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You might well notice that it has the same couple on the cover as a recent release - can't remember the title -but it is a Jane Austen variation. Both covers are good -but mine is, of course the best. :)
Here is a sample to wet your appetite.
‘Mama, please don’t worry about me. I am perfectly happy living here with you. When dear Jack died at Talevera three years ago he left me with a comfortable income, and a determination never to marry again.’
Lady Bryson shook her head, unconvinced by her daughter’s protestations. ‘My dear girl, you were married out of the cradle, the major snatched you away from me before you had even a season. Good heavens, Patience, you are hardly in your dotage, you are only three and twenty and a beautiful young lady. It is high time you went back into society and found yourself another husband.’
Patience had heard quite enough of this nonsense recently. She pinned on a smile and pushed back a stray curl from her forehead.
‘Mama, I have told you repeatedly that with Jack I had a perfect marriage.’ She paused, her smile becoming sad. ‘Of course, we were not blessed with children, but apart from that there is not a man on this Earth who could match him. I shall not settle for second best.’
She watched her mother draw breath knowing she was about to embark on yet another reason why being a contented widow was not enough. ‘Very well. As you are so insistent that I am mouldering away in this village I shall accept my godmother’s invitation and stay for the season at their London house.’
‘My dear, I am so pleased you have changed your mind. Lady Orpington is not well and as her daughter Rosamond is to make her come out, she is in need of a companion for her.’ For a small, plump lady Mama jumped with surprising agility to her feet. ‘I shall go at once and write a letter to dear Eleanor and tell her that you are coming immediately.’
Patience laughed. ‘I hope by your use of the word immediately you’re referring to the writing of the letter and not my imminent departure to
‘You do not intend to go for the festive season? It is so quiet here; you would be much better enjoying yourself with people of your own age. You have been out of black for more than two years; it is high time you rejoined society.’
Patience was adamant. ‘No, Mama, I shall stay here for Christmas and travel in the New Year. The season does not really start until March which should give me ample time to replenish my wardrobe and get to know Lady Rosamond.’
Her parent accepted defeat. ‘Well, my dear, I must own that I shall enjoy your company. I am sure that Eleanor will send her carriage for you so you may rest assured, your journey will be comfortable.’
‘There is no need for that, Mama. I shall take the mail coach. As I shall be travelling with Mary and Sam Perkins I shall come to no harm.’
‘I can see that you have made up your mind. Therefore I will l say no more about it. If you are travelling with a maid and a manservant you should be safe enough. I shall have the missive ready in thirty minutes. If you delay your ride until it is finished you could take it down to The Red Lion for me.’
Patience agreed to wait until the letter was done. She had been about to take her huge, black gelding for a gallop through the woods whilst the weather was clement and was already dressed in a handsome, green riding habit that exactly matched the colour of her eyes. She tapped her booted foot on the carpet feeling decidedly put out.
When she had returned to live with her mother in the comfortable Dower House, she had thought she would never recover from the loss of her dear friend and husband. She had spent four years following the drum and had loved every moment of it. She had nursed wounded officers and even delivered a baby. Her life had been full of excitement and wherever the regiment had gone, she had been there.
The widow of a common soldier was often remarried before her husband was cold in his grave for she would have been unable to stay in camp on her own. The wife of the commanding officer, as her husband had been by then, did not have such an option. She was obliged to make her way home with Mary and Sam to recover slowly in the peace of the
Now she was obliged to spend several months in London escorting a young debutante of seventeen years to various routs, soirees and balls. She frowned, shuddering at the thought of being constrained to make polite small talk to other matrons and companions. She thanked God that as a widow she would not be required to join in with the jollity and dancing.
She spun and paced the room, ending in front of the gilt mantel glass. At least she could put on her hat whilst she waited. She stared at her reflection in the mirror her head to one side. Her mother was right, she seemed to have grown into her looks since she had returned to
England. She had lost the roundness
of youth and her eyes appeared to dominate the oval of her face.
This would not do. The last thing she required was to be admired by members of the ton. She was not wealthy, not by her godmother’s standards, but she was comfortable and owned a neat estate in
which brought her in more than enough for her modest monthly needs. She had not
touched the money Jack had left her; indeed she had no idea how matters stood
in that department. Her lips curved slightly. At least her visit to Town would
enable her to see her lawyers.
She heard hurrying footsteps approaching the room. Good – her mother was returning with the letter. She pushed the final glass topped pin into her hat, collected her gloves and riding whip and went to meet her.
Fenella J Miller