Steeped in naval history and courtly intrigue, this fast-paced historical novel tells the true story of a dangerous sea voyage from Britainís tumultuous Georgian past

When Admiral George Anson sets off to circumnavigate the globe in search of treasure and prestige, he leaves his mistress to fend for herself in the dangerous court of George II. In the years that follow, the lovers each face life-changing journeys: one filled with mutiny, storms and unimaginable treasure, the other with gossip, love and the battle for true friendship. While daring escapades play out at sea, the exotic Donna Consuelo and her witty, outspoken ward Grace Lively must navigate the tumultuous world of court back home.

Written by a relative of George Anson and inspired by real diaries, Summerís Grace draws its inspiration from the true story of George Ansonís heroic and controversial 1740 expedition around the world, which brought home the biggest prize in naval history.


Historical Fiction at its BestÖ

The historical novel: for me it conjures up bleak and depressing imagery of battles and bloodshed, poverty and an ever-pervading grey blanket of doom, gloom and hardship as peasants scrape gruel from stone bowls whilst the royals and gentry lord it up with their feasts of swan and triple-tiered blancmanges. That was until I read Vanessa Hannamís exquisitely vibrant, page turner, ďSummerís GraceďÖ and as if by magic, I think I may have been converted.

Summerís Grace is the fifth novel in the former journalistís repertoire, and its intricate storyline, characters and evocative settings make me want to dive headfirst into all the books which came before it.

Summerís Grace is a heady mix of all the key ingredients which make a novel truly great. Without wishing to give too much away Ė because I implore you to read it for yourselves! Ė the story is based on real historical events from Vanessaís own family, which in turn fired up her imagination and bloomed into an epic tale of seafaring, coming of age, love in all its guises, devilish deeds, humanity and humility.

The author depicts the era in an inimitable way. The precision and enchantment of her language takes the reader right there to the heart of the drama; be that in the court of King George II with all its debauchery and shenanigans taking place right beneath HRHís nose, or the homestead of the Lively family, who wait with baited breath to discover if their loved one will return from his epic circumnavigation of the globe. And this in turn makes for a book which you simply cannot put down Ė try as you might. I am in awe of Vanessa. The amount of research she must have painstakingly carried out to execute this project with such poise and detail is beyond impressive. The historical novel is without a doubt one of the trickiest works of art. Not only do readers expect a pacey tale filled with obstacles and protagonists, near-misses and short-lived triumphs, they also expect to learn something of the period; they also expect to swoon over some delicious writing, and they also expect to develop an instant empathy with the characters whose sub plots should effortlessly intertwine. Vanessa delivers on all of the above.

I particularly adored her depictions of the fabulously exotic Lady Consuelo and Pepe (perhaps thatís slightly biased of me as I live on the Iberian Peninsula!). Yet equally, I couldnít help but chuckle out loud at some of the images her descriptions of King George IIís Ďintellectí and Sir Hartley Slinkwellís devious nature evoked. For not only does the author offer up a novel which ticks so many of the great story telling boxes, but she does so with a fabulous peppering of wit. And Summerís Grace is also a book which makes you feel a renewed kind of gratitude that youíre living in the 21st century (even amidst these politically unstable times), because just one glance back in History at the way the world used to be, at the issues such as scurvy, women dying in childbirth, and unsuspecting teenage girls being lured into the snares of older men who should know better, makes you realise just how good we really do have it today; just how much humanity has actually evolved. So if you are looking for a riveting new read, something entertaining, educational and unique, look no further. Summerís Grace will not disappoint.

Summer's Grace

Available at

Published by
Quartet Books
24 Nov 2016
ISBN: 978-0704374218




They passed through the kaleidoscopic ribbons of colour until they came upon a bed of delicate pink, quite different from all the other blooms. The pink was shot with the palest of greens and at the tip of each outer petal was a dash of cyclamen from an inner layer, like the slashed sleeve of a great court lady…

In the newly formed court of William of Orange and Queen Mary – after James II has fled England with diamond buckles sewn into his waistcoat – the beautiful and independently minded Lady Flora arrives at court. Having grown up against the backcloth of The Glorious Revolution, in the seclusion of the countryside surrounded by a world-renowned garden on which her family’s considerable fortune was made, romantic love is not the first thing on her mind. But her world is turned upside down when she meets the roguish and devilishly charming Lord Edwin Grantley who is on the lookout for a wife.

Is Flora the life raft that will stop Edwin from drowning, or will he drag her down with him? Flora’s Glory, Vanessa Hannam’s captivating fifth novel, is a tale of love, extraordinary bravery and deadly political intrigue set in the courts and gardens of seventeenth-century England.

Flora's Glory

Published by
Quartet Books
September 2012
ISBN: 978-0704372832


During last minute preparations for seventeen-year-old Mary Boynton's wedding, the plague arrives in London and the country is plunged into unimaginable chaos. The Boyntons flee to their Norfolk estate, but soon a relative with close connections to Charles II's court offers Mary the opportunity to join Queen Catherine's entourage.

Mary quickly gains the admiration of both the king and his lonely wife, but it is not long before Mary's innocence is challenged by the attentions of the glamorous Duke d'Almanda, who helps save the Boynton family home from the Great Fire of London. It is only when her love affair with the Duke goes mysteriously awry that Mary shows her true strength.

Far from the pampered child she once was, Mary now negotiates a maze of intrigue and influence, love and lust, to become a key player in the royal network of spies and intelligence agents. Although her success arouses the jealousy of the King's mistress, Mary has come too far, lost too much, not to find happiness in the end...


'A novel written with passion and relish. Rich in historical detail and feel for the period, it is hugely enjoyable.' -- Elizabeth Buchan

'Vanessa manages to weave a superb tale of love drama and deceit into high politics. I was gobsmacked by her sheer insight and understanding of one of the most dramatic periods in British history encompassing the Great Fire, the plague and the Dutch war. Her heroine captivates and enthrals and we get an original insight into the character of Charles II. A real page turner,' -- Stanley Johnson

'When I finished reading A Rose in Winter I thought to myself, ‘If I’m going to read a novel (which I don’t often do), why not a historical novel? I can learn about history, as well as being entertained.’ And I did learn from this novel: about the court of Charles II, about Catholic plots, about London during the Great Plague and Fire, about Portugal, about Charles’s unhappy Portuguese wife, Catherine of Braganza…Indeed, so well imagined is its world, I almost felt I was there. But there’s a further, deeper satisfaction. With her heroine, Mary Boynton, Vanessa Hannam has created a character of real courage and complexity, who matures as the book develops and attains a kind of wisdom. Without in any way preaching, the book has a lot to say about balanced love and intelligent marriage, and imparts to its readers much more than a history lesson.' -- William Radice

A Rose in Winter

Available at

Published by
Quartet Books
July 2009
ISBN: 978-0704371637




During the fierce conflicts parliamentary troops arrive at Hatherton Manor, the home of seventeen-year-old Lady Elizabeth Anne, demanding food and lodgings. Though Lizzie's family has suffered from many hardships caused by the king's high taxes, her father still defends the monarchy and her two brothers are fighting for the king.

But Lizzie has other opinions and is not afraid to speak her mind, especially when a handsome Roundhead captain appears on her doorstep throwing her life into turmoil. She is commanded to leave her family to look after the children of King Charles, who has been imprisoned by the rebels. Her new role soon leads her to doubt her initial impassioned beliefs. And suddenly an ordinary girl finds herself a central player in an extraordinary story of intrigue, love and betrayal.

'A remarkable achievement.' Shusha Guppy, author of The Blindfold Horse.

The Hostage Prince

Available in hard cover at

Published by
Severn House
December 2005
ISBN: 978-0727863317

David Lovegrove is at the end of his tether with wife, Joelle, a journalist who spends most of her time in the Middle East. David, whilst out with his sister Meg, meets Anna. David is ready for the battle with Joelle over their daughter, but nothing prepares him for the tragedy to come.

'I did not want it to end...' Valerie Masterson

Change of Key

Available in paperback at

Published by
October 1998
ISBN: 978-0747256793

Helena is not cut out to be a politician's wife. When her husband is tipped as being a future prime minister they seem to be the perfect couple, but there is little affection and respect between them. So when the charismatic Michael appears, Helena does not rebuff him and he is obviously interested in her.

'A passion for music, the strains of political life and a sense of a women's ability to cope with loss all provide a wealth of inspiration for Vanessa Hannam's novels' Country Life.

Division Belle

Available in paperback at

Published by
May 1997
ISBN: 978-0747256786

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