It’s been a while since I had a Friday Reads post, but when talented author Gilli Allan told me that she was releasing her latest novel, Buried Treasure, in paperback with a brand new cover, I really wanted to share the news with you. So let’s find out all about the book.
“I found Buried Treasure a compelling read. It was so many things: a love story, a hunt for clues to lost secrets, and a fascinating look at how our past experiences shape us, and how we can heal even after damage. The characters were wonderfully well drawn. ”
Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again. But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.
Gilli is sharing a sneak peek extract with us today.
Theo Tyler turns in through the main gates of the college. The man in the window acknowledges him as he drives past the porters’ lodge. It might be a small courtesy, but he appreciates it. There were no such niceties at Exeter. And it’s still a pleasure to be parking with that view ahead of him. How many people can claim to work somewhere as iconic as this? His arrival at this point in his life does not yet feel secure enough to be celebrated; it has only been two terms, and there’s every likelihood he’ll have to leave when Dennis Creech completes his research project – but if he’s impressed them enough, and forged the right allegiances and networks, there’s a chance he’ll be offered something else.
He drives slowly towards his usual parking space. Between here and the old part of Lancaster College – its ancient brick a vivid burnt orange against the blue sky – is the river. The footbridge across it leads to an arched walkway that pierces the first of the complex of buildings. But his complacent appreciation of his current workplace is rudely interrupted. His bay is occupied. There’s no reservation policy, of course, but since his first day there’s been a kind of unspoken gentleman’s agreement and, until this morning, he’s suspected that no one else’s car would actually fit the slot he parks in. He’s long since ceased fretting that he might need to U-turn and drive back around to the main car park.
Small and bright pink, the interloper is open-topped, with a banner across the boot that shouts “I heart Essex”. Who on earth would choose to buy a car in that extraordinary colour? Evidently someone proud of his or her Essex connection. Making the awkward manoeuvre he turns and drives back, past the gates, the porters lodge and the old accommodation. The internal roadway bears right, leading to the large car park and the college’s 1980s expansion on this side of the river. He inwardly curses the intrusive thoughts from his childhood, and whoever has parked in his space, and added five minutes to his walk.
Emma pours two coffees, then grabs a pastry. ‘What’s first on the list?’
‘We’ve twenty minutes before we meet the manager of the college’s hospitality department and start the tour round the accommodation and the facilities. Then….’ Jane pauses, momentarily transfixed. A whirl of crumbs floats down around her friend, as she tears off a portion of her pastry and opens her mouth exaggeratedly wide.
‘Lipstick,’ Emma explains.
‘For the moment, you can carry on networking, or shopping, or….’ Eating, Jane adds in her head, as she clicks over to her inbox. ‘And I have a load of emails to deal with.’
Apart from the tap of keys, the occasional sigh or muttered comment and the scrape of the chair as Emma stands up to help herself to another pastry, the room becomes quiet, until she speaks again.
‘Did you say your sister came here?’
‘She could have. I suspect Oxford was preferred because it’s further away from home.’
‘But you never regretted your decision to leave school?’
Jane looks down at her feet. It’s all very well showing off her tan, but she’s a bit cold. Because of the weather forecast she’d chosen to wear open-toed sandals and tight white cut offs, but now half regrets the vanity.
‘Rachel had the brains and the aptitude. What’s that?’ Is something clinging to the blue-painted nail of her big toe? She pushes back her chair and bends over to brush off the fleck. ‘But at the moment she’s taking some extended maternity leave to look after Pandora.’
‘Not a name I’d choose,’ Jane acknowledges. ‘And she’s currently trying to start a beauty vlog.’
‘She’s quite a bit older than you, isn’t she?’
‘Seven years … Bugger it!’ Whatever it is – a bit of fluff, a tiny sliver of paper – it’s stuck fast. Jane licks her finger to wipe it away. ‘Hell! I don’t believe it! I’ve bloody chipped my toe-nail!’ Jane sits up straight, head buzzing with annoyance. Emma looks across.
‘It hardly notices.’
‘But I’ve only just had them done! Damn it!’
‘Honestly, no one’s going to know.’
‘I know!’ She grabs her bag, and begins to rummage.
‘I wouldn’t worry, if I was you.’
But you’re patently not me, Jane thinks, giving the retrieved varnish bottle a vigorous shake. Lifting her leg, she props her bare foot on the edge of the table in front of her. The brush pinched between her fingers, she leans forward and catches sight of the fan of pastry flakes on the floor around Emma. It’s an effort to control the urge to put the varnish down and begin clearing them up, or at the very least to nag Emma to do so. To divert herself, Jane reverts to the previous subject.
‘So, there was me, just scraping along at Saint Philomena’s, everyone – parents and staff alike – only too willing to rub my nose in what a popular all-round star my sister was, and why was I so rubbish, when Rachel got into Oxford. Always a bit of a know-all, she was instantly a gazillion times worse. All hoity-toity and totally insufferable, like she knew everything and we knew nothing! I was embarrassed for Mum and Dad, but they fawned over her as if she was the oracle! And from then on, the parade of cringe-making boyfriends…!’ Her finger to her mouth, Jane mimes retching, prompting a giggle from Emma. ‘They had to be seen to be believed. And they all had those god-awful Hooray Henry names. You wouldn’t catch me going out with a….’ Sitting up straight and wiggling her toes, she assumes her best upper-class drawl. ‘A Hugo or a Quentin! Then to cap it all, she went and married a Miles! I was amazed by my parents’ acceptance of him.’
‘Apart from his name what’s wrong with him?’
‘He’s far older than Rachel, with one of those smoke and mirrors jobs that caused the 2008 crash. He’s previously married with two school age kids … and with all the arrogance and air of entitlement you’d expect of a man from his background. I refused even to try to follow in my sister’s footsteps.’ Jane frowns down at her toenail; she can still see the paler triangular indentation. As she lifts her foot and props it on the edge of the table again, she is thinking about the stubborn certainties of her younger self, but it’s pointless regretting the decisions made back then.
She stoops forward holding the recharged varnish brush. ‘Wasting my time at university … particularly a fusty, dusty old pile of stones like this one … and coming home with my nose in the air and plums in my mouth was the very last thing I wanted.’
Intrigued? You can get a copy of the book here:
Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the imaginary kind.
After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.
Contact Gilli at
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Gilli. Wishing you lots of sales!
Sassy, heartwarming romances set in glorious locations: Amazon Author Page