Today I’m delighted to kickoff the Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour for Jane Cable’s debut novel, “The Cheesemaker’s House“. The Yorkshire setting and the hint of a historical mystery are what first attracted me to the novel. Plus, I’m always attracted to novels that feature protagonists who are making ‘fresh starts’.
When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent cafe´ owner, Owen Maltby.
As Alice employs Richard to start renovating the barn next to her house, all is not what it seems. Why does she start seeing Owen when he clearly isn’t there? Where – or when – does the strange crying come from? And if Owen is the village charmer, what exactly does that mean?
The Cheesemaker’s House is a gripping read, inspired by a framed will found in the dining room of the author’s dream Yorkshire house. The previous owners explained that the house had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726 – and that the cheesemaker was a woman. And so the historical aspect of the story was born.
Jane Cable’s novel won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show People’s Novelist competition, reaching the last four out of over a thousand entries. The Cheesemaker’s House can be enjoyed by anyone who has become bored of today’s predictable boy-meets-girl romance novels.
After twelve years of marriage, Alice Hart is newly divorced and has just moved to Yorkshire. She wants to renovate the barn that came along with her cottage and soon meets the attractive Richard who is a builder. She hires him to do up the barn so that she might have a holiday let as an income source. Richard is practical, handsome, and nice, but not Alice’s type.
Her cottage was once the Cheesemaker’s House and dates back to the early eighteenth century. At first she revels in her newly single state. After her recent divorce she really doesn’t want to become involved with anyone, yet when she meets a local café owner, Owen Maltby, she falls for him – hard. She learns that Owen is a trained pharmacist who abandoned his career when his grandmother passed away. His gran was the village herbalist/healer and Owen seems to have taken up the reins after her death.
Owen and Alice begin a tentative relationship, yet Owen seems secretive and has mercurial moods. Alice begins to hear crying at night, yet she cannot determine the source. She sees Owen several times when it could not possible BE Owen. This Owen is wearing a different colour shirt than the one she knows Owen has on. He is in a different place that where she knows Owen to be…
Is she seeing ‘visions’? Having hallucinations? Or, is she losing her mind?
“Echoes from another time or place?”
Alice begins to help out in the café owned by Owen and his business partner/baker Adam. She befriends a friendly older neighbour named Margaret.
Owen gives Alice an antique charm wand.
A tiny infant’s skeleton is found beneath the floor of the barn.
Then… after an upsetting event, Owen runs off and Alice and Adam are left wondering if Owen took his own life…
I’ll admit that when I first read the blurb which said that Owen Maltby was a ‘charmer‘, I thought he was a ladies’ man. Once I began reading the novel, I quickly realized my error. Owen was a very different kind of charmer. He uses herbs and white witchcraft to charm people into believing what he wants them to believe. Or does he??? Owen himself denies being a charmer. He calls himself a healer and he takes his healings very seriously.
The Yorkshire village setting of Great Fencote was well described and charming.
I found “The Cheesemaker’s House” to be a very easy read. The narrative flowed smoothly and the plot held my interest throughout. It did not read like a romance novel, yet it did have romance, mystery, and more than a dash of the paranormal. I found Owen Maltby to be a very intriguing character. Owen was a profoundly kind man, yet he had many demons. At times he seemed weak, but the strain he was under would weaken any man. The whole while I was wondering if Owen had a twin, or if the second Owen was in fact a hallucination of Alice.
Alice’s character, though we don’t learn a whole lot about her, was sympathetic and I liked how she wanted to integrate herself in the village to forge a new start for herself along with her spaniel, William.
The whole mystery surrounding the tiny baby skeleton found in the barn captured my interest and I was very invested in finding out who the baby was and how the baby was connected to the Cheesemaker’s House.
All in all, I very much enjoyed reading “The Cheesemaker’s House“. A debut novel that flowed smoothly and held my interest throughout. A novel of haunted people and haunted places. I look forward to further novels by this author. I’m not always a fan of paranormal novels, yet this was written in such a way that the paranormal aspects were subtle and seemed integral to the plot. Recommended!
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Amazon universal link: viewBook.at/CheesemakersHouse
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cheesemakers-house-jane-cable/1117073553?ean=2940149894765
Check out the other stops on this blog tour:Although brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable left Wales to study at the age of eighteen and has lived in England ever since. Her father was Anglo-Welsh poet Mercer Simpson so growing up in a house full of books Jane always read – and wrote. In 2011 she started to take her hobby seriously when The Cheesemaker’s House, which became her debut novel, reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. She writes romance with a twist of mystery which has been published independently and through the UK ebook giant, Endeavour Press. Jane is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a director of Chindi Authors.
In 2017 Jane moved to Cornwall and this year will become a full time author. She’s passionate about her new home, cricket, travelling and her husband of 22 years – although not necessarily in that order.
Watch out for Jane Cable’s next novel: “The Faerie Tree“.