Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Rhys Bowen--The Second Mrs. Summers


DEBORAH CROMBIE: What a treat to host our second Jungle Red book launch of the week! It's our Rhys Bowen's new Lady Georgie novel, THE SECOND MRS. SUMMERS. If you need  a summer getaway, this book is going to be it. Ah, Cornwall... ice cream, cream teas, gorgeous scenery, a fresh sea breeze--and a mystery with our favorite, funny, Golden Age heroine, Lady Georgie. You just can't beat it!


RHYS ESCAPES TO CORNWALL:

Thank you for the kind intro, Debs.
Like Hank I’m excited to be launching a new book this week. Especially excited as THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS is a real escape novel, set on the Cornish coast with a scary and romantic adventure for my Lady Georgie and her friend Belinda.


I expect many of you are like me at the moment, longing to get away somewhere, dreaming of the most idyllic places we have visited. For me seeing the publication of this book is bitter-sweet. If you read the dedication it is to my Cornish kin, with whom I spend my summers. Any other year I’d be staying at Merthen Manor at this time of year, sitting at the glorious kitchen table and eating a cream tea.  I’d be walking around little fishing villages and picking up a hot pasty, or treating myself to a clotted-cream ice-cream. Alas the only way I can do that this year is in my book.


If one of the reasons for writing this book was my affection for Cornwall, then the other was Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. When I saw that Netflix was making it into a mini-series I read it again. It had been one of the first adult books I had read as a teenager, and definitely the first book that showed me a story could not only be entertaining but could play with the emotions. I knew Devon and Cornwall well as a child and could picture Manderley and the wild coastal setting.  I have to confess even then that I was a little annoyed with the second Mrs. De Winter and the fact that she didn’t stand up for herself more. I know she was young and not from an upper class background but if I had been mistress of that house I would have not allowed the servants to walk all over me like that.

So as I was reading the book again I found myself thinking that this would be a fun adventure for Georgie. What if her friend Belinda inherits a property in Cornwall? And they drive down to see it, and find themselves in a house like Manderley with a housekeeper like Mrs. Danvers and a mystery about what happened to the first wife. Those of you who know Rebecca will get a chuckle from the various allusions, although some of this book is scary. But you know what? It’s a chance to spend some time in Cornwall and who doesn’t want that at this moment?

DEBS: If that's not enough, just to up your longing another notch, here's a Cornish cream tea.

Is that your in-laws' kitchen, Rhys? So cozy! Love the blue and white china--my favorite! Now if I could just have one of those scones with my tea... And some clotted cream, yum. For those unlucky readers who aren't familiar with clotted cream, maybe Rhys will explain in the comments how it's different from American cream.

READERS,  where would you be spending your ideal summer vacation, in better times? I'd be happy to go along to Cornwall with Rhys...

81 comments:

  1. I was supposed to go on a cruise with my family this summer. That still sounds like fun. But Cornwall looks lovely as well.

    Congrats on the new book, Rhys. It's another fun one.

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    1. Thanks Mark. We also had to cancel a cruise this spring

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  2. Congratulations Rhys on the book birthday! It’s been called of this year, like everything else, but I would like to ride across Iowa some summer in the event called RAGBRAI. I have a marvelous mountain bike sitting in the basement storage, collecting dust, not having been used for almost 15 years. I’d need to work to get in shape but that is my bucket list item close to the top.

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    1. Get out that mountain bike, David. It’s the perfect time for it! I’m thinking of a kayak

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  3. Congratulations on The Last Mrs. Summers, Rhys. It's going to be such a treat to read. My copy won't be here until Thursday, even though I pre-ordered a while back. But the anticipation is wonderful. Lady Georgie and her adventures are one of my favorite escapes, and we sure need escapes now.

    I so enjoyed your FB event with the Poison Pen tonight. Talking about Rebecca and Cornwall and, well, just everything was delightful. I was glad to learn that Queenie would be front and center in the next book. For a character that first annoyed me, I've become very fond of her. And, I'm so thrilled that The Last Mrs. Summers is set in Cornwall and has the Rebecca theme going on. I wonder how many women fell in love with that book as a teenager or young woman. I have to say that your talking about the roads in Cornwall have made me rethink trying to drive there if I ever get there. Aren't you doing something online on Saturday, too, or is that Hank? I got mixed up about Hank's tonight and missed her event. I'm glad I caught you, Rhys. I now have Hank down for her Aug. 12th event online.

    Speaking of Cornwall, it is one of the places I'd most like to visit. I was trying to plan a trip to England for possibly later this year when the pandemic hit. Devon and Cornwall are the top two places on my list, with London third. Devon is for many reasons, but the most compelling one is that my Boone ancestors are from there, and some great-grandparents (will have to count up how many greats) are buried in a church yard in or near Stoke Canon, which is about five miles from Exeter. Then there is the Agatha Christie connection. And, Cornwall has featured in TV programs (Doc Martin) and books (Rebecca and others) that I am excited about seeing some of it, too. Of course, I'd see London and as many of the amazing sights there as I could (Highgate Cemetery, Tower of London, museums, etc.), and I have to make a swing through Brighton to see Dom de Rosa (Elly Griffiths) and Lewes to see Lesley Thomson. Oh, can't forget Oxford and ... You did say ideal summer vacation, right? I think I'd have to stay the whole summer. I envy you, Rhys, that you normally spend the summer in Cornwall. Oh, I could stop and see you, too. And, if Debs goes to London.

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    1. Kathy, save me a seat. I want to go to England with you! LOL

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    2. You’d love Cornwall, Kathy. Only think twice about driving. The lanes are scary

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    3. Is the tv programme Doc Martin set in Cornwall?

      Diana

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  4. Happy Book Birthday, Rhys . . . .

    My ideal summer vacation? Anywhere with John, the girls, and the grandbabies . . . .

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  5. Congratulations, Rhys! What a great idea to take a book to Cornwall.

    We were going to go to Ireland and London in June - that didn't happen. Neither did Maine in July with all Hugh's family, meeting new great-nephews, and good food and conversation. But I will settle for happiness that my son and his wife have moved back to Massachusetts from Maryland!

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    1. Yay. Happy your son is back. How is your son in Puerto Rico doing?

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    2. He is well, thank you - doing good work down there.

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  6. Julie and Rhys and my daughter, Melinda, shut down the bar at Bouchercon last fall. Because of this, Julie and Rhys found much in common. Besides adult beverages. They are both choral singers, both intrigued with the Mitford sisters, and lots of other things. Julie adores Lady Georgie, so imagine her delight when she opened her Kindle yesterday and found Mrs.Summers II front and center!

    I've only been to England twice, and only to London, Salisbury and environs, Chester and Manchester and Liverpool and Oxford and the Cotswolds. While in walking distance of Wales, I didn't make it, and Cornwall and Scotland are still on my bucket list. Will we ever travel again? Right now leaving the state of NY is iffy, and Canada beckons even though the borders are closed.

    So there is no place to go except in my books, in my mind. Currently I'm in Scotland with Dandy Gilver, northern California with Lexy, and just had a peak at Boston last night, with Hank. Vera and the north of England are next as is Three Pines.

    Congratulations, Rhys, and I know your book launch will be successful. How can it not be!

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    1. Julie and I can raise a glass to each other as she reads this. And you’d love Devon and Cornwall Ann spectacular

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  7. Debs, clotted cream is abundant in tea rooms in Niagara-on-the-Lake. My English friends who have been there with me pronounce it a typical English village even though the inhabitants talk oddly when oot and aboot. Someday soon I shall go back, missing our regular trips to Canada terribly.

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    1. NOTL was founded by Royalists who fled New York during the Revolutionary War.

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  8. Rhys, congrats on the new book and I wish you much success with it.

    As for the question about where I'd love to take a vacation, my answer is pretty much the same as any other travel based question asked here on JRW. Ireland, Scotland, England and Hawaii.

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  9. Congratulations on your new release! Cornwall would be perfect right now...unless August is high tourist season.

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    1. August is high season which makes parking hard. But this year nobody is traveling so it would have been ideal

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  10. Congratulations Rhys on The Last Mrs. Summers ! Lady Georgie is one of my favorite series. I'll be glad to visit Cornwall with her ans Belinda.
    During vacations, I like to be near the ocean anywhere. Cornwall could be it. I've seen it a couple of times watching Escaoe to the Country. It is very beautiful.

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    1. Escape to the Country has become my obsession since I can’t go to my gym in the afternoons. I drool over those cottages

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    2. Congratulations on the new book! Regarding gyms, there are several here in the South Bay Area that have opened completely outside, including the lap pool for swimming. I’m sure there is one in Marin, if you really wish to go to the gym. I run outside but go to the gym for lap swimming and spin classes.

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    3. My pool is open. I’m just not comfortable taking the risk yet

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  11. Yes, add me to the Cornwall list! Congratulations, Rhys, you are incredible!

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    1. We should do a Jungle Reds Cornwall trip! I hope your event last night was a huge success

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  12. Rhys, congratulations on your latest Her Royal Spyness mystery. I adore Georgie, enough so that I am now getting the Audibles, too. My book is on the way from Arizona, pre-ordered from Poisoned Pen when you and Jenn pitched that independent book store during the early days of the pandemic. O-o-o-o, maybe they'll send me a signed copy.

    Rebecca was one of my first adult reads, also. I haven't read it since, but may read it again so I can enjoy the connections that you have made in The Last Mrs. Summers.

    In the meantime, James R. Benn's latest Billy Boyle book, The Red Horse arrived yesterday. So, don't feel too badly that I have to wait for a couple days before your book arrives.

    If I could travel now, I'd go to Glacier National Park, or even to Acadia which is a lot closer, and breath that sea air. I'd go to a dude ranch for a few days. I'd go to the White Mountains and camp and hike like we used to. I am feeling a bit restless. (Kathy, I'll go with you on your trip to England, it sounds divine.)

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    1. It will be a signed book, Judy. I was sent all those boxes and signed them although I gather they ran out before the event

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  13. So much good news today! Can't wait to sit and savor Georgie's and Belinda's and Queenie's adventure in Cornwall!

    If a pandemic had not happened, we had planned to spend several weeks in the British Isles this summer, including a few days in Wales to visit my stepsister and her Welsh husband in their new home there. They moved to England last year to be closer to his family, before his dementia got too bad for him to remember old friends and places, and in February her permanent visa came through so they moved to Wales. She was so pinning her hopes on American family coming to visit, too.

    Naturally, Cornwall had been on the agenda. Maybe someday.

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    1. Had you been to Wales before, Karen? All we can do is dream for next year

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    2. No, and I was really looking forward to it. I've been to London twice, and on one of those trips I took a train to visit a friend in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and we took a day trip to Durham. That's all the UK I've seen, outside of movies and TV.

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  14. Congratulations on the new book, Rhys! Congratulations to Hank also, as yesterday became overtaken by events and I never got the opportunity to comment here.

    Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever read Rebecca. I will have to remedy that as soon as possible!

    The vacation my husband and I had planned is not necessarily my "ideal" vacation, as we were sort of viewing it as a first installment. But I'd still love to take it. We were starting with several days in London, then to Oxford and some of the areas south of Oxford where the Midsomer Murder Mysteries are shot. There was a well-regarded tour guide who had built his entire business around Midsomer tours, highlighting the locations where various episodes were shot. Alas, he has shut down his business and retired completely as a result of COVID 19, so we will never get to enjoy that part of the trip. Then we were finishing off with just a few days in Dublin, to whet our appetite for a hoped-for later trip devoted to Ireland.

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    1. Susan, what a shame about your Midsomer tour. Maybe someone else will take on your tour guides' mantle.

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    2. Oh so sorry this man has closed his business. I wonder how many lives have been ruined by this. But it’s easy to drive yourselves around near Oxford. Unlike the Cornish lanes....

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  15. Congratulations, Rhys! It's been years since I read Rebecca. Maybe I should address that.

    Vacation? Anywhere sounds good right now (I do plan on going to stay with my sister in Buffalo for two weeks after we drop The Boy off at college, but I plan on working from her place - anywhere is work when you're working remotely - so I'm not sure it's really vacation). The Hubby and I planned on a 3-day train excursion in West Virginia this September and I'm waiting for them to cancel it.

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    1. They are allowing your son back at College? Our granddaughters are also going back but grandson is remote learning

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    2. Yes, his university is planning on in-person classes. It's in NY. I've seen the plan and sat in on a town hall with all the heads of university departments. He'll be as safe there as he will anywhere.

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  16. Debs, we should do a virtual tea one day. I have a lovely friend in Florida with whom I do morning coffee breaks occasionally. It is surprisingly satisfying. Just saying!

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  17. Happy Book Day, Rhys! I'm half way through and loving it. The allusions to Rebecca are so much fun. Like you, I couldn't understand why the second Mrs. de Winter didn't stand up for herself. I just want to slap some sense into that girl!

    With each book I get a little more nervous as the death of King George V draws a little closer...

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    1. It is, and I have to face it in the next book.....

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    2. OMG, so soon! I can hardly wait to see how Georgie gets involved. :)

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  18. Congratulations on your latest book, Rhys. You had me at Cornwall and clotted cream! This will be a delightfully delicious book to savour…

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  19. We had a lovely trip to Cornwall so a virtual one and a Chance to hang out with Lady Georgie sounds lovely! This summer I’d love to be In cool verdant Nova Scotia

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    1. Are you staying put? We are. So boring

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    2. Hallie, I was thinking of Nova Scotia this morning, too, when the "where would you go?" question was posed. But, Maine is closer!

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    3. Ladies, I have to say I've never been more grateful to live in "Vacationland" than I have been this summer.

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  20. Happy book birthday, Rhys! Sorry your trip to Cornwall has to take place through Lady G, but now we all get to come too!! Can't remember if I've ever read Rebecca--I think I did, but she doesn't seem to have made much of an impression on me.

    Even now, nature calls--an ideal vacation would be someplace on the shore, preferably with mountains nearby. Don't care where.

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    1. That’s what I feel. Sea shore or mountains. I may try a couple of days away in September when the kids are all back in school

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  21. Rhys, I always found the second Mrs. DeWinter rather annoying, too! I think I'll enjoy Georgie and Belinda much more. Crossing fingers my book arrives tomorrow...

    I have not been to Cornwall in such a long time. I think Georgie may inspire me to add a visit there when I can get back to the UK.

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  22. Happy book birthday, Rhys! I've never been abroad and now it looks like I'll probably never get the chance. But Cornwall is one of my favorite places to read about and look at the pictures!

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  23. Rhys, Happy book birthday! I was so excited about your book that I could not wait for the preordered copy to arrive in the mail. I also purchased the ebook so that I could start reading last night. Loving it so far.

    When was Merthen Manor built?

    Where is my ideal vacation? In the Scottish highlands or in a quaint English village (without the Brexit). Always loved my travels to Europe in addition to the British Isles. And I have not been to Cornwall yet. I would love to visit Cornwall someday.

    Diana

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    1. Merthen was built in the 1400s. It has a haunted room

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    2. That's amazing how the house has endured since the 1400s! In the USA, places that were built during my grandparents' lifetimes often are torn down and replaced by newer buildings.

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  24. Oh, I can't wait! Congratulations on the book birthday, Rhys.

    Where would I be this summer? Visiting all the settings in Rhys's book. I so want to return to Cornwall and this book will be a virtual vacay!

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    1. Kait, I think Rhys ought to offer tours of all the gorgeous places she's set her books - Cornwall, Kenya, Nice, Venice. I'd sign on in a heartbeat!

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  25. I have your book on order and coming soon! I agree about the second Mrs DeWinter. I always wanted to grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. And Max....a good kick to his posterior. If it weren't for the pandemic I would be cruising in my vehicle looking for a new house and new place to move to.

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    1. Pat, there's always Zillow! That's how my daughter does her "house hunting" - all theoretical at this point, because she was laid off like so many others this spring.

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    2. I Zillow like crazy! On another note our son returns home tonight from Ft Sam. Yay!

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  26. Loved most of Daphne du Maurier’s books. I haven’t been to Cornwall yet, but I love the Doc Martin series and I love seaside villages, cream teas, and wild coastlines, so I would love to visit one day. We have a river cruise planned next year to Portugal and I keep wondering if that will be cancelled. I was so looking forward to it.

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  27. I love, love, love Rhys Her Royal Spyness series. I would really like to go to Scotland and Ireland someday soon.

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    1. Love the Royal Spyness series too. I would like to visit Ireland someday.

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  28. Rhys, congratulations on the publication of THE LAST MRS SUMMERS! I think I've wanted to visit Cornwall every since going on a mad Rosamunde Pilcher binge in the early eighties. And of course, watching POLDARK has only made that part of England more alluring.

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    1. Julia, I loved reading Rosamunde Pilcher too. Still do. I would love to visit Cornwall someday.

      Diana

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  29. You and Doc Martin and Poldark have made a good case for Cornwall, once we get the world back to health. Meanwhile, I might turn my hand to making pasties and scones, and visit by reading. Thanks for the books, and congratulations. <3

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  30. I love Lady Georgie. She is such fun. I am excited for this book. I also equally love Molly Murphy too. I watched the Diana Rigg, Charles Dance and Emilia Fox's Rebecca when I would be up late nursing my last child. I enjoyed the movie and the beauty of Cornwall. I also read Rosamunde Pilcher. My favorite of her books was Coming Home. Reading that booked helped when I was diagnosed with Cancer. Books have the ability to help distract/comfort us when we are going through challenging times.

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    1. I’m glad that books have helped you through tough times, Diane

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  31. Happy Book Birthday! I enjoy reading the new Georgie book each summer.

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  32. Congratulations, Rhys. I can’t imagine anything quite as nice right as an escape to Cornwall for tea, scones, and another good read with your newest book.

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  33. Brava, Rhys!

    If I could travel, I'd be visiting dear and very-missed friends in Goult, a sweet village in the Vaucluse department, which is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. They've both recovered from COVID, which is miraculous...his fever spiked to 105. Damn, I wish I were there!

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  34. Will there any more books in the Molly Murphy series? I love this series so much!!!!

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