New fiction: The Lavender House Mob by Annie Crux (Buried River Press)


The Lavender House Mob

Widowed novelist Louise Gregory is happy enough living alone with her pets at rambling Lavender House in the New Forest, but her life is suddenly disrupted by an unexpected financial crisis and the appearance on her doorstep of her daughter Penny, with her two young children in tow. Thereafter Louise’s life turns upside down: a passer-by, Jack, knocks her off her bike but then comes to her rescue by offering to pay over the odds if she lets him stay; her sister Jane is suffering a mid-life crisis; Penny’s strong-minded mother-in-law, Maggie, arrives; and her home, once a haven of peace and quiet, descends into an hilarious, clamorous B&B.

Despite herself, Louise is attracted to Jack, but, just as quickly as he had arrived, he disappears. Confused and irritated by her dysfunctional family and the feelings Jack has aroused, Lavender House stands as the only constant in Louise’s life, but then her peace is shattered once again. How can she trust a man she thought she knew?

With characters who leap off the page and grab your heart, this story will leave you smiling.

Annie Crux

Annie Crux was born in Hampshire and still lives in the New Forest. She is now widowed and has two children. Before writing she had a varied career as a cabaret singer, a teacher, and then hospital administrator. She has written a number of romances and four mainstream novels, but then took time out to return to the theatre as a director of amateur companies. She has now returned to full time writing.

OUT NOW: It’s in the Cards by Pamela Fudge

It’s in the Cards

Ellen Carson is still heart whole and fancy-free at forty – and that is just the way she likes it. Growing up in a crowded family home has given her a yearning for the quiet life, and watching her older siblings make a mess of their relationships has left her grimly determined to remain single. But her family are full of other ideas and, when they discover that not one, but two men from Ellen’s past have arrived in town, are keen to show that one of them must be right for Ellen.
its in the cards
Just as she is coming round to the idea of finding ‘the one’ and changing her lifelong attitude, she finds herself a confidant to those around her who have now decided that staying single was the right idea all along. Is Ellen to blame when relationships start to fail? And what is she going to do about it to get everything back the way it was?

Pamela Fudge

Pamela Fudge works as a part-time administrator at Bournemouth University and has written poetry since she was a child. She started writing fiction in 1983 and has had short stories published in most of the national women’s magazines. Her previous books, also published by Robert Hale, include High Infidelity, A Blessing in Disguise, A Change for the Better, Never be Lonely, Turn Back Time and Not What It Seems.

You can find out more about her at

Buy your copy of It’s in the Cards here

Author of ‘Love in Red China’s Garden’ Adrian Webber on the Heart of China

Love in Red China's Garden by Adrian WebberAdrian Webber joined the NHS as a graduate management trainee in 1980, after completing a politics degree at Warwick University. He was rapidly promoted and tipped right from the start as a high flyer destined for the top. Despite this, Adrian had developed from an early age a love of plants and an interest in how they could be framed within designs.

He had no way of knowing, however, that his early love of plants would begin an adventure that would eventually lead him to China.

Check out the official blurb for his new memoir, Love in Red China’s Garden, followed by an author post by Webber himself on the Chinese culture he has grown to love and why it appeals to him.


Adrian Webber is about to give up a respectable career in hospital management to follow his dream of becoming a garden designer at the prestigious botanical gardens in Beijing. As the first Westerner to do so, Adrian will be sailing into uncharted waters, but he cannot yet predict how this decision will change his entire future.

Follow Adrian as he gets to grips with the Chinese way of life in this insightful, moving and often amusing memoir that charts the mishaps and cultural misunderstandings that threaten to overwhelm the foreigner in a strange land. Journey with him as he explores his new home, and prepare to be gripped by a love story that blossoms in the face of adversity.

When Adrian falls hopelessly in love with a beautiful Chinese girl, he must do what he can to win her, despite the fact that they come from two vastly different worlds. Soon he must face her family in Tibet– as without their permission the couple cannot marry – but the road to happiness is unlikely to be easy as Wu Shu’s mother has already branded Adrian a spy…

Funny and strange, but not a day seems to pass when there isn’t a ‘China story’ being carried by the broadsheet press. There seems to be an endless curiosity about the People’s Republic of China. Strange too, because I am convinced that the majority of Chinese are unaware of this phenomenon. I also suspect that even if they did know, they would not care. We foreigners are scarcely relevant to them and why should we be? We do not impinge on their daily lives as they do impinge on ours.

No, they quietly get on with their lives – their only concerns appear to surround their work life and its security and, of course, their families – the centre of the world. I believe that we in the West do not really understand this fundamental fact. The Chinese family is not just the centre of a Chinese person’s life – really it is the heartbeat of China and if anything is certain in this world, it will always be so.

China, for me, also has the happy knack of getting into your blood – and when it comes to food, literally so. The smell, the aroma, of certain Chinese foods can instantly transport me back to China – a China on a warm sultry evening, probably. The perfumed steam from jiaozi dumplings being boiled on an open brazier or plain noodles the same. You are back on a Beijing pavement nearing a happy, smiling street vendor, confident of a sale.

Also, the Tibetan Plateau in the west of China can be brought back magically to life by a nearby barbecue laden with sizzling lamb kebabs causing the dripping fat to spark the coals and smart the eye with its distinctive woody smoke. You are once again, breathing China.

China. Whenever I think of that great country, the same two things always seem to well up inside me: the Chinese family, followed quickly by Chinese food.

Familiar. Symbiotic. And, true.

Adrian Webber

Love in Red China’s Garden by Adrian Webber will be published 29 June 2012 and is available to pre-order now.