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
Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Mystery
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Secrets of Rosenli Manor
(Mysteries of the Modern Ladies’ Society, Book 1)
By Heidi Eljarbo
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.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09Q986R26
Amazon US: https://www.amzn.com/B09Q986R26
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09Q986R26
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09Q986R26
ROSENLI MANOR SAT bathed in a pleasant glow when Lilly arrived early the following day. Rays of sunshine sprayed the few snowy spots left on the ground, and two sparrows flittered between the bare branches of birches and hazelnut trees.
She’d only attended two funerals. The first one was for her beloved mother, then Uncle Alfred had passed a few years later.
A whiff of freshly baked goods met her as she opened the main door and stepped across the threshold. Maids were buzzing around an immensely long table set up in the middle of the grand entry hall, smoothing the linen tablecloth, and hurrying to and from the kitchen carrying trays and baskets of cakes and sweet rolls.
Gertrude came toward her. “Oh, there you are, love. The reception is being prepared according to Agatha’s wishes. I hope you are pleased.”
“It looks wonderful. Are you expecting a large crowd?”
“The townsfolk. Your great-aunt was much loved.”
“I’m glad they can come.”
“You know, Agatha always held an open hand for people in need and shared what she had. Today, we’ll celebrate that goodness by inviting people inside the manor for a bite to eat. They’ll sing hymns, enjoy the food, and speak kind words about Agatha before they follow the wagon with her casket to the church cemetery.”
“I’ve never heard of such devotedness before, only with celebrities or perhaps royalty.”
“One may think Agatha was just an ordinary woman, but there was nothing common about her. What she taught me through her example is that anyone can do extraordinary things with their life. One can choose to be good, charitable, or kind…even when others may not deserve to be treated well. There’s always a choice.” She wiped her hands on her apron and rearranged a couple of the cake trays. “There. That’s better.” Touching Lilly’s arm, she said, “As you learn more about her and become acquainted with her life, you’ll understand what I mean.”
“Patience, dear. All in good time.” She gave Lilly a quick hug. “I’m so pleased you are here.” Her skirt swooshed as she rushed back down the hall toward the kitchen.
John came carrying a large tray. Steam rose from the cups, and the aroma of mulled blackcurrant toddy reached Lilly.
“Mornin’, Lilly,” he said. “Can I do anything for you?”
“I’d like to help.”
“Go to the kitchen and ask what you can do. We’ll invite people into the grand hall as soon as we have everything on the table.”
Lilly made her way to the scullery, moving out of the way as two maids hurried by.
“What can I do?” she asked Gertrude.
“Every plate and basket on that table needs to go out. We’re almost ready now.”
Lilly picked up a serving plate with lefse and carried it into the hallway. The softened potato flatbread rolled up with butter, sugar, and cinnamon was one of her favorite treats. She hurried back a few more times until the long table was packed full of delicacies. Cakes and open-faced sandwiches, buns and sweet rolls, dried apples, and cold and warm drinks filled every available space.
Gertrude gave John a nod, and he turned to Lilly.
“Shall we?” he asked.
Lilly smiled, not knowing what to expect. “Yes, John. Please invite the neighbors in.”
John flung open the double doors, and young and old dressed in what seemed like their finest clothes streamed inside. At first, they stood to the side, waiting and peeking shyly at the table and taking in the beauty of the hallway with its portraits on one wall and lovely mirrors on the other. A rope hung at the bottom of the staircase to prevent people from entering the private rooms upstairs.
Children stared at the delicacies then pulled at their mothers’ skirts, looking up with pleading eyes.
“Go ahead,” Gertrude said, smiling at the youngsters.
With their mothers in tow, the children hurried to the table. Chairs were set out along both sidewalls, and Lilly grabbed a basket and offered sweet raisin rolls to older people who’d found a seat. Menfolk stood talking, mugs of warm toddy in one hand and a sandwich or two in the other.
Gertrude handed Lilly a mug. “One of Agatha’s favorite drinks when the weather cooled off. She always asked for a cup when returning from walks outside.”
The juice had the same rich deep-red color as the pelargonium Lilly remembered hanging from the balcony planters on the backside of the manor.
“Thank you, Gertrude.”
Lilly carefully blew on the hot juice then took a sip. The flavor was delicious, like an aromatic blend of berries, spices, and everything sweet.
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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