Dangerous Summer

Dangerous Summer

Intent on escaping drink, drugs and depression, a young American doctor travels to England in the sweltering summer of 1911, only to become a catalyst in a family on the verge of disintegration – and to find himself captured in an empowering but forbidden love affair.

There are three different kinds of women in the world, Beatrice Davenport reflects bitterly: those who have children they adore and from whom they could never be parted; those who can abandon their children at a moment’s notice and hardly miss them; and those who – with every fibre of their being – long to have a child but fail to conceive.

She belongs to the third.

It is 7 May 1910: the morning London learns of the death of King Edward VII. The news flings Beatrice’s small dressmaking business into overdrive as her clients demand new black outfits. But her problems are longer term. After three years of marriage her husband has become more than impatient for a family. And the professional advice she receives about her condition fills her heart with hope and dread in equal measure.

Then fate plays into Beatrice’s hands. Her older sister, Miriam, reeling from the scandal surrounding her husband, asks Beatrice to take care of her three children while she escapes to Europe. Beatrice finds herself the surrogate mother of her nephews – thirteen-year-old twins, destined for Eton – and her beautiful sixteen-year-old niece, Charlotte.

By the following summer – one that becomes the longest and hottest England ever experienced – Beatrice has grown to love her adopted children as if they were her own. One evening she gives a dinner party. Among her guests is a young American doctor, Alexander Hertzler, newly arrived from New York, and himself recovering from the devastating blow of the death of his wife and child. Or so she is led to believe.

When Charlotte is suddenly taken ill, Alex swiftly steps in to identify and manage the crisis. Within the space of a single evening, Beatrice knows her life has changed. But she has no idea how much, or where her new pathway – with or without Alex – will lead.

Set in London, New York and Oxfordshire, Dangerous Summer explores the complicated plait of family life, its hopes and fears, its secrets and lies, its shattered and resurrected dreams and, at its core, its truth and love.