The Strength of Water: A Novel


Shirley Mason worked as a programmer/analyst writing small software systems. As a landscape painter, she studied at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art, as well as with Charles Movalli. Her collection of detective stories, The Hand at the Top of the Stairs, is available for download. Visit her website at and email her at

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Young widow Emma Chapman works as a paralegal contractor in Arizona. While out riding her bike one day, she is hit with a golf cart and unjustly vilified in the newspaper. Since her job is coming to an end and thinking that getting away would be a good idea, Emma plans a trip to England where she has always wanted to take a hiking tour.

Although Emma escapes the public’s negative opinion back in the United States, she finds herself trapped in a variety of other difficult, and even dangerous, situations in England. She encounters numerous obstacles and devious individuals. In the Cotswold town of Cav Neumont, Emma is supposed to meet Lord Haversham, also a widower. Little does she know that instead she meets an impersonator. Emma also faces the prejudice and arrogance of some British royal ladies, the devious shenanigans of Lord Haversham’s ex-wife, and a solo hiking tour that leaves her stranded with a broken ankle for three days until a mysterious stranger rescues her.

Can Emma find happiness—and perhaps even love—in this strange and beautiful land?


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