Dancing with a Gracious Lord – Extended Epilogue

“Do you think it quite proper to let the children run like that?” Penelope bit her lip and looked at her sister. “I worry about them when they go full speed in such a fashion. What if they should fall and hurt themselves?”

The sisters were in Yorkshire for the summer. Penelope had only just had her second child and was cradling the babe in the shade of a fine tent, while the elder was toddling about in the grass at her feet. Juliana’s children, however, were running back and forth across the field. Maxwell was hot in pursuit of his youngest sister who, though short-legged, had the wind of passion beneath her wings and was keeping well away from him.

“It is good for children to run,” Juliana said. “They never injure themselves horribly when we are here to watch.”

Penelope raised her eyebrows in her sister’s direction. “I appreciate that you are so comfortable with motherhood, but I don’t know that I would feel right letting my little daughter run in her skirts. It isn’t quite proper. Isn’t there a better way of teaching her to enjoy herself?”

Juliana looked over at Lord Tindley and her husband, who were playing a game of chess close at hand. “What think you, my dear?” she asked Horatio.

He looked up with a laugh. “I think that summers in Yorkshire are made for mad runs through the open fields, and if my daughter wants to skip along at her brother’s side, it will only make her stronger.”

Penelope sighed. “Your husband has become a regular rebel, my dear.”

“And you have become a woman of unexpected peace,” Juliana teased her in response. “It feels like yesterday that you were clamouring for me to stand up for myself and make waves in society. Now you are following the rules to the utmost.”

“Not quite.” She raised her eyebrows, eyes twinkling. “After all, Lord Tindley’s family is still not quite happy with his choice of wife. It is so nice to be here in Yorkshire, where I feel accepted. I think it will be some time before they have come around to the current state of affairs.”

“Oh, let them be.” This, from the dowager countess, who all parties had thought was fast asleep under her sunshade in a nearby chair. She opened her eyes and smiled at Juliana. “Not all people are quick to know when good things are thrust upon them, but it is the surest way of convincing your family to allow them to see your strength, and to see how much their son loves you. Those are the two things that convinced me.”

She shared a warm glance with Juliana, who felt the tender friendship that had been growing between her and her mother-in-law. Juliana smiled.

“That convinced you, certainly, but the addition of grandchildren was also a boon.”

“Of course,” the dowager answered with mock severity. “And don’t forget it.”

The two women laughed and went back to watching the frolicking children in the distance. All of sudden, the little form of Lilian, Juliana’s eldest daughter, went down quite suddenly out of view and there arose a cry of alarm from the children. Juliana stood to her feet, as did Horatio. But before they could set off after the cry, Maxwell appeared over the rise of the hill, pulling Lilian after him by the hand.

The girl was crying and holding a hand to her cheek. Horatio ran out to meet them and knelt down for a moment, too far away for Juliana to hear what was going on, to inspect the wound. Then he picked up his daughter, speaking tenderly to her, and brought her back to the safety of the tent.

“She tripped over a rock,” he said as he brought her near for inspection. The girl was only six years old, and as she looked up from tear-stained cheek, Juliana’s heart melted. She reached up and held out her arms.

“What has happened, my darling?” she asked.

Lilian slipped from her father’s arms and pulled her hand away from her cheek. “I hit a rock,” she said.

“Tripped over too,” Maxwell interjected with a worried expression. Clearly, he feared that his own involvement in the play would bring the responsibility of the wound down on his own head. Lilian’s cheek had suffered an abrasion and a minor cut. It looked nasty enough, but it would heal.

Juliana had the footmen bring a bowl of water and some bandages, all the while holding her daughter carefully on her lap and encouraging her. When the bandages came back, she went about work carefully cleaning up the wound. Lilian had large tears lingering in her eyes, and when she was done Juliana kissed her and said, “My dear, why do you cry?”

“The cut on my face, Mama,” the girl answered. “What if it keeps me from doing all the things I wish to do?”

Juliana looked over at Horatio, her heartstrings tugged by the girl’s innocent question. Horatio stepped in, kneeling down to look his daughter in the eye. “It will not, little love. Think of your mother’s face. Has she ever been held back from doing all the things she wanted to do? It is not a bad thing to have a scar, and though I have no doubt your little scratch will heal up very quickly, I would not have you worry about it. Some of the best people I know have injured faces.”

Juliana smiled tenderly at him. He was, as always, the one with the words and the charm. Lilian, however, seemed unconvinced. She frowned up at him and held her hand to her cheek again.

“I’m not worried about looking like Mama,” she protested. “I like the scar. I am just afraid that you won’t let me run with Maxwell anymore.”

Horatio tipped back his head and let out a laugh. “Well, you need not worry about that. I misjudged you, daughter. Hurry on with your games, and only return if your face starts aching or you need to put any of us back in our proper places.”

When she had hurried off again, he turned to Juliana with a look that made her knees feel weak.

“We have a good daughter,” he said with a smile.

She smiled. “I do appreciate your speech about scars, even if it was unnecessary with that child in particular.” She stood up and linked her arm in his, walking a little way out from under the tent and away from the ears of the others. She leaned her head against his arm. “You are very good to me, Horatio.”

“You are easy to be good to.” He reached down and tilted her chin up with the tips of his fingers, looking her deeply in the eyes before planting a tender kiss on her lips. They pulled apart and looked out on the scene with delight. Yorkshire spread out in front of them, greening and healthy at last.

The management of the estate had come more and more easily to Horatio as the years passed, and now his father’s legacy had been preserved even better than it was when he had been alive. Juliana sighed happily.

“We have a good life here,” she said quietly, “better than I ever could have hoped for.”

“Looking back, I have much to be thankful for,” Horatio echoed gently. “But I confess when I think about the height of our happiness, I know that the future holds even more beauty than this present moment.”

THE END


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103 thoughts on “Dancing with a Gracious Lord – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Bridget, I look forward to reading your stories. You are a gifted story teller. Congratulations n another good read! Sandra

    2. Hi Ms. Barton,
      I love the concept of the extended epilogues, more should do them. I liked this book (although very clean 😉 and the intrigue was a nice twist. It’s so important to communicate with honesty. On to my next book.
      All the best to you,
      SG

      1. Thank you so much dear for this heartwarming comment! 🥰 Your sweet support is what keeps me inspired! Stay tuned for the next novel! I expect to hear from you again!

  1. It is so evident Miss. Barton that you have a wonderful imagination in the novels of which you write.
    They are always different and hold my interest throughout.
    Bravo on this novel as well!!!
    Now on to another one of your books.

    Veronica

  2. I loved this story. It is hard in our modern world to feel of worth with scars showing, but in Juliana’s time it would have been next to impossible. I so enjoy happy endings! Thank you for a good read.
    Lynn

  3. I love how you give us a taste of the future in your extended epilogues. It ties up things nicely and gives us a bit more to read. Thank you!

  4. There were some moments that reminded me of Jane Austin but still unique. It was well written and well worth reading. I enjoyed the extended epilogue also.

  5. Bridget, I believe I have read all of your tales. You never disappoint. I am an avid reader of the period. You are so able to blend wit and wisdom into your characters. You build your stories with expert blending of tension, descriptions and surprise. I cannot wait to see what you will write next.

  6. This is a very good story and extended epilogue This shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder

  7. This was a wonderful story and I loved the characters. Each character seem to be important to the story. The exstended epilogue was a real treat also I loved reading how the family turned out years later.

  8. I think this is my favorite book of yours so far although it’s hard to pick one. I enjoy all of your books immensely, and have been sharing them with my mother. We are both huge fans!

  9. What a wonderful story to read. Couldn’t wait to finish reading it to the end. I would give this a gold star of 20. Can’t wait to read the next one.

  10. This is an inspiring story about not letting others define your self worth. I could not put this book down! Thank you for a love that teaches and inspires.

  11. Very good story with characters that are true and good. In today’s times, it’s nice to read about people with high moral standards. Loved the extended epilogue that shows happiness reigns.

  12. This is another delightful read. Thank you Bridget,for the wonderful time I had reading this page turner book that you written beautifullly.

  13. Loved it! Another great, enjoyable read from a very gifted writer. Thanks Ms. Barton for the story and the characters you have presented in such an interesting plot. I always enjoy your books. Looking forward to the next one.

  14. Well done. You were my first romance author and I come back for your every story. I am male and 81, the only thing wrong with your efforts is they are not long enough. Keep up the most enjoyable stories. Thank you for them.

  15. This was one of your better books, thankfully without the long soliloquys of some previous books. The editing is getting better too, although there are still a few wrong usages and words. The characters were well drawn. I did think the denouement was a little quick, like, let’s get this thing over with.

  16. Loved how Horatio treated her with respect and had the mindset to think outside the box concerning society’s beliefs. I understand how
    society judges us on our looks rather than what
    makes us who we are on the inside…

  17. I enjoyed the story of julianna and Horatio very much as well as your other stories. thank you for writing them, and for all the research you do to make each story unique to your characters and historically relevant. I enjoy them and look forward to reading more.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Full of some sadness and genuine affection between the couple. I just find it a little remiss in that the father of Joanne and Penny wasn’t mentioned but at the beginning of the story.

  19. I loved this book. It had growing love and enough thrills to make it hard to put the book down. What punishment to the
    V. illians

  20. What a beautiful story! But, it was not without danger and misunderstandings. I truly enjoyed this book.

  21. I got to chapter 15, and went to epilogue, and then to the extended epilogue. I found the book rather boring. And what is up with the extended epilogues? Why can’t it be part of the first epilogue?

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, my dear Paula. The extended epilogue is not a vital part of the story, as the story concludes in the epilogue, but it is like a small treat I would like to give to all my readers as a thank you! I hope that makes sense!

  22. This was one of my favorite of your books. Horatio was such a gentleman. He was tender and kind to Juliana. Please keep writing your books. They have kept my mind off of the pandemic. I can’t seem to put them down. Read until 5 a.m. on this one.

  23. You’ve done it again Bridget. Another great well written story. I loved this book. The characters were well played and the twists and turns kept me turning the pages. The extended epilogue completed Penelope and Lord Tinsleys story and Juliana and the Dowages Countess relationship. I’m looking forward to your next book

  24. Bridget, here again you had me engrossed from page one! This was yet another great read! I love your books!

  25. Giday Bridget.
    Yes, your novel dragged me into the story, just like your others. My day was swift in passing due to your brilliant writing and as it was a day in bed, I am more than pleased. There was no boredom for me and I found your characters riveting. The storyline was captivating and as usual, with your usual writing flare, I was entrenched in the novel from start to the end. I am thrilled that I have found three more novels of yours to read which have now been added to my list. 🤗 I really don’t want to run out of your delightful novels. Stay well.
    Jeanette. 🌺

  26. As usual another great story have read many of your books and have never been dissapointed, I share with my niece who is also a fan of yours I also like the extended Epilogue perhaps a little doubt but easily put right between our couples but as always a lovely story throughout thank you

  27. Bridget, you’ve done it again!! Another winner. I absolutely adored the story of Julianna and Horatio and the love they had for each other and the support as well. As I started reading this story, I felt so much for Julianna and all the criticisms she had to face and the hurt she had to endure for so very many years. Of course in the end I had my HEA but the story itself kept me glued to my phone and to turning the pages as the story progresses. Truly an amazing read. Thank you so much. I cannot wait for the next one!!

  28. What a very good book. Really keeps you interested & reading it. It also ended very well. The extended epilogue was a little icing on the cake and enjoyable reading.

  29. Bridget, I love your stories. The characters are great and I become totally lost within the story. No gratuitous sex thank goodness. Just an engrossing developing romance with suspense and happy endings. In these unpredictable Covid stressful times, its just what is needed. Plus I love the extended epilogues. Thank you so much. Now I’ll start your next book!😁

  30. I haven’t read a novel in a few months! Been too focused on the political scene! But I decided to start your book a couple days ago and loved it! It was touching and exciting! Makes me want to get back to reading! Thanks!!

  31. With the divisiveness of the world, reading “Dancing with a Gracious Lord” was wonderful! It showed that unity, compassion and love can overcome division in society and families. Thank you Bridget. Please keep writing. You have something wonderful to share.

  32. This was a very enjoyable story. I think the fact that she had her scar was handled with sensitivity and it was really nice to show all the different ways people can react to that sort of thing.
    I like hell Horatio saw her beauty immediately. I also like how The heroine did not get her confidence overnight but it took time for her to realize herself worth.
    However, I do have some issues with it technically. This was the most “he said, she said quietly” book I have ever read. Unfortunately, that was vastly over used and I was bored out of my mind with them speaking quietly not quite halfway into the book. I knew exactly how the characters were going to phrase something before I was even through with the sentence.
    I think sometimes authors don’t realize how much they repeat themselves. And I don’t know If you had an editor or not but if you did, they really should have caught that. There was also over use with “weak laugh” and “she said or he said softly”.

  33. Juliana Rothmond has a scarred face from a childhood illness and has always been self-conscious of it and has never seen her own true worth. When Ira Galbrathe seeks her hand in marriage, she has no qualms about refusing him. Lord Horatio Vincent discovers her on a dim balcony outside a ballroom and dances with her; he is immediately taken with her, but she dashes off before he discovers who she is. With threats from Ira hurled at her, and with Lord Horatio needing a wife before his father passes on, he offers for her hand. Devious activities in the background threaten any hope of lasting happiness for the couple, and fears are hard to let go of. A great romance story.

  34. Never disappointed in these books. Always good clean stories that anyone can enjoy.

  35. Another lovely must-read to be added to our collection of fascinating, favourite poignant Regency Historical Romances, by this talented author. Enjoyed immensely. Looking forward to more 📚reading enjoyment.

  36. I loved this book, just as all of them I have read. I get started and am unable to put them down. Thank you so much.

  37. We all carry scars, whether they are seen or not. Juliana had visible ones but she also carried internal ones which were the most difficult to heal. This novel truly is a lesson on how we should treat one another, with dignity and appreciation. Thank you, Ms Barton, for your kind words.

  38. Thank you so much for another spell-binding novel. It was very hard to put the book down. I am looking forward to the next one. Very clean content

  39. It’s 2023 so I have come late to the party, but am delighted to tell you how much I loved this book. This is the third book I have read tonight and loved all of them . You capture such a beautiful world for us to escape into and set aside the real life drama many of us need to forget for a time. THANKYOU It is now very late in the wee hours here in Australia , so I’m off to bed . Looking forward to my next read of your wonderful stories A Fan

    1. Thank you so much dear Gisele! ❤️ Your sweer support and enthusiasm are what keep me inspired! I hope you will enjoy the rest of my stories as well! Stay tuned! 🌺

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