PATIENCE HAWTHORNE, an orphan with few means, agrees to marry the titled gentleman chosen by her ambitious uncle and leaves her quiet life in the English countryside. After all, Lord Roger, son of the Marquis of Pelgrave, is one of Somerset’s most eligible bachelors.
Suddenly, life is much more than silk cloaks and dancing slippers when Patience when is caught up in a dangerous and shocking ordeal. Indeed, her engagement seems the opposite of what the starry-eyed girl of merely eight-and-ten had expected.
Worse, her wishes are ambushed by Lord Roger’s devious family at every turn. Was it a mistake to ignore the rumors about her fiancé’s romantic past? To prevail, she may have to accept the help of the gentleman who is the secret cause of her woes.
PATIENCE BETRAYED evokes the Jane Austen era of candlelight and carriages when a plucky girl, beset by mischance, misfortune and misdeeds, finds love is easier to find than to keep.
Targeted Age Group:: 18 upwards
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Courtship in the Jane Austen era is a fascinating subject. Experiencing the life and times Patience Hawthorne, a character I created to live in this time period, was challenging and, exciting! This is a sweet romance but is not without drama. The complicated matter of love for a proper girl meant the courtship was a chaste relationship and chaperoned. I try to deal with the issue of a woman’s legal status and rights, or the lack thereof. Although the courtship dilemmas present in the first book, Patience Becomes a Lady, everything comes full circle in the second, Patience Betrayed.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Patience, the main character, is young and typical of the times because she dreads being a spinster or governess; therefore, marriage is in her future. However, she longs for a loving relationship and not a dour unhappy one. Once Patience is orphaned, I began to think of all kinds of problems she would face. The most valued thing a woman could have was…a spotless reputation! The titled families depicted are helpful to her aspirations whilst her own family proves to be high-handed and deceitful. One of the men who says he loves Patience is too self-centered, despite his charm. Another lurks in the background; he is rather a rogue and sends passionate glances her way. The more I write about the characters the more interesting they become to me and, hopefully to the reader.
PATIENCE BETRAYED all rights reserved by the author Olivia Andem
CHAPTER 1 Patience Hawthorne’s Diary: “Brides marry with hope and silver amulets.”
Be neither late nor ungrateful. A narrow pink ribbon marks the page of such advices in The Bride’s Companion, a small volume Patience Hawthorne carries in her reticule. Soon to marry Lord Roger, the junior son of the Marquis of Pelgrave, she is careful to heed its instruction.
Thus she arrived at Bath Abbey church, according to the great dial on its west façade, shortly before the agreed upon hour of nine o’clock. Lord and Lady Wadleigh, her hosts in Bath and elsewhere until she marries their distant cousin, kindly sent her forth in their barouche.
Where is he? Roger promised to linger with her in a quiet corner of the abbey during the hour before his father’s wedding. Fidgeting in her seat, the ancient pew creaks in protest. Any slight noise is reason enough to gawk at the church entrance, believing her fervent wish for an affectionate reunion is about to come true. Instead, her hopes slip away like hourglass sand.
The sound of rapid footsteps breaks her reverie. Roger! Her pulse quickens; he strides from the shadowy depths of the abbey, emerging through the rood screen.
Hiking her skirt aside, she leaves the pew to greet him in the center aisle.
“Roger! I thought you had forgotten!”
Although he takes her by the hand, he fails to kiss her cheek as she had hoped.
“Where is Lady Wadleigh?” He glances over the pews. “When did you arrive?”
“They sent me to the church early to bid you welcome.” Her thoughts dash ahead; the next moments are precious. “Now we can stroll about until the ceremony begins.”
“I must explain…my father has made a particular request.”
He pauses; the cavernous church fills with the jangling peals of Bath Abbey’s bells marking the hour of ten o’clock. Amid the loud tolling, the first arriving wedding guests saunter down the main aisle in the company of two liveried footmen. Seeking privacy, Lord Roger escorts her into the secluded left transept. It is a bright, high-ceilinged room with three sides; various memorials cover the walls below its tall windows and similar plaques pave the floor.
Roger, always earnest in manner, is strangely nervous; she thinks his bashful display, no doubt caused by their many weeks apart, is most endearing.
“A moment ago,” she asks, removing her gloves, “you mentioned a request?”
“Father requires me to serve as his second groomsman. My brother remains the official witness.” Pausing, he tugs at his cravat then adds, “I must stand with them during the ceremony.”
“We are to sit together during the ceremony and imagine our wedding vows. Your last letter from London promised! Please go back and explain you cannot break your word!”
“I am told the change is a necessity. Beyond that, I am without information.”
“Do you not care? I have dreamt of it…” Grasping her engagement ring by its center diamond, she twists the band around her finger. “What am I supposed to do now?”
“Seek the company of Sir Godfrey or your cousins.” He tugs at the lapel of his fine black coat and shifts from one boot heel to the other. “Do not ask me to deny my father on his wedding day for selfish reasons. I am honor bound to put my family’s needs before my own.”
He has used that excuse to a fare-thee-well! Biting her lips, she refrains from saying so. Six weeks engaged and nearly every moment of it spent apart! She has been dutiful; her letters to him were happy reports and always free of complaint. Tears scud to the ends of her eyelashes and trickle down her cheeks. Sniffling, she withdraws a handkerchief from her reticule.
“Please understand.” Brows furrowed, he glances over his shoulder. “I must go back, perhaps by now the bride has arrived.” Offering a slight bow, he retreats. “My father offers his sincere regrets for the inconvenience.”
“Please inform his lordship,” she says, sputtering, “…he asks too much of me!”
Roger flees from her scolding without response, leaving her alone in the mute company of bas-relief figures and corners forested with life-sized statues. She paces the room, reading the many inscribed tablets beneath her feet; one memorial after another appears in her downcast vision like an endless scroll. In sacred memory…a dearly beloved wife…a loving husband.
Her grief returns, a soft sigh rises from the depths of her being. These words of sorrow are reminders of her sad circumstances; she is an orphan of eight-and-ten with meager means. Moreover, she is the ward of her uncle, Sir Godfrey Hawthorne, and unable to say yea or nay on most matters until she reaches her majority.
Complaining, her little bridal book cautions, is never advisable.
A few moments hence, two illustrious Somerset families will be joined by marriage when Lady Daphne Blanchard, a young woman of two and twenty, weds her fiancé’s middle-aged father, Charles Tynbrook, the Marquis of Pelgrave.
Tears drying, she rests on a marble ledge next to a plaque with a sweet-faced cherub. What other choice is there but to carry on as best she can? Indistinct words echo in the transept; she hears footsteps, perhaps coming closer.
Patience listens, believing with her heart. Surely, he returns to make amends.
“Cousin dear!” Entering the church, Lily Jane and Iris Juliet speak as one; their greeting lifts Patience’s downtrodden mood at once. Before she can respond, Sir Godfrey takes charge with his usual vigor, chest puffed out and master of all he surveys.
“Why are you not in Lord Roger’s company? Is something wrong?”
“Lord Pelgrave requires Roger to serve as his second groomsman.”
“He is not your escort? I daresay, do Lord and Lady Wadleigh know of this? You are their responsibility until you marry, not mine. That is the understanding.”
After pondering Patience’s blank stare, Sir Godfrey wrinkles his brow.
“Well, come along with us,” he says, waving the twins and Patience down the aisle.
The Pelgrave’s footman ushers them to their assigned pew on the groom’s side of the church; thus the Hawthorne family resides in the last row to be occupied. Unfortunately, this remote spot is less than pleasing; ladies with large hats and their gentlemen spoil her forward view. Moreover, she sits next to the arches of a gloomy corridor, the worst possible location for comfort.
Cold air rushes along the stone floor like a creek in flood, chilling Patience from ankles to knees despite her woolen stockings. In anticipation of a drafty church and the breezy carriage ride afterwards, she wears a soft wool shift beneath her brown velvet dress, a close fitting straw bonnet and a copious brown lined cloak with hood. Without them, she would be miserable.
Her blonde-haired twin cousins are more adventurous than most their age and often flaunt the rule forbidding younger ladies from wearing bold colors. Today’s result is glorious, two Pomona green feathered hats and matching quilted coats doubly brighten the church’s gloom.
Compared to their finery, her drab attire is more suitable for an attic mouse.
Her cousins do not mirror each other except in appearance; Lily, recently engaged to marry Mr. Van Luke, a Flemish gentleman and former army officer, is calm and discerning.
However, Lily’s twin is quite the opposite. In an early show of independence during her tenth year, the child refused to use her first forename of Iris, thus it has been Juliet ever since.
“No one will miss us if we leave now, Patience,” whines Juliet, “We must be the first to arrive at the wedding breakfast. I am told many interesting gentlemen will be in attendance.”
“Silly, no matter when you arrive at the Blanchard reception, you will turn heads.”
Juliet closes her eyes like a petted kitten. “Do you really think so?”
Interrupting, Sir Godfrey leans forward. “Ask your fiancé to explain why we are so unfavorably seated.” His bony chin juts over his white brocade vest and black faille coat like the prow of a ship. “Everyone will assume you have incurred Lord Pelgrave’s disfavor.”
Turning away from his rebuke, she tucks a wisp of hair into her bonnet. No error of any stripe has been committed in the seating arrangements; the Hawthorne family must bow to precedence. Sir Godfrey’s rank of baronet is below the other titled personages in attendance.
Without Roger’s escort, she cannot sit amid other Pelgrave relatives who are not yet formally connected to her by marriage; neither can she sit in the first row with her hosts, Viscount Wadleigh and his wife, instead she must abide with her guardian uncle.
Such rules on formal occasions, according to her bridal book, are not to be questioned.
Echoing her feelings of woe, cloud-driven shadows ripple over the pews, cast down from the upper arched windows. Joy seems the most fleeting of emotions, even the abbey’s great stone lantern cannot reflect sunshine if there is none.
Standards of fat beeswax candles blaze like distant signal fires in various corners of the abbey. A line of chandeliers scatters feeble light over the main aisle. The illumination, although provided at considerable expense by the bride’s family, is unable to conquer the gloom.
How many minutes have passed since the abbey’s bells rang at ten o’clock? Several gentlemen now visit with one another in the aisle; the church buzzes with subdued conversation. The bride’s parents, Lord and Lady Blanchard, scurry off in the direction of the vestry room.
Patience frets. The wedding seems in danger of being too fashionably late.
Her mood brightens when Lord Pelgrave appears in the south colonnade; worry seems unnecessary. This is more wish than fact, once she studies the situation further; the groom’s forehead glistens, his eyes dart about like a bowman searching for a target.
Whatever is afoot must be of some importance. Lowering her chin, she picks at her tan kidskin gloves, thoughts running wild. What if Lady Daphne has fainted from fright? The Bride’s Companion reports that young ladies about to marry are prone to hysterics.
Cousin Juliet leans close, whispering, “I must ask for your advice.”
“Yes, of course,” she answers, hoping this is not about meeting young gentlemen.
“Our lodgings on the Crescent are close to the Blanchard mansion,” she explains, “I spoke to Lady Daphne as she was about to leave for the church. That is why we arrived late.”
“Surely, you did not spread gossip!” Patience stares at her meddling cousin in disbelief.
“Why would you say that? I never gossip. Indeed, my news was too important. Lady Daphne was upset after hearing it but thanked me for my trouble.”
Creaking loudly, thus heard but unseen, the vestry room door opens.
The church stirs with activity, cutting off Juliet’s confession. Loud whispering enlivens the north colonnade opposite Patience’s row where the bride has just appeared; a bridal attendant circles about Lady Daphne’s dress, her feathery pink aigrette bobbing up and down.
Roger and his brother, Lord James, venture into place at the right center of the cruciform aisle; the groom joins his sons and the bride’s parents return to their first row pew on the left.
Is Juliet to blame for the confusing delay and his lordship’s distress? What if Lord Pelgrave learns of her cousin’s gossiping? The marquis is known to have a peevish temper and never forgets an affront.
“You may have blundered,” whispers Patience to her cousin, “We will speak of it later.”
The Reverend Mr. Finch darts into place, cheeks flushed as he adjusts his surplice while holding his testament open with a thumb.
A fleeting but complete view of Lord Roger satisfies. Her fiancé’s expression is calm despite the fact he is a hasty pudding; the black coat, next to the cerulean blue silk coats of his brother and bridegroom father, label his presence as an afterthought.
She leans back in the pew, reassured. Did he see her? She had smiled at him just in case. After their harsh exchange this morning, she must not allow their disagreement to fester.
The bride proceeds to the center of Bath Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul; a swath of dotted veiling covers her delicate face. A glimpse of the lady’s dress exceeds her expectations; embellished with silver threads, it is an obvious homage to Princess Charlotte’s wedding ensemble which, earlier in the year, caused a sensation.
Standing in the heart of the cross formed by the transept aisles, the gray haired reverend gruffly clears his throat and waits for the rebounding echo to subside.
Patience longs to see how love is affirmed by the rite of matrimony.
She scoots forward in her seat, happy to forget everything else.
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