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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Family Life
  • Language:English
  • Pages:340
  • eBook ISBN:9781624887369

Turn on No-Bridge Road

by Suzanne Hadfield Semsch

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Claire Sutton has no idea what she will do with 400 acres on the Rappahannock River, the early 1800s house named Woodbine by her ancestors, a barn, cabin and family cemetery—all an unexpected inheritance from her grandfather. Arriving to settle the estate she discovers Woodbine in desperate need of repair with back taxes owed. Soon three men—a friend of her grandfather, an architect from Northern Virginia, and her grandfather’s attorney—present her with three conflicting options. Claire is quickly entangled in a web of uncertainty. As concealed relationships, a hidden journal, a family Bible, even the hint of spirits come into play, she finds Woodbine’s charms as irresistible as when, growing up, she’d spent long happy summers on the farm with her grandfather. The old house holds many secrets. Years pass before an astonishing truth is revealed, and the last piece of Woodbine’s puzzle drops into place.


Claire Sutton is almost thirty years old, single, happily employed and self-sufficient when she returns to Devon County on an icy evening in 1979. She has come to bury her Virginia grandfather and claim an unexpected inheritance—Woodbine Farm—400 acres of Rappahannock riverfront with an 1805 house, a cabin, outbuildings and the family cemetery. She has no idea how complicated this will be made by the three very determined men she is about to encounter. Miller Dawson, a friend of her grandfather’s he says, appears out of the snowy darkness that first night after her car ends in a ditch near the Woodbine lane. What a grumpy, crusty old man, Claire thinks when he taps her guilt by asking, “Haven’t come t’visit for a long time, have ye?” His goal is to restore the house. Then there is Jeremiah Weeks, her grandfather’s attorney, who Claire once loved and maybe still does. She is filled with foreboding at seeing Jerry, who has been married to someone else for ten years. He has buyers who are very interested in the property; however, the price he suggests is way too low, barely enough to pay her grandfather’s debts. Lastly, Nicholas Darling, an engaging Northern Virginia architect appears one day during a rainstorm. Seeking property for a client, he also claims he’s related to Woodbine’s builder. Nick is unsure why he keeps returning every weekend—is it fascination with the house and its patchwork additions? Or an attraction to Claire? It isn’t long before he knows which it is and what he wants. No stranger to Woodbine, Claire recalls lengthy periods of living in the cabin. First, with her unhappy parents, Paul and Margot, as they tried to save a troubled marriage; then with her mother alone after they were abandoned by Paul, an alcoholic. There were also long happy summers on the farm with her grandfather. The day Gramps showed her where her namesake Clarissa lies under a tombstone inscribed 1823-1866, she remembers reaching for his hand saying, “I must belong here.” “Yep, reckon y’do,” he’d agreed. Now, Claire finds herself caught in a web of uncertainty.  As tales of former residents, a hidden journal, a family Bible, even the hint of spirits come into play, she finds Woodbine’s charms as irresistible as ever.  Obsessed with an ongoing quest to understand her past, she discovers the old house holds many secrets.  But years will pass before an astonishing truth is revealed, and the last piece of Woodbine’s puzzle drops into place.

About the author

Suzanne Semsch has been writing for her own enjoyment and professionally for many years. The Lees of Menokin, her first novel, published in 2009, is based on the life and times of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She drew on her experiences as the daughter and wife of career Army officers for her second book, The Sound of Caissons, an epic covering five generations of a mid-20th century military family. Although she’s lived in many states and Europe, she and her husband spent 23 years in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Her recollections and love for the region were the inspiration for Turn on No-Bridge Road and the fictional Woodbine Farm. A sequel, Timothy Darling & The Girl in the Sailboat, is currently underway. Suzanne lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a mother, a grandmother, a gardener, and the happy owner of two cats. Her books are available, both in paperback and on Kindle, through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers. Turn on No-Bridge Road is also formatted for the Nook, iPad, .mobi and most other devices.

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