Vanessa Ashley felt herself qualified for a position as governess, until offered the position at Falconbridge Hall.
Left penniless after the deaths of her artist father and suffragette mother, Vanessa Ashley draws on her knowledge of art, politics and history to gain employment as a governess. She discovers that Julian, Lord Falconbridge, requires a governess for his ten-year-old daughter Blyth at Falconbridge Hall, a huge rambling mansion in the countryside outside London.
Lord Falconbridge is a scientist and dedicated lepidopterist who is about to embark on an extended expedition to the Amazon in search of exotic butterflies. An enigmatic man, he takes a keen interest in his daughter’s education, but Vanessa feels that he may disapprove of her modern methods.
As she prepares her young charge to enter into the modern world, Vanessa finds the girl detached and aloof. As Vanessa learns more about Falconbridge Hall, more questions arise. Why doesn’t Blythe feel safe in her own home? Why is the death of her mother, once famed society beauty Clara, never spoken of? And why did the former governess leave so suddenly without giving notice?
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Vanessa remembered passing the library on her first day and located it without difficulty. She entered the room, finding it empty. It was designed for masculine comfort. Bookshelves filled with tomes covered all available wall space. A tan leather chesterfield and two chairs were grouped in front of the fireplace, and a tiger skin covered the floor in front of the hearth. The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Penny Press lay on a table, and the aroma of cigars and pipe smoke lingered in the air.
A variety of magazines was stacked in a rack. Vanessa sorted through The Gentleman’s Magazine, Punch, The Strand, and the London Sunday Journal. She selected Punch and the Penny Press to take back to her room.
She roamed the shelves searching for suitable books and found several on botany, including one by Lord Falconbridge on Lepidoptera. She piled them onto a mahogany table, along with the books and the notes she’d fetched from her room. Searching further, she spied Plato’s Symposium and climbed the ladder. It was just out of reach. Not wishing to climb down, she leaned across. Her fingers touched the binding, and she leaned farther. She almost had it.
“You read Ancient Greek, Miss Ashley?” Lord Falconbridge asked behind her.
Vanessa jumped, and her foot slipped off the rung. She lost her balance and fell into a pair of strong arms.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Maggi Andersen and her lawyer husband are empty nesters, living in the countryside outside Sydney with their cat and the demanding wildlife. Parrots demand seed, possums fruit, ducks swim in the stream at the bottom of the garden, and the neighbors chickens roam their yard providing wonderful eggs. She began writing adventure stories at age eight. Three children, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree later, her novels are still filled with adventure and suspense, but are also passionate romances. Georgette Heyer among others, brought inspiration to her seductive Regencies and she also writes darker, Victorian novels, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult.
She supports the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals) and animals often feature in her books.
Publisher website: Knox Robinson Publishing