Life in Devon in 1909 is hard and unforgiving, especially for young Emma Le Goff, whose mother and brother die in curious circumstances, leaving her totally alone in the world. While she grieves, her callous landlord Reuben Jago claims her home and belongings.
His son Seth is deeply attracted to Emma and sympathises with her desperate need to find out what really happened, but all his attempts to help only incur his father’s wrath.
When mysterious fisherman Matthew Caunter comes to Emma’s rescue, Seth is jealous at what he sees and seeks solace in another woman. However, he finds that forgetting Emma is not as easy as he hoped.
Matthew is kind and charismatic, but handsome Seth is never far from Emma’s mind. Whatever twists and turns her life takes, it seems there is always something – or someone – missing.
Can Seth persuade Emma that they can overcome their past?
And today, I'm interviewing the heroes of To Turn Full Circle.
Me: So, Seth, *clears throat* where are your balls? The beginning of the story, I was appalled that you didn't appear to have a pair. Your father, your brothers, you just get bossed and pushed around. Why did you permit this?
Seth: Where are my balls? You cheeky madam! Come here, woman, and I’ll show you. That’s the short answer. The longer answer is that it was such a shock when Emma turned up – so thin, dressed in what were little more than rags - at Shingle Cottage while I was painting window frames. All coherent thought evaporated. And I could see her shock was even greater to learn that not only was she now an orphan, but was also homeless.
Me: Matthew, you say, and I quote, "There aren't many women averse to my charms." *blinks* Do women just fall at your feet? If so, tell me what's so darn special about you?
Matthew: Women not averse to my charms? Ah – that was a touch of male bravado. In truth, I was piqued that Emma wasn’t as immediately attracted to me as I was to her – and the remark came out. But I’m a man – and men, so I’ve been told, can talk a lot of bollocks at times.
Me: He isn't kidding, is he, readers? *snickers* Seth, this part here made me giggle: "He put a protective arm around her then squeezed her shoulder, and Emma had a niggle of a suspicion that he might be trying to get his way with her by gentler, more subtle means." *grins* So, were you?
Seth: Did I have an ulterior motive in putting an arm around Emma? How can you think such a thing? Definitely not! I didn’t know how Emma would take my gesture but I hoped my brothers would see it for what it was – a statement that I was going to protect Emma and they’d have to get past me if they thought to harm her in any way.
Me: Sure...sure... Matthew again...You must get around. You said to Emma, "I've known lots of women." You've totally opened yourself up there! You have to answer now 'cause I'm dying to know...How many? LOL
Matthew: How many women have I known? Ah, that would be telling. As I said to Reuben Jago down on the quay the first time I went on one of his boats ‘A gentleman never discusses the women he goes with’. Heavy emphasis on the word gentleman, and I will have to leave it at that – my lips are sealed.
Me: You are the hoity toity one, eh? *shaking head* Seth, you realized--too late--in my opinion, that Emma had nowhere to go, that it was cold, that she was orphaned and homeless... You realized this like the next day. I mean, just where did you expect Emma to go? For real? I'm trying to understand what was going through your head.
Seth: Where did I expect Emma to go? I took her to Mrs. Drew and I hoped she’d be given a bed for the night there. When I found out she hadn’t been I was full of remorse. I could have given her money to stop at an hotel – although I doubt the independent Emma, would have accepted it from a Jago.
Me: *nods* You're probably right there. Matthew, you said if Emma was a little older and circumstances were different...well, what is about Emma that attracts you so? And do five years or so so really make all that much a difference?
Matthew: What is it about Emma that attracts me so? Ah well…..how long is a piece of string? -as they say. I am more than five years older than Emma, actually – I’m not saying how much but it’s in double figures, just. But I was, as you know, very attracted to her. She turned my knees to jelly, actually, despite her ragged appearance in my back garden. But I was a married man (although Emma didn’t know that then) and I was also doing a covert job. I couldn’t afford to be sidetracked by a beautiful waif. Besides, she was under-age for what my loins were telling me I wanted to do with her. But I could also see – in a moment of pure clarity – the woman she would become; strong and loyal and even more beautiful. And then there was the rapport we instantly had – it was nearly my undoing.
Me: I really want more details about exactly your loins were telling you, but this is not an X-rated blog, so I'll have to maybe...make another appointment for that. *winks* Meanwhile, *glares at Seth* Seth, really, Caroline the Cougar? Whatever possessed you?
Seth: Caroline Prentiss? We all make mistakes, don’t we? – and Mrs. Prentiss was my biggest ever. And we have our weaknesses. For most women it’s shoes and hats and fine jewels – if they can afford them or can find a man to afford them for them. Caroline Prentiss was different – sex was her weakness, and she was now a widow. She used me – as much as I used her to get experience being a virgin that first time I shared her bed. I’m not proud of it, but we all have to move on.
Me: We'll discuss that at a more private time too. *smiles* But moving on for now... Both of you, Emma is a good cook. She makes crab tarts and a fancy apple tart. Which do you prefer?
Matthew: Emma’s fancy apple tart every time. With lashings of Devonshire clotted cream. Don’t believe anyone who tells you Cornish cream is the best because it isn’t – Devonshire cream reigns supreme.
Seth: Crab tart for me. I was weaned on the fruits of the sea and can never get enough. And I can never get enough of Emma for that matter…
Me: I just realized we've got crabs, cream, and wean--nevermind. *frowns* And we have another hero, Mr. Smythe, are you just wanting an unpaid nanny or do you really care for Emma?
Mr. Smythe: An unpaid Nanny? What a question. I could easily afford three Nannies if I wanted them. I gave her a roof over her head and, quite honestly, I think she should have been more grateful. But then, when my dear wife Claudine, died I could see what a good replacement Emma would be for her, speaking French as she did. I made it clear to Emma that had she married me, I wouldn’t have forced myself on her in the bedroom. I did come to admire Emma for the way she learned things so quickly …isn’t that enough?
Me: Question for both Seth and Mr. Smythe. Why should Emma choose you?
Seth: Why should Emma choose me? Because she knows she loves me….she’s just been fighting it. And she knows I’d give my right arm for her.
Mr. Smythe: Why would she not choose me? I own a hotel, a large house on Dartmoor for weekends, and I would have dressed her in the way befitting my wife. Personally, I consider her a fool to have gone back to Seth Jago although I know she won’t agree with me.
Me: Well, thanks, guys, that concludes--oh wait, Matthew is waving his hand madly in the air here...
Matthew: Thank you for asking me for my thoughts…..no one in the book gave me that courtesy….next time, perhaps?
Me: Matthew, you just admitted to be married! I didn't consider you a player anymore... Hmm... I sense a scandal to come in book two.
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