The Earl’s Bookish Bride – Extended Epilogue

November 1812

“How did you get through it?” Victor asked, turning around to the great chagrin of his valet, who was trying to tie his brother’s cravat. Philip laughed, taking his brother by the shoulders and turning him back around to face his valet. He held Victor there so he could not move again until the deed was done. 

“What do you mean, exactly?” Philip asked. 

“How did you wait so long to wed Marianne? Selina and I have only just become engaged, and we have another month to wait before the wedding. I do not know how I shall abide such a long engagement.” Victor fussed with his cravat after the valet had finished. 

“Well, why did you wait so long to propose to her?” Philip chided in a good-natured tone. 

Victor shot him a warning look, but Philip knew it was all in jest. “I would not have had to wait so long if it were not for your wedding. How could I ask her to marry me when she was so focused on helping Marianne with her wedding?” He turned from the mirror again and waved the valet away. “Besides, she wanted to have the ceremony at Christmas time.” 

“Then do not blame me. It is your bride-to-be who caused the delay. However, you will see that it will not be so very long. A month will fly by in no time.” Philip tried to console him. Already, two months had passed since he and Marianne had been wed, and the time really did fly. However, he could remember feeling as if the days would not pass fast enough as he had waited to bring Marianne home as his wife. 

Now, it was his pleasure to be throwing an engagement party for Victor and Miss Kellington. Marianne was beyond excited that her best friend would soon be her sister-in-law. 

“Come along. The ladies will be down soon, and I want to make sure all is ready before the guests start to arrive,” Victor said. He was a bundle of nerves, as Philip had rarely seen him before. 

Philip nodded. “I will just pop into Marianne’s room and make sure nothing else needs to be done.” 

Victor headed down the hall towards the stairs, and Philip turned in the opposite direction, making his way to the set of rooms that he and Marianne shared. He knocked on the door, and her maid answered. “Hello, Henderson. Is the lady of the house ready?” he asked. 

“Open the door, Henderson,” Marianne called. Her maid did as she said, and he was afforded a view of his wife standing in front of the mirror. “Come in, my love. Selina has already gone down. I was just having Henderson help me fasten the necklace.” 

“Allow me,” Philip said and entered the room. Henderson handed the necklace over to him and quickly exited the room, closing the door softly behind her. He walked up behind his wife and smiled at the lovely effect of the glittering sapphire around her neck, coupled with the navy-blue gown. He fastened the necklace and bent to plant a kiss in the gentle curve where her neck met her shoulder. “You look absolutely breathtaking. I do not think it fair that the sister-in-law outshines the bride-to-be at her own engagement party.” 

Marianne laughed and turned around, wrapping her arms around his neck. He kissed the tip of her nose, and they swayed gently, locked in each other’s embrace. “You do go on. But I would have no other way, for everyone knows that Selina is much more the classic beauty than I.” 

Philip kissed her soundly. “Not to me,” he said. 

Marianne gently pushed him away and smoothed her dress. “We should go down. People will start to wonder where we are. And this is Selina and Victor’s night.” 

“I wish we could stay right here,” Philip said with a mischievous glint in his eyes. He pulled her close again and leaned in for a kiss, but Marianne side-stepped him and dodged him. 

“We cannot. He is your brother, and she is my dearest friend.” Marianne headed towards the door and out of his reach before he could capture her again. “But I promise that we shall pick up where we left off after the party is over,” she said, matching his playful tone. 

He made a big show of disappointment and followed her to the door. “Very well. But I expect double compensation for being made to wait.” 

She waved him off, rolling her eyes, despite the smile that curved her lips. He offered her his arm, and they walked down the corridor towards the grand staircase that led down to the foyer. The whole house was lit with candles, and already music filled the halls. Selina and Victor waited at the front door, whispering with their faces very close together. 

Philip cleared his throat with a mockingly serious air, and they quickly separated. “I shall permit no philandering before you two are wed. Not under my roof,” he said with a pretend frown. 

Marianne let go of his arm and went to Selina’s side. “You know he jests,” she said. 

Selina nodded. “I am starting to learn my future brother-in-law quite well, I assure you,” she replied. “Despite his rumoured aloofness, I find that he has a taste for pranks and general mischief-making.” 

Philip chuckled, and Victor joined in, slapping him on the shoulder. “I taught him everything he knows about mischief-making.” 

They all shared a laugh, and a moment later, the first guests knocked on the door. The next half-hour was spent welcoming their guests, of which there were thirty in total when all was said and done. They made their way into the drawing room to imbibe in champagne until dinner was announced. 

Philip and Marianne were set at the foot of the table, and Selina and Victor at the head as guests of honour. The conversation was lively, and the wine flowed freely as they celebrated the new couple’s upcoming nuptials. Philip loved the music and laughter that had been effused into the house since Marianne had come into it as his wife. She was the perfect hostess for the parties they held. His parents would have been proud of the match he had made, even if his father would have called him a fool for allowing himself to fall in love. Deep down, he knew his father had loved his mother and would strive not to make the same mistakes, allowing his love to grow cold through the trials of life. 

Philip glanced at his brother and Miss Kellington, all smiles as they entertained their guests at the other end of the long table. Despite Marianne’s arguing that Selina was the greater beauty of the two, Philip could not agree with her. While Selina was lovely, he did not think she could hold a candle to his wife, which he supposed was the way it should be. The main thing was that Victor was smitten with his bride-to-be. The woman he had thought he was in love with back in Italy was utterly forgotten, and Philip was glad they had both found women who brought out the best in them. 

When dinner was concluded, they all moved back into the drawing room for coffee and tea, and some of the couples even got up to dance in a space that had been cleared especially for the purpose should anyone be inclined. Marianne joined him near the hearth that was blazing with a cheery fire, crackling away and casting a warm glow around the room. 

“They do make a beautiful couple,” Marianne breathed. She linked arms with him and leaned her head on his shoulder. “I did not think I could be any happier, but to see Victor and Selina so happy, increases my felicity all the more.” 

“You are an angel, Marianne,” he whispered, kissing her hair. 

“Ahh, there you are, dearest,” Aunt Isobel said as she approached them. “I have just heard some very interesting news.” 

Miss Hastings had insisted that Philip call her Aunt Isobel after the wedding, and he had been more than happy to oblige. “What is it, Aunt Isobel?” he asked. 

“Well, as you know, your father has been travelling in Europe since the wedding, to make sure that his health stays intact through the winter months. I received a letter from him–” 

“Oh, how is Papa? I am sure our letters are not coming through,” Marianne said. “It has been ages since we heard from him.” 

Philip shook his head. “It has only been two weeks. That is hardly an eternity,” he said. 

Marianne waved him off. “Go on, Aunt.” 

“Well, he says that he saw Mr Yorke while he was in Venice. And who did he have on his arm but Lady Louisa Rendell!” Aunt Isobel looked very proud of herself at the revelation. 

Philip and Marianne exchanged a glance. “You cannot be serious?” Philip asked. It was a shock that Lady Louisa would settle for anyone without a title. 

“It is all too true, I am afraid.” Aunt Isobel lifted her glass of champagne as if to toast the faraway couple. “I am only glad that they seemed to get what they wanted. Your father says Mr Yorke seemed quite smitten.” 

Marianne shrugged. “Well, I am happy for them.” 

Philip wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “We have all got what we wanted. Victor and Selina will be married in a month, and we will all live happily together here on the estate. What more could a man wish for?” he asked. 

There was one thing that would make it all perfect–a son and heir to call his own. But he knew it was only a matter of time. For now, he was happy to have the woman he loved all to himself. Aunt Isobel nodded towards the few couples who were dancing in the centre of the room. “Why do you not join them?” she asked. “Have you danced since your wedding?” 

“No, we have not,” Marianne said. She set her glass of champagne down on one of the side tables and turned to Philip. “Will you ask me to dance, good sir?” she asked. 

“How could I resist?” he asked. “May I have this dance?” 

She placed her hand in his, and he led her out to the dance floor. He wrapped his arm around her waist and held her other arm around straight, beginning to sway to the swelling music of the waltz. She was so beautiful it nearly took his breath away. They glided around the room, and he was in wonder at how he could love her more now than he had the day they said their vows. He was sure his love would only grow as time went on. 

When the party was winding down, Philip and Marianne said goodbye to the guests, allowing Victor and Selina to take a walk around the moonlit gardens with Aunt Isobel acting as chaperone. When everyone had taken their leave, Philip laced his fingers with Marianne’s, and they strolled through the halls as the footmen began extinguishing the candles. 

“That was a wonderful evening,” Marianne said. 

“Indeed it was,” Philip agreed. He turned into the library and nodded at the footman to leave the candles burning. They walked over to the sitting area and looked out at the garden. “Where it all began,” Philip said, looking around at the shelves filled with books. “I never thought we would have a happy ending, like the characters in many of these books.” 

“But we did,” Marianne said. She came and sat down on his lap, and he gathered her close. “You know, everyone told me that you were very severe. But I am glad I did not let my nervousness get the better of me that first time I came to borrow books for my father.” 

“As am I,” Philip said. “I cannot imagine my life without you, Marianne.” He sighed. “I was so worried about keeping my promise to my father, carrying on the name and doing what was best for the Ramsay legacy. My father was wrong when he said true love did not exist. But it is rare.” He kissed her cheek. “But I found it–in you.” 

She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her head against his. “And now Victor has found it, too. Oh, Philip, thank you for not giving up on me. I love you ever so much,” she said. 

He turned, making her straighten. Looking down at him, her eyes glistened like two limpid pools of liquid summer skies. “I love you more.”

THE END


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27 thoughts on “The Earl’s Bookish Bride – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello my dear readers! I hope you enjoyed the book and how the story concluded for Marianne and Philip! Was there any scene you would single out as your favorite? I can’t pick one! I am eagerly waiting to read your replies here! Thank you – always! ♥️

  2. Simply a beautifully written story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this romantic, sweet tale. I enjoyed the plot and the characters.

  3. Thank you so much for your lovely stories. I always have a hard time putting the book down. The way you draw your readers in to your stories are what makes you a brilliant writer. I am always eagerly awaiting your next book.

  4. I really really loved this book, so many feelings in it. I am afraid I can’t just pick one favorite scene. I love them all so very much, though if I had to pick maybe the tea party garden scene in front of his mother’s roses. Thank you for writing the book.

    1. Thank you so much dear Jennifer 🥰 Your loving support means the world to me! The tea party was one of my favourites while writing the story too!

  5. Loved the story and the characters.
    Thank you I was greatly entertained.

    Josiane

  6. Great story showing how implied communication can cause such havoc and misunderstandings. Clear and easy to read.

  7. I loved your book, it is always a great read when there is a happy ending. Thank you

  8. This is a wonderful story. I could not stop reading until the end! I do hope you’d
    Will follow up with Lady Isobel however. As she seem a deliteful character. Thank you so much for being a excellent writer.

    Post

  9. I want more😍😅😂

    I finally had a chance to read this book and I cannot stop reading it. Philip is right. Finding true love is rare. My favorite scene was when he took them to the garden to show his Mom’s roses/tea party.

    I agree with everyone. There should be a book about Aunt Isobel. Can you please write one about her? Maybe get a second chance with Mr. Fairbanks?😅😁

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