Excerpt from 'The Olive Grove' by Eva Glyn

Posted on 25th June, 2021

Last week, my good friend Jane Cable was here, talking about why she thinks the cover of her forthcoming book, The Forgotten Maid, is just right for the dual-timeline story. This week, Jane is with me again, and once again it's to do with a book cover. This time I am joining in the excitement of the cover reveal for The Olive Grove, which is written under Jane's pen name, Eva Glyn. It will be published on September 3rd.


Also, I am very proud to be able to share with you an exclusive extract from the book, just to whet your appetite.


Here is the beautiful cover . . .



and here is the excerpt . . .


An island full of secrets… a summer to discover them all




She watches him as he sleeps, dark hair plastered untidily to his head, one arm flung wide over the pillow. Like his father. Every day he grows more like his father. Except the boy’s pyjamas are decorated with faded teddy bears. He really needs a new pair. And new shoes. Things that are not easy to come by in a country that has been at war.


Her forehead creases into a frown. These have become small worries now. She had dreamed of raising a child more than anything, but not like this. All the same, the bonds of love and blood are strong. He is her sacred charge, sent by God in the hour of her greatest need. But however much she prays, He is completely silent on what she should do about the letter.


She had not known the writing on the envelope, but the postmark was clear. A woman’s hand too, so she had hidden it in her bedside drawer for days before she dared to open it. And as she read those fateful words, she sank down onto her knees and wept.


Of course, she could always pretend she had never received it, then nothing need be done. They could continue as they were, and she would know the small hand in hers until he grew too big to hold it, the trust in those deep brown eyes would be hers alone. But so many times she asks herself: what is best for the child? Best for the boy she loves more than life itself? Best for Ivan’s son?


She tears herself away from his sleeping form and retreats to the solitude of her bedroom. Sleep evades her; even the half-doze she has perfected in case he wakes from a nightmare of his life before he came here. She must decide how to reply. Consider not just the now, but the years that stretch far, far into his future. Think with a clarity that is not blinded by love.


The next morning, after he has left for school, she writes her reply first with a shaking hand, and then again with a bolder one. She copies the address straight onto her envelope and sets it to one side to post. The woman’s letter is trembling in her hand. There must be no trace. No trace. Her fingers fly in fury as she rips it into tiny pieces that fall like blossom around her feet.


It is a foolish gesture and means she has to sweep them up. She gathers the fragments into the pocket of her apron and sets off through the olive grove, checking the fruit as she passes. Hand on a gnarled trunk she stops, the roughness of bark beneath her palm, the warmth spreading with the morning sun as it finds its way through the dappled shade. This should have been Ivan’s heritage, and now it will be his son’s. Her letter has made sure of that, and it is better for the boy this way. Because he will forget.


She meets no-one on the short path to the rocky cove, alone with the buzz of the bees and the scent of wild thyme. On the deserted beach she fingers the smooth wooden beads of her rosary, while the scraps of paper spin and flow with the lacy edges of the waves until they have melted into the Dalmatian sea. She never wants to read those words again. She has done right, right.


What she does not know is that her unconfessed sin will take her from her faith, and her guilt will be etched into her soul until the day she dies. But through it all, it will be worth it, because she will know the joy of his love.


* * * *


Publisher blurb:


An English woman searching for a different future

A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past

Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula?

Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.

Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.

But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…


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