Snakes and Ladders by Madge Swindells

Marjorie Hardy has always wanted to go places. But falling in love with Robert MacLaren, heir to a Scottish whisky empire, complicates her ambitions.

As one of the few girls with a university place, Marjorie decides she deserves a summer break, with the added benefit of spending a full six weeks with Robert. Their love blossoms, but Marjorie soon realises that she could never been part of his world. She hadn’t been brought up the same social circles Robert had. Robert’s friends made no pretence of this fact either. The end of summer will bring their romance to an end, a fact they are both aware of.

The universe had other ideas, however, as Marjorie discovers she is pregnant.

Marjorie has three assets: brains, courage and beauty. But with the prospect of being a single parent, she finds herself sinking to her lowest level. Not wanting to hurt her parents, and eager to make life better for herself, she decides to give the baby up for adoption.

But after meeting her daughter, Marjorie changes her mind and resolves to fight for her daughter’s rightful inheritance as heir to the Glentirran estates. As a single mother, her career prospects weren’t likely to stretch beyond the typing pool … and her promise to her daughter seems almost unachievable.

Unwilling to give up, Marjorie takes up the challenge of setting up a business. Her success builds and she finds herself as co-owner of a highly successful publishing company. Joe, her business partner had done more for her than she expected. And finding happiness with Hamish Cameron, the chairman of a rival distillery just takes her that one step closer to fulfilling her promise.

Just like in the game of Snakes and Ladders, Marjorie takes several steps forward, but finds herself back in the mire. But, fired by the need for revenge, she makes it to the top … she succeeds … but at a cost … a very high one.

Madge Swindells was born and educated in England. As a teenager, she emigrated to South Africa where she studied archaeology at Cape Town University. Later, in England, she was a Fleet Street journalist and the manager of her own publishing company. Her earlier novels, Summer Harvest, Song of the Wind, Shadows on the Snow, The Corsican Woman, Edelweiss, The Sentinel and Harvesting the Past were international bestsellers and have been translated into eight languages. She now lives in South Africa.

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