When 17-year old Edith Cavendish’s father sends her to live in Saltburn by the Sea with her mysterious aunt, she does not expect to have such a strong attraction to her companion Lucy. And she never imagines the quaint little town to be home to a sinister cult.
When a young boy disappears and washes up on the beach, Edith grows suspicious of the residents of the small town, particularly her own aunt, and decides to investigate. As Edith uncovers the mysteries of the town, she is also faced with an agonising choice: following her scheming father’s wishes and marrying the ghastly Victor, or following her heart and pursuing her relationship with Lucy.
As Edith grows closer to revealing the secrets of Sea Fret House and the mysterious Order Of Shaoluu, she discovers a terrible fate awaits her love Lucy. Can Edith save Lucy before its too late?
Fingersmith meets The Cemetery Boys in The Melancholy Secrets Of Sea Fret House, a YA gothic mystery set in Yorkshire in 1888 at the time of Jack the Ripper. The book explores what it must have been like to identify as bisexual during the Victorian era and also considers the impact that groups such as the Temperance Movement and Expressionist Art Classes had upon young women’s sense of identity and freedom.
I was selected as a mentee as part of the #Writementor scheme this summer and the manuscript has undergone development with the support of a mentor. My short story for adults, ‘The Boy With The Glass Eyes’, was recently adapted for horror podcast Pseudopod, and I am featured as a working class writer with my autobiographical piece ‘The Gift Of Boredom’ as part of author Carmen Marcus’ project ‘No Writer Left Behind.’
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Melancholy Secrets Of Sea Fret House
It was the Autumn Of Terror. That’s what the newspapers were calling it.
Father followed the Ripper murders with interest, cutting out news stories and filing them alongside other items he collected and kept in his special curio collection. He had a curious mind and a fascination with the unusual and gruesome. On the very morning he sent me away to Sea Fret House, he sat at his desk in his study, reading about the deaths of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes in The London Standard.
I knocked the door and entered. He waved me over to him without looking up and I stood waiting for him to acknowledge me. He left me standing there whilst he took his knife and began slicing up the news clipping. When he was done, he placed it in an envelope marked ‘Whitechapel.’ Then he took the decanter of brandy he had on his desk and filled a glass before sliding it across to me.
‘Good morning Edith. You may wish to drink this. There’s bad news.’
‘I’ve heard already,’ I said, without thinking. ‘Audley said there’s been a double murder in Whitechapel. And a letter from him in the papers. He’s calling himself Jack. I heard Audley telling June when I was coming up the stairs.’
He fixed me with one of his glares. I had interrupted him, and if there was one thing Father hated in a young woman, it was that. It was the reason he’d been unable to find me a husband, he claimed, for no one wanted to hear a woman’s opinions, no matter how beautiful a young woman they were. I was glad. I hadn’t wanted to marry any of the overfed, boring rich men my parents had tried to match me up with. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry at all.
I sat down obediently in my chair, not daring to take the glass of brandy now that I’d annoyed him. I lowered my gaze and apologised. ‘Sorry Father, I didn’t mean to interrupt.’
He nodded in approval and continued. ‘I’m afraid my news has nothing to do with Whitechapel. It’s about your mother.’
‘Oh.’ I couldn’t bring myself to say anything else: my stomach, a twisted noose, expecting the worst. We all knew she was sick: me, the servants, Father. We’d all known it for some time.