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House of Strangers

Flora was taken in by relations after she lost her parents. She loved her uncle and was grateful for the roof over her head, but never quite fitted in after her uncle died.

Her aunt treats her like a servant under the guise of ‘earning her keep.’ Flora didn’t mind the work, but wishes for a place where she could be someone else, someone she wanted to be.

At her cousin’s wedding, Flora meets Cousin Chris, the elderly relation everyone hopes stays tucked away. However, Flora and Chris get on well, and Chris senses how Flora is treated. Chris offers a way out—she takes on boarders and needs a housekeeper. Does Flora want the job?

She can’t believe her ears. She accepts, excited and nervous. She’s never done anything other than what she’s doing now. Will she be able to keep house for Chris in a satisfactory way? She has nowhere else to go…

When she arrives, she meets the boarders: the grumbly Mr Turnbull, Miss Craig the suffragette, and Arabella, the would-be opera singer. With help from the cheerful cook, Nancy, she learns the ropes of the house. However, she can’t help feeling like the boarders are keeping secrets…

As a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan, and not shabby at deduction herself, Flora toes the line between curiosity and privacy. What are the boarders really up to? Who has been up in the attic? Why is Cousin Chris, normally very active and present, suddenly occupied with the past?

May 2024