Thursday, August 31, 2017

Riverside Lane by Ginger Black @goddessfish @gingerblackink


Favorite Places

A love of the river led writing partnership to write their first novel Riverside Lane. The two friends – Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum – dreamed up the plot walking their dogs along the tow paths of the Thames Valley and the story is now available as a paperback or ebook. A tautly paced page turner that gently satirizes English manners, Riverside Lane is set against the exquisite backdrop of an English Thames side village based on Bray where the two authors live.  As Riverside Lane has such a strong sense of place, it seemed only logical for the authors to share with us their ten favourite places.

Thank you so much for inviting us to you blog today.  It is lovely to be invited across the pond and we thought your readers might be interested in some of our favourite places in and around the English village of Bray, where we both live and where we have set our first novel Riverside Lane

Bray Lock
There are 45 locks along the Thames and we have passed a fair few on our walkie talkies while planning Riverside Lane. Bray Lock is on the opposite river bank to the village and there is an old lock keeper’s cottage on an island between the lock and the weir.  We often pass on the tow path before crossing back on the beautiful wooden footbridge a little upstream where we stop and watch rowers and punters pass below.

The River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames

This is everything a museum should be; quirky, fascinating, interactive and huge fun. The River & Rowing Museum is situated on the banks of the River Thames, a short walk from the centre of Henley, home to the world famous regatta.  There are three galleries dedicated to rowing, rivers and the history of Henley-on-Thames. Perhaps the best part is The Wind in the Willows exhibition which brings to life Kenneth Graham’s much-loved story in an enchanting and magical way. There are lots of art and photography exhibitions as well, and a great cafe for afterwards.

Monkey Island
Monkey Island is on the reach above Boveney Lock and has wonderful memories and associations for us both. A white suspension bridge with cables that interweave like lace takes you over the willow-flanked backwater and onto this tiny, tranquil island. It is steeped in history and has accommodated royalty, writers artists and poets. We used to stop there for a coffee before returning to the hustle bustle of the real world but the hotel is currently closed for renovation. The whole village is excited about its launch at the end of the year.

The Marlow Bookshop

This is new and SO exciting. Just when we thought nothing could make Marlow more perfect, along came this lovely independent bookshop and proved us wrong. The Marlow Bookshop is a feast for the senses, bursting with books yet airy, fresh and modern. Wooden shelves, the smell of books the fabulously friendly and knowledgeable staff – it is an absolute jewel and a hugely welcome addition to this lovely town.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery
Our next novel is set in the village of Cookham, most famous perhaps for being the setting for The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham,  It was also home to artist Stanley Spencer and there is a charming gallery, a tiny and heartfelt tribute to one of Britain's best-known artists. The place is packed with show-stopping works as well as sketches and lesser-known pieces. The very knowledgeable custodians manage to be invisible if you just want a mooch and a natter, but appear from nowhere to answer questions. And there are some very nice coffee shops in Cookham too!

St Michael’s Church, Bray

This beautiful medieval English church will forever be associated with the politically correct vacillations of a former vicar, made famous in the 18th century song The Vicar of Bray. From all around the village, you can see its tower rising up to give the community shape and purpose. St Michael’s is precious to us in endless ways. Carol services with the children, fascinating talks with the genius and very cool vicar, quiet moments when we need them. We walk through the churchyard daily, meet at the lychgate for our Monday walks, watch our children play cricket in the shadow of its tower. St Michael’s is the core, the very essence of the village, and its presence signifies everything that is wonderful about our village life.

This is an odd one but the train from Maidenhead to anywhere! As neither of us take the train to work, we have a slightly different perspective on rail travel to the average commuter. Whenever we travel by train together we have such a laugh. There is something liberating about relinquishing parking and navigation worries and surrendering ourselves to the fate of First Great Western. It makes us feel carefree and rather silly! We joke that soon we will be bring thermos flasks and sandwiches from home but for now we treat ourselves to a hot chocolate and feel we are having a ‘real day out’! In normal circumstances, we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves, but something about trains makes us chat to people with whom we would not usually engage and we have met some fabulous characters.

Braywick Nature Reserve
Just south side of Maidenhead Town Centre, in a triangle between the cemetery, the community sports pitches and a cut of the river Thames, Braywick Nature Reserve is a haven for dog walkers and used to be home to a delightful primary school called Winbury, which is where we first met. There is a little punchbowl where the children went pond dipping when they were tiny, a coffee shop (phew) and miles of beautiful walks. We had a friend – another Winbury mum – whose children have grown up and moved on with ours, and we used to walk there with her. She died last year, but we still half expect to see her coming the other way when we go there. We miss her terribly, but it is calming and peaceful to be there and remember her.

Norden Farm

This centre for the arts is our lucky place. Set just outside Maidenhead, Norden Farm hosts fabulous shows, films and courses as well as having a great bar and restaurant. We have often met there, disappointed at the lack of response from an agent or publisher, only for their reply to pop up as we lounge together on their lovely leather sofas. Now we go there when we really need to hear back from somebody! It doesn’t always work, but it provides a lovely excuse and we all have our little superstitions!

It is rare and serendipitous to make a new friend who has trodden the same life paths as you in a slightly different rhythm. We met outside the Winbury school gates and found we had both moved from Chiswick at the same time. We unravelled things further to find we had been in the same industry, hung out at the same bars and nightclubs and known many of the same people. We often return to Chiswick together for meetings in the stylish and cosmopolitan High Street or walks along Chiswick Mall doing the loop from The Riverside Club down to Hammersmith Bridge then back through Barnes. The area holds very, very precious memories and associations for us both. The river is wider and busier there and the footpaths flanked with houses and coffee shops so lots of places to stop and refuel!

Riverside Lane is out now in paperback, published by Momentum Books, £9.99

Riverside Lane is now available in paperback :-
Riverside Lane is now available in paperback :-


Riverside Lane
by Ginger Black

GENRE:   Cozy Mystery


After arranging a house swap with a debonair antiques dealer, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in a quaint English village. Tempesta, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday – but the inhabitants of the village are unconvinced.

Yet, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the stranger in their midst, it gradually transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself, harboured by the local MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; the has-been former game show host; the respectable couple with the jailbird son; the hometown journalist, striving for a scoop that will rescue her from debt; and so on. The place is revealed as a labyrinth of deception masquerading as a picture-postcard hamlet; tension begins to mount in between the dinner parties and evenings at the pub, and soon culminates in an unexpected death.

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane’s residents slowly unravel. Tempesta, guarding his secrets with a vengeance, is suddenly threatened with exposure by the elderly religious zealot Ivy Midwinter, whose own past involved keeping professional confidences. When she challenges him in church, she learns that Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his privacy ...

Set against the exquisite backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a tautly paced page-turner that also gently satirises middle- class English manners: the upstanding denizens of the village watch and whisper behind a mask of English hauteur, whilst their own fragile lives come undone.


Ivy bolted the door behind the journalist. Returning to her desk, she locked the drawer and squeezed her eyes shut. “The blind will see, and those who see will become blind,” she intoned, blinking furiously to dispel the strange dots that had started presenting themselves in her vision. They were becoming more frequent; Ivy knew she should visit an ophthalmologist. She hoped it was not un-Christian, but the thought of being unable to read her beloved sheet music upset her more deeply than any of the memories from her past. The Victorian marble clock, which comforted her hourly with its sweet Handel music, proclaimed that there was just enough time to deliver the cheque to the bank and get back to the Village for Evensong.

Standing at the bus stop with the melodious clock chimes still echoing softly in her head, Ivy caught sight of Luca Tempesta walking through the churchyard. Handel, she thought, had been sent to law school by his father, just like this American. The former had abandoned his studies and blessed mankind with the “Hallelujah” chorus; the latter, according to Ivy’s preliminary investigations, had abandoned his to set up a private-detective firm; then, some years later, he had apparently disappeared from God’s Earth without a trace. Except he had not disappeared. He was here in the Village, living in Clive’s house, next door to Frank, smoking Russian cigarettes. And Ivy Midwinter planned to find out why.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ginger Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.


Julia left Somerset for London at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol & Kleenex. After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders & hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.

Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for private clients and visits secondary schools & prisons representing two national charities in providing emotional support to pupils & inmates. A keen kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Nicolas and their four children.


Gaynor has worked as a national newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.

Gaynor's great loves include sitting in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.

Ginger Black will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Julia Thum said...

Thank you so much for having us on your lovely blog - it has been great to e-meet you! :)

Rita Wray said...

Great post, thank you.

Joseph Wallace said...

What books are you looking forward to reading in the near future. Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - I love the photos, thanks for sharing them :)

Joseph Wallace said...

Who is your favorite book villian. Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com