1882 - When her stepmother is murdered, Lady Felicity Armstrong learns that her yearly income will barely cover the cost of food, but she has a secret. While the manor house called Rosendale is...
1882 - When her stepmother is murdered, Lady Felicity Armstrong learns that her yearly income will barely cover the cost of food, but she has a secret. While the manor house called Rosendale is being inventoried to cover her stepmother’s debts, Felicity discovers something in her birth mother’s dressing table that gives her hope of a brighter future. She also has a plan, which she hopes will bear fruit, and deliver her from a life of poverty.
Two years later, she is struggling to survive. Her young maid, Millie, a plucky urchin whose devotion to her lady is irrefutable, has taught Felicity how to live without a cadre of servants, and Felicity has helped Millie shed her provincial accent. While their life is far from ideal, they have each other.
One day, a man comes to the cottage without warning. When he introduces himself as Lord Dudley Winston, Felicity remembers him as a neighbor during her years at Rosendale. Despite his breach of etiquette, Felicity offers him tea, all the while believing that his breach of etiquette is a consequence of her reduced circumstances. His explanation for the visit does little to dispel that notion.
Following his visit, Felicity recalls a day when Dudley and his father came to Rosendale. An adolescent in the throws of her first crush, Felicity found Dudley fascinating, but was frustrated by his lack of attention. Those dim memories do nothing to satisfy her curiosity about Dudley’s arrival in Tolwich, or his reason for coming to see her, but there is someone who might remember Dudley’s visit to Rosendale - her former housekeeper, Mrs. Muir. Felicity writes to Mrs. Muir, who sends her train fare, and an invitation to visit. As she boards the train to Whitley, she has no inkling of events to come, or of her parents’ lethal legacy.