THE Northumbrian countryside provides the setting for a new book by prolific novelist Jon Beattiey.
‘Greays Hill’ is set in Border country in 1790. a time when the revivers, who had plundered the area, had settled into a more peaceable existence.
This novel is part romance, part intrigue, and has been influenced by Jon’s visits to the area. He explained: “I’ve spent several happy holidays in the vicinity and have many evocative memories that have influenced the story,”
The book, which is out on December 1, tells the story of Jack Charlton, an independent drover, herding cattle across the fells of Northumbria. On a grim stormy night in an out-of-the way hostelry, he hears of the passing of his Aunt Meg, a spinster owning a hundred acres of rough farmland and a dwelling, Greays Hill - a small fortified farmhouse.
Jack accepts the challenge of his inheritance and begins his integration with the local community and the realisation that he needs a wife. Murder, mischief, intrigue and skulduggery abound alongside Jack’s conquests. Along the way he discovers whose son he really is and has to deal with the tragic consequences.
The narrative flows across the fells, from the Tyne to Jedburgh, explores bygone farming practises and the value of good sandstone, reveals both harsh realities and staunch friendships, brings the colour and flavour of the Northumbrian way of life and tells how the love of a girl can help a drover overcome all.