The beautiful English village of Leefdale seems reassuringly tranquil. But appearances can be deceptive.
Sharon guards a dark family secret.
Barbara is fighting to save her marriage.
Zoe is trying to sort her life out.
Louise is desperate to be recognised for who she truly is . . .
Unaware of the profound effect it will have on her and the rest of the village, estate agent Sharon Makepiece arranges the sale of Leefdale's Old Rectory to Dylan Bourne, an art therapist and professional artist.
The Old Rectory is the finest house in Leefdale. Its renowned gardens are crucial to village plans for winning the Magnificent Britain Gardening Competition for the fifth consecutive year.
Barbara Kellingford's father, Major Howard Roberts, is chairman of both the parish council and the Magnificent Britain sub-committee. While Barbara struggles to hang on to her husband, a top Tory politician, her father is embroiled in a bruising struggle of his own with the new people at The Old Rectory.
Zoe Fitzgerald is a drama therapist. Her role is to change lives, yet it's her own life which needs to change most.
Louise Makepiece is determined to realise her dreams. But first she has to force her mother to leave Leefdale!
Dylan Bourne's new job is killing his Art. And his romantic obsession seems to be affecting his judgement.
Barbara Kellingford knows that time is running out to save her husband's political career.
Meanwhile, the tabloids are circling.
Leefdale. A story of inclusion and exclusion; local and national politics; press intrusion; the healing power of Art and the complex nature of love.
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Michael Murray is a superb story-teller. His descriptions are luscious and his characters totally believable. Even the least attractive elicits some sympathy, whilst the favourites are allowed to have flaws and double standards. The staff of the inclusion unit exercise their responsibilities with excellent care and insight - even Major Roberts' gardening tips could prove useful to any amateur gardener. "Leefdale" is well-researched and beautifully balanced, often leaving the reader not quite sure what to expect next. A very good companion volume to "Magnificent Britain". Can't wait for his next book!