Harstairs House

A Regency romance

Harstairs House Cover    Harstairs House paperback Cover


When Susannah Thorpe inherits Harstairs House she finds more than she bargained for, as the house has a tenant in the broodingly handsome shape of Oliver Bristow. With only a month left on his lease, Susannah allows him to remain, but a series of unexplained incidents follow. Oliver is badly beaten; the local militia pay a visit to the house; and Susannah sees mysterious lights out at sea. She discovers a secret passage under the sundial in the courtyard garden, and, more alarmingly, discovers another one in the library.

As she begins to unravel the mysteries of Harstairs House she finds herself drawn to Oliver, but beneath his charming, if rakish, exterior, something deeper lurks, and she must discover the secret of his presence at the house, if she is to survive . . .


"This is an entertaining Georgian gothic romantic suspense with all the elements of the sub-genre clearly included in the fine story line . . . Readers will enjoy visiting HARSTAIRS HOUSE." -Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews

"Amanda Grange writes from the heart . . . Secrets, intrigue, love, lies, it's all there for the reader to enjoy. Highly recommended" - Pat, A Romance Review

"With its mysterious overtones and brooding hero, this is a nicely crafted, intriguing throwback to the classic Gothic" - Kathe Robin, Romantic Times

"HARSTAIRS HOUSE is the best historical I have read in a long time. It's definitely a keeper and one I'll read again and again. This is the first of Ms. Grange's books I've read and I'm hooked. She's an auto buy starting with LORD DEVERILL'S SECRET, and then on to as many tales as Ms. Grange can pen!" - Kimberley, Romance Junkies Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Available from Amazon US      UK

It is also available as an audio book from Amazon

Extract from Harstairs House

Deciding to return to the house, she retraced her steps until she reached the cliff path. She slipped once going up, but her worn boots helped her regain her footing and she was soon at the top. With a last look at the ocean she turned inland, crossing the cliffs and walking back to the house.

As she approached the garden, she saw a figure she recognized coming from the stable yard. It was Oliver Bristow. She had an unaccountable desire to turn aside, but telling herself not to be so foolish she carried on her way. What did it matter if she met Mr Bristow?

'Good morning,' said Oliver with a bow, as the two of them converged. 'Have you been exploring?'

'Yes. It was such a beautiful morning I couldn't bear to be inside.'

'Did you go far?' he asked, falling into step beside her as she carried on her way back to the house.

'Down to the beach,' she said.' There's a path down the side of the cliff, leading into the coves. They will be lovely in the summer time.'

'I would advise you not to go there too often,' he said. 'The sea looks pretty, but it wouldn't do to underestimate it. It can be deadly.'

He stopped walking and stood looking back at the water.

'How so?'

'The tide comes in very rapidly.' He turned back to look at her. 'It would be better if you stayed in the gardens round the house.'

'What? Never go down to the beach? It's one of the best parts of inheriting Harstairs House!' she protested. 'I mean to hold picnics there in the summer.'

'In the summer, yes, but in the winter the coast is treacherous, and only one of the coves has access to a path. The others are completely submerged at high tide.'

'But there would be time to get back to the path?' she enquired.

'Not always, no. If you were in the next cove, then perhaps, but the water comes in very quickly and not even that would always be possible. A slip on the rocks and a minute lost can make the difference between life and death.'

'Is the tide really so quick?' she asked in surprise.

'It is. Unwary people are often cut off, and several people have been swept away since we've been here. Their bodies were not found for weeks, and when they were, they were so badly eroded by the tide they were unrecognizable.'

'You are trying to frighten me,' she said.

'To warn you,' he replied.

His whole attitude was a warning. Although he was standing casually, she felt an air of tension coming from him, and she noticed that his muscles were bunched beneath his breeches and coat.

'Very well,' she said hesitantly. 'I will take care.'

He nodded. 'I am not trying to spoil your pleasure in your inheritance, but it's as well to know about these things.'

'Do you have a table of the tides?' she asked. 'If there are other fine days I would like to go down to the sea again, even if I stay in the cove at the bottom of the path, and it should be safe enough at low tide,' she said.

'No, I'm afraid I don't.'

He spoke abruptly, and Susannah wondered for a moment whether he was being honest with her.

'It can't be so dangerous,' said Susannah musingly as she quickened her step to keep up with him. 'I found a boat in one of the coves, so Mr Harstairs must have gone out from time to time. I must try and find the rowlocks. They had been taken away, but they must be stored somewhere in the house. I didn't find them in the attic, but it is not surprising as they would be in constant use over the summer months. Perhaps they are in the kitchen.'

'No, they are not,' he said, as they reached the house and went inside. 'The boat doesn't belong to Harstairs House. It belongs to me. I brought it here hoping to use it, but the currents are so strong that I only took it out once. Fortunately, Edward was with me, and it was all we could do to get back to shore safely. Even with both of us rowing, the tide almost carried us out to sea. Believe me, it is better if you keep away.' His eyes looked down into her own. 'If you want to go down to the shore then I can't stop you, but please, take care. I would not like any harm to come to you.'

He took her hand as he said it, and she felt her heart skip a beat. The skin on the palm of her hand grew hot where he touched it and as he kissed her hand she felt suddenly restless. Her eyes were drawn to his and what she saw there made her eyelids droop. But just before her eyes closed, she caught sight of his mouth, and saw with a jolt that his smile had changed. It looked almost cruel. Shaken, she opened her eyes wide, but the cruel look had gone, and she thought she must have imagined it.

'It's a wild country,' he said, as he dropped her hand. 'You are not used to it, but you will become so. Don't underestimate the dangers all around you.'

Then making her a low bow, he headed for the back of the house, leaving her alone in the hall.

Dangers, she thought as she returned to her room to remove her outdoor things. Perhaps the sea was dangerous, but she had the alarming feeling that Oliver Bristow was even more dangerous. He seemed to unsettle her whenever he was near, and she was not sure how he managed to do so. On the surface he was everything that was polite and charming, but underneath the surface something wilder lurked.