Historical Time Travel Romance
Date Published: March 2018
Marianne’s Memory is the third novel in Winona Kent’s accidental time travel / historical romance series, featuring Charlie Duran and her 19th century companion Shaun Deeley.
A Beatles badge from 1965 accidentally sends Charlie and Shaun back to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties, where they’re mistaken for KGB spies and subjected to a terrifying interrogation.
Rescued by top-ranking MI5 agent Tony Quinn, they soon uncover the details of a child born out of wedlock to Charlie’s mum and the uncomfortable truth about Charlie’s dad’s planned marriage to selfish socialite Arabella Jessop.
Further complicating their journey into the past is Magnus Swales, an 18th century highwayman turned time-travelling assassin, and the timely arrival of William Deeley, Shaun’s father, who’s been persuaded to leap forward from 1790 in order to save Tony from Swales’s deadly mission.
Friday August 13, 1965
Charlie couldn’t find Mr. Deeley.
She’d gone back downstairs with Justin and had walked with
him to the drawing room, where the party was now in full-swing.
Arabella, in her blue silk pyjamas, flitted between little gatherings of
people, some standing, some having made themselves at home on
the antique sofa or on similarly-upholstered armchairs.
“Buffet in the dining room!” she announced. “Two chefs,
darlings! All the way from London! And we’ve got a lovely
marquee tent set up outside for dancing…Giles’s band’s come to
play for us!”
Giles himself was lounging in a deep armchair beside the
fireplace, wearing a black velvet suit, with a navy blue shirt and a
purple brocade tie, surrounded by admirers: three impossibly-thin
girls with lavish makeup and long, straight hair who might have
been models; a bearded gentleman in a pink fur coat who was
describing his latest project—an art installation involving a square
block of concrete on top of which he’d placed a bent fork; and a
young man with a pudding-bowl mop of hair who looked
uncannily like Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones.
The air in the drawing room was filled with the smell and haze
of marijuana and hash. In another corner sat a large woman in a
flowing kaftan and sandals, strumming an autoharp which she held
to her shoulder like a child needing to be freed of wind. She
seemed to be entertaining no one in particular, and yet an audience
was beginning to gather in front of her as they were introduced to
Arabella was in full hostess mode, dragging Justin into their
“Darling,” she said, to a distinguished-looking gentleman who
appeared to be someone who did something important at the BBC,
“do meet my lovely Justin…and of course Portia—Lord Wintle’s
Lord Wintle, Charlie recalled, was a British ambassador who
was posted somewhere that was in the thick of a coup. His
daughter had a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other and
was wearing knee boots and a see-through knitted dress that clung
to her lithe body like plastic wrap.
“Charmed,” said Portia, introducing, in turn, her friends Binky
and Pierre—Binky being the daughter of an existential poet serving
a sentence in prison for setting fires, and Pierre the son of an
American actor who’d been blacklisted for being a Communist and
had fled to England, where he’d found work as a talking milk bottle
on a children’s radio program.
And still, no sign of Mr. Deeley. Or Charlie’s mum. Or Tony
and William and Astrid.
Charlie turned away in frustration and negotiated her way
through the pop stars and the adult children from titled families
who were chummy with the Boswell-Thorpes, the glammy
socialites dripping in diamonds, the boutique owners and the
clothing designers and the actors and actresses and a fellow dressed
all in black who was taking candid photographs of everyone
without their permission because they all secretly longed to be
featured in one of his fabulous avant-garde exhibitions.
She found the servants’ stairs behind the breakfast room and
went down into the cellar, thinking she might find them there. But
the cellar seemed to be mostly abandoned, with all of its doors
locked. Even the big 19th century kitchen, which in 1825 had been
bustling with a cook and her assistant and assorted serving staff,
was inaccessible and dark, the Boswell-Thorpes having installed a
much more convenient—and functional—kitchen upstairs, beside
the breakfast room.
Annoyed, and still frustrated, Charlie made her way back to the
main floor and outside, to see if Mr. Deeley was in the big marquee
tent that had been erected next to the manor’s west wing.
* * *
Shaun had, in fact, located both his father and Tony Quinn. His
father had been lingering in a hallway in the west wing of the
manor, between the dining room with the sitting room. It was not
so much a connecting passage as a room of its own, with a lavish
oriental Axminster carpet of blue, red and gold, and ceiling-to-floor
leaded windows embedded with patterns of stained glass and,
occupying pride of place, several full sets of armour, assembled and
erected as if ready to do battle.
“But this is marvellous,” William said, spying Shaun as he
entered from the dining room. “This is beyond anything I have
ever beheld…if only Lord and Lady Ellington could be here to
share my wonder.”
“I suspect,” Shaun observed, “that if Lord and Lady Ellington
were here, they might be confounded by your mingling with the
master and mistress and their numerous guests.”
“As am I,” William confessed. “I find I am awkward in their
presence. I would feel far more at home below stairs with the
“However, there are no servants,” Shaun provided, “other than
Mr. Brindlesworth, the butler, who is on loan from the Boswell-
Thorpes’s house in London.”
“This is by far the most discomforting of my experiences,” said
William, shaking his head. “No staff and no household routine. No
servants to look after the daily needs of the family. A complete
absence of structure. I have met people tonight who, in my time,
would be considered beneath contempt. And yet they are treated
with reverence by ladies and gentlemen of good breeding, with
titles, education and property.”
“These are all things which I have, myself, also observed,”
Shaun replied. “And my reactions, at first, were very much the
same as yours. But I have grown accustomed to the discrepancies.
It is refreshing once again to be reminded of the time I originally
came from—and for this, I owe you many thanks.”
“You are most welcome,” William said, surprised.
“Do you know where Mr. Quinn is?”
“I do, in fact. Would you like me to take you to him?”
* * *
Tony Quinn was outside.
William led Shaun up the grand staircase to the manor’s second
floor, and then back into the building’s west wing. Here, there was
a narrow hallway which Shaun vaguely recalled, led to several of
the manor’s grand bedrooms. He could see one of these through
its open door, its walls and ceiling painted white, its fireplace
surrounded by exquisite white stone.
Halfway along the narrow hallway was another door, which,
upon investigation, opened onto a little set of stone steps leading
up to the roof.
Tony was sitting near its furthest edge, well concealed, with a
view overlooking the top of the marquee tent and the roofless,
brick-walled enclosure Shaun recognized as the kitchen garden,
where Monsieur Duran the Lesser had often taken great delight in
shooting at hedgehogs.
Tony put his finger to his lips as William and Shaun
approached, cautioning them into silence and, furthermore, into
Shaun crouched down—as did William—and, after ensuring
that he was nowhere near any point that might precipitate his
falling, peered carefully over the edge.
“Surveillance,” Tony provided, in a whisper. “I’m pleased
you’ve arrived safely. Now do me a favour and go away.”
* * *
Shaun had done as he was told.
He had gone back downstairs—in the company of William—