Lawrence Pelham works as a comic artist for Allan’s Miscellany. A chance meeting with a young woman dressed in mourning changes Pel’s whole life, and without his even knowing, he is thrown into a world of mystery and intrigue, where nothing is as it seems to be—especially not the woman he has given his heart to.
Her whole life Sarah Browne has been told how plain she is, how nondescript, destined to become an old maid. For years she has been her family’s dutiful nursing maid and caretaker, but now a secret inheritance and an encounter with the charming Mr. Pelham seem to offer her a chance to break out of her life of duty and drudgery—if she dares to take it. Yet how could such an interesting, witty man like Mr. Pelham be possibly interested in her boring self?
And so, Sarah soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies and deceit, which might even cost her the love of her life.
London, September 1846
Fog rolled up from the river and wrapt the city in a white shroud. It muted the sounds of the busy metropolis and turned the people, the carts, and carriages out and about in the streets into ghostly apparitions.
An old-fashioned travelling coach made its way up Piccadilly towards Mayfair. Inside, a young woman sat ramrod straight and silent like a marble statue. She wore deep mourning and had her dark hair tied back into a severe knot, which emphasised the signs of tiredness etched into the skin around her eyes, making her look haggard and older than her twenty-nine years.
From time to time she would glance out of the window where shadows of the world flitted by as if it were the Lady of Shalott’s magic mirror.
Aunt Em had enjoyed Tennyson’s poems, so Sarah had been obliged to read them out aloud so often that she knew many of them by heart.
And there she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
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About the Author
Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances.
She holds a PhD in English literature and lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library. Her new series about the fictional magazine Allan’s Miscellany combines her academic research on Victorian periodicals with her love for story-telling.