THE Beauty Chorus By Kate Lord Brown
Adventure, romance and heroism in the skies
30 April | eBook | 99p
Today I am on the blog tour with Midas PR and very excited to share an exclusive excerpt from Kate Lord Brown‘s new book. Here’s everything you need to know about the book.
About the Book
New Year’s Eve 1940: Evie Chase, the beautiful debutante daughter of an RAF commander, listens wistfully to the swing music drifting out from the ballroom. With bombs falling nightly in London, she is determined to make a difference to the war effort. Evie joins the ATA – the civilian pilots who ferry fighter planes to bases across war-torn Britain. Two other women wait nervously to join up with her – Stella Grainger, a forlorn young mother from Singapore, and Megan Jones, an idealistic teenager who has never left her Welsh village before. Billeted together in a tiny cottage, Stella, Megan and Evie learn to live and work together as they find romance, confront loss and forge friendships that last a lifetime.
Like the plot and want more? Continue to read an excerpt below….
In the early hours, as dawn broke over the frozen fields and cars negotiated their way up the driveway, thin beams of blacked- out headlights guiding the way, Evie and Peter stood in the porch. He tucked his cap under his arm. ‘Well, old girl, here we are again.’ He forced a smile. ‘I’ll see you in the spring, if I’m lucky.’
She screwed her eyes tight shut as she embraced him. ‘Silly boy, of course you will.’
His lips brushed her hairline. ‘You remember our promise? If you’re not married by your twenty-first …’
Evie laughed as she stepped back. ‘Oh, Peter, we were just children.’ She saw the pain in his eyes, and pulled her fur coat close around her. ‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’ she said, as Leo and Virginia showed the last guests to their cars.
‘I adore you, Evie, I always have.’ He took her hand. ‘No, don’t say anything, please. I know we had fun, deb’s delight and all that, but you mean more than that to me. I just wanted you to know, that’s all, in case—’
‘Don’t.’ She touched his lips. ‘I’ll see you in the spring.’ ‘Are you off now, Peter?’ As Leo strode over, they moved apart. ‘Yes, sir. Thank you for a marvellous send-off.’ ‘You be safe now.’ Leo shook his hand.‘Go give Jerry what for!’ ‘Good luck, Evie.’ Peter turned towards her as he walked away, his footsteps crunching along the dark driveway. ‘You will write and let me know how you get on tomorrow?’ he called. ‘What are you doing tomorrow?’ Leo slipped his arm around Virginia’s waist.
‘I’ve a test flight with the ATA at White Waltham.’ Evie waited for the explosion.
‘Over my dead body!’ ‘Daddy, I’m twenty years old, you can’t stop me.’ ‘If you go I’ll cut off your allowance.’ As Ross closed the heavy wooden door behind them, he coughed discreetly. ‘Will that be all, sir?’
‘Yes thank you, Ross,’ Leo said. ‘The Aston’s stranded on the White Waltham road. Would you ask Cullen to pick it up in the morning?’
‘Yes, sir.’ The moment the kitchen door swung closed, Leo turned on his daughter. ‘Right. What’s all this nonsense?’ The colour rose in his cheeks. ‘What do you think you’re going to do? Deliver planes
around the country in all weathers, with no guns?’
‘I think it’s a marvellous idea.’ Virginia folded her arms. ‘What?’ Leo and Evie said simultaneously. ‘Lucky, darling, Evie’s been saying for months she wants to do something to help the war effort, and he does love to fly.’
‘No!’ Leo clenched his fists. ‘I’m not having it. We’ll talk about this in the morning.’
Virginia calmly reached for a cigarette from the silver box on the hall table as he stormed upstairs. ‘I’ll talk to him.’ She leant against the table as she exhaled a plume of blue smoke.
‘Why are you being so reasonable about this?’ Evie said. ‘Why do you think? I want you out of our house.’
Evie’s temper flared. ‘Your house? Since when? This is my father’s house, I have every right—’
‘Oh, Evie, of course you do.’ Virginia’s voice was sweet, cajoling. With Evie, she often felt like she was talking to a petulant toddler. At least once a day Virginia found herself clinging, white- knuckled, to her patience. She smiled sweetly as she counted to ten. ‘But think of your father. You know how hard he’s been working, how tired he is—’
‘Tired? Daddy? What rot.’ Evie shook her head as she laughed. ‘You’re always gadding around here with your friends, you won’t have noticed.’ Virginia smiled sweetly. ‘It would be so much better for your father to have some peace and quiet for a change. Quite frankly, you want to fly, and I want you to fly the nest.’ She flapped her hands. ‘Do we have a deal?’
‘Where do the ATA girls stay anyway?’ Evie bit the inside of her cheek.
‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Virginia stifled a yawn. ‘No doubt there are some ghastly barracks or something. It will do you good to rough it for a change.’ Her eyes glinted as Evie headed towards the stairs. ‘I bet you won’t last a day.’
On the first step, Evie paused and turned, the light of the chandelier catching on the rope of diamonds at her throat. She walked back towards her stepmother. ‘You want to bet?’
‘What’s the wager?’ ‘If I win,’ she said,‘if I don’t get bumped off before this horrible war is over, you leave.’
Virginia gazed down at her, an amused smile twitching on her lips. ‘And if I win? If you give up?’
‘Then I’ll move out anyway, join the Red Cross in town or something.’
‘You have a deal,’ she said as she stubbed out her cigarette. ‘Not that I can imagine you folding bandages for a moment.’ She clicked her fingers. ‘The diamonds, please.’
‘These were my mother’s!’ ‘If Leo’s going to cut you off I don’t want them ending up at some dreadful pawn shop.’
‘I don’t want the diamonds, or the money. You’re welcome to them.’ Evie yanked off the jewels and thrust them into Virginia’s waiting hand. She watched as her stepmother looped the glittering necklace around her wrist and held it to the light. As the diamonds gleamed coldly against her skin, Virginia wondered if it had all been worth it. Once, jewels, money had been all she had ever wanted. Now they were all she had. It seemed to her that her life as Mrs Leo Chase was like a clock slowly winding down. These days he came home at night less and less. Even her attempts to make him jealous went unnoticed now. She had tried with Lucky, she really had – and with Evie for that matter. She saw the angry defiance in Evie’s face and wondered whether she had ever really given her a chance.
Virginia pressed her lips into a tight smile and patted Evie’s cheek slowly – once, twice. ‘Now, run along. You’ll need a good night’s sleep.’ She watched as Evie turned on her heel and stalked up the stairs. ‘Sweet dreams,’ she called, her smile fading as she turned out the lights.
About the Author
Kate Lord Brown grew up in a wild and beautiful part of Devon. She read Philosophy at Durham and Art History at the Courtauld Institute and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, curating collections for palaces and embassies in Europe and the Middle East. Kate has travelled and lived around the world with her airline pilot husband and gained a MA in creative writing from the Manchester Writing School MMU. She was a finalist in the ITV People’s Author contest 2009, and her international bestseller The Perfume Garden was shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. Kate currently lives in the Middle East with her family, and she was a regional winner in this year’s BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition.
@katelordbrown | #TheBeautyChorus