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A Scent of Lavender

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      A Scent of Lavender
Elizabeth Elgin

A captivating tale of forbidden passion and wartime friendship from the bestselling author of THE WILLOW POOL and ONE SUMMER AT DEER’S LEAP.It's 1940 and the threat of invasion hangs over Britain. But in the isolated hamlet of Nun Ainsty it is the arrival of the Army that turns things turned upside down – especially for two young women.Lorna Hatherwood, married to a man ten years older, lives a quiet life. Then she volunteers to read to blind soldiers at the nearby Manor and everything changes – because of a handsome medical officer named Ewan MacMillan. But their relationship could spell disaster…Then there is Ness Nightingale. A Land Girl billeted with Lorna, Ness is trying to forget a disastrous love affair. But when she meets Mick Hardie, a conscientious objector, she has to remind herself that she has vowed never to trust a man again …

ELIZABETH ELGIN

A Scent of Lavender

Dedication (#ulink_653b4230-7478-53f4-9eff-db2d0a8b351a)

For my mother

Katie Wardley

and for

my first great-grandchild

Katie Hall

Contents

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1940

The month of June, and the world so impossibly beautiful that it hurt. Her world, that was; the little part of it that made her ache inside just to think she might lose it, now that losing Ladybower could happen. And losing Nun Ainsty, too, and everything that was dear and precious and familiar and safe.

Lorna flung her hat on the sofa then angrily tossed her prim white gloves to join it. Angrily, because she wasn’t getting her priorities right; because today her husband had gone to war and William going away into danger was surely more important than being invaded, even though invasion was a real possibility. Soon, some said. The tides were right. Stood to reason, didn’t it, that nothing would stop Hitler now.

‘What a time to be leaving you. God knows when I’ll get leave, the way things are.’ They had stood on the platform, waiting for doors to be slammed shut the length of the train, when couples would snatch one last kiss, whisper one last goodbye. ‘You’ll be all right, Lorna?’

‘Yes. You’re not to worry about me.’

Dammit, she wasn’t the only woman to see her husband go to war. Other wives managed, and so would she!

‘At least you’ll be all right for money – won’t go hungry waiting for the Army allowance to come through. You’re sure you can manage the bills?’

‘Yes, dear.’ William was talking pounds, shillings and pence again. ‘I do know how to write a cheque.’ She smiled to soften the rebuke.

‘And if you need help, there’s Gilbert and Nance, don’t forget. You’ve only got to ask, Nance said.’

‘Yes.’ Ask? Nance Ellery would be there in her WVS uniform, asked or not; self-appointed chatelaine of the village. And since the village had no resident vicar, Nance Ellery had taken to running the church, too, with a zeal fit to frighten St Philippa off her plinth. ‘You mustn’t worry about me, William. Take care of yourself. I’ll be fine.’ She wasn’t as helpless as he thought; she really wasn’t. All she wanted was the chance to prove it. ‘And I think it’s time …’ Doors were banging at the far end of the train.

‘Yes. Best be getting aboard.’ He reached for her, holding her close, patting her back, kissing her. ‘And I don’t want to be waved off. Too upsetting for you. Just give me a brave smile. No tears, eh?’

So they kissed once more and she waited until he was settled in the window seat of the first-class compartment, then held up a hand, wiggling her fingers in a gesture of goodbye. Then smiling tremulously she walked off, head high; was still smiling as she handed in her platform ticket.
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