Arriving from America to claim the earldom he never expected to inherit, Thomas Havers finds himself responsible for not only a huge estate full of servants and tenants, but also several female relatives. A countess to help him negotiate the unfamiliar intricacies of his new position is essential, and sooner rather than later, but how is he to choose? The beautiful Lady Louisa is born and bred for the role, but Thomas finds his heart pulling him in another direction entirely.
Orphaned and penniless, the best Ellen Bentley can hope for is a respectable position as a governess or companion. She has nothing to tempt any potential suitors, until the new earl takes an interest in his distant cousin and invites her to join the family in London.
Encouraged to find suitors of her own by her aunt, Ellen realises quickly that the only man she wishes to marry is Thomas, but he only has eyes for Lady Louisa. How can a parson’s daughter hope to compete with a diamond of the Ton?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love Cinderella stories, and the idea of an American being outraged by English upper-class indifference meant I had to write Thomas and Ellen's story!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Ellen is, sadly, quite typical of young ladies of the Regency era. While she could have decent prospects, her family are too selfish to take her in. She's stuck and desperate when Thomas arrives. He, in turn, is outraged by her plight, when his aunt would barely have to lift a finger to make an enormous difference to Ellen's life.
I am being thrown from the only home I have ever known, was all she could think.
“I’m right sorry, Miss Bentley.” The steward twisted his hat again. In her state of shock, Ellen noticed minute details; the furrow of concern between the man’s beetling brows, the mist hanging in the air from his quick breathing, the way his twisting hands were damaging the hat’s felt brim.
“I understand, Mr Ellis,” she said quietly at last, and watched as he gave her a shallow bow before turning on his heel and retreating down the garden path.
The church bell tolled, clear in the frosty December air, and the tears Ellen had been holding back since her father’s death of influenza three days earlier, not even two weeks after her mother was laid to rest in the cold ground, finally flowed.
She sank to her knees there in the doorway and bawled like a child.
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