For the Love of a Duchess – Extended Epilogue

Chapter One

“I do wish you would not work so hard, Eliza. I worry about you,” Daniel said when he found his wife sorting through the clothing she and the ladies from the Hertfordshire Charity Society had gathered for redistribution.

“I am only sorting through clothes. And this particular pile will not take much sorting; they are very fine, are they not?” She triumphantly held up a pair of cream breeches which were in immaculate condition.

“Glorious!” he said teasingly. “And you have done very well indeed to gather up such riches. But can somebody else at the Society not take on this task for a while?”

“I am with child, Daniel; I am not unwell!” she said and laughed at him. “In fact, I cannot think I have ever felt this strong and healthy. Being with child suits me. I think we might have to have as many children as we can manage.”

“Whilst that is a very fine idea, Eliza, I still wish you would slow down, if only a little.”

“Within a few weeks, Daniel, my sheer size is going to slow me down. Can you not just wait for that?”

“If I must, I must.” He laughed and embraced her, laying his hand on her belly as he always did of late. “Are you going to be as stubborn as your mother?” he asked quietly of his unborn child.

“I am not stubborn,” Eliza protested. “I would just be bored if I did not have something to do.”

“Very well, I would not seek to change you in any way.”

“And I almost believe you.” She laughed and kissed him before wriggling free from his grasp and continuing to sort the great pile of clothes.

“But I must tell you that Mrs Arklow is more than happy to help with this if you need.”

“You really were very lucky to find Mrs Arklow all those years ago. The woman is an absolute godsend; she is so kind and warm.”

“Yes, I am grateful every day for Mrs Arklow.”

“She is very motherly, especially towards me. She looks after me very well; it is almost as if …” Eliza broke off.

“Yes, she is a very motherly woman. But you must not forget that you still have a mother of your own.” It was not the first time Daniel had raised the subject, and Eliza knew it would not be the last.

However, he always did so gently and never said anything to override her feelings on the matter.

“Yes, I know,” she said quietly.

“And I just wonder if, now that you are soon to be a mother yourself, you might feel a little differently towards Lady Bexley.”

“I cannot lie; I have found myself thinking more and more of her lately. More of the whole family, I suppose.”

“Could you not at least write to her to let her know that we are to have a child? I am afraid I still feel a certain amount of guilt that we did not invite them to our wedding, although I understand entirely why you did not want them there.”

“If I am honest, I find that my grievances have evaporated day by day. I suppose I am coming to the conclusion that I must let go of the past so that my future is as full as it can possibly be.”

“Full enough to include your family?”

“Yes, perhaps.”

“You always say perhaps.” Daniel laughed.

“I know, but I really have been thinking about it seriously.”

“I think that if it is at all possible for a family to get along, they ought to. Not out of a sense of duty, but to avoid a dreadful sense of loss in the end. Even if you cannot blindly forgive them, at least tell them everything. Perhaps if you give them the details of what you thought and how you felt, you might find that forgiveness is a natural byproduct of that. It is just a suggestion, obviously,” he said and held his hands up in front of him.

“And a very fine suggestion, Daniel.”

It was true that Eliza had thought more and more of her mother of late. Ever since she had discovered that she was with child, her own mother seemed to pop into her thoughts more and more. For a while, Eliza wondered if it was simply her own need to have an older woman of knowledge to support her, one who could put her fears to rest and tell her just a little of what to expect.

But she had come to see that it was more than that. She already loved her child, the child who was no more than a slightly pronounced swelling in her belly, and she had found herself imagining how she might feel if the two of them were separated.

Even though she had yet to lay eyes on her own son or daughter, she knew that it must surely be the most painful thing in the world. And even if her mother had not come to her aid when she had needed her, did it really mean that they could not find some other pathway to a happy relationship?

After all, what could her mother really have done? What her father had asked of her back then was no more than many other fathers asked, or even demanded, of their daughters every day.

It did not make any of it right, and it never would, but Eliza was no longer as sure as she had been that it was grounds now for their continued estrangement.

“You will think about it then?” Daniel said hopefully.

“I think it very likely that I will soon speak to my mother, Daniel. I really am coming to see things differently, and so you need not worry about it any longer.”

“You know I only worry for your own sake, Eliza. I want you to have the happiest life imaginable.”

“I already have the happiest life imaginable, Daniel,” she said with a broad smile.

Chapter Two

The following morning, Eliza had remained in the small dining room drinking tea long after Daniel had kissed her and set off for his study to re-examine some contracts he had drawn up the day before.

It was a fine morning, and the sun was shining, its yellow light falling across the dining table and glinting on the silver cutlery.

Eliza felt a little mesmerized and extraordinarily content and was just reaching for the teapot when Mrs Arklow popped her head around the door.

“Ah, there you are,” she said and bustled into the room. “This came for you,” she said with a smile as she handed Eliza a letter. “Here, that tea will be cold,” she said, lifting the teapot before Eliza could pour herself another cup. “I will make you some fresh.”

Before Eliza had time to object, Mrs Arklow was already closing the door behind her. Eliza smiled, enjoying, as always, the warmth of Mrs Arklow’s gentle care.

Eliza looked down at the letter in her hand and was surprised to see that it was addressed to Mrs Winchester, the Dowager Duchess of Lytton.

Nobody ever referred to her in such terms anymore, and she certainly did not encourage it. Something about the sloping, angular handwriting and determination at such a formal form of address had unsettled her, and she quickly opened the letter.

“Mrs. Winchester,

I suppose you had never thought to hear from me again, certainly not after so long. I have no doubt that you are perfectly well aware that I am currently languishing in the county jail as I await my trial at the next assizes.

And I further have no doubt that you were very pleased to get that news, likely thinking that I deserve whatever is coming to me.

But that is all by the by, for I have not written to you to discover your feelings on the matter one way or the other. The truth is that I do not care if you think I deserve to be where I am, for your judgement of me means nothing.

However, things do not go well for me currently, and it has been suggested to me that they could be improved if I were to secure a character witness to give testimony at my trial.

And what better witness than the Dowager Duchess of Lytton? Who in the courtroom would not sit up and listen to whatever such a fine lady has to say?

As I write this, I can only imagine that you have exclaimed in anger at such a request, but I do not care for your feelings on that matter either. In the end, I need your assistance, and I intend to have it.

Before you think to throw this letter upon the fire and try to forget me forever, just remember that I have information against you. Not only what I witnessed with my own eyes in the woods at Lytton Hall, but the fact that you undoubtedly killed the Duke of Lytton.

If you refuse to assist me, I shall make things very difficult for you. I suggest that you come to the county jail to speak to me within a week from the date of this letter. If you do not, I shall assume that you have decided not to help me, and I will have no other choice than to make certain matters known at court, matters that will turn your world upside down.

Believe me, by the time I have finished, there will not be a person in the courtroom who does not believe that the Duchess of Lytton set out to kill her husband.

I think you know me well enough to know that this is not simply an idle threat, and so you would do well to come and visit me as requested.

Regards,

Nella West.”

By the time she had finished reading, her hands were shaking violently. Eliza had not thought of that rotten little maid in the months since Daniel had told her of the latest scandal. She had not even wondered what had become of her, knowing only that she had been detained and was to stand trial. It had never troubled again, not for a moment.

When she had told Daniel that she had everything she wanted, and there was nothing that Nella West or anybody else could do to change it, she had meant that with all her heart. But then she had never imagined that the woman who had once been her maid would have even thought of such a thing.

Eliza had no doubt whatsoever that Nella was vindictive enough to find some way of inserting her scandalous lies into the court proceedings if she did not get her own way. And although it would be inappropriate to the proceedings, the moment she mentioned the killing of the old Duke of Lytton, everyone would be listening.

And if her lies were told in full, there in a court of law, there would likely be those present who would feel duty-bound to investigate the matter further.

With a sigh, Eliza laid both hands on her belly as if to protect her unborn child. And perhaps that child needed protecting, if only from the stress and strain of what was undoubtedly to come.

Eliza knew that she could not give a fine character witness for a woman she knew to be so dangerous and so deceitful. But if she did not, what would happen?

If she took the matter to Daniel now, he would undoubtedly begin to make waves, compelled to do something to right this particular wrong, for he was such a fearless man. But there was a great risk that he would spark people’s suspicions in doing so, and she wanted to avoid that at all costs.

But if she could not talk to Daniel, who could she talk to? Ariadne Holloway, or Ariadne Montaigne as she now was, was touring the continent with her new husband. And dear Lady Hanbury was recovering from a dreadful chest infection, how could she burden that dear woman with this?

“Of course,” Eliza said to herself just as the door opened and Mrs Arklow returned with the tea tray.

“There you go.” She set the tray down, and Eliza smiled at her.

“Mrs Arklow, once I have finished my tea, I am going to go out for the rest of the day.”

“Anywhere nice?” Mrs Arklow said conversationally, and Eliza was, as always, grateful for her interest.

“I had thought to go to Bexley Hall today, Mrs Arklow.”

“To visit your family?”

“Yes, I thought it might be a good day to call upon my mother.”

“And I am sure that she will be very pleased to see you,” Mrs. Arklow said with a knowing nod.

Chapter Three

“You must forgive me, my dear. I am so pleased to see you, and yet I had not expected it at all.” Lady Bexley dabbed furiously at her tears with a handkerchief.

“Not at all, Mama,” Eliza said and found that she had to dash away one or two tears of her own.

She had not expected to feel such a wave of emotion, suspecting that her old resentment and anger would return the moment she set foot inside her childhood home.

But that had not happened, instead, she had simply felt sad, and strangely pleased. The very moment of her return was so bittersweet it was almost overwhelming, and yet she knew that she must try to remain calm and sensible.

“We have a good deal to talk about, do we not?” her mother began as soon as the two of them had dried their tears and were seated in the drawing room with tea.

“It has been a long time. I can hardly believe that I have not been here for nearly three years.”

“Eliza, I have felt every minute of that time. I do not say so to gain your sympathy, but only so that you will be sure, finally, of how much I love you.”

“I know,” Eliza said and tried to swallow the lump in her throat. “It will take a little time for us all to get back to where we were, but I finally see that it is possible.”

“Then you have made this the happiest day of my life, Eliza.”

“I hope you know that I did not keep my distance simply to hurt you.”

“I know, you had hurt enough of your own to deal with. I do not blame you for anything, not a bit of it.”

“And I am married now, as you likely know.”

“Yes, to Mr Winchester,” her mother said with a smile. “Are you happy with him?”

“He is the only person in this world whom I could ever be this happy with.”

“Then I am grateful that you finally have the life you should always have had.”

“And I am expecting a child,” Eliza added and looked down at her swollen belly.

“So I see.” Her mother laughed, and Eliza joined her.

“I suppose it is a little more obvious than I give credit for.”

“Perhaps just a little.” Lady Bexley poured her daughter some tea and set it down on a side table next to her chair. “And I know that your father and brother will be so pleased. Will you wait long enough for them to return from their business in town?”

“Perhaps not on this occasion, Mama. The thing is, I am in need of some advice, and I would like to tell it only to you, nobody else.”

“Of course.” Eliza could see how pleased her mother looked, how gratified she was to have been so suddenly returned to her rightful place as her daughter’s confidant.

Eliza gave her mother a full account of all that had happened at Lytton Hall between herself and Nella West. Lady Bexley had seemed furious at the idea that her beautiful daughter had been so threatened by her maid and in such a nasty, underhand way.

“Then I am pleased to hear that she is finally going to be forced to account for her behaviour. And there are only three incidents of attempted blackmail that you know of. Imagine how much else you do not know about that young woman.”

“The problem is, she has demanded that I act as a character witness for her when she stands trial at the assizes. She thinks that my being the Dowager Duchess of Lytton will stand her in good stead.”

“I am sure it would, but does she not see that you would never agree to such a thing?”

“I have not yet said that I will not do it,” Eliza said cautiously and reached into her small velvet drawstring purse to retrieve the letter she had carefully stowed there before setting off that morning.

“But why on earth would you give her a good character reference at court? After all she has done to you, the dreadful young woman does not deserve it at all. And what of the next person she blackmails? If you give the court your assurances that she is ordinarily of good character, they might exercise such leniency that she will be free to commit the same crime in the future. You would have that on your conscience, my dear.”

“I know, but she has made another threat to me.”

“What could she possibly do to you now? After all, you are married, and your husband is already well aware of that young woman’s tendency to cause trouble. How can her threats affect you?”

“Perhaps it would be simpler if you read this.” Eliza handed her mother the letter and sat in silence as Lady Bexley digestive every word.

“I see,” she said and neatly folded the letter and returned it to her daughter.

“I am afraid that it unsettled me, Mama. I did not want to take it straight to Daniel, but I could not seem to think of the right thing to do. I am just afraid that she will go through with it and that any scandal would affect my child. I just want to live in peace.”

“And live in peace you shall, my dear,” Lady Bexley said firmly.

“But how can you know that?”

“Because you and I are going to see that young lady tomorrow.”

“Goodness me, Mama. I cannot expect you to come to the county jail.”

“Why not?”

“Because you are the Countess of Bexley,” Eliza said with wide eyes.

“You forget, you are the Dowager Duchess of Lytton.” Her mother smiled with such amusement the tears rolled down Eliza’s cheeks.

“Oh Mama, I have missed you so dreadfully,” she said and dashed across to where her mother sat on the couch.

She dropped onto the couch next to her and threw her arms around her, sobbing with relief that the two of them had finally been reunited. It had hit her so suddenly and in a way that she had never expected. And yet it was wonderful at the same time.

“And I have missed you, my little girl.”

Chapter Four

When Eliza left her home the following morning, she felt a rather large pang of guilt. Daniel had been thrilled that she was going out with her mother that day, she had just not told him that they were to spend their time at the county jail.

Eliza had met her mother in town, and the two of them had travelled together to the other side of Hertfordshire in Lady Bexley’s carriage.

“Are you sure this will work, Mama?”

“I am absolutely certain of it, my dear,” Lady Bexley said firmly. “And if it does not, then all is not lost. Even if she does spill her lies in the courtroom, it can be dealt with. In the end, a person cannot do better than the truth.”

“Yes, I suppose you are right. Oh, but I should like to avoid that at all costs. I really do want to live a contented life, and I want my child to be born into contented circumstances. I do not want my little one to suffer at all, nor even to perceive that there is something hanging in the air which must be dealt with before we can all relax again.”

“Tiny babies are not quite as perceptive as you imagine, my dear. As beautiful as they are, as far as atmospheres go, they are no more sensitive to picking them up than a potato might be.”

“A potato?” Eliza said and roared with laughter, remembering finally just how funny, how witty, her mother was.

“Yes, they are very hardy little things. Remember, my dear, I have had two of them. I am not making this up; they truly are very resilient.” She paused for a moment. “And you were the most resilient of all. You really were in your own happy little world all the time; I could never imagine you ever picking up on an atmosphere.”

“So, I really was like a potato?”

“Oh yes, very much.” Her mother smiled at her mischievously.

As they continued on their journey, Eliza marvelled at how the last three years seemed to have dissolved. There was no discomfort, no awkwardness, mother and daughter were as at ease with one another as they had always been. It was as if they had not skipped a beat and nothing had changed at all.

When they finally arrived at the jail, it was to find themselves regarded with amused interest. But Lady Bexley introduced them with their fullest titles, and in no time at all they had been shown to an iron-barred room where Nella West had been placed for their meeting.

“How glad I am that you have seen sense, Your Grace,” Nella West said and performed such an exaggerated curtsy it was almost grotesque.

“Behave yourself, young lady,” Eliza’s mother barked angrily.

“I see you have brought moral support with you, Your Grace. Or should I say, Mrs Winchester.”

“I will not be here long, Nella, so I suggest you do not waste time with your pointless spite. It does not matter to me what you say, how you seek to taunt me, your opinion of me is neither here nor there. In truth, it never has been,” Eliza said calmly and was gratified to see that Nella West looked a little taken aback.

“Yes, I suppose we ought to get down to things,” Nella quickly regaining her composure. “So, you are in agreement? You will spare yourself the humiliation of a scandal and the threat of prosecution and do as I ask?” She had lowered her voice, and it was clear that she did not want anyone to hear the conversation that was now passing between them.

“No, of course, I will not act as a character witness for you, you silly girl.” Eliza felt a little stab of fear, but her mother’s presence at her side was very fortifying.

“Then it is going to go very badly for you,” Nella said, and her face was contorted with anger. “Believe me, I will say every bit of what I have to say and more besides. By the time I have finished, there will not be a person in that courtroom who would not be ready to have you and Daniel Winchester tried for murder.”

“For heaven’s sake, do stop being ridiculous,” Lady Bexley said forcefully.

Eliza realized at that moment that she had never credited her mother with any strength at all. But perhaps that had been because Eliza only ever remembered her mother in connection with all that had happened in the end. But she really did have strength, and Eliza could suddenly remember the old sense of safety that she always had with her mother.

Lady Bexley was protecting her child, standing firm in the face of one who would seek to hurt Eliza. And now it was Eliza’s turn to do the same for her own child’s sake.

“Nella, you need to listen to me very closely,” Eliza said, and then took a deep breath to continue. “I will not stand in court and attest to your good character, for you do not have one. You are spiteful and selfish, and I have known you to be extremely cruel. You knew all along that there was no true reason to suspect anything of me, and I know that you never did. You had seen an opportunity for gain, and you were willing to do whatever it took to get what you wanted.”

“I will not be judged by you.”

“Be quiet, I have not finished,” Eliza said and suddenly felt two feet taller, her hands flying to her hips as Nella West’s eyes opened wide. “My first husband was not a well man. He was already doing a very fine job of drinking himself into an early grave, but it was your behaviour, not mine, which finally pushed him. You were the one who went in with your lies; you were the one who incensed him so dreadfully. In the end, you were the one who killed him.”

“You will never be able to …”

“And so, I have a little threat of my own, Nella West. If I do not receive your assurance in this minute that you will desist, that you will retract your threat, then I can assure you that I will be appearing in court when your trial begins. I will be there as a character witness, but I shall be attesting to your bad character. I will tell the court everything. I will tell them how you threatened me at Lytton Hall, how you made my life a misery. And I will tell them how, when the truth of your previous employment had been discovered, you carried out your threat out of nothing more than spite. And I will tell the court how my husband died soon after, within hours.”

“But then you would be exposed to everything,” Nella said, but it was clear from her expression that she was shocked. “The scandal that you always feared would be out in the world.”

“But I no longer fear it, Nella. I no longer fear because it never existed in the first place, and it will be a very simple thing to have everybody know it. You tried to blackmail your last employer before you came to Lytton Hall and attempted it again. And with the evidence of this further attempt, who would believe anything you have to say? Think very seriously, Nella. Who on earth is going to take your word over mine? You, a proven liar, and me, as you have rightly pointed out, albeit pejoratively, the Dowager Duchess of Lytton,” Eliza said and smiled knowingly.

Nella West raised a hand to her forehead and began to rub her temple. Eliza watched as that young woman slowly digested everything, realizing that the woman she had previously tormented had very decisively turned the tables on her.

“Very well,” Nella said and turned her back on them both.

“Very well what?” Lady Bexley said in a loud and annoyed fashion.

“I shall say nothing of it in court. I take back my threat.” Eliza felt sure that Nella was more disappointed by the idea that she had lost a little game, a competition of some sort.

Perhaps that was all that mattered to her in the end. Perhaps that was Nella West’s motivation all along. A nasty little game in which she always saw herself as the winner.

“Obviously we shall retain your threatening letter as proof, should you go back on your word and say something hateful at court,” Lady Bexley said.

“Well, we shall leave you now, Nella. I do not wish you ill, but I cannot wish you well either. All I do wish is that I never see or hear of you again as long as I live.” And with that, Eliza took her mother’s hand and peered out through the bars as they waited for the jailer to show them out.

Chapter Five

“Are you nervous?” Daniel said as their carriage drew up at the front of Bexley Hall. “After all, it will be the first time you have properly spoken to your father since, well, for some time,” he finished awkwardly.

“I know it will not be as easy as it was with my mother, but I also know that I can find a way to manage it.”

“I am pleased to hear it, for it looks as if your father has come out to greet us,” Daniel said and hurriedly jumped down from the carriage and helped his wife out.

“Mr Winchester,” the Earl said and bowed. “How nice it is to finally meet you.”

“Lord Bexley,” Daniel said and returned the bow. “I am very pleased to be here.”

“And what of you, my dear daughter? Are you pleased to be here?” The Earl, a little older, a little greyer, turned anxious eyes upon his daughter.

“Yes, Papa,” Eliza said and nodded slowly. “I am pleased to be here.”

“Your mother and Henry are waiting for us in the drawing room,” he said and smiled at her. “I just wanted to come out and greet you myself.”

“Thank you,” she said and felt her throat tightening.

This time, she had not been expecting the emotion at all, and already she was blinking hard. The time really had come to make a decision. If she was to have a life that included her entire family, Eliza knew she could not do so without truly forgiving the man who had, in the end, caused her so much pain.

But she also knew that had her father never acted the way he had three years before, she would never have met Daniel Winchester. Eliza would have been married to Miles Gainsborough.

She would have loved him, that much she knew, but she would never have known the full force of true love, the very deepest love, and she realized that life had a funny way of twisting and turning until a person ended up on the right path.

The twists and turns certainly caused their fair share of pain, but without them, true happiness could never be attained. And so it was, at that very moment, Eliza Winchester forgave her father everything. Linking her arm through his so that he might lead her into the house, she looked up at him and smiled.

“How wonderful it is to see you again, Papa.”

“And how wonderful it is to have you back home again,” he said in a voice thick with emotion.

THE END


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188 thoughts on “For the Love of a Duchess – Extended Epilogue”

    1. What a good book this one was. A young woman forced to marry to save her family. The unfriendly household staff to the terrible maid looking to fill her pockets by blackmail kept the young woman afraid and alone.

        1. Loved your books,and extended endings. I tried to download other ending for the Regency fire but had troubled.

    2. I love this story! And thank you for the extended epilog. I really wanted to hear what happened later. thanks and keep writing!

        1. I am totally hooked on your books I used to read historical romance years ago, then I changed direction . I am so pleased that I received one of your books it reminded me of these books, I have already purchased and read four of yours and have become a fan.
          Love the characters, also love the book covers it helps visualise them.

  1. A perfect ending tying up loose ends!
    Eliza has her happily ever after will h her true love.

  2. Love reading this did not put it down until I finish reading. I felt for Eliza having her father ( sell )her to save the estate for her brother’s happiness so her family could live in the style of which they are use to. To live and be married a horrible person that treated Eliza so wrong

  3. A very enjoyable book ! All the twist and turns in Elisa’s life kept you on your toes and unable to put down the book . And the extended ending wrapped it up very well .
    A great read !

  4. I couldn’t put this book down I had to finish it in one reading. I loved the story and the characters I was hooked from the start

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love Eliza and Daniel, and was rooting for them from the beginning. The book was so well written and probably my favorite so far out of all of Bridget Barton’s books.

  6. Loved the story line and the characters. Lots of twists and turns. Should include the extended to the original story. Couldn’t put it down.

  7. Like others, I believe the extended ending needs to be included in the original story. When I finished the original story, I found the epilogue lacking. This extended wraps up the loose ends, completing the story. 4* but with the extended ending, it could be 5*.

    1. I agree that the extended epilogue should be included in the book. This particular story is a good inspiration for those who have had unjust treatment in their own lives. Indeed we all have had moments of being unfairly judged and the depiction depiction of standing up to ugly manipulation may well inspire courageous behavior. Also I often feel there could be so much more to a story that just drops off at the wedding. What about a sequel? Or two…or twenty?
      Thanks for writing.
      Laura

      1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the story, my dear Laura! I will keep that in mind for my future stories! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming 🙂

  8. This was a well written story and an interesting one. Eliza’s difficulties piled up and went on so long that I was about at the end of my tether. Thank heavens that feelings and difficulties were finally resolved. Please publish this with the Extended Epilogue to balance out the many chapters of misery.

  9. I have loved Bridget’s books in the past, but this particular book is one that speaks to the heart. Eliza’s journey was not a pleasant one because it was filled with sorrow and sacrifice. It took her through turmoil that could be synonymous with storm ridden seas. Although Eliza was sad about the way that her life was going as to the way that she thought it would be, this was actually her strongest point because it allowed her to get to a higher place and make the right decisions in her life. I loved it. This is one of those books that you’ve got to read every word.

    1. So very true Linda C .
      Of all Bridget’s books ….and I have read them all…. this speaks of the strength of the
      human spirit and the power of Love and Forgiveness .
      I just was so uplifted by this Extended Epilogue and the Spirit of Fearlessness as she faced that awful Nella with the Love of her Mother so present
      Thank you dear Bridget …Blessings to you and all your Readers.

      1. I’m humbled, my dear Julie! I really appreciate your kind feedback and support and I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. Make sure to stay tuned, because I have more coming 🙂

  10. This was another great read. Very real situations and emotions. Could not put the book down until fully read.

  11. An excellent book, drawing out peoples emotions to the various situations. Have to say very pleased to be a female in the 21C than in regency times. The only critiscism is that I don’t feel the main characters would be so very isolated , but in so many other ways that makes the book a good read.
    Their were times I wanted to shake Eliza out of her self absorption and introspective existence .

    1. Glad you enjoyed the book, my dear Ruthie. Thank you for the thought-provocative comments. I will keep them in mind for my future stories 🙂

  12. Hi. I’ve read a few of your books and every one of them has been a delight. Once I start reading , I simply can’t put them down until I’m finished. Then I’m disappointed that I’ve got to find something else to read. I want to say thankyou for the many hours of pleasure that you give, not only to myself but many other readers as well .

    1. I’m humbled, my dear Wendy! I really appreciate your kind feedback and support and I’m glad that you enjoy my stories. Make sure to stay tuned, because I have more coming 🙂

      1. I really enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. I just couldn’t understand why you didn’t make the extended epilogue the last chapter. But I was pleased with the happy ending!

        1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear 🙂 I truly appreciate it! Even though I always want to conclude my stories in the main book, I like to give you an extra glance at the lives of the protagonists as a treat 🙂

  13. Once again a wonderful book. I love all of your books and this one was no different. I am so happy that you tied all the loose story ties up in the extended epilogue. I am so looking forward to your next book!

  14. A rather satisfying end to a wonderful book. This book held my attention. I read it in one day, I just couldn’t put it down.

  15. What a great story. In my opinion your best yet. The story line kept me glued till the end. Would appreciate the epilogue included with the story. Looking forward to your next book.

  16. What a great book! Loved the characters and David and Eliza. Hated that she was sold to the Duke to be the wife of an old drunk that thought he could marry a young woman and beget a child in her. Never thinking it was him that was the problem, how interesting. So glad she had David to help her through such a tough time. A few twists and turns to keep story interesting to the very last. Great reading and look forward to next book!! Keep up the good work!!!
    B J.

  17. I truly enjoyed reading your book very much. Just couldn’t stop reading it until I read it to the very end. Can’t wait to read the next book!

    1. Thank you so much, dear Elizabeth! I really appreciate your feedback and support! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more stories coming 🙂

  18. Thank you for this little gem. It was great to see Nella get her comeuppance and to see Eliza reunited with her family.

  19. The book and the extended Epilogue were every bit as good as I knew they would be. Thank you Bridget

  20. As always, Ms Barton, a charming read! Rather interesting seeing Eliza’s growth in both character and self-knowledge; and knowing that adversity actually brought her to a place of contentment, love and blessings she would never have known had her life proceeded as she had planned for it to. Reminded me of a wonderful line from the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”: Everything will turn out right in the end…and if it doesn’t, you know it isn’t the end! I so enjoy your lovely stories!

  21. Loved the book. The injustice of how daughters were sold off in marriage just makes me mad even now. As much as I love reading books from this era I would not want to live it! Daniel was just the best. He was the most patient man ever written! I liked the epilogue putting it all back together! Thank you for your books. They really do brighten my days!

    1. Thank you so much, dear Joyce! I really appreciate your feedback and support! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more stories coming 🙂

  22. I enjoyed the book very much and am happy to see she forgave her family in the end.

  23. Another compelling story line from Bridget Barton, I spent the afternoon readin from start to finish including extended epilogue!

  24. I truly enjoyed your book. I liked seeing Eliza grow emotionally. I do believe that the extended epilogue should be included in the book, but you are the same author. This is the first of your books I have read, I am looking forward to reading more.

  25. The book was very involved and intriguing, but the epilogue showed us a happy ending. Thanks to the author for her skill and imagination in writing this intensive story!

  26. AN EXCELLENT STORY, WELL TOLD WITH GREAT CHARACTERS. I AGREE WITH OTHER COMMENTS THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF THE EXTENDED EPILOGUE HAD BEEN PART OF THE BOOK. OTHERWISE GREAT!!!

  27. This is a terrific story, so well written. This is an award winner if I ever saw one. Only one thing: eyes cannot fly, only gazes can. As a former publisher and instructor, it prompts me to caution against flying body parts when writing. Still, a wonderful book.

  28. Great reading. I enjoyed reading Elizas story. She sacrificed her life to save her family. I’m glad she found her happy everafter. I enjoyed reading the extended epilogue because it completed the wondering about her family and while it may have been a hard decision to make I’m glad she reunited with them. The only thing I would also would have liked to know is whether the baby was a boy or a girl. If read many of your books and have enjoyed all of them. My thanks to you for another great book

  29. Hi Bridget,
    I have to complement you on another well written book. I have read most of your books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. But this book hit two topics that anger me. The first is the injustice of arranged marriages, where daughters are of lesser value to sons and are sold off for status and /or financial gain for their family. I’m glad I didn’t live in the Regency period! And the second is that men in power feel they are always right and don’t consider that they maybe at fault. I felt so sorry that Eliza was married to such a man, especially to such a despicable, drunken duke. And we now know that men determine the sex of a child but they used to blame women for not producing the male heir.
    Eliza needed to grow up before she could admit that she loved Daniel even though he wasn’t from her class. He always helped and supported her unlike Miles.
    The extended epilogue brought her family back but what happened to her maid, Nella?
    Keep writing and I will keep reading.

  30. I feel like a broken record here but this is the truth – I love Bridget Barton’s books and this one is the best! Looking forward to the next one because each new book is even better than the last. Thank you, Bridget.

  31. This is my favorite Bridget Barton story. Wonderful character development. It was such an emotional journey! I do think that the extended epilogue should be included as part of the whole story and not something that must be requested. Keep up the great work, Bridget!

    1. Lovely! Glad you liked it, my dear Lisa! I’ll keep your comments in mind for my future stories. Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming 🙂

  32. Great book.It made me sad it made me happy and it gave me a lot to think about. I love the twists and turns nothing predictable.As always I am a fan

  33. Love this story! This extended part was great. I am glad she got rid of. Miles he had no backbone and was only looking to get her money. But Daniel was true. And as for Nell she got here and good riddence.

  34. I wholeheartedly agree with all the other sentiments that have been shared. One thing about ebooks it’s more difficult to read the end before you actually get there, and even if you did, you’d miss out on all the intricacies in the middle! Thank you Bridget and I’m looking forward to the next book. 😊

  35. I have to say that though I love romance in general, it is rare for me to be so moved by the emotions the author brings to the story, and the insight into the intricacies of people’s minds. I felt so much for the main characters, and was so relieved when they got their happy ending. Wonderful book, Ms. Barton I hope to read more from you in future.

    1. I’m honored, my dear Kristina. I really appreciate your kind feedback and support 🙂 Make sure to stay tuned because I have more stories coming!

  36. Great read. Wonderful story read it all in one sitting. Thanks looking forward to reading more

  37. I have been a huge fan of yours from the first page I read of your books. With that said, however, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as all of the others. While I sympathized with Eliza and the injustice of being sold off for financial gain for the family, I didn’t feel a part of the story as I usually do with your books. For the first time with one of your books, I found myself wanting to skip ahead just to get to the ending faster to finish the story. I’m looking forward to future stories and anticipate enjoying them as much as I have your others.

  38. I thought this book an awesome one. I agree with some of the other comments. The extra ending should of been included with the rest of the book. However that being said, I love the book. Can’t wait to read other books.

  39. Really enjoyed this book! I look for clean, engaging stories and this fit the bill. Thank you!

  40. Very nicely thought out! I went through every emotion right along with Eliza! Thank you for a great escape!!

  41. This was a very good book. It was well written and kept my interest all the way to the end included the extended epilogue. I loved it.

  42. This is an awesome book like all your others. I also like the extended ending. This is one of my favorites so far. I love all of your books. Looking forward to reading more of them

    1. Just for your fyi the date is wrong. Didn’t notice it until after I posted it. 8/4/18
      Thank you
      Brenda

  43. I enjoyed this book very much. It held my attention and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

  44. This the first of your books I have read and I look forward to reading all the rest of them. Love the extended epilogue.

  45. Amazing story telling! Your character development is fantastic. I enjoy reading all of your novels, this one did not disapount. I relate to not only the characters but the plot/story as well. Thank you for sharing your talent. You truly are gifted. I do agree, the epilogue and extended epilogue need to be part of the main story. A delightful epilogue would be a few years in the future where we see the life Elizabeth and Daniel achieve, to include the children. This conclusion would lend itself to a finisged, polished novel.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the book, my dear Virginia. Thank you for the thought-provocative comments. I will keep them in mind for my future stories 🙂

  46. Thank you dear Bridget,I loved this one the most out of all your books,can’t never put them down till I finished them,although I have to agree with all the other people who said the extended epilogue should have been part of the story,waiting for your next book.

  47. I really enjoyed this book – one of the best I’ve read for ages! I had this on my Kindle and couldn’t get to the extended story without using Google and reading it on the iPad. It was good to know the ending.

  48. Okay, so l’m not as forgiving as Eliza. As I read this wonderful story, I felt her family’s betrayal. How does that “beloved” brother have the nerve to be in his sister’s presence. And don’t get me started on that “loving” father. I wanted them to actually admit their cowardice and feel her feelings of abandonment. So now, I can also admit that I LOVED this book. And I look forward to reading more from this talented author!

  49. I loved Daniel’s character, the book was great had to read it in one sitting, So many twist and turns.

    Thank you for another great story

  50. Oh, how I enjoy your books! Just wish Eliza hadn’t had to suffer so much 😬

  51. Thank you for a lovely read. Clean and decent, but a full and engaging plot full of twists and turns that didn’t come from a boxed story outline. And the epilogue was just perfect. Please keep writing!

  52. Just loved this story. Eliza had so many ups and downs. So glad she found her true love and finally forgave her family. Truly love your books. Thank you

  53. Oh my! Still wiping tears from my eyes. Fantastic writing. Love your novels. I will be reading another shortly.

  54. I loved this book and the extended ending. Will be buying more of your books

  55. Thank you for taking the time to write well. Your real characters make reading your books so much fun. Also thank you for keeping them clean reading.

  56. I would hope customers who get the print version can get the Extended Epilogue to complete the story.

    I definitely liked the story and am glad that Eliza was able to reconcile with her family and let the past go. I admit to some curiosity about her brother and his wife. I am glad that Eliza was able to let David know she wanted him.

    In the book A Beauty for the Scarred Duke, I liked how Isabella went into Elliott’s bedroom and won his final commitment. (You go! Girl!)

    I wonder how a book about two young people being told to marry and suddenly confronted with each other would play out. Such a book could get the female and male viewpoints on how to deal with their pesky parents and the demands of society.

    (I think I posted the comments in two places.)

  57. I love this book and Ella and the Charming Duke. Well written and loved being sucked into the story and it was full of insight and forgiveness and being able to mend I love the characters. Thank you for writing books this amazing

  58. I loved this story and especially the extended ending. Your characters were very real to me and drew me into their lives. I was so hoping Eliza would be with child and you didn’t disappoint! I’ll be looking for more of your books.

  59. I am so glad you added this final ending. It wrapped up the story so well! I wondered at the end if Eliza would make up with the family. The way you wrote it, was wonderful! Thank you!

  60. I loved this book. Eliza had to marry a despicable old man and I know this happened many times during that era. You really brought her to life in living color. She was so conflicted yet so proper in all her dealings with Daniel. I enjoy seeing this romance develop. I was delighted to read the epilogue and see her reunite with her family. And, I am pleased that she finally stood up to her lady’s maid. Five stars!

  61. I enjoyed this book immensely. I can truly say that I’m very happy not to be of that era. This story is well written and transports you there with them. Great characters and deep story line. Keep up the good work.

  62. This is a very good story and I enjoyed reading it very much the characters are very strong and emotional .I think you are a good writer

  63. I could hardly put this book down, the plot was so intriguing! It really brought out a lot of emotions in me, including fear! The horrible husband she was forced into marrying was suspenseful enough, but adding the wickedness of the maid made it a real ‘page turner’! What a breath of fresh air Daniel is throughout the whole story! Great writing!

  64. Thank you, a good and different story. Some twists were not obvious. Thoroughly enjoyed.

  65. Great story. I loved reading every bit of it. I love the stories of this era but they also make me so frustrated at times. The way daughters were treated is dispicable. I loved Daniel’s character and Eliza was fortunate to have had him as a friend in her time of needs. The Duke was a hateful man as was Nella West. I’m glad Eliza and her family were finally reunited The extended epilogue completed the story but I would have liked to know what the baby was.A bit of girl. I look forward to your next book

  66. Congratulations on another dynamite book! Your characters are so real I can almost see and hear them speak! In these uncertain times of being housebound due to the corona virus your books more than ever provide a delightful escape! Thanks again for your extended episodes! It’s fantastic when you complete the book by finishing up the little extras we wonder about! God Bless!!!

  67. Thank you for a wonderful day of non-stop reading. I certainly agree with the others that the extended epilogues should be part of the book.

  68. Not at all a pleasant journey for poor Eliza. there were so many twists and turns that kept you happy to keep turning the pages. What a nasty maid she had and I am so pleased she did not marry the weak man she was betrothed to in the beginning. Once again Bridget your glories novel was received with so much enjoyment. This one is one of my favorites and so well written. Rest assured that I will be reading ALL of your novels that I can get my hands on. Stay well. 🌺

  69. Beautiful story. Eliza certainly had her struggles. I was glad to see she finally got her head cleared enough to make the best decisions. My favorite quote comes at the end: She realized that life had a funny way of twisting and turning until a person ended up on the right path. The twists and turns certainly caused their fair share of pain, but without them, true happiness could never be attained.

  70. I enjoyed this story. All of us have challenges in our lives and this story shows the importance of constantly moving forward and dealing with life. I too believe that the twists and turns of life bring us to where we should be if we will open to it. Forgiveness is another important issue that you addressed beautifully. I know you helped many people who deal with the inability to forgive every day.

  71. I really enjoyed this book, yes it was exactly what I enjoy, a Regency love story however the story line was different . The characters were what made the difference, they were so strong and yet vulnerable at the same time! It doesn’t in this day and age seem possible that such well bred women were reared and used purely to satisfy the whims of men and used so badly. They were often like pedigree animals, just reared and bred to be sold to the highest bidder! It does seem unbelievable today that it was only a few hundred years ago! It was a book. I was unable to put this book down and finished it in just over a day!! Thank you so much for such an enjoyable read.

  72. I loved this book the best of all your books I have read. It was sad to see how women were treated, but there were those who were actually aware of true justice. I especially enjoyed this extended epilogue.

  73. Another wonderful must-read. This, including the extended epilogue would make a great 🎥movie. Happy to have stumbled upon your great talent to further your fans reading enjoyment. Best Wishes

  74. I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down Now I want to read all your books !!!

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