Another great book by L P Fergusson. I couldn’t put it down, I ended up reading late in to the night on a couple of occasions, until I finished the book. This book was like reading a classic such as Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Except that you didn’t have to try and understand the old spoken English. Which can sometimes detract from you wanting to read the classics. So if you like the classics and you don’t want to struggle with the old language then you’ll just love this book. I’m looking forward to seeing what L P Fergusson’s next book is.
In February 1704, Elen Griffiths is a young woman who lives with her father and sibling as tenant farmers. Since her mothers passing she had taken on the household duties as well as being a dairy maid.
Late one evening when the farm was almost asleep Elen and her father hear a horse and carriage coming into their yard. Elen is told to go up to bed and not come down until her father tells her to. As someone turning up at this late hour never means anything good.
It turns out that its the local Doctor, he requires Elen to go with him to Duntisbourne Hall and nurse Viscount Mordiford. As he has contracted small pox, it turns out that with Elen being a dairy maid she will not contract small pox.
So Elen is rushed away from her family during the night, without being able to say goodbye to her siblings. She didn’t even get a chance to pack any clothes as the Doctor dare not leave the Viscount any longer than he has too. The doctor says that one of her siblings will have to bring over anything that she may need at a later date.
Once they reach Duntisbourne Hall Elen is whisked away up to one of the halls towers which is far enough away from the rest of the household so no one else has the chance of catching small pox. One of the servants a Ned Harley has volunteered to take food, wood or anything else Elen or the Viscount may need while she nurses him back to health.
Elen soon ends up fitting in and gets in to a routine of caring for her charge. Every morning after breakfast she goes for a walk about the estate with Ned Harley. Then she goes back to her duty of care and during some quiet times she sits quietly and reads. It turns out that Elen is quite an educated woman, even though she is a dairy maid. Her mother was a governess but fell in love with Elen’s father, someone far below her mothers standing. She made sure that Elen could read and write. Due to this she is given the opportunity to go and borrow any book she takes a fancy to reading from the Halls grand library.
This is when Elen becomes a person of interest to the Viscounts father. Mordiford has tried to dismiss Elen ever since she turned up, as he knew once his father met her she would end up in danger. His father and his friends were in to some strange rituals and most of them had been disgraced from society at one point or the other.
Ned Harley is also involved with what Mordiford’s father and friends get up to, every time they have a gathering at the hall. He isn’t the charming and caring person that he pretends to be to Elen. One evening Ned organises to meet Elen in a remote summerhouse on the estate, but he has lured her there not for himself but for his master and his friends.
Mordiford finds out what is going to happen and drags himself out of his sick bed to rescure Elen. He takes on his father and his friends and whisks Elen away from the estate to safety. But Elen won’t be totally safe until she is out of the country, as his fathers reach is far and wide. So he takes her to the local Doctor’s house and asks him to shelter Elen. The Doctor isn’t to happy about this as he is due to leave the country and become the Doctor to the Duke of Marlborough during the Battle of Blenheim in Bavaria. Mordiford insists that he take Elen with him and say that she is to be his nursing assistant as she is more than capable. He says that he will send for Elen once it is safe for her to return.
The journey to the battle field is long and arduous, as well as dirty. Once they arrive on the continent they are put up in a small establishment with others that are to join the campaign. This is where Elen meets Mrs Sarah Barker and her husband the field surgeon. Sarah takes Elen under her wing and makes sure that she is safe when the Doctor isn’t around, she also teaches Elen how to nurse the wounded soldiers.
Elen keeps hoping that she will hear from Mordiford telling her that it is safe for her to return home, but the months go by with no word. Until one day a battalion of soldiers are making their way to the front and she spots Mordiford as he spots her. He is so glad to see her, and it’s noticable to all that he has a liking towards Elen.
They keep on bumping in to each other during the battle, and there is an attraction between them, but Sarah keeps telling her to be careful as she doesn’t want her to be used and thrown away once the war is over.
Will Elen ever be able to go back home. If she can go back home what will she do, does Mordiford really have feelings and affection for Elen or has he just been leading her up the garden path. Will there be a happy ever after?
Such another great read from L P Fergusson, she has a way of writing that is so vivid you are actually transported back in time. Yet again I can’t wait for her next book.
Pages: 421, Publication Date: 13 February 2020, My Rating: