Title: Secret of the Manor
Author: Taylin Clavelli
Genre: Gay romance, mystery, paranormal, adventure
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Warren Blake is an accountant at the pinnacle of his career. After accepting a new position he decides to settle in the scenic Cotswold village of Walmsley Hackett. A village with a colourful history of myth, old wives tales and mystery.
One morning during his train ride into work, Warren notices a small quaint church which he becomes enchanted with. Curiousity compels him to find the church and when he finally does, he discovers an unmarked grave in the corner. Feeling sorry for its occupant, Warren becomes a frequent visitor.
Little does he know that the young man inside the coffin needs a champion and Warren is chosen.
What follows involves a ghostly medieval joust, witchcraft, love, and Warren risking his life.
Warren worked his way around the four walls of the building, which was at least half the size of his cottage. Peering through some of the windows, he was unsuccessful in avoiding thorns from the newly sprouting roses, and growled when he snagged his thumb on a barb. With the bleeding digit in his mouth, he turned to the church doors looming before him. Locked, preserved, solid old English oak barred his entrance to the inner sanctum.
Unable to venture inside, Warren turned his attention to the cemetery. Many of the gravestones bore worn inscriptions, which he could hardly read—half a name here and there. One read, Gwyn, Mother and Beloved Wife. Another, Franklyn, 1823. The only unworn part on one headstone was 17-something. Before that, dates and many names were visible but hardly decipherable. As for the headstones themselves, many were simple and traditional tablet markers while others were in the shapes of angels or stone coffins. Nothing was overly ornate.
Warren felt as though he’d stepped back in time. The years of history that lay on and in the ground made him light-headed. It was as if he could feel scenes from way back unfolding around him. He stood in the middle of the graveyard, aware of but not quite seeing images of old. Given his experiences with Carl, he wondered if breaks in the fabric of time were possible. Maybe some places were like ancient forms of cinematography, able to record life and have it on constant playback.
As he wandered about the area, he noticed a curtain of holly in a far corner. Curiosity flipped Warren’s insides as he made his way over. For all he knew, the plant sheltered nothing more than dead leaves and spiders, but an inner voice told him to go look. The prickly leaves scratched his hand as he drew the shroud away.
First off, I have to point out that the story is set in the U.K. The spelling, syntax and some expressions are obviously U.K. English. If you’re put off by the fact that favor is spelled as favour, or that words such as toward have an s on the end… then don’t read this. You’d be missing out, but I’m sure Taylin can do without two star reviews for those reasons.
As a Canadian, I’m actually glad to see all these familiar spellings.
Also, if you can’t stand the incorporation of some mysticism, some light paranormal (there are ghosts) and some out of body experiences in your stories, again, don’t read this. I need to iterate that I think you’d be missing out, but to each his/her own, as they say.
As for the actual story, it’s very good. It’s a little slow in the beginning, but that only helps with character, scene and plot developments. It picks up later in the book. The story arch, for both the romance and mystery sides to the story are impressive.
I enjoyed learning about U.K. country (rural) living, as well as being educated on equestrian riding and how to take care of horses.
The romantic and sexy bits were nice.
My Wiccan friends would be disappointed in the negative portrayal of magic, but there is a positive portrayal in the end.
All in all a great read.
3 x Mega Swag Packs (Europe only) – Bullet USB, Keyring hip flask, Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring
2 x $10 WIP Gift Cards
3 x Swag Packs – Memo set, Mints, 3-in-1 Stylus pen keyring
About the author
Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.
Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.
Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.
Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.
Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.
Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:
Laughter – especially that of her children.
The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.
The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.