Book Title: Secrets of Rosenli Manor
Series: (Mysteries of the Modern Ladies’ Society, Book 1)
Author: Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 29th March 2022
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 160 Pages
Betrayal and trust go hand in hand in the first book of Heidi Eljarbo’s new turn-of-the-century series.
It’s 1898, and Lilly has spent most of her life motherless and living with a father who never looks for a silver lining. When her great-aunt Agatha passes, Lilly’s existence takes a drastic turn. She packs her few belongings and moves into the old lady’s magnificent estate, Rosenli Manor.
In the days that follow, Lilly tries to understand who Agatha really was, and hidden secrets slowly rise to the surface. Her great-aunt’s glamorous legacy is not quite what Lilly had imagined. She must trust in newly forged friendships, and to her surprise, she discovers what it means to truly fall in love. But not everyone is happy about the new mistress of Rosenli.
Intrigue, mystery, and a touch of romance in the Norwegian countryside fill the pages of Secrets of Rosenli Manor.
Great-aunt agatha passed away in her sleep on a night when God had lit every star in his heavenly front yard. At least, that’s how Lilly chose to see it. The message arrived from her father, and she shuddered as she recalled how he’d passed along the news. He’d called her his “stingy aunt” and said she’d “finally departed her miserably wealthy life.”
Lilly had never truly known the old woman. Other than a few early childhood memories, she’d only heard stories. The problem with hearsay was never knowing how to separate facts from gossip, entwined and entangled as they were. Aunt Agatha’s name always came up during family gatherings. Festering envy had seemed to cause all sorts of rumors and reports, which had rapidly changed from mouth to ear time and again. Lilly’s relatives had strong opinions about most things and gladly shared them. Especially their disapproving views. “Agatha probably did this” and “Agatha most definitely might have done that” dominated their conversations. Not once could Lilly recall anyone uttering a friendly word or an encouraging comment.
Only one person in the family had cherished the old woman—Lilly’s mother—but she had passed away the summer before Lilly started second grade. Sweet recollections of calling on Aunt Agatha with Mother were etched into Lilly’s remembrances with a gentle hand. Tea parties on the lawn amid an abundance of blooming perennials in hues of pink and lilac. A straight-backed butler who carried trays of lemonade, sandwiches, and cakes into the drawing room with its pastel decor. Scented floral arrangements of roses, peonies, and dianthus in a vase on a cream-colored, crocheted lace doily. Aunt Agatha with a tender smile, sitting with Lilly amidst soft pillows on the sofa, showing her collections of monogrammed stationeries with botanical illustrations and various embroidered napkins. The lovely items had stood in stark contrast with the simpler things Lilly was used to.
She recalled playing with a rosy-cheeked golden-haired porcelain doll. Lilly would stroke its frilly, lace-trimmed dress and adjust the small parasol in the dolly’s hand while listening to Mother and Aunt Agatha discussing grown-up issues. Politics, Mother called the topics they’d covered. The two women gesticulated and spoke in a manner Lilly later understood as having been intelligent and filled with intuition and clarity. Their spirited conversation must have inspired Lilly, as she later chose to get an education. An education Father did not approve of but one that reminded Lilly of the afternoons at Rosenli Manor and how women’s opinions mattered. Mother had never spoken in such a way at home. She always played the role of a submissive, dutiful wife. But Lilly knew in her heart that had her mother lived today, she’d be proud of her daughter’s work as an accountant.
When it came to the old mistress of Rosenli, Lilly had only good things to say about her great-aunt. Elegant, delicate, kind, yet smart and strong were the words she’d choose to describe the elderly lady. Their afternoon visits had always been delightful and filled with tender moments Lilly would never forget.
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don't want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
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