My dearest Louisa,
I fear my heart is broken. It is with the saddest news I find myself writing to you today. Just yesterday I received a visit from Mr. Jenkins, my father’s lawyer.
As you know, my father was on a ship set for Cayman Island in relation to his import business. As I had mentioned a few times at our last meeting, I was becoming exceedingly concerned since his vessel had not yet returned. Without any ill news, I hoped that they had only been delayed by poor wind and calm waters.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. While in the tropics, father contracted a most dreadful fever. His most experienced sailors fell ill.
To prevent the sickness from spreading, the ill were to be left behind to recover and return home aboard another vessel. My father was too prominent of a figure to just leave behind, and the MHS Poseidon decided to stay in Cayman Island for a fortnight to allow him to recover.
I am told the fever passed. For that I am grateful, but why did my stubborn father have to push himself? I don’t know how to feel. You are aware of how much I disliked him going on these journeys to begin with.
Having gained his strength back, father sailed Poseidon homeward bound, but his health took a turn for the worse.
The ship’s surgeon did all he could to help, but in the end, it was not enough. My father passed away a little over a month ago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s nothing I could have done, and I resent myself for that.
Mr. Jenkins, having been informed himself just last night upon the arrival of the ship, came to bear me the sorrowful news this morning. He assured me that my father had the most lavished and honorable burial at sea that could be mustered for the situation.
I am so overcome with confusion and sorrow, it is a wonder that I can even compose myself to scribe such a letter to you.
Though father was always very busy with his business and adventures, he was a loving and attentive man. I feel my life vastly emptier without the assured knowledge that though he may be away, he will always return home here to Rosewater house.
Mr. Jenkins has also informed me that I will need to come to his offices on the morrow to discuss my father’s estate and I suppose, to some effect, what is to become of me.
I cannot even imagine being able to subject myself to conversations of financial and worldly status when my heart is so full of turmoil.
It is for this reason that I must offer my deepest regrets to inform you that I will not be able to accompany your excellent mother to tea. Please tell Lady Gilchrist that I send my deepest regrets.
I hope that I will see you very soon, my dear Louisa, so that I may receive comfort from the words of wisdom you always seem to use so deftly.
With humble heart,
The next evening Isabella received a return letter from Lady Lydia in the five o’clock post.
My Dearest Isabella,
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I give you my deepest condolences on your loss.
I have informed her Ladyship of your necessity for absence from her humble event tomorrow afternoon. Though you will be greatly missed by not only my mother but all those who are to attend, we all understand your need for time to quietly reflect and compose yourself.
Please do not fear for your well-being. Your father was a good man, and I am confident that he will provide for you even after the untimely event of his death.
As soon as you are able, please come to call so that I may be able to comfort my dearest friend in her time of need.
Your humble friend,
Isabella’s eyes wandered lazily as she sat in Louisa’s comfortable drawing room. It was the smaller drawing room of her dear friend’s London residence, used for the entertaining of very intimate friends of the ladies of the house.
Isabella was struggling to collect her thoughts or even know where to begin after the events that had transpired over the last two days. She did her best to keep her trembling hands clasped in the lap of her dark black cotton dress.
Her hand rattled the teacup just slightly when she took it from Louisa’s loving hands. Isabella was happy for the privacy such an intimate setting provided. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to hold her composure as she retold Louisa all that transpired.
“I scarcely know where to begin,” she said after taking a small sip of courage.
She didn’t have much appetite at the moment but felt the tea might help to clear her head. The last few nights had been restless and anything but rejuvenating.
“Start with when you arrived at Mr. Jenkins’ offices yesterday. I am quite sure we will find a way to untangle any mess you may now find yourself in,” Louisa responded calmly.
She was just two years older than Isabella but not the slightest in comparison to physical beauty. Where Isabella had rich, shiny black locks and emerald-green eyes, Louisa had mouse-brown hair, which rarely plaited as it should, and ordinary brown eyes.
It did not prevent them from finding an inseparable bond as young girls at the prestigious Mrs. Mason’s School for Exceptional Young Ladies.
Louisa had always been a quiet child who often kept to herself. Isabella, on the other hand, was openly pleasant to be around and was commonly found at the center of the conversation, entertaining the other ladies of the school with wild tales heard from her father’s adventures.
Louisa, at first, had listened quietly to her tales, but Isabella saw more to Louisa than her shy exterior. Much as Isabella had expected, Louisa was the most kind and giving young lady she had ever met. Her friendship and confidante was something she treasured all through her youth and young adulthood.
“I suppose you’re right,” Isabella responded with a steadying breath before setting the tea down.
“I arrived at Mr. Jenkins office yesterday morning. I was surprised when I was shown in to find Mr. Smith already there.”
“Mr. Smith? Your father’s horrid business partner,” Louisa clarified, and Isabella nodded in agreement.
“I had done my best to avoid him at all costs since that dreadful event four years ago. It gave me quite a shock as it had not been mentioned to me that he would be there.
Though now looking back on it, it was certainly reasonable that he should be there as we discussed my father’s estate.”
“Of course, you are not expected to have the clearest of minds in such a time,” Louisa said attempting to erase any guilt Isabella might feel on her state of propriety.
“That awful man,” Isabella stated, now with her green eyes full of anger. “He didn’t even stand at my entrance, and in truth, I didn’t see him at all from his chair at the back of the office till Mr. Jenkins motioned to him during the conversation.”
Isabella thought back to that horrible meeting four years earlier. She had been barely seventeen at the time, having completed her schooling and finished her first season out among society.
It was a small dinner party that her father was having at their very own Rosewater house. She had been all aglow with the excitement of her season and the joy of having her father momentarily home with her.
Mr. Smith was there, of course, since he was Baron Leinster’s closest friend and business partner. Isabella had not paid him much attention as he was even older than her father and she could never imagine him having interest in such a young girl.
As the evening transpired, however, Mr. Smith found a chance to enter into a private conversation with Isabella. It was then that he requested that she consider him a suitor and accept his proposal of marriage.
Isabella was so shocked by the declaration that all she managed to say was ‘but you are so old.’ It was probably not the most polite thing for her to say, but so often when she was shocked, she tended to speak truths without thinking.
Isabella was young and full of spirit. She had received much attention from various social gatherings of the season. She was not so conceited enough to think she was above those outside the peerage. Isabella had always assumed that with her father’s honorary title she would find herself a gentleman in the society she had been raised to be a part of.
Of course, having affection for her future husband was a necessity for her, his status had not been. Even so, she would never have imagined marrying such an older, coarse man at such a young age.
She did her best to regain her composure and thank Mr. Smith but politely decline. He became enraged by her very respectable but negative answer and made quite a scene of it.
From that day on, Isabella had done everything in her power to not be in the company of Mr. Smith. It was not always an easy task when he had such close financial relationships with her father.
“Mr. Jenkins informed me that my father had left his import and export business to Mr. Smith.”
“I suppose that seems reasonable enough,” Louisa said. “After all, as partner, it would only be right that he inherit the whole of the business. And I suppose you are to be left Rosewater house and a living?”
“That is the worst of it. Mr. Jenkins informed me that all of my father’s estates had been specifically put in the charge of Mr. Smith, having no other male family member. He then informed me that my father had also collected a large sum of debts,” she lowered her voice, “gambling.”
“Oh dear. Had you any idea of these debts?”
“I was aware of his enjoyment of gentlemanly horse races. I suspected the thrill of it was much like that of a boy crossing the sea. But I had no idea that he was in such a poor situation.”
“What does this mean?” Louisa asked with fear in her soft doe eyes.
“Well, Mr. Jenkins said that he had been in conference with Mr. Smith all morning and had made several arrangements.”
That moment, when she finally looked over her shoulder to find Mr. Smith sitting behind her would most likely haunt her the rest of her days.
He had stood then and walked forward, wholly unearthing himself from the morning shadows the windowless office provided.
He was much older now than would be expected for the four years that had passed since his proposition. His hair was long and straggly on the sides and completely missing on top. Instead of choosing to wear a wig, he tied the straggled strands back with a ribbon.
His face was worn and marked by the years he, himself, had spent as captain on a merchant ship before striking business with Baron Leinster.
Though his clothes were of a gentlemanly style, they were worn and soiled badly. The edges of his coat were stained with dirt.
Undoubtedly, his lifelong bachelorhood had led to the inferior care of his outward appearance. He smiled smugly, showing his blackened tooth, something she remembered quite clearly from her first encounter with him.
Quite awkwardly Mr. Jenkins had fiddled with some paperwork on his desk. He was a rather young man for his position, only recently taken on by her father. Her interactions with him, however few, had always been enjoyable ones.
Usually, he had a jolly expression to his eyes, especially since the birth of his first child.
Isabella wasn’t sure she had ever seen Mr. Jenkins so uncomfortable, even when he had informed her of her father’s passing.
“As the benefactor of your father’s estate, Mr. Smith here has decided to sell all assets in order to pay off the debts incurred, including Rosewater house and everything in it.”
“But that is my home!” Isabella said with a raised voice. “Where am I to live?”
Isabella could not bear to take her eyes off Mr. Jenkins to turn to the scoundrel behind her. Most certainly he was enjoying the destitute situation he had put her in.
“I have spoken of this very concern with Mr. Smith at length,” Mr. Jenkins replied, obviously understanding her fear. “He feels, as sole proprietor, he is, and I rightly agree, responsible for your safety and security.”
Isabella stood up from her spot, forgetting all dignity, “I won’t marry him!”
Mr. Jenkins looked at her apologetically, whether from the necessity of marriage between a senior man and a young lady of one and twenty years or other less favorable options she wasn’t sure.
“Though I suggested such an arrangement, for the sake of your comfort, I was informed that such arrangements were no longer…no longer…” he hesitated to try to find the words, “no longer a possibility unless…” Mr. Jenkins gave a horribly painful sigh. “He would like you to ask him to take you in.”
“Absolutely not,” Isabella stated still standing, trembling with fear and embarrassment.
She could hear a tisk of disgust behind her but refused to turn to look at him.
“Before you speak Miss Isabella, I encourage you to consider your situation. Mr. Smith does intend to sell all valuable possessions. Even so, it will just barely cover your father’s debts. Without such an arrangement I cannot imagine how you will see to your comfortable lifestyle.
“Then I shan’t live as I have thus far. I am not above being more frugal with my life. Am I not allowed some sort of income from my father’s business?”
“I did discuss such matters with Mr. Smith in the event that you did not want to…um…abide to his requirements. He agreed a yearly income was only fair since, after all, he was named your protector. The sum he agreed on was…well…it was fifty pounds a year.”
“Fifty pounds a year?” Isabella now turned to face Mr. Smith.
“It is half his yearly wage, though you wouldn’t know it by the way he lived, and is quite generous considering I will most likely need to take on another partner,” Mr. Smith spit back indignantly.
He had quite the smug look on his face as he rocked back and forth on his heels, hands pleasantly clasped in front of him. What was torturous to say for the lawyer, and unbelievable to hear for Isabella, was quite enjoyable for this horrible man.
He had positively backed her into a corner. With such a small amount, there was no possible way for Isabella to live alone. It wouldn’t even support a house staff of just one or two servants. He had meant it to force her to beg before him for that which she had denied him all those years ago.
“Good heavens, Izzy, what did you do?” Louisa asked as she listened, horrified and enraptured by the retelling.
“Well, I refused to give in to his boorish demands. I told him I would find a way to settle on such low income and that was the end of that. I will starve to death before I give that man the benefit of seeing me grovel at his feet.
“But Izzy- without a home or any possessions of your own, how will you do it?”
“Well, after I announced I would not give in to the wretched blackguard, Mr. Smith stormed out of the room, slamming the door quite loudly behind him. Mr. Jenkins, the poor man, began apologizing profusely, saying that if there were anything he could do to help me, he would.”
“Well, what is there to be done, Izzy?”
“I thought on this fact for the better part of last night. I have come to one conclusion. I will need to find myself some sort of employment.”
“Certainly not?” Louisa asked with surprise, though Isabella could already see the wheels turning in her head that this was the likely alternative.
“I think we both know that this is how it must be,” Isabella said with a defeated tone.
“It is either that or giving in to Mr. Smith. My pride, however sinful to keep, will not allow such a thing. I will not be offended at all if at such a declaration you find yourself unable to keep my company.”
“Absolutely not!” Louisa said using a firm tone.
“You are my dearest friend. You were the only one who cared to spend time with me when we were together at school. I would never abandon you, no matter the cost.”
“Not even if I am a lowly scullery maid?” Isabella asked, tears welling in her eyes.
In all honesty, she had spent the whole of her night not just thinking about a life of employment but terrified of the fact that she had no idea what employable skills she had.
Though she may have been born on the lower side of the peerage, her father had never spared her a comfort, and she feared she could not even dress on her own, let alone take on tasks.
“You will be no such thing,” Louisa said firmly. She placed her own small, delicate hands in Isabella’s lap and began to ponder.
“I understand now why you have come to me. We will most certainly find something that would be suitable for your position.”
“But I don’t have a position; I am free of status now and completely destitute, without any skills at hand.”
“Of course you have skills,” Louisa encouraged. “Why, you were always one of the top performers in our school! Do you not remember? Mrs. Mason would have you stand and recite your French lessons before prospective students. Why, that is it!” Louisa said with the light of a plan. “You could easily find employment as a governess.”
Isabella thought this new idea over for a bit. She unquestionably had loved school and took to it quickly.
She was accomplished enough in her educational knowledge as well as music and other various genteel talents. She could certainly teach such things to young lords and ladies.
Of course, it was a definite step down from being one of the peerages to serving and educating them. It was not as low as the serving class but somewhere in between.
Between her employment and her small allowance, Isabella would most certainly be able to manage on her own.
“Do you think I would be hired as such? Mr. Jenkins did offer to help me find employment when I found myself in need of it.”
“Of course. I am quite sure that Mrs. Mason would also be happy to give you a shining reference. You could most likely find a home here in London to instruct pupils at and we could still be close friends.”
“Oh, my dear Louisa, I fear wishing so much good fortune to happen at this time in my life is much like wishing to catch a star. I will be quite satisfied with any position and your continued friendship, even if through correspondence only.”
“Have faith, Izzy,” Louisa said, reaching across the small table of tea and taking Isabella’s hands.
“We will find a way to overcome this hurdle together. Certainly, it isn’t something to worry about now. The Season is almost upon us. Mr. Smith certainly won’t put you out till after. It will give you an opportunity to more earnestly search a match and perhaps escape all the necessity for such talk.”
“I hope you’re right, Louisa,” Isabella responded, giving her a grateful squeeze of the hand in return.
“I was frightened by his rage upon my declaration not to heed his request. I am almost certain he will do everything in his power to hinder my progress at every turn.”
The following week, Isabella made her way back to Mr. Jenkins’s office after receiving a note that he had found a suitable position for her. She had been reassured by Louisa that she would have at least the season to see if she could come up with a better course of action before settling on being a governess.
It was not to be the case.
Sadly, no more than a week after finding out about her father’s untimely death, Mr. Smith had visited Rosewater house. There he had informed Miss Isabella that she would have a month only to collect items and vacate her home.
He then proceeded to boldly go through the house, solicitor in tow, informing her of what things he planned to sell.
Isabella hadn’t informed the servants yet of the impending liquidation of her father’s estates. Mr. Smith even went boldly into Isabella’s own room and rifled through her belongings. Mr. Smith announced he would be procuring all her belongings including dresses and jewelry.
The solicitor, embarrassed, hastily suggested that such tactics were not necessary to the closing of the amount owed.
Mr. Smith reluctantly allowed Isabella to keep her clothing but still required all jewelry be turned over to him for selling. She didn’t have much in the way of fancy jewelry.
Therefore, she didn’t care much for giving it up if it meant not allowing Mr. Smith the satisfaction of seeing her beg him for marriage.
Her hardest items to part with were the silver comb her father had stated her mother wore on their wedding day, the small gold band that was her mother’s wedding ring, and a silver chain with a locket of her mother’s hair which she wore around her neck always. It had been a gift from her father on her sixteenth birthday.
Having never met her mother, for she had passed in childbirth, any stories or items her father shared with her were cherished.
After taking all belongings worth selling on the spot, including the ring and comb, and informing Isabella that they would be back in a month, for the third time, to take possession of the house, Mr. Smith set his evil eyes on the locket around her neck.
Isabella defiantly clasped her hand around it. This was one thing Isabella would not allow to be taken from her.
Would Mr. Smith really stoop to such a level of evil?
Luckily the solicitor interjected, “I believe we should allow Miss Watts to collect herself. I am sure it has been a very tiring day for her. We can always come back to collect any other items upon the sale of the establishment.”
Mr. Smith had reluctantly agreed and left. Not a minute after the front door shut on the two men, Isabella crumpled to the hall floor in a heap of sorrowful tears.
Her kind maid, who must have also been beside herself to learn that she would be without a situation in a month’s time, helped Isabella up to her room to lay down.
It was clear that she would not have time to find a better end to her situation. The next day, Isabella inquired of Mrs. Mason for a letter of character reference and delivered it to Mr. Jenkins that same day.
She wrung her hands for the next week, waiting for word from Mr. Jenkins. She had no idea if anyone would ever accept a governess at her age without any prior employment references.
Mr. Jenkins had assured her that he would do everything in his power to see her well settled. She had felt so blessed to have such a willing friend to help her in her time of need.
The time had come when a letter arrived stating that Mr. Jenkins had found her a station of employment. She made it to his office the following day in haste.
Isabella was dreading and desperate to know what establishment she would be employed at for the remainder of her days.
Would she find herself teaching in a girls’ establishment just as she, herself, had attended? Or would some member of her peerage take pity on her and take her on for the benefit of his children’s private education.
She sat nervously across from Mr. Jenkins.
“I must confess I had a harder time finding a situation for you than expected. You see, most of the lady schools in London were well staffed. Mrs. Mason did express in her letter, had she the room, she would have happily taken you on.”
It was something that Isabella had expected. There were often more ladies seeking employment than available opportunities for suitable work.
A part of her wanted to feel slightly shocked or betrayed that not one of those in her acquaintance here in London had tried to take her on for employment. She was no longer a member of that society, however, and would not be seen as someone to have around.
“I am sorry to say that the situation I found for you is far outside of London. I know you had expected to stay in the area, and I did my very best to do so but…” he trailed off.
“It is quite alright. I know you did your very best, Mr. Jenkins, and I am very appreciative of all your efforts. I am sure that no matter the location, I will find my situation quite adequate.”
“I am glad to hear your brave words. The position is for the Duke of Wintercrest. He has taken on a small ward over the last year, a young woman I believe, and is seeking a governess for her. He specifically asked for a lady of London breeding to prepare her for society, as well as provide her with a strong understanding of the French language.”
Isabella, of course, knew of the Duke and Duchess of Wintercrest, though she had never had the honor of making their acquaintance. She was aware that they were relatively older in age with children of their own, and therefore questioned who this young ward might be. Perhaps a relation they willingly took on.
“It seems that it might be an ideal position for me.”
“Just as I thought when I was told of it. The Duke is also willing to give a much more significant pay than often given for a governess, forty pounds a year. I had assumed that you would be willing to take the position since they were in need fairly soon. I took the liberty to tell them that you would accept the position. I hope that is fine?”
“It is quite alright. I suspect it is more than I could otherwise hope for and I thank you for all your hard work on my behalf.”
“I am glad to hear it,” Mr. Jenkins said relaxing into his normally happy face. “As I said, they are in need of a governess right away and have made transportation for you. You will travel by public coach in two days’ time. I must warn you to pack relatively lightly as there is not much room in such situations, and dress comfortably, for that matter. You will be spending two nights on the road during your travels.”
“A three-day travel? Forgive me, but where exactly do the Duke and Duchess of Wintercrest live.”
“Yes, that. It is quite far north. Just a day’s ride south of Edinburgh.”
“Is it in Scotland, then?” Isabella asked, a little shocked. She had not dared to hope that she would stay in her beloved London, but to leave England altogether seemed terrifying to her.
“No, not quite. Just short of it. I do believe the vast lands of Wintercrest come into contact with the country, but the manor itself is still on English soil.”
“I see,” Isabella said trying to accustom herself to her new lot in life. “I thank you again, Mr. Jenkins, for not only your work with my father but for the help you have given to me and your continued friendship. I will hurry home now and begin my preparations for travel.”
Isabella did just that. She did her best to pack a minimal amount of clothing into her chest and prepared anything she might want to keep safely tucked inside.
Luckily, her maid, Sally, was there to help her with the work. All the time she wondered how she was going to make do on her own.
Her last step was that of utter defiance. The night before she was set to leave she took her small sewing kit and sewed her silver locket into the hem of her dress.
She certainly couldn’t be seen leaving the house wearing it, for Mr. Smith might come after her, demanding the property. That would be no way to start her new life.
At the same time, she refused to leave it behind in the house that was once her home, for that wretched man to handle so roughly and sell like nothing more than a worthless trinket. She hoped that by the time Mr. Smith learned of her deceit she would be far away and out of his reach.
If there was one good thing about having to travel so far away from the city she loved, it was that she would also be far away from the man who sought to destroy her life at every turn.
Her three-day journey up north was not entirely uneventful. She was very uncomfortable having been placed inside a carriage with five other people. There was scarcely room to sit let alone adjust one’s position.
She had to count herself lucky, though. After all, the fare was paid by her employer, and he had given her the kindness of a seat inside the carriage. There had been two who could only afford to sit on the roof of the carriage out in the elements.
Many of those in the carriage were friendly enough and made small talk. As the days progressed, each got off in their turn till she was left alone with one other man.
She noticed quite quickly that the scene outside her window changed from the warm sunshine of spring air to dark and gloomy clouds as she progressed northward.
The final morning, just before he took his leave, Isabella asked the portly gentleman across from her if grey weather was the norm in the north.
“My dear Miss Watts,” he said with a gruff, mustache filled voice, “I have lived here my whole life and can only boast of seeing full sunshine a handful of times each year. You are lucky that you have come for spring and summer first. It will help you acclimate before the harsh winter falls. I, myself, choose to stay in town for the dreary months, now that I am able, and only return for these warmer seasons.”
Isabella looked out her window again and contemplated how he could have possibly counted her view outside as a warmer season. She had decided to wear her simple light brown traveling dress. It was relatively without frill, which also meant it wouldn’t show wrinkles as much in her travels.
Though there was beautiful, lush green land as far as she could see, the sky had been nothing but grey. A hard, bitter wind bit back against the carriage and, from time to time, it even drizzled down on them.
Isabella had also learned from her companions on the ride that she would be staying just east of Northumberland along the coast. From the description of the estate, it sounded astonishing. Isabella supposed she would just have to get used to not only coastal fresh air and beautiful greenery, but also grey skies and damp weather.
Finally, as dusk was beginning to settle on the third day, Isabella saw a long stone wall along the road. The driver had informed her earlier that this was the edge of Wintercrest estates and when they came to it, he knocked on the roof to silently point it out to her.
Her excitement reached its limit as the driver slowed to a stop before the main gates. She got out and took a moment to stretch her limbs. The driver was already down and removing her trunk. Watching him struggle with it, she wondered if she had perhaps packed more then she should have.
He set it down on the ground next to her at the gate and dusted his hands off, looking up at the expanse of the property. Isabella followed his gaze and admired it as well.
Turning back to the driver, she was surprised to see him retaking his place on top of the carriage.
“But wait,” she called out. “Please sir, what shall I do now?”
“Can’t say, Miss Watts. All I am to do is drop ye right here.”
With a flip of his reins, he made his way onward, leaving Miss Isabella Watts utterly alone and confused at the threshold of Wintercrest Manor.
Want to read how the story continues?
The honorable Miss Isabella Watts, daughter of Baron Leinster, is living a nightmare.
All in the span of a week, she hears news of her father’s death, the removal of all she owns to pay off debts she had not known of, and to make matter worse, she has to surrender into the hands of her late father’s business partner. The awful Mr. Smith has taken it upon himself to make not just her life’s comforts disappear, but he is also willing to work any means of deceit to make her good reputation vanish.
The Marquess of Bellfourd has struggled to find his rightful place in life. This is mostly because it was never meant to be his. Upon the death of his elder brother, however, he has now been called back from his life in the Navy, to join at his father’s side, the Duke of Wintercrest. The only thing he finds more difficult than readjusting to the civilian life of a gentleman is being in the constant presence of a father who has up until this moment cared very little for him.
Isabella runs to the opportunity to teach a pupil far north from the London city she loves, for no other reason than to escape the clutches of Mr. Smith. When she enters the house of the Duke of Wintercrest, she learns that deep rift troubles the family and her dear student seems to be right at the core of it.
Isabella is determined not only to finally seek refuge from her own villain, but also to help heal the wounds left in the hearts of Wintercrest Manor.
However, all this might be for naught, when one misfortune after another seems to be continually shadowing the threshold of the duke’s home.
Will Isabella find her place? Can she help to heal the hurt in the Wintercrest Manor? Will she ever really escape the clutches of Mr. Smith?
“Falling for the governess” is a historical regency romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.