man who tries to take her away from me. Resolving that before this night is out, I’ll be taking little Monty’s place in her arms, giving her my love as eagerly as right now her peke is slobbering all over her face.


Well, that’s how I feel. What I actually say is

“So happy to have re-united Monty with his mama, your grace. May I offer you both a spot of dinner? There’s quite a good restaurant…”


And that’s as far as I get, because the dowager duchess interrupts “Oh, I think we can do better than that, my dear man. Come in, let me mix you a drink, and then I’ll throw together a bowl of pasta, or something…”


I’m in seventh heaven until she continues “Oh, is that your driver? Bring him in.”


And then I realise what has happened. That fatal phrase “my dear man”.


When a lady of the duchess’s mature years and high social status calls you “my dear man” that means you’ve been relegated to the status of “the help”.


The duchess doesn’t see me as a man, she doesn’t see me at all. I’m just the pair of hands who brought back her puppy, to whom she is being polite because she’s a true lady.


But she’s my woman now, whether she knows it yet or not… and she can send me mammoth hunting anytime she likes.


*****


Chapter 1

In The Bird’s Nest


Another wet Wednesday. I’m contentedly imbibing my G&T in the Bird in Nest when my day is ruined by the entrance of my old college chum John.


- No, John isn’t his real name any more than Huntingdon Hart (just call me Hunt) is mine. But I don’t know his real name. John wouldn’t tell his own mother his real name, because she wouldn’t be able to qualify in the Need to Know category.

-

He was my supervisor at the ministry, and it’s all Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with those chappies in the IT department.


- No, I can’t fix whatever the problem is with your laptop. I don’t do that kind of IT.

-

- Alright, I don’t do tech at all. I was more into the data gathering, as it were.


When John walks in I know at once it’s bad news. He’s not the sociable type and he doesn’t live in Upper Shrewsbury, so he’s got no reason to be here. I have to conclude that he’s looking for me. And if John is looking for me, that’s not good. It’s never good news for anyone John wants to see.


“Afternoon, sir. What’s your poison?” I ask cheerily, waving my hand at the well-stocked shelves behind us. Mary, our excellent barkeep, knows her way around all the brands. Personally, I stick to London Gin – I like its dry bite.


“Don’t call me Sir,” John snarls. To Mary he says, “I’ll take a brandy and ginger, m’dear, thanks.”


His head snaps back round so he can glare at me. “I’ve some work for you. I hear you’re charging £1000 a day. You’d better be worth it.”


“Oh, I’m not worth it at all. And I’m all booked up, old boy,” I say in alarm. And it’s the truth. I’ve all the work I want and more. Not his kind of work, of course. My focus is on pursuing the girl of my dreams. Well, hardly a girl, the Dowager Duchess of Blantyre is 23 years older than I am (I looked her up in Debrett) but you know what I mean. ‘Age cannot wither, nor custom stale, her infinite variety.’


The sooner I can get her dialling back on the variety and paying attention to me, the happier I shall be. I’m having rather a hard time placing my heart at her feet. She refuses to take me seriously. Says she’s old enough to be my grandmother. Rubbish! To be my mother, yes. But who cares?


So I need all my time for the serious pursuit of my woman, and have none to spare for John’s hot potato. It must be a hot potato – if it weren’t a dirty job he wouldn’t be here.


“This won’t take long,” John continues forcefully.


“Ha. Ha.” I respond. I don’t need to get all deferential with him, he’s not my boss any longer. Polite, of course. One is a gentleman, after all. But I don’t need to do what he says, and there is no chance that I’m going to. “Nice one, sir. If it was quick and easy you wouldn’t be here.”


“I didn’t say it was easy,” he growls, “I said it was quick. You’re always lounging around the Silver Ring anyway; it won’t take you five minutes.”


-----


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Title: Huntingdon Hart Investigates; Death in Paris


Author: Kate Darroch


Genre: Humorous; British detective


Book Blurb: A read you will enjoy much more if you have first read Book 1 in this series of One Hour Reads, The Case of the Missing Peke, which is available as a Gift from Kate on https://books.KateDarroch.com/

Huntingdon Hart Investigates is a series of connected short stories. Each case is solved within the story, but each story is part of a much longer over-arching mystery/thriller Casebook. In some ways these stories are more like a serial.


Excerpt:


Coming into the dining carriage, we pass a table where an elderly English military man sits alone, glancing through a small leather notebook, a cane resting slantwise on his tabletop – his tea has not yet been served. I’m surprised to see he’s in uniform, he looks as if he’s past compulsory retirement age, an ancient relict.


Lianna spots a woman who lives near her, Aileen McPherson, so we join her at her table.


Aileen is travelling with Senga MacAuliffe, a friend of hers whom we don’t know because she lives in the Highlands. With them is an exquisite little lady, very chic, with laughing black eyes, who introduces herself as Valerie Garnier, tour guide for their package holiday, which turns out to be the self-same package that we’re on.


As we’re all saying ‘Hello’ we’re joined by someone Valerie knows, Ferghal Reilly. Despite his name, Ferghal lives and works in Paris. He’s an art dealer, and for sure that man has kissed the Blarney Stone. Oh, the Black Irish good looks of him! And does the man know it? Full of himself, he is.


Whilst Ferghal is holding forth, I glance around the dining carriage. Two men seated alone together at a table quite near us are holding hands. That’s sweet – and it’s all thanks to our recent Prime Minister, Harold Wilson (of course he wasn’t the Prime Minister at the time) for it was his reforms that meant British men can now hold hands in public without fear of being banged up in the pokey – and these two are British, I feel sure.


A train attendant is delivering the military man’s tea service, and a stout grey-haired woman with a pleasant face edges past him as she comes in. She walks up to our table, but seeing that it’s full, she slides into the seat of the empty table across the way.


Valerie smiles at her and starts to make an introduction, and Ferghal courteously moves over to her table so that she doesn't have to sit alone. I’m pleased he did that, maybe he isn’t quite as full of himself as he seems.


Her eye caught by Ferghal’s movement, Lianna begins to turn towards the newly seated lady, ready to acknowledge the introduction which any moment now Valerie will effect…


…just as a nondescript little man enters the carriage and the military man at the table by the entrance goes ballistic!


Seizing his cane with a wordless roar, he brandishes it like a weapon (despite very obviously needing it to steady a gimpy leg), over-balancing his hot water jug as his other hand grabs at his tabletop to haul himself onto his feet. His dishes all go flying.


He has managed to jump up – only his fury lending him the ability to stand without falling – and attempts to bring his cane down hard on the little man’s head.


The little man dodges away from the blow, but he can’t get past the roaring lunatic, who is shouting at him with tremendous passion, thrashing about him with his cane in the most astonishing surge of violent energy, even though he can hardly stay upright and looks as if he’ll fall any second.


“You damned scoundrel! You double-dyed liar! You little sneak! You embezzling skunk! I’ll skin you alive! I’ll break this cane over your lying skull, see if I don’t!”


And with another startling lunge he manages to connect his cane with the little man’s shoulder, quite a vicious blow. The little man screams. Lianna screams. The attacker is still roaring. And over it all, in sweet, measured tones, yet as penetrating as any sergeant-major’s on the parade ground “Charlie, what have you done now?” blares out the Glasgow-accented voice of the grey-haired woman.


It happens that I’m sitting by the window, and Lianna’s seat gives onto the central passage-way. As she rises, shaking, there is nothing to prevent her from moving anywhere she likes – and I don’t even want to think about what Lianna might like to do to Charlie Stout.


Ferghal looks from my agonised expression to Lianna’s contorted face, and proves himself a man of action.


He moves smoothly into the passage just behind Lianna and catches at her arms. “Wheesht,” he murmurs “Sure I think they’ll get on better without a lady in the mix.”


Lianna’s last vestige of control slips. The hated enemy is in front of her, and she is going to get him where it hurts, even if that means hurting someone else first.


Forgetting for a moment that she is a lady, Lianna elbows Ferghal viciously (I really can’t bring myself to say where) and screams “Let me at him.”


Ferghal, to his credit, somehow manages to absorb the blow and stay on his feet, and he hasn’t let go of Lianna. In fact he tightens his grip.


Lianna is beside herself, screaming at poor Ferghal. “Let me at him! I’ll strangle him! I’ll cut his lying tongue out and stuff it down his throat! I’ll kill him! I’ll break every bone in his rotten body! I’ll throttle him!”


Obviously, she can’t cut his tongue out (there are no sharp enough knives in the carriage) but I wouldn’t wager a groat on the chances of her not doing the rest.


The lunatic by the entranceway has Stout trapped, he can’t get out and he can’t get past. And even although Stout is leaping about nimbly, and the military relict can hardly stand, every now and then a vicious blow from the cane connects.


The military gentleman is still roaring insults and threats. Stout screams every time the cane hits him. Lianna never stops screaming about how she’s going to strangle Stout and/or break him to bits (her precise intention isn’t fully clear, though not from want of poor Lianna trying to make her wishes known). Ferghal is still murmuring soothingly to her. He might as well save his breath. The noise level is indescribable.


It’s almost as bad as when 3C first pour out into the playground after double period maths.


I pour myself a cup of tea. It’s just as undrinkable as Thomas Cook had warned us it would be.


Eventually everything calms down. Stout manages to escape from the dining carriage. The military gentleman collapses back into his seat. He is taking a reviving nip from a flask.


When his collapse left the entranceway available, Mrs. Stout calmly followed her husband, appearing quite incurious as to why a decrepit elderly Englishman and a perfectly normal looking Scotswoman are both after his blood.


I expect that she’s used to it, the taxman is never a popular figure.

-----


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