Reviews Just In!
Secrets & Saviours has been flying off the shelves and I've already had some wonderful reviews. Here's just a quick selection of some of them. For more, click here to read the rest on my Reviews page.
My trilogy is available from all good bookshops and online from most
suppliers. You can buy either the paperback or audio versions,
whichever makes life best for you!
Settle down with a coffee (or other beverage of your choice)
and enjoy the adventure!
In Secrets & Saviours, the final book of Beverly Elphick’s trilogy, she skilfully weaves real historical events and compelling characters into a gripping story.
I love the fact that the heroine, Esther, has become a midwife using both the
medical skills she learnt from her husband, a doctor, and the herbal remedies gleaned from her grandmother and Culpeper’s Herbal. It’s fascinating and solidifies Esther’s character as a woman of her time - and the animosity, jealousy and suspicion of the professional doctors has a total ring of truth. For instance, she treats Mrs Carver’s infected breast with the traditional remedy of sorrel, despite the attempts of the locum doctor to prevent her.
I loved the Lewes details like the “Gabriel Bell” and the shipwreck off the coast of Seaford that ground the story with a real sense of place and time. All this, combined with the ever-hovering threat from the smugglers, made it an addictive page-turner.
And I thought it brilliant how Elphick subtly managed to recap on events that happened in the previous two books. So, if you haven’t read them, or need reminding, the vital explanations are there.
Whether you live in Lewes or somewhere else entirely, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Dilly, September 2021
Just to say that I have just this minute finished Secrets & Saviours and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am full of admiration for this author. Her knowledge of Lewes and the surrounding area comes through so well and she has done such a lot of research into the various aspects she's written about: shipwrecks, herbs, smugglers and midwifery. It was really enjoyable. Time to start another series!
Tricia, September 2021
***** 5 stars from Rockrob
This is the third and final instalment of the series, telling the story of the Regency midwife, Esther Coad . I hadn't encountered this author before, but when I saw that the stories were set in my home town, I was intrigued. So I read the other two first, and couldn't wait to see how Esther faired in the third one.
The final book in the trilogy was worth waiting for, and is my favourite and the best, in my opinion. At first reading, the story seems quite a gentle tale of life in the town in the early eighteen hundreds, for a Doctor's wife, but then evil intent soon appears in the form of figures from Esther's past life, and the smugglers active in the area at this time. The Doctor's sister also appears to throw another spanner into her life.
Knowing the town, I was able to picture the locations in my mind. However this isn't necessary, and doesn't take anything way from these colourful tales. Lots of interesting facts about the Town of Lewes and, in particular, the work of local botanist Nicholas Culpepper, whose books on plants and herbs inspires Esther to experiment with natural remedies in her midwifery work. Thoroughly recommended, but you really need to read the first two novels to get the full context!
‘Rockrob' August 2021
Just wanted to say I finished reading your book a few days ago. At the beginning I had to remind myself what Esther experienced in the previous two books which fortunately I was able to recall. As I read on and learnt about Esther’s new life with Dr Grieve I was hooked.
Your ability to build intrigue was excellent and I couldn’t wait to find out what would eventually happen to Esther. Another great read!
Lyn, August 2021
What a treat to find available the final part of Beverley Elphick’s Esther Coad trilogy – and well worth the wait. This last book is longer than "Three Round Towers"and "Retribution" but just as involving a read and as well researched. In "Secrets & Saviours", Esther is still dogged by her old connections to the vicious Sussex smuggling network, a community that as Elphick points out never forgets, no matter how much time goes by.
Against this unnerving backdrop as well as the disapproval of local physicians, Esther nevertheless pursues her deeply-felt midwifery mission to help out poorer women of the town with no entitlement to medical treatment. I for one will not forget in a hurry the scene in which Esther, armed only with her herbal remedies, goes to the aid of a young mother suffering acutely from what sounds like chronic mastitis! Alongside such striking depictions of the realities of the time for pregnant women, there are some genuinely alarming, heart-in-throat incidents in the book that steadily ramp up the tension towards a cleverly-plotted and gripping dénouement.
As ever, contemporary international politics form a fascinating frame around this author’s highly imaginative realisation of life in the town of Lewes, East Sussex, in the 18th and early 19th century. There is one drawback to this book, however, and it’s a big one: I want to know what happens next! Perhaps Beverley Elphick could be persuaded to stage a comeback for Esther Coad…
Kayden, August 2021
August 2021 - Retribution - Research Gem
The synchronicity of finding Geoffrey Hewlett’s book ‘The Coach Roads to Brighton’ when I was desperate for information for my book Retribution staggers me. I managed to catch Geoffrey giving a talk at the Sussex Records Office in Falmer. As I listened to his anecdotes I nearly fell off my chair when he described the Green Lane I live on as the old coach road to Lewes.
July 2021 - Secrets & Saviours is now available!
You can order your copy direct from a variety of online stockists and also in bookshops. Otherwise you can order via Amazon either as a Kindle e-book (currently £3.99) which you can read on any device by downloading the free Kindle app. Or you can order a printed, paperback copy (currently £9.99), which Amazon prints for you on demand. Please do give me a rating on Amazon if you choose that route.
Thank you all for your patience as you've waited for this final part of Esther's story. I really hope you enjoy it. Let me know ..... I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Very best wishes
May 2021 - At Last!
I am very pleased to announce that after many more hours of detailed work, my manuscript for the third and final instalment of my trilogy about the life and adventures of Esther Coad is about to hit the shelves. This is scheduled to happen in the next few weeks, but I thought you might like a sneak preview of the cover and a taster of the concluding storyline. I hope you enjoy it!
"To him, I was just a hostage to fortune, a bartering tool. If not that, why would he keep me alive?"
A vacuum filled; a threat renewed.
The early years of 1800 hold out great promise and hope for Lewes midwife Esther Coad and her young ward Beth, including marriage to the town’s coroner and physician. But storm clouds soon gather in the guise of bitter family discord and the rise of a new generation of rogues and cut-throats.
When Esther is given the opportunity to help destroy, once and for all, both the Kent and Sussex smuggling gangs, she jumps at the chance, little knowing the price she will pay as her life is held on a knife-edge with no rescue in sight.
"This powerful conclusion to the Esther Coad saga will keep fans gripped to the last."
"In her last book 'Retribution' Beverley Elphick captured a fragment of history and embellished it with a spirited heroine and a lively storyline, I can't wait to discover how the story develops in Secrets and Saviours".
Gill Kaye, Editor: ingénu/e magazine
January 2021 - Secrets and Saviours
We have a title! This is a long overdue update I know, but I've been busy! The last few months have seen much editing activity with the result that I am hoping to publish the final volume in my trilogy this Spring (all things being equal).
And we have a title which I hope you will find intriguing! To tempt you further, I'm offering my loyal readers exclusive access to the prologue of the new book. All you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not putting this up for general release, but I would like to offer some insights and snippets of the new book to take us up to publication. I will not, of course, use your email for any other purpose than to keep you updated about the book and will not be passing your contact details on to any third party.
Behind the Scenes of Secrets and Saviours
As you know, my protagonist, Esther, is an accomplished herbalist as well as a midwife. To support her credentials, I wanted to use real herbal lore and consequently chose Nicholas Culpeper’s The Complete Herbal as a source of authentic receipts. I knew nothing about Nicholas the man, only that he was world famous for his herbal knowledge. I was well into my story before I came across the information that Culpeper was raised in nearby Isfield and likely went to the grammar school in Lewes. Such a coincidence! Culpeper published his works cheaply and, unusually, in English. He wanted to give the poor and disadvantaged access to knowledge of the medical use of herbs that could be grown in their gardens. His writings were quite caustic in places as well as being witty and amusing. He was very unpopular with medics and apothecaries who saw him eroding their reputations and monetary returns. He also wrote extensively on midwifery. Nicholas Culpeper’s writings date from the 1600’s and allegedly have never been out of print. He died in 1654 aged 38. His wife Mary, who had borne him seven children, published some of his works posthumously.
Whilst researching Nicholas' earlier life, I discovered a tragic episode. Nicholas had engaged himself to a young woman of some wealth. Knowing that their families would not approve or sanction such a marriage, they planned to elope. Arrangements were made for Nicholas to travel to Lewes by coach and for the young woman to walk, with her maid and jewels, across the Downs to where the priest was waiting in a Lewes chapel. Unfortunately, there was a great storm and the poor girl was struck down dead by lightning. Mary Culpeper, his mother, never really recovered from the shock and he was disowned by his grandfather Thomas Attersoll of Isfield Church. Culpeper wrote about this incident but never named the young woman.
Source: The Herbalist: Nicolas Culpeper and the Fight for Medical Freedom by Benjamin Woolley
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Facebook is where I often share recent events, books I've read, short stories I'm writing, even the nocturnal habits of my local hedgehogs! You'll also find two lovely videos there of the churches and countryside which feature in my books.
Who am I?
My name is Beverley and I am the author of two historical novels set in Lewes, East Sussex, England, in the 1790's. I am currently writing a third book to complete the trilogy. The stories centre around the main character Esther, a young woman having to find her own way in life without family support or any financial means. Her life is tough and dangerous, but she is made of strong stuff, often showing true courage as well as compassion to overcome the cruel hand life has dealt her.
The titles of my books are Three Round Towers and Retribution. I will let you know the title of the third as soon as it emerges! Both my books are available to buy direct from the publishers, Troubador, or via Amazon. Simply click the relevant 'BUY IT' button on the images of my books to the right.
If you live locally to me in East Sussex, both books are also available in Lewes at Sussex Stationers and Boon Books, both in the High Street. Obviously, at the moment these shops are closed, so online purchasing is your best option. Both are also available on Kindle, if you don't want to buy the physical copies.
I have been writing most of my life, but it wasn't until I retired that I decided to try a novel. Up until then, I wrote for the local press, penned whimsical articles including several seasons of pantomime scripts for my children's primary school, St Philips in Uckfield. The panto tradition continues to this day with Sara Cannon (who was one of the cast in an early script now writing and producing). Children that we performed to now take the leading roles! And of course I entertained my own children with stories from my imagination.
In normal circumstances, I am available to do Talks, Book Signings and meet with Book Groups to discuss the novels, my characters, where I get my inspiration from and what might come next in the lives of my protagonists. I really enjoy hearing your views and thoughts about my books, so please do get in touch and let me know if you are interested in arranging an event. For now, I obviously can't do these events in person whilst we are in lockdown, but it might be possible to use online systems like Zoom if you'd like that idea. Let me know using the contact form below.
If you'd like to read a Preview from each of my novels, then just click on the 'Preview' button underneath the relevant book ... and enjoy! For detailed synopses of each book, continue scrolling down.
This is the first book where the story begins.
THREE ROUND TOWERS
ISBN 978-1-78306-420-5 (Matador) 2014
“An engaging tale of one young woman’s struggles against the prejudices, assumptions and deprivations of a grim and ruthless period of our history.” (Rosemary Aitken)
In the first of her Esther Coad historical fiction trilogy, Beverley Elphick powerfully reimagines life in southern England in the late eighteenth century and a society at war with itself. In times of hardship and shortage, when vicious smugglers hold sway over the town of Lewes in East Sussex, a young servant on the run finds herself caught up in a web of resentment, family feuding and brutal acts of revenge. To double the trouble for Esther, can she turn her back on the abandoned baby in need of care?
‘You’re an evil woman and I wish you were hanged, just as you deserve.’
‘Aye, maybe I do deserve hanging, but you’m come from our seed, girl, and you’ll never know whether the badness is in you.’
I have been inspired by the landscapes around my home town of Lewes and have tried to bring a sense of time and place to highlight a turbulent period of history. I couldn't write a novel about Lewes without mentioning the bonfire traditions of that time.
Paperback £8.99; ebook £4.50 available via 'Buy It' button above.
Click here for Three Round Tower reviews .....
This is the second book in my unfolding trilogy. The final book is taking shape - watch this space.
ISBN 978-1-78901-581-2 (Matador) 2018
Following the success of Three Round Towers, Retribution follows the unfolding story of Esther in 18th Century Lewes.
Murder. Betrayal. Adventure. A Score That Must Be Settled.
A tale of twists and turns following the most unlikely of female leads.
‘How do you know my name?’ I asked… ‘We will come to that’ he said.
‘Do you think they meant to kill him?’
War between Britain, France and Spain forms the background to Beverley Elphick's much-anticipated second novel, Retribution. Our heroine Esther Coad is looking forward at last to starting a normal family life; but with the town under threat, and plagued by shadows from the past, can Esther reach her longed-for happy ever after?
This is the second instalment of Beverley Elphick’s trilogy set in the eighteenth century when smuggling is rife and a strong female voice rarely heard.
At the heart of the story is family; not always the one you are born with, but the one you carve out for yourself.
Paperback £9.99; ebook £4.50 available via 'Buy It' button above.
Click here for Retribution reviews .....
If you'd like to contact me with comments or reviews, to arrange a Book Group, Signing or Talk please use the adjacent form and I will reply as soon as I can.
Thank you for looking at my site and I hope you enjoy reading my books!