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All of the Books!
Who is Santa Montefiore?
Born in 1970, Santa Montefiore (née Palmer-Tomkinson) is the daughter of Charles Palmer-Tomkinson, formerly High Sheriff of Hampshire, and Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson (née Dawson), of Anglo-Argentine background. She grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls.
Santa Montefiore has always wanted to be a writer. Before publishing books, she worked in public relations, but also as a shop assistant. She sent her first book under a nom de plume to distance herself from her sister, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, and her writing career was officially launched in 2001 with the publication of Meet Me Under the Ombu Tree. Since then, she has published at least one book a year.
Santa Montefiore is married to writer and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, in which she has two children. Together, they have co-written the children’s books The Royal Rabbits of London.
Santa Montefiore Books in Order:
The Deverill Chronicles
- Songs of Love and War (2015) — West Cork, Ireland, 1900. The year marks the start of a new century and the birth of three very different women: Kitty Deverill, the flame-haired Anglo-Irish daughter of the castle; Bridie Doyle, the daughter of the Irish cook; and Celia Deverill, Kitty’s flamboyant English cousin. Together they grow up on the dreamy grounds of the family’s grand estate, Castle Deverill. Yet their peaceful way of life will soon be threatened by Ireland’s struggle for independence.
- Daughters of Castle Deverill (2016) — It is 1925, and the war is long over. But much has been lost, and life will never be quite the same. Castle Deverill, cherished ancestral home to the Deverill family in the west of Ireland, has burned to the ground. Young and flighty Celia Deverill is determined to restore the sad ruins to its former glory. But dark shadows are gathering once more as the financial markets start to shake, and everything that felt so certain is thrown once again into doubt…
- Last Secret of the Deverills (2017) — It is 1939, and peace has flourished since the Great War ended. Martha Wallace came to Dublin from her home in America to find her birth mother. But instead she has lost her heart to the impossibly charming JP Deverill. Bridie Doyle, now mistress of Castle Deverill, is determined to make the castle she used to work in her home. But her flamboyant husband, Cesare, has other ideas.
- The Secret Hours (2019) — Arethusa Clayton has always been formidable, used to getting her own way. On her death, she leaves unexpected instructions. Instead of being buried in America, on the wealthy East Coast where she and her late husband raised their two children, Arethusa has decreed that her ashes be scattered in a remote corner of Ireland, on the hills overlooking the sea.
- The Distant Shores (2021) — Margot Hart travels to Ireland to write a biography of the famous Deverill family. She knows she must speak to the current Lord Deverill – JP – if she is to uncover the secrets of the past. A notorious recluse, JP won’t be an easy man to crack. But Margot is determined – and she is not a woman who is easily put off. What she never expected was to form a close bond with JP and be drawn into his family disputes. Shouldering the blame for running up debts that forced him to sell the family castle, JP is isolated and vulnerable. With help from his handsome son, Colm, it seems as though Margot might be the only one who can restore JP’s fortunes. Will the family ever succeed in healing rifts that have been centuries in the making?
Royal Rabbits Of London (with Simon Sebag Montefiore)
- The Royal Rabbits Of London (2016) — Shylo has always been the weakest and quietest of all of his family; his siblings spend their days making fun of him for not being like the rest of them. But when Shylo stumbles across a band of ratzis and overhears their evil plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie, it’s up to this unlikely hero to inform the Royal Rabbits of London about the diabolical plot! But can a rabbit as timid as Shylo convince them that Queen is in danger?
- Escape From the Tower (2017) — Little Shylo Tawny-Tail is proud to call himself one of the Royal Rabbits of London, a secret order who live under Buckingham Palace and fight evil across the world. But high up in London’s famous skyscraper, The Shard, the horrible ratzis are plotting to cause chaos during a visit from the President of the United States. And when the Grand Burrow is attacked and Shylo is kidnapped, it looks as though they might just manage it! Can Shylo escape in time to save the day?
- The Great Diamond Chase (2018) — The biggest, most beautiful diamond in the whole world has been stolen from Buckingham Palace! Nobody knows how a sneaky thief managed to take the Siberian Diamond from right under the Queen’s nose – but Shylo and the brave Royal Rabbits of London will do whatever it takes to solve the case and return the jewel to its rightful place.
- The Hunt for the Golden Carrot (2019) — Now that Shylo is a Royal Rabbit, his life is full of adventure and new friends, but he still misses his mother and family. So he jumps at the chance to visit his home warren! As soon as Shylo arrives he finds something strange and dark going on. A mysterious bunny called Harlequin is on the farm, attracting many followers with his crazy singing and loopy dancing. But Harlequin is also digging for the Golden Carrot, which, says an ancient legend, will give him power over all humans and animals. Harlequin believes it’s buried somewhere on the farm. Then as more followers flock to the warren, Shylo wonders if the hunt for the Golden Carrot is a fun game or if Harlequin is plotting world domination…
- Flappy Entertains (2021) — Flappy Scott-Booth is the self-appointed queen bee of Badley Compton, a picturesque Devon village. Her life is a reflection of herself – impossibly perfect. Until the day that Hedda Harvey-Smith and her husband, Charles, move into the village. Into an even grander home than hers. Taking the front seat on the social scene, quite literally. Flappy is determined to show Hedda how things are done here in Badley Compton. But then she looks into Charles’ beautiful green eyes. And suddenly, her focus is elsewhere. She is only human, after all….
- Flappy Investigates (2022) — Something is amiss in Badley Compton. There are newcomers to the village – a young family down from London – and Flappy, fount of all knowledge of village affairs, needs to know everything about them. Release date: October 27, 2022.
Novels & Novellas
- Meet Me Under the Ombu Tree (2001) — Spoilt, resourceful and proud, Sofia is loved by all around her. All, that is, except her Irish mother Anna. When she discovers that Sofia has embarked on a forbidden love affair, she must act in order to save the family from shame. She sends Sofia to Europe – away from her friends and family and the man Sofia loves. But then, more than twenty years later, a family tragedy calls Sofia home, and she must discover if her passion still lives on …
- The Butterfly Box (2002) — Federica is moved from Chile to Cornwall when her parents separate, and all she has left of the relationship she cherished with her father, is a wooden box which has a secret beauty hidden within. Swiftly embraced into the eccentric Appleby family, it isn’t long before Federica falls for her friend’s older brother Sam, who barely notices the little girl until it is too late… Years later, from the sanctuary of a seemingly perfect marriage, Federica embarks on a painful journey of self-discovery. Will she finally learn the true lesson of the butterfly box?
- The Forget-me-not Sonata (2003) — Audrey Garnet lives a sheltered life in the exclusive Argentinian community of Hurlingham. That is, until Cecil and Louis Forrester arrive, travelling from England to make their fortunes. Admired by all for her beauty and grace, Audrey quickly catches the eyes of both brothers, but it is talented-but-troubled outsider Louis with his musical flair whom she is drawn to most. Cecil, however, is a better match – a decorated war hero who has charmed the entire community, including Audrey’s parents, forcing Audrey to keep her true feelings a secret. But when a family tragedy rocks Audrey’s world, she is faced with a terrible dilemma: must she do her duty to her family, or will she finally be able to follow her heart?
- The Swallow and the Hummingbird (2004) — When George Bolton returns home to Devon at the end of the war, Rita assumes that her childhood sweetheart will marry her and that their future will be a continuation of their past. But the boy who joined the RAF has come back a man, and a man irrevocably changed by the horrors that he has seen. Unable to settle back into a small-town life, George decides to travel to Argentina. And Rita promises to wait. But George faces irresistible temptation and an agonising choice. As the years pass, Rita keeps her word, but how long should she wait for the love of the life?
- The Last Voyage of the Valentina (2005) — Exotically beautiful but desperately unhappy, Alba lives on a houseboat on the Thames, where she enjoys a life of leisure and entertains an endless and unfulfilling succession of lovers. But then she discovers a portrait of her dead mother, Valentina—a woman she’d hardly known, whose story has been kept from her by her still grieving father. Determined to learn the truth about Valentina, Alba returns to the olive groves of the Amalfi coast of Italy. There she uncovers a mysterious tale of decadence, deception, murder, and betrayal involving partisans and Nazis, peasants, and counts. Alba’s journey leads her not only to the truth of her mother’s hidden past but to the possibility of happiness in her own future.
- The Gypsy Madonna (2006) — When elegant Anouk, a dealer in American antiques, dies unexpectedly, she leaves the Metropolitan museum an uncatalogued, multimillion dollar painting by Titian. Her son, Mischa, had no idea she had even owned it and becomes determined to discover the story behind the painting. This mystery sends him on the trail of his own history, back to the French village of his childhood. There he hopes to uncover the origins of the Gypsy Madonna; he never expects to find himself.
- Sea of Lost Love (2007) — 1958. Celestria, the charismatic daughter of an aristocratic family, lives in Pendrift Hall, a pale stone mansion with gardens that tumble down to the Cornish sea. It is summer and the weeks ahead hold the promise of self-discovery and the thrilling possibility of elicit love affairs. Yet tragedy erupts in paradise when one of the family vanishes. A mysterious note is left behind with the words: ‘Forgive Me’. Soon Celestria is pulled along a trail of deception, masquerades and mirrors. It will lead her from her idyllic life on the English coast to the orange groves of Southern Italy. It will also lead her to love…
- The French Gardener (2008) — Married couple, Miranda and David, move out of London into a beautiful country house with an idyllic garden. But reality turns out to be very different from their bucolic dream. Soon the latent unhappiness in the family begins to come to the surface, isolating each family member in a bubble of resentment and loneliness. Then a mysterious Frenchman arrives on their doorstep. With the wisdom of nature, he slowly begins to heal the past and the present. But who is he? When Miranda discovers his secret in the cottage by the garden, the whole family learns that a garden, like love itself, can restore the human spirit, not just season after season, but generation after generation.
- The Italian Matchmaker (2009) — Gianluca’s life is empty. His City job, his seven-figure income, his glossy girlfriends – all have long ceased to satisfy him. His marriage is over, and he barely knows his young daughters. In search of serenity and a deeper purpose, he flees to Italy. But life on the sun-drenched Amalfi coast is not as peaceful as Luca anticipates…
- The Affair (2010) — Would you risk everything for love? Bestselling children’s book writer Angelica is flattered at the attention of Jack, the owner of a vineyard in South Africa, whom she meets at a party. With his easy charm, Jack makes her feel good about herself – surely it can’t do any harm to indulge in a mild email flirtation?
- The House by the Sea (2011) — Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the magnificent Tuscan villa near her village. When the owner’s son invites her inside, Floriana knows that her destiny is there, with him. But as they grow up, things begin to change. Miles away on the Devon coastline, Marina’s hotel has fallen on hard times. The arrival of Rafael Santoro, artist-in-residence, seems to bring peace in Marina’s family. But Rafa is not who he seems….
- The Summer House (2012) — Antoinette’s world has fallen apart: her husband, the man she has loved for as long as she can remember, has died tragically in an accident. He was her rock, the man she turned to for love and support, the man she knew better than she knew herself. Or at least so she thought.
- Secrets of the Lighthouse (2013) — Ellen Trawton is running away from it all. She hates her job, she doesn’t love the aristocratic man to whom she is engaged, and her relationship with her controlling mother is becoming increasingly strained. So Ellen leaves London, fleeing to her aunt’s cottage in Connemara. Cutting ties with London society, Ellen gives in to Ireland’s charm and warmth, thinking her future may lie where so much of her past has been hidden. Her imagination is soon captured by the ruins of a lighthouse where, five years earlier, a young mother died in a fire. The ghost of the young wife, Caitlin, haunts the nearby castle. Unable to move on, she watches her husband and children, hoping they might see her and feel her love once more. But she doesn’t anticipate her husband falling in love again…
- A Mother’s Love (2013) — Celeste is mourning the tragic death of her young son, Jack, who died from leukaemia. So when she learns that her nephew is coming to stay, she doesn’t think she can bear to have another child in the house. But when Bruno arrives, she has no choice but to make him feel welcome and loved, even though her heart is breaking. And when he starts to show some insight into what Jack was like, Celeste dares to dream there might be something more than meets the eye…
- The Beekeeper’s Daughter (2014) — England, 1932: Grace Hamblin, the beekeeper’s daughter, knows her place and her future, until her father dies. She’s alone, except for one man who she just can’t shake from her thoughts…. Massachusetts, 1973: Grace’s daughter Trixie Valentine is in love. But when he has to go home to England, he promises to come back, if she will wait for him. Both mother and daughter are searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind them.
- The Temptation of Gracie (2018) — Gracie Burton is a grandmother living quietly in Devon. She has rarely left the village over the past 40 years. Her daughter, Carina, is immensely high-powered, with her own fast-paced business in London. She has very little time for her 17-year-old daughter, Anastasia, away at boarding school, and even less time for her ageing mother. In many ways, the three of them barely know each other. Then Gracie stumbles upon an advertisement for a weeklong cookery course in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. She cannot resist and ploughs her life savings into the trip. Carina and Anastasia accompany her. They have no idea why Gracie has been drawn to this venture. They have no sense of her past; she has never spoken about it. They have no idea that Gracie is harbouring the secret of an extraordinary life that preceded them….
- Here and Now (2020) — Marigold has spent her life taking care of those around her, juggling family life with the running of the local shop, and being an all-round leader in her quiet yet welcoming community. When she finds herself forgetting things, everyone quickly puts it down to her age. But something about Marigold isn’t quite right, and it’s becoming harder for people to ignore. As Marigold’s condition worsens, for the first time in their lives her family must find ways to care for the woman who has always cared for them. Desperate to show their support, the local community comes together to celebrate Marigold and to show her that losing your memories doesn’t matter when there are people who will remember them for you….
- The Kiss (2022) New — Madison has always known she had a different father to her siblings. But it wasn’t until she turned eighteen that she learned his name. And now she wants to meet the man who shares her fair hair and blue eyes. Robert is a very lucky man. A big house, beautiful wife, three handsome sons. Eighteen years ago, he made a mistake. A brief fling that resulted in a daughter nobody else knows about. Robert must finally tell his family the truth. Will they ever be able to forgive him and accept Madison as one of their own?
- An Italian Girl in Brooklyn (2022) New — Evelina leads a sheltered life with her parents and siblings in a villa of fading grandeur. When her elder sister Benedetta marries a banker, to suit her father’s wishes rather than her own, Evelina swears that she will never marry out of duty. She knows nothing of romantic love, but when she meets Ezra, son of the local dressmaker, her heart recognises it like an old friend. Evelina wants these carefree days to last forever. She wants to bask in sunshine, beauty and love and pay no heed to the grey clouds gathering on the horizon. But nothing lasts forever. The shadows of war are darkening over Europe and precious lives are under threat…
If you like Santa Montefiore, you may also want to see our Lucinda Riley reading order, or read Domenica De Rosa’s books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.