As there is no organized Blog Tour for this series, and I hopefully plan to read the three books back to back, I hope you don’t mind me taking the liberty of extending this ‘Book Beginnings On Friday’ post to include first lines from all three stories, together with this lovely Guest Post from their author Josie Goodbody.
For all you ‘First Page Browsers’
THE DIAMOND CONNECTION
BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES
Prologue – October 1953 – Rethabiseng, Pretoria, South Africa
Irene du Plessis heard shouting coming from her husband’s office at the other side of the house. She reluctantly got up from her faded chintz armchair, where she had been sipping an iced tea and reading the latest issue of Vogue. The latest being June 1953 and was sent by her younger cousin Louise, who had emigrated to America. Every parcel Louise sent also contained a letter telling Irene she should emigrate too.
December 2010 – London
Jemima was waiting on the ground floor of Vogel House for the lift which would take her five floors up to the press office. As per usual it was taking forever. She pulled her BlackBerry out of her black Christian Dior bag and began tapping away frantically. She wanted to finish the email that she had started on the bus.
THE CHRISTMAS CONNECTION
BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES
Chapter One – 16th October 1946 – Mayfair, London
The Duchess of Windsor stepped out of the double doors of Cartier onto Old Bond Street. Small, slender and yet somehow imposing with her angular face and immaculately dressed figure. She was followed by the harassed person of Jean-Jacques Cartier, himself piled high with her bags. Striding across the pavement, with a few clicks of her narrow crocodile skin heels, she stepped up into a sleek black Bentley. Monsieur Cartier barely had time to arrange the bags on the seat next to her, when without so much as turning her head to acknowledge his farewell. the Duchess had ordered her departure. “Driver, to Claridge’s.”
THE MONTE CARLO CONNECTION
BOOK BEGINNINGS / FIRST LINES
Prologue – April 1956 – Monaco
Margo Peters heard the cacophony of ships’ horns from her cabin. She was still piling the clothes, creams, and other paraphernalia that had been strewn over the small, two bunkbed compartment during the past week into her suitcase. Lastly, she took a blue cloth bag, hidden under a rather this mattress, and gazed into it. Her mother had lent her a beautiful riviere diamond necklace, a matching pair of earrings, and a little diamond and emerald ring on the strictest instructions, that she keep them locked in a safe at the apartment where Margo would be staying for the next week. Mrs Henry Peters III had read stories of what the newspapers were dubbing ‘The Snow Leopard’, a cunning cat burglar who had come to the public’s attention when jewellery went missing in a smart seaside resort in Montenegro in 1954. It was reported that he would be heading to Monte Carlo for the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. And Patricia Peters did not want her diamonds being stolen. Margo couldn’t help but think that if this thief was going to be out and about, there were sure to be much more important jewels out there than her mother’s.
Welcome to author
A few things that my readers might like to know about me and jewels –
The protagonists of my novels!
“I absolutely love fine jewellery, gemstones and the stories surrounding them – I’m fascinated about unknown mysteries (like the ones in my novels) so please let me know of any that I might have missed!!
I read French at Exeter University – my wonderful tutor, Dr Elizabeth Woodrough, was also JK Rowling’s tutor 15 years earlier.
Whilst at university I spent a year in Paris where I worked in the press offices for Chanel and Christian Dior. At the latter, I learnt a lot about jewellery from Victoire de Castellane who had just launched the maison’s fine jewellery collections. I spent many weekends walking around Rue de la Paix and Place Vendome gazing at the window displays of diamond and other gemstone jewellery from the most famous jewellery maisons such as Cartier, Van Cleef, Chaumet and the oldest fine jeweller in the world – Mellerio, who made jewels for Queen Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine.
My first job out of university was for a small PR agency in London, we looked after Bulgari and we organised the launch of Fay Weldon’s book The Bulgari Connection in 2001. Could you say that I ‘plagiarised’ her use of the word connection in my Jemima Fox series?! However, then I was lucky enough to meet the author and have a few one on one masterclasses with her in her lovely house in Shaftesbury, Dorset – near to where I grew up, told her of the deed and she was happy with the emulation! In fact, she gave a few masterclasses in writing.
My great great grand aunt was Theresa Marchioness of Londonderry – she had a huge collection of jewellery, much of which is in the Bollinger (jewellery) Rooms at the V&A London. The Londonderry Tiara, which is on display, was worn by her at the Coronation of Edward VII… unfortunately when she went to the bathroom at Buckingham Palace following the service at Westminster Abbey, the tiara fell off her head and into the loo! Her portrait, wearing many of her jewels, is on the wall outside the jewellery rooms.
Another illustrious ancestor was Beatrix Potter and like many English children I grew up listening and reading her stories.
I lived in Monaco for a year in 2011 and had the most beautiful apartment overlooking the sea – this is where I started The Monte Carlo Connection, although I wrote two novels before completing and publishing it. The year that I spent there gave me lots of inspiration and ideas for the story.
One of my favourite places to read a good book is while soaking in the bath – I have just had a baby and sometimes, locked away in the bathroom when she and my son are asleep, is the only time I still get to read!
When I gave birth to my daughter a fortnight ago, I wore a pink sapphire and diamond ring that my mother had given me before she died… I intend to give it to my daughter, one day. Pink sapphires are filled with love energy and power, they are often called the “intelligence stone”, and are supposed to bestow wisdom on their owner.”
You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.