Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Children's Hour

The Children's Hour

A Novel

Marcia Willett

Thomas Dunne Books




Marcia Willet's A Week in Winter and A Summer in the Country, her first two novels to be published in the United States, were welcomed enthusiastically by both eager readers and appreciative reviewers. Her new novel, The Children's Hour, will not only delight her current ardent fans, but will garner Marcia Willett a whole new circle of friends.

The Children's Hour is set in a big old rambling house overlooking the sea, where assorted small children listened as their mother read them a story. Theirs was an idyllic childhood, as they played on the beach and in the garden and woods, before the war--and other tragedies--disrupted their lives. Now, many years later, two of the sisters, Nest and Mina, still live at Ottercombe, their beautiful family home. There they delight in their splendid dogs, the gorgeous Devon countryside, and visits from Lyddie, their much-beloved niece.

But when their sister Georgie comes to stay, unwelcome memories of their shared childhood start to emerge. As a child, Georgie claimed to know all their secrets--secrets that she now wants to share. Georgie's revelations are a reminder of long-buried passions and promises and bring unexpected shocks to a new generation struggling with their own unruly hearts. A triumph of beautifully interwoven story lines and unfolding dramas, The Children's Hour will secure Marcia Willett's growing reputation as a world-class master storyteller.


Early autumn sunshine slanted through the open doorway in golden powdery bands of light. It glossed over the ancient settle, dazzled upon the large copper plate that stood on the oak table, and touched with gentle luminosity...


Praise for The Children's Hour

“She may not be as famous as Binchy or Pilcher, but British writer Willett is just as gifted at combining elements of romance and melodrama into compelling women's fiction. Stylistically, her writing mirrors Pilcher's, with a hint of subtlety suggesting more literary fiction, but her generational plots and sumptuous scene setting have all of Binchy's wide ranging commercial appeal. Willett captures the sights, sounds, and smells of seaside Devon superbly, and her characters are just complex enough to draw us into the story and keep us there contentedly. A must for women's fiction readers.” —Booklist

“[An] enchanting and complex . . . tour de force about familial love. It is fair to compare The Children's Hour with the ever-popular Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher . . . . absolutely a five-star read.” —Roanoke Times

“Entertaining character study. . . readers will enjoy this gentle breeze.” —Midwest Book Review

“Tender and moving, Willet's tale expertly weaves a family's past and present together to illustrate the strength of familial bonds. Its captivating and surprising conclusion delivers a memorable and emotional read to be savored.” —Romantic Times BOOKclub Magazine

“Willett's first book published in the U.S., A Week in Winter (2001) was very popular with contemporary women's fiction consumers, and comparisons to Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy abounded. Her second book will not disappoint her newly won fans. . . . Readers will enjoy the heartwarming ending, vibrant characters, and the excellent depiction of the English countryside.” —Booklist (starred review) on A Summer in the Country

“Intriguing. . . . Readers who appreciate an insightful character study will want to spend time with A Summer in the Country.” —Midwest Book Review on A Summer in the Country

“Perfect-for-lazy-summer read. . . . There are no earth-shattering revelations along the way, just as there aren't in most people's lives, reminding one of a young Rosamunde Pilcher.” —Romantic Times Book Club on A Summer in the Country

“Fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy will definitely applaud the introduction of such an enjoyable writer.” —Booklist on A Week in Winter

“Readers will be charmed by Willett's style . . . highly recommended.” —Library Journal on A Week in Winter

“Captivating . . . Set in a wild Cornish landscape that will evoke for readers Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, Willett is a true discovery.” —Michelle Slung, Victoria Magazine on A Week in Winter

“Like Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy, Willett creates such fully dimensional characters that readers feel as if they should phone or e-mail them to keep in touch.” —Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) on A Week in Winter

“Thoroughly engrossing, with richly drawn characters, a mysterious locale, and a beautifully crafted plot . . . the perfect addition to your summer beach tote.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel on A Week in Winter

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Marcia Willett

Born in Somerset, in the west country of England, Marcia Willett was the youngest of five girls. Her family was unconventional and musical, but Marcia chose to train as a ballet dancer. Unfortunately her body did not develop with the classical proportions demanded by the Royal Ballet, so she studied to be a ballet teacher. Her first husband was a naval officer in the submarine service, with whom she had a son, Charles, now married and a clergyman. Her second husband, Rodney, himself a writer and broadcaster, encouraged Marcia to write novels. The Children's Hour is the third book to be published in the United States by Thomas Dunne Books; the other two, A Week in Winter and A Summer in the Country, are available wherever books are sold.

Marcia Willett

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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