In 2019 Grace’s memories from childhood are stirred by the sound of a melody. Her home in 1950’s England was a Spanish House. A house with secrets.
1920’s England…loveable, likeable Simon receives a letter on the eve of his twenty-first birthday. A letter that will change the course of his life.Dainty, demure Olivia has so much to be thankful for: a doting husband, a beautiful house and a thriving business…but a nagging doubt. In the last years of the Roaring Twenties this doubt is compounded by the discovery of a discarded item.Elise has known many harsh blows in her young life. Returning to her home in Madrid in 1922, she knows she must pick herself up and move on. Can she continue to live in this Spanish House? The arrival of a visitor creates a new dimension for her.Spanish House Secrets is a story of love, life, loss, jealousy and forgiveness set in the twentieth century.
Author Bio – Susan Gray lives with her husband in northeast England. She has a son and daughter, both married, two granddaughters and a grand dog. After a career in primary teaching, she embraced retirement fulfilling her ambition to travel, attend Wimbledon and write a novel. She enjoys reading, walking, crafting, doing puzzles, catching up with friends over a coffee and being a gran. She has written several novels – Spanish House Secrets is the first to be published.Social Media Links –
One morning in early November she was startled to hear Isabella answering the door and come dashing into the kitchen.
“Caballero Inglis, Caballero Inglis,” she exclaimed.
Elise looked up see what the older lady was so agitated about as she signalled for her to go to the door. She walked through the hallway to the front door. Before her stood a tall, dark, strikingly handsome young man…with Eugenie’s eyes. She was in no doubt as to his identity.
“Come in,” she said in Spanish and Simon stepped into the hallway. He began to speak some Spanish words with a very English accent. The young man amused her so she thought she would play along for a little while to give her the chance to observe him. She could hardly make out what he was trying to say, but with the help of sign language she took his hat and coat and invited him to sit down in the lounge. She asked, in Spanish, if he would like a drink, he answered yes, so she went off in search of Isabella.
Simon took a deep breath once she left the room. Senorita Dominguez was not what he was expecting. Having realised Eugenie’s niece was young, he had failed to visualise her appearance, but she was beautiful. He realised she was the girl in the photograph frame in the bedroom. He guessed she was about his own age. Elise returned to the room and explained in Spanish some tea was on its way. As they waited Simon tried hard to remember the rest of his phrases and spluttered some words in his fledgling Spanish. “Oh, I give up,” he added in surrender and fumbled in his pocket for his notebook. he was starting to ask the questions when he realised, he would not be able to understand the answers. He was totally out of his depth… and he felt foolish. Eugenie’s niece sat and watched him with a perplexed look on her face. To hide his embarrassment, he stood up and went over to look at his mother’s portrait. There was something very comforting about that portrait. He managed to say aloud in Spanish, “My mother.” She was striking, perhaps not as beautiful as the girl in this room, but she was elegant, full of poise and dignity. He was startled by a voice behind him.
“Your mother was a caring, kind lady and I have much to thank her for.”
Simon slowly turned and their eyes met. He blinked; she was mesmerising.
“You speak English,” he declared with a look of astonishment on his face.
“Yes,” she replied, dropping her eyes sheepishly, “I confess I do.”
“You must think my attempts at Spanish very foolish,” he continued, a smile spreading across his face.
“Not at all, Senor, I understand you are trying to learn the language of your mother’s tongue.”
Simon looked again at the portrait.
“I want to know what she was like…her personality, her likes and dislikes and what motivated her.” He was interrupted by the arrival of a little dog through the French windows.
“Pepe, come here,” said Elise in Spanish. The moment was lost, and Elise sat down again. Isabella brought some tea and while they were drinking Simon started to ask her his questions – this time in English.
“Senorita, do you have future plans? Do you have any family living nearby?” Suddenly he stopped. “Forgive me…please don’t feel obliged to answer.” They were strangers, meeting for the first time; he was out of order trying to interrogate her. “The purpose of my visit today is to introduce myself. I am grateful that you are living here. It is a beautiful house, and it needs to be enjoyed. I understand it is your home. You are welcome to continue to live here.”
She looked at him and smiled. He felt his heart melting under that smile…gosh she was so beautiful.
“Thank you, Senor Guilder, that is most kind of you, but you must advise me of the rental charge.”
He shook his head.
“No, no Senorita, you can live her rent free for as long as you wish. I will arrange for my manager to draw up a letter to that effect.” Simon stood and thanked her for the tea then bent to pat the little dog.
“It has been a pleasure to meet you, Senorita. I will call again next time I am in Spain and then you can tell me about my mother.” He reached out to shake her hand. “Please call me Simon,” he added.
“I will look forward to you visiting, Simon,” she replied. “And please call me Elise.”
Thirty minutes later Simon was on a train travelling back to Madrid. Something had happened to him, but he did not quite know what it was.’