Lady Jane Annesley looked up from her book, breathing in the fresh spring air floating in through the window. It was a beautiful day, with the sunshine playing in the treetops and making flitting shadows dance upon the cobblestone street. All was right with the world, with nothing to displease or vex her.
She turned her attention back to the book and continued reading. A strand of her long brunette hair fell over her shoulder and onto the page and she slowly moved it away. But she had little time to recover her spot when her maid knocked and came into the room.
“A letter has just arrived for you, my lady,” her maid said with a touch of excitement in her tone. She hurried over, carrying a tea tray over to Jane and placing it on the little side table. “I took it off the letter tray before Mr. Henry could take it into the library.”
Jane sat up straighter, waving her hand for her maid to hurry and give her the precious missive.
“Oh, it has been so long, I thought he had forgotten about me,” Jane breathed, taking the letter as if it were a golden chalice with the waters of eternal life held within the brim. “Did anyone else see this, Katie?”
“No, my lady. I was very careful to hide it before anyone happened upon it, just as I have with all the others.”
Jane smiled up at the girl with pride. “You are a treasure, Katie.” She looked down at the familiar name written on the front of the letter. Captain Charles Durbin. “You may go about your duties, Katie.”
Jane was eager to read the letter, for it had been months since she had heard from her secret love. She would never forget the night she had met the handsome and dashing Captain during her first coming out ball. Of course, her parents would be mortified if they ever found out that she had been writing to a captain of His Majesty’s armies, but Jane had managed to keep him a secret thus far.
“Shall I pour you a cup of tea, my lady?” Katie offered.
“Yes, thank you,” Jane replied as she broke the seal on the back of the letter, taking a cup of steaming hot tea from her maid.
She waited for Katie to go a little way away so that she might have some semblance of privacy while she read the letter. Mail was so long in coming when it had an entire ocean to travel over. The Caribbean Isles felt like a whole other planet, and it might as well have been, for she heard from Charles so infrequently.
She settled into the window seat to read her letter, taking a sip of her tea as she did so. However, she had barely read the first sentence when she suddenly dropped the teacup, making it shatter into a million pieces on the mahogany wood floor. A guttural scream escaped her throat, and she sprang up, scanning the letter to get to the end.
Katie rushed over, concern etching her face. “Whatever is the matter, my lady?”
Katie bent down to clean up the mess Jane had made, but she barely noticed.
“It can’t be,” she breathed, tears welling in her eyes. She felt the panic rising in her chest, threatening to suffocate her. “Charles—” she whispered, holding her hand over her heart.
In the next moments, Jane completely lost control. She began to wail as she was overcome with grief. Katie came to her side, trying to help her off of the floor. But she had crumpled under the weight of her anguish.
“What is the meaning of this? What is wrong, Katie?!”
Jane heard, rather than saw, her mother burst into the room. She knew she was making a terrible racket, but she could do nothing to stop the flow of tears and sobs. It was as if her insides were being torn out.
The letter! Her mind screamed at her to get up and find the missive before either of her parents saw it. She opened her eyes, her vision blurred by tears. Where was the letter?!
“I don’t know, Your Grace. One minute she was sitting at the window seat drinking a cup of tea and the next she collapsed on the floor. I could not get her to sit up and I cannot lift her myself—“
“Oh, be quiet, you stupid girl. Go for the doctor at once!” Her mother’s commanding voice drifted over her, and Jane knew that if she did not find the letter, all would be lost. She tried to sit up, wiping her nose with the back of her sleeve. Her mother gave her a horrified look.
“What on earth is going on, Jane? You act as if someone has died.”
Someone has died, Jane thought to herself, and she was again sent into a fit of sobbing. Charles was gone, struck down by malaria in the Caribbean. She would never see her love again. However, Jane could not focus on that now. She had to find that blasted letter!
“Jane, dearest, what is the matter?” Her father came into the room, looking as if he were more annoyed that his newspaper reading time had been interrupted than that she was in distress.
Jane did her best to get off the floor, but she soon collapsed with the effort. Never in all her eighteen years upon this earth had she felt such debilitating grief. She covered her face with her hands, unable to think of anything other than Charles’ handsome face, imagining his eyes staring at her in the cold grip of death.
When she uncovered her face, she stared in horror as her mother picked up the letter. “No!” She screamed, startling her. She tried to grab for the letter, but her mother snatched it away, turning her back on her daughter as she read. “Mother I can explain—”
Her father frowned at her and began reading over her mother’s shoulder. When they turned back around, her father’s face was as red as a ripe cherry tomato. Her mother glared at her, holding up the letter.
“What is this, Jane?”
Jane stood up, leaning heavily on the side table where Katie had placed the tea tray minutes before. “I— It is just a letter from an old friend.”
“This is no ordinary letter, Jane.” Her father stepped forward, taking the missive from her mother. “Who is this Captain Durbin? I have never heard of the man before.”
Jane wrung her hands, trying to think clearly enough to explain. “He is a—he was a captain in His Majesty’s services. I met the captain at a ball a few years ago. At my coming out ball, in fact. We—” Jane could not finish. How could she explain the depth of her feelings for this man she had come to love? He had been kind and charming but genuine as well. He was unlike the men that her father, the Duke of Somerset, had introduced her to.
There had been two letters, in fact. One had been from Charles, a furtive last message telling her how much he loved her. The other had been from his commanding officer, telling her that he had passed away.
“I gather from the letter that you were engaged to this person?” Her mother asked. Jane blinked slowly. Yes, she had been engaged to him secretly for over a year. He had asked her to marry him before he had departed for the West Indies, promising to come back for her.
Jane straightened, trying to control her tears long enough to make her parents understand. “Yes, we were engaged, but—”
“How dare you!” her father exploded. “How dare you go behind my back and promise yourself without my permission? And to an army man, no less!” Her father waved a hand over his head, starting to pace in the middle of the room. Jane let her shoulders slump forward. It did not matter now; Charles was dead, and she would never see him again.
Her vision blurred around the edges of her sight, and she blinked, trying to clear it. But before she knew what was happening, she landed on the floor with a hard thud. She closed her eyes, wishing that death would come for her as well.
“How is she, doctor?” Lady Diana Annesley asked furtively, standing a few yards away from her daughter’s bedside.
The doctor shook his head, coming away from Jane’s side. “She is upset, Your Grace. Sometimes when a person is under this kind of stress, the body will shut down.”
Lady Annesley covered her mouth, letting out a fearful gasp. Her husband stood a few feet away, crossing his arms pensively over his chest.
“Is she ill?”
“No. Not exactly. Her body is healthy, as far as I can tell. But her mind is in chaos. And sometimes that is even more dangerous than a physical ailment.” The doctor looked back at the bed where Jane was sleeping fitfully. “She needs rest, Your Grace,” he said, turning again to the Duke. “I’ve given her a draught of laudanum that will help her sleep, but I do not think it would go well for her to take it regularly—it can be very addictive.”
Lady Annesley nodded. “We will help her come out of this. Perhaps we should take her away from London for a time?”
“That may help. A few months in the country may help her come to rights.”
The duke shook his head. “It is the beginning of the Season. I have my duties here in London. We will have to find another way to help her.”
“But Your Grace, she has not stopped crying all day and she will not eat. I worry that if this continues, she will make herself ill,” Lady Annesley argued softly.
“Well, I shall leave you now. She is resting as well as can be expected, but please send for me if there is the slightest change.” The doctor gave a small bow. “Good evening, Your Grace.”
When he was gone, Lady Annesley turned back around, walking slowly to her daughter’s bedside. She grabbed Jane’s hand. She did not stir. “I am worried, Your Grace. I have never seen her like this.”
“She should not have kept her relationship with Captain Durbin from us. I am deeply disappointed in her.”
“But what are we going to do? What if keeping her here in London only makes her worse?”
“We shall have to marry her off as quickly as possible. She will soon forget this Captain Durbin.”
The duke cast a worried glance in Jane’s direction and then quickly turned to leave the room. Lady Annesley knew her husband well enough by now to know that he was deeply troubled for his daughter’s welfare but was trying to maintain a strong front. Why were men so afraid of showing their true feelings? For the life of her, she could not understand it sometimes.
Lady Annesley brought a chair over to Jane’s bedside, determined to see her through the long night. She sat down and took her hand once more, giving it a light squeeze. She had not seen her like this since she was a baby and had contracted whooping cough. She had been afraid that her only child would die then, and now she was worried her daughter’s grief would take her from this world before she had had a chance to really live.
Jane stirred, looking over at her mother. Beads of sweat stood out over her brow, and she brushed them away with her handkerchief.
“How do you feel, dearest?” she asked softly.
Jane closed her eyes once more, a pained expression crossing her face. “Charles,” she breathed and then turned her face away, a single tear dripping down her cheek.
Lady Annesley brushed her fingers softly over her daughter’s cheek. “You will live, dearest. I know it feels like your life is over, but the sun will rise and you will find love again.”
But Jane silently railed against the idea. And even in her delirious state, she vowed that she would never love again. Never again would she give her heart away to be shattered as it was now.
Benjamin Fairfax sat at his pianoforte, feeling more frustrated than ever. In his youth, he had been a bit of a musical prodigy, with the newspapers foretelling his bright future as a composer. And yet, as he sat there at his instrument, it seemed that fate was again playing tricks on him. Inspiration was indeed a cruel mistress.
He slammed down his pencil and began to play a silly little ditty that he had concocted in his youth. When it was finished, he stood up with a huff, rubbing the back of his neck in frustration. If his parents could have seen him now, they would be heartbroken. They had undoubtedly gone without so much to ensure he was introduced to all the right people when he was a lad. And their sacrifices had paid off—for a little while. But now they were dead, and he was alone.
A knock sounded on the door, and before he had a chance to cross the little tenement room that he rented for half a crown each month, his best friend came waltzing in. His friend said nothing as he closed the door softly behind him. Benjamin looked up eagerly, but his hopes were soon dashed by the look of dejection on his friend’s face.
“Anything?” Benjamin asked, holding onto any shred of confidence that he had finally tracked down a lead of any kind.
“No. Nothing!” his friend said, throwing his arms up in the air with a loud huff. “She has vanished without a trace, it would seem.”
Benjamin felt like punching a wall, but he reined in this desire. He could not afford to pay for someone to repair the damages. Not again. He let out a tired sigh and collapsed onto his piano stool. “It’s alright, Jacob. You tried.”
“And do not think that I am about to give up! I told you I would help you track her down, and with God as my witness, I will not rest until I do so.” Jacob sat up straight, holding his hand up to his forehead in a salute. He then sank back down, twisting his ankles around as if to alleviate some pain there.
Benjamin stood and walked over to the small sitting area near the window.
“What do you call this, then?” he asked, waving his hands in Jacob’s direction as he propped his feet up on the little table in the centre of the sitting area. He leaned over, pushed his feet off, and then polished the heavily scratched surface of the table. It was not the nicest furniture, but it made his apartment feel like a home, at least. It was a sorry excuse of a house by the standards he was used to. But he had fallen in society and wealth in recent months, and his quest was more important than living in a fine house in Kensington.
“I thought moving back to London would give me access to more information on Elise’s whereabouts. But it’s been a year and still we’ve found nothing!” Benjamin felt like he was engaged in a losing battle. No matter what they tried, their ideas always rendered few results. It was as if Elise really had vanished, and Benjamin was starting to worry that he would never see her again.
“We will find her, Ben. I promise you.” Jacob’s eyes were filled with conviction, piercing Benjamin’s very soul.
If it had not been for his friend, would he even still be looking for her? It was hard to tell. What if he was wasting his time? Obviously, if she was this hard to track down, Elise did not want to be found. But Benjamin knew he would never be able to give up—not until he had seen her again and found out what had happened to her. She was, after all, the dearest thing in this life.
“Thank you, my friend. I do not know what I would do without you.”
“What are you going to do now?” Jacob asked, leaning forward in his seat. He clasped his hands in front of him, looking exhausted.
How many miles had his friend travelled to help him find Elise?
“I have no idea,” Benjamin replied, sitting back down. He looked despondently into the flames dancing in the hearth. They had followed so many leads, Benjamin wondered if they would ever find another. “For right now, I think a cup of tea is in order. What do you say to that?”
“I say yes. Travelling sixty miles in a day is not an easy task,” Jacob said with a tired smile on his face. “I would travel farther if it would reunite the two of you.”
Benjamin smiled weakly, pushing himself up. He walked into the tiny kitchen at the back of the tenement and filled a kettle with water. He placed it on the stove and stoked the fire in its belly. Jacob continued talking to him as he worked, his voice sounding sleepy.
“I did run into a very interesting lady during my search. She said something about a house for young women—a house of refuge, she called it. I might try there when I go back out and see if any of their recent clientele match Elise’s description.”
Benjamin perked up at this. “I wish I could come with you, Jacob. I feel so helpless sitting around here. Perhaps if we doubled our efforts—”
“No, Ben.” Jacob stood, coming over to the kitchen doorway. “We agreed that it is better for you to stay in London. You can write your music and give lessons while I search. Someone has to fund our efforts, you know.” Jacob smiled at him.
His childhood best friend had much more faith than Benjamin did. “Yes, but if I keep getting blocked, how am I to sell my compositions? And I only have two students at the moment. It would seem there is not much call for a washed-up composer.”
Jacob rolled his eyes, gripping Benjamin by the shoulders and giving him a soft shake. “You are not washed-up.”
“I’m not so sure. I can easily play any of the great composers by heart—Bach, Handel, Beethoven—but when it comes to composing my own pieces, I feel like I am drifting on a cold, lonely sea blanketed in fog, unable to see anything before me. I have nothing to give me inspiration. I suppose my worry for Elise is clouding my creativity.”
“Don’t worry. We are going to find her.” Jacob said softly. The kettle began to sing, and Benjamin went to the stove to take it off. He opened the cupboard above the stove and took down a simple white teapot that had belonged to his mother. It was chipped around the rim and lid in several places, but he could not afford a new one. And even if he could, he would not get rid of this one to save his life. It was one of the few mementos he still possessed from his parents.
He then took down two cups, equally chipped and bearing the marks of many years’ use. He poured the steaming water over the brown leaves and turned his attention back to Jacob as the tea steeped.
“It’s so difficult not knowing for sure what happened to her. Did I do something to make her want to leave? I thought we were so happy living together in the country. I had no idea she was so miserable that she wanted to leave. If only she had talked to me about it, perhaps I could have done something to help her.”
Jacob came to stand beside him in the kitchen, placing a hand on his shoulder. “You did nothing wrong, Benjamin. People must make their own decisions. Elise has made hers, and I commend you for not giving up on her. It has been a year since she ran away from your home.”
“I could no sooner give up on her than I could stop drawing breath.” Benjamin let out a sigh, stepping over to the sideboard where the tea was steeping. The water was now a dark brown colour. He took the tea infusers out of the cups and set them on a simple wooden tray. He then retrieved a carafe of cream and a little bowl of brown sugar. He could not afford white sugar anymore; all of his spare funds were going to finance his search for Elise.
“Come, let’s go sit down and relax for a bit.” Benjamin carried the tray, leading the way out to the sitting area. “How long will you stay in London?”
Jacob sank down onto the chaise lounge, warming himself by the fire. It had been an unusually cool summer, with rainclouds marring the skies almost every day. Perhaps that was one reason he had been so downcast.
Jacob stirred cream and sugar into his tea and then sat back, taking a sip. “I think I shall stay for a few days. Lord and Lady Edgar are expecting me at one of their famous galas. And then I shall be off again. I want to head back to Aycliffe at that refuge house for women. Perhaps Elise passed through there on her way to wherever she was going.”
“Assuming she was alone,” Benjamin said, a bite in his tone. She had never been the impulsive type, but young women such as Elise often had their heads turned by dashing young men. It had been said that a woman matching Elise’s description was seen with a man wearing a red army coat a few days before she had disappeared. But that was conjecture, and it had never been confirmed that it was Elise.
“Have faith, my friend. I have to believe that all your hard work will not go to waste.”
Benjamin only nodded. He did not want to get into an argument over faith with Jacob. He was too inclined to believe the best of people, to see the silver linings in life. The last year had taught Benjamin that things rarely turned out the way one wanted or planned.
When Jacob had finished his tea, he took his leave, promising to come by and say farewell before he left London once more.
When he was alone, Benjamin cleaned up the teacups and tidied the kitchen. He then retired to his study—a room whose doors rarely opened unless he was utterly alone. On the wall above his little writing desk were tacked numerous scraps of paper. There were also maps and various answers to letters he had written to friends, asking if they had seen any sign of Elise. Some of them had come back with little titbits of information, leads that Jacob had long since checked and which had all come back cold.
Benjamin planted his hands on his hips, squinting at the wall. His eyes roamed over the pieces of paper, searching for anything he might have missed. It was a nightly ritual and had yet to help him uncover any new or valuable information. But it was a habit now, and he would not feel that he had done his duty if he forewent the practice.
Standing back, he took a broader view, trying to connect the little information they had gathered over the last year. His heart sank, knowing that he would not see anything new, no matter how long and hard he looked. And yet, he could not tear his eyes away.
His brow furrowed, and he felt his grief rising, threatening to stop his heart from beating. “Where are you?”
Jane sat listlessly in the corner of the parlour, not even bothering to try and read a book or listen to her mother as she played the pianoforte. Her mother was an accomplished pianist and had even played for the king and queen before marrying Jane’s father.
Jane picked at the black lace trimming of her midnight gown. There was nothing for her to look forward to anymore. Her parents had each tried to get her to move on from Charles’ death in some way. Her mother and father had hosted parties and dinners in hopes of getting her to come out of her misery, but she had refused to attend. She had locked herself in her room, listening with unconcealed hatred as the songs of gaiety floated up the stairs from the lavish grand salon and drawing-room.
Jane’s mother had tried different tactics. She had played the pianoforte without ceasing, choosing lively tunes that gave Jane a headache rather than uplifting her spirits. And then there was the constant pleading that she go with her on her social calls around London.
“That is the last thing on earth I would want to do, Mother.” Jane’s answer was always the same. London was packed to the brim with social-climbing debutantes, gossiping ladies and gentlemen with nothing better to do with their time than soothe boredom by picking others apart. They were like hens in a farmyard, pecking at one another. Jane detested them all.
Had it been in her power, Jane would have left London long ago. But she was still under her father’s protection and control and had no money of her own. Would that she could run away, leaving all of this behind, she would gladly trade her life of luxury for a quiet hovel. At least then, she would be allowed to grieve in peace.
“Are you ready for some tea, dearest?” Her mother said when she had finished the lively piano piece. Jane gave a sigh of relief as the room quieted, rubbing her temples with her fingertips. She closed her eyes.
“Yes, you may call for tea if you like,” she replied. She stood slowly, making her way over to the sitting area where they always had tea. Every day were the same mundane tasks. She no longer had the physical or emotional strength for them. Needlepoint was pointless; practicing her French made her feel absurd; sketching landscapes was the bane of her existence. Nothing mattered anymore, for her world had gone dark without Charles in it.
“Must you continue to wear black? After all, you and this Captain Durbin were not formally engaged. You are making a spectacle of yourself,” her mother said as she rang the little silver bell on the edge of the mantel. She then came and sat across from Jane, smoothing down her skirts. Jane said nothing. It was the same lecture every day. She had stopped trying to defend her behaviour.
A few minutes passed in silence, and the butler soon appeared. “We are ready for tea now.” Her mother said, going to the door. She disappeared after the butler and soon returned with her father in tow.
“We have something we would like to discuss with you while we wait for tea, Jane.” Her mother announced as soon as they had both been seated. Jane looked up at each of them in turn, her stomach twisting with nausea. What were they going to try to force her into today?
“Oh? I hope you are not going to try to get me to come to another of your boorish soirees, Mother. I have not the energy nor inclination to have every eligible young man in London thrown at my feet.”
Her father’s mouth thinned into a hard line, his face flushing with anger. Jane was past caring. “You will take care with your tone, Jane, or I will be forced to take drastic measures with you.”
Jane gave a mirthless laugh. “What more could be done to me, Father? Take away my dowry? Send me to live in a convent? I have lost the love of my life. Nothing you do to me can be worse than that.”
“You try my patience, young woman,” her father said, his voice growing in pitch.
Jane clasped her hands in her lap. It would do no good to antagonise him. It would be better to let them get their lecture underway. The sooner her father got whatever was on his mind off his chest, the sooner she could go back to sitting in the darkened corner of the parlour. Or perhaps she would hide in the library. There she could reminisce of the time she had spent with Charles—such precious little compared to what should have been.
“Your accomplishments are sorely lacking, Jane. You have fallen behind with your French and Latin. Indeed, I was fluent in both by the time I was fifteen.” Her mother pursed her lips, giving Jane a disappointed scowl.
Her father chimed in this time, standing so that he could pace in front of her. “You will cease wearing black, and you will start attending social functions with us again. I have tried to be understanding, but it is high time you set aside these ridiculous mourning practices and re-enter the real world. It is time we found you a husband.”
Jane’s heart sank. “I will never marry,” she replied calmly. She had voiced this sentiment hundreds of times in the last two months, but it always fell on deaf ears.
“Nonsense. I will not have my only daughter turn out to be a spinster. It would bring shame upon this family, and your first duty is to uphold its great name,” her father said, his tone pleading this time. Jane hardened her heart to his supplications. “You are still young and beautiful. If you would only put in a little effort, I am convinced we could see you happily settled by summer’s end.”
“I have tried to say this time and again, Father, but you never listen,” Jane said, her anger bubbling to the surface despite her best efforts to remain patient. She closed her eyes, fighting back the familiar tears. It seemed that she did nothing but mope and cry these days, and she could not exactly blame her parents for being upset with her. Despite their claims that they were trying to understand, she knew that they never could. Their marriage had been one of convenience, set up by their own parents. She had thought to marry for love—and if she could not have Charles, she would have no one.
“I cannot marry. It would go against everything I feel, everything I am. You never knew Charles, but I loved him. And his love changed me. I am just a shell of a woman now.”
Her father exploded once more. “Enough of your dramatics, Jane! I have had enough of them. You will marry and that is the end of it. I have always said that I would allow you some say in the match, but I can see now that that was a mistake. Women have not the slightest idea of what is good for them.” He began to pace even faster now. His face turned a deeper shade of red as he went back and forth, trying to rein in his temper. “We want you to take piano lessons. We know that you showed interest when you were younger, and it would do well for you to have some kind of skill when you re-enter the marriage market.”
Jane cringed. “You make it sound like I am one of your prize mares being up for auction.”
“Do not be vulgar, Jane,” her mother warned, shooting a disapproving glance at her.
“I do not see how it is any different. If you want me out of the house so badly, do as I ask and send me to a convent. There are several in France to which I could go, and you would not have to explain. Just tell your friends that I am traveling the continent—”
“You know we cannot do that. What are we to tell people when you do not return?”
“Tell them that I was lost at sea—”
Her father huffed loudly, throwing his hands up in the air. “You read entirely too many novels. I told you that they would make her brain go soft!” he said, yelling at her mother. Jane held back a laugh, for her mother looked so hurt and surprised, sitting there with her mouth gaping open.
“There is no question of you going to the Continent.”
“Do not argue with me, Jane. I’ve made up my mind. You will take your piano lessons and improve yourself. And you will find a husband by next year—at the very latest—or I will find one for you.”
Lady Annesley came out of Jane’s room looking frazzled and upset. The duke placed a hand under her elbow, leading her down the grand staircase to his study where they could talk in private. For the life of him, he did not know how his daughter had gotten so unruly. Why could she not be more like her mother?
“Perhaps it would be better if we kept a stranger out of this and you took it upon yourself to teach her, Diana?”
She shook her head vehemently. “You and I both know that she will not listen to me. No, it would be better if we could find a professional to help her.”
Howard Annesley sat down at his desk, massaging his temples. His daughter was becoming a shrew, he was sorry to say. What hurt more than her stubbornness was the fact she had tried to deceive them—she had succeeded in keeping her lover a secret for over two years. He blamed himself, really; he should have paid more attention to Jane. It was apparent to him and his daughter that his wife was a silly woman. She was accomplished, to be sure, but she had grown lazy over the years, captivated by her own importance. If their daughter was going to find an appropriate match, it would be down to him to find one for her.
“You know, there may be a solution to our little problem. Do you remember that young boy we went to see play at the London Theatre shortly after we were married?”
Howard thought for a moment, screwing up his brow. “Oh, yes—Fairfax, I think his name was. He was very good, wasn’t he?”
His wife shrugged, walking around to his side of the desk and placing her hands on his shoulders. They had grown fond of each other over the years, even though he had thought he would never fall in love with his wife when they were first married. They were allies now, if nothing else. She gently massaged his shoulders for a moment, and he realised just how tense he truly was. He closed his eyes for a moment, and his headache eased a bit.
“He was very good for a boy of his age. I believe he was six or seven when he started performing. And he did very well with some complicated pieces.”
He held back a small smile. His wife would never want to admit that there was someone better than she who played the pianoforte. But he remembered the boy, and he had been extraordinary. “I wonder whatever became of him?”
“Oh, you know the fickleness of London society; he got old and then everyone lost interest in him.”
Harold straightened, taking out a piece of paper. “Well, I shall make some inquiries and see if he is still in the area. With any luck, I can persuade him to teach our Jane how to play. And then we will be one step closer to seeing her settled.”
“Awakened by the Melody of Love” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
The sudden death of her only love, sinks Lady Jane Annesley’s life in deep grief. Yet, when her parents learn about this tragic but secret courtship, they will do anything to find her the perfect nobleman and turn her into a proper debutante. Lost in her misery, the last thing she needed was to be forced into taking piano lessons to enrich her social impression. What she didn’t expect was to explore a whole new world, illuminated by music, by the side of her charming piano teacher.
Could the handsome pianist heal Jane’s lonely heart?
The brooding Benjamin Fairfax struggles to make ends meet, after moving to London to search for his long-lost sister. That is, until he gets an unexpected visit from the Duke of Somerset, asking him to be his daughter’s piano teacher. However, as he enters the mysterious world of Lady Jane, he will be surprised to know how much she will test not only his patience, but also his soul.
Will he find the strength to stay away from Jane and focus on the search for his sister?
As Jane’s and Benjamin’s musical journey begins, they realise how much they care for each other, despite their class differences. However, while their love grows through the ashes of their wounds, society’s necessities and dangerous schemes will risk stealing their happiness away. Will Jane and Benjamin manage to face the past and pursue their future together, or will their tender sonata remain an unfinished piece?
“Awakened by the Melody of Love” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.