It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for A Dangerous Act of Kindness by LP Fergusson, published for kindle by Canelo on 28th March, and also available as an audiobook: the e-book is also available through Kobo, Google and Apple Books. You need only glance at this book’s description to see why it appealed to me – it could have had “Anne would love this one” inscribed on its lovely cover – and I’ve seen some lovely reviews and features as part of the tour…
What would you risk for a complete stranger?
When widow Millie Sanger finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm, the distant war is suddenly at her doorstep. Compassionate Millie knows he’ll be killed if discovered, and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm.
On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond. But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War Two forces them apart, leaving only the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light.
As Millie’s dangerous act of kindness sets them on paths they never could have expected, those closest to them become their greatest threats, and the consequences of compassion prove deadly…
A Dangerous Act of Kindness is a beautiful, harrowing love story, perfect for fans of Rachel Hore and Santa Montefiore.
So can you imagine my frustration that I just couldn’t fit it into my reading list in time for the blog tour? But I’m delighted – with thanks to Ellie at Canelo – to be able to share an extract. See if it looks like a book you’d enjoy as much as I’m quite sure I will…
The German was where she’d left him, in the chair by the range, his eyes closed, the empty glass resting on his lap. She thought he was asleep, the warmth and the alcohol relaxing his face. In the flickering light coming from the fire he looked more youthful. Twenty-three, twenty-four? About the same age as her.
As she watched, he stirred and opened his eyes, a moment of anxiety fluttering across them as if he’d briefly forgotten where he was.
He pushed himself higher in the seat.
‘We begin,’ he said.
She reached out for the glass.
‘Do you need some more?’
She poured him another glass which he drained in a single gulp, staring down into the empty tumbler.
‘What do you want me to do?’ she said, already beginning to feel her insides curling at the thought of the pain he was going to have to face.
He gave her the glass and said, ‘Help me on the table. I lie on it and my arm hangs.’
She felt herself wincing, saw in his eyes an answering reluctance but then he pressed his lips together and gave her a curt nod of reassurance.
‘When the muscles are soft, the arm goes back.’
She went over to the table and began to clear away those mundane, everyday bits of her life – old newspapers, a piece of mending half pinned, her sewing box and basket of unravelled wools, balancing them on other worktops where they toppled, threatening to bring down the rest of the clutter.
He leant forward, his body twitching as he prepared to stand. Carefully, he got to his feet and came over, hitching himself up until he was sitting on the table. She stood back, waiting to see what he did next.
Still clinging to his arm, he tried to lie down. She could see he was strong but by the time he’d leant sideways and got his weight onto the other elbow, he was grunting with the effort and curled up with pain. She couldn’t bear it, standing by as he struggled.
She slid her hand under his side, pressing the other against his chest to help him roll. As he let his weight settle against her, a feeling scraped the inside of her spine, a memory of another man’s weight; Jack’s legs stiff and lifeless in her arms as she pushed up, up, hoping for what? That he would jerk into life, that his hands would fly to the rope biting into the skin of his neck and pull it free?
This body was warm, the muscles moving underneath her hands as he lifted his legs, oh, so slowly, up onto the table, his chin tucked down against his chest. She looked on his struggle with a sort of awe, a wonder that this man had fallen from the sky and yet life still pumped through him, courage still drove him on. His instinct to survive was so strong it overwhelmed the agony of that dislocated limb, muscles torn and screaming, the smooth ball of the shoulder scraping against a bone it should never touch.
He was at the point when he must release his arm, turn onto his front and let it drop over the side. She slid her hand out from underneath – this was something he was going to have to do on his own.
He started to turn, pulling his chin further towards his chest and her hands came up to her ears to block out the growl he was making, deep in his throat.
He paused, like a man about to leap to his death, and flung himself onto his front, roaring with animal pain as his arm dropped over the edge, his forehead crashing onto the wood.
Gyp barked. Her hand flew to mouth. Someone was outside.
Doesn’t that look just wonderful? One I’ll be adding to my reading list…
About the author
LP Fergusson grew up on the borders of Wales in a Tudor house on the banks of the River Wye. As a child she longed to go back in history. Now she does, through her writing. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University and won the Blackwell’s Prize for MA Creative Writing. Her stories have made a number of shortlists for competitions run by the Orwell Society, Oxfordshire Libraries and Flash500.
Her psychological thriller reached the final three of a Quercus/Psychologies Thriller competition and her wartime novel A Dangerous Act of Kindness was Highly Commended in the Caledonia Novel Award 2018. She edits the historical blog With Love from Graz which was featured on BBC Radio Wales, Radio 2 and BBC4’s A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley. She now lives in an Oxfordshire village beneath the chalk downs where her debut novel is set.