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Title: Love’s Sorrow (Means of Mercy #1)
Author: Terri Rochenski
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: April 21, 2014
Hired as a nanny for her cousin’s children, Anne Tearle finds security and a loving family. The children are a dream, but London society is a world of its own, one where a displaced farm girl has no business being. But, wealthy rake, Gavin MacKay, helps her to see associating with the upper class might not be as horrid as she first assumed.
Like all things worthwhile, love comes at a price, and the cost soon bestows more anguish than joy. Lost, but not undone, Anne must find the courage to begin life anew, or succumb to sorrow’s unrelenting waves of grief.
The dining room lay across the hall, its walls a bright blue and green pattern, with matching rugs. A large mahogany table sat in the centre of the space, surrounded by more than a dozen chairs. Next, she led me beyond the morning room to the doors farther along the hall.
“This is where we do our entertaining after dinner,” Joanna said, stepping to the side.
The space was even more elaborate than the dining room. Diamond trellis designs in blues wove through the plush carpet, while floral paper and floor-length curtains of dark blue velvet framed the windows. A white marble fireplace stood against the back wall, and a large upright piano with an hourglass stool sat against the opposite wall. Soft furniture dressed in colourful, striped silk was scattered around the room, and embroidered footstools squatted at the ready, should one care to put up their feet.
Longing rolled over me, and an ache settled within my breast. A lady needed more befitting attire than my dress to spend an evening visiting in the room—silks and slippers like Johanna’s were a necessity, items I would never enjoy.
With a sigh, I followed my cousin across the hall into the kitchen.
She introduced the cook, Mrs. Newman, who was wide as she was tall. Also toiling in the scullery was the other housemaid, Eliza. A hawkish nose overlooked thin lips, dominating her petite face, but she did have large doe-like eyes. Muscular, bare arms revealed her work included more strenuous jobs, such as carrying coal, and—like mine—her hands appeared calloused and red.
As I followed Joanna from the kitchen, I examined my own hands. Slender and long, my fingers were red and cracked, the creases filled with the blackening I used to polish Aunt Martha’s grates.
I expected Joanna planned on me helping Eliza until the boys grew older, because the maid who served our tea did no such drudgery. She was much too tidy and clean, and a house that size certainly needed more than one maid-of-all-work. Whatever Joanna’s plans for me, I would submit my will and be content. Anything was better than living under a tyrannical witch and her snobbish children.
We made our way up the elegant staircase, and Joanna showed me the three guest rooms. Heavy antique furniture decorated with hand-carved vines and flowers filled the third room. Deep crimson draped the bed and windows, and red blossoms speckled the off-white wallpaper. Frilled muslin edged in red silk lined the dressing table, and cut-glass bottles with toilet water and hand cream sat awaiting use. Even the washstand was elaborate—a jug and basin of rose-patterned china sat upon its white marble top.
“It’s so beautiful,” I whispered.
“This is my favourite room, as well. Samuel’s father hand-carved the furniture years ago. It was his hobby, and you’ll find it represented on every piece of woodwork in this room. This is to be your chamber, if you like?”
My head whipped in her direction. Mine? I opened my mouth to tell her I expected nothing more than a simple pallet, the same as the other servants, but she swished back into the hallway. One quick glance around the elegant space, taking in all the delicate knickknacks I would surely break, and I exited the room, shutting the door behind me.
A real room…and a real bed—doubtless filled with feathers instead of straw.
Giddiness tickled, and I bit my tongue to keep the giggles from escaping. The room was much more fitting for a rich guest, but she had offered it to me. Why not accept? When might I ever get the chance to sleep beneath such a coverlet again?
Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.
Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her three young children allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.
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