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Esther Aumery - only child of the decaying manor house at Lady Green is woken one morning in 1914 because of the sound of a cart being driven furiously along the lanes. She looks out and sees a man, with a face so evil she never forgets it, driving like a devil. Later that day in the village, under a hedgerow, a young girl, filthy, clad in rags, unable to speak, is discovered. Daniel Godwain, pupil teacher at the school at Lady Green, and the boy that Esther loves with childish devotion, tenderly wraps the traumatised girl in a blanket, takes her into the inn, and later arranges for her to be delivered at the workhouse in a nearby village. But before she can get there she disappears. This is the beginning of a pastoral mystery that continues after the war and goes on into the 1930s. Who was the girl? And who is Clairy, the maid in the village who eventually seduces and steals Daniel from the grown-up Esther. How does this relate to the horrifying disappearance, at the turn of the century, of the baby daughter of Gervase Lincoln and his wife at the Big House. Gervase, a sad and bereft widower, finally marries the abandoned Esther, and the mystery becomes deeper, more evi
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Anna Gilbert has in the past been a Hodder author and has enjoyed some success. She has had a big gap from her writing, and this first book for some time has quite rightly won this year's Catherine Cookson Prize.From Kirkus Reviews:
Gilbert's latest voluminous romance (A Walk in the Wood, 1989 etc,), rustling with mystery and old scandals, features broody characters tending inner fires of passion or revenge, an attractive heroine, and, again lovely English country environs. Esther Aumery, daughter of weak Edwin and spendthrift, flighty Flora, the owners of an elegant estate, will have reason to remember that summer morning in 1914 when she sees a horse-drawn cart, full of bundles, rattling down an unused road, driven by a man with a sick, desperate face. That same morning Daniel Godwain, the son of Edwin's land manager and Esther's best friend, discovers a bundle under a thorn bush containing a starving, dirty, flea- bitten young girl. Cleaned up by townswomen, the silent girl is sent off to the workhouse with a friendly peddler, but she disappears (along with some of his wares) on the way. Some years later, after a painful series of events, a chastened Flora and Esther, now an adult, will be forced to exchange their elegant estate for small rooms on a grimy city street. But even in such straitened circumstances Esther will find friends, a new life and, alas, new problems. Esther and Daniel, now passionately in love, will be cheated by misunderstandings and lost chances--their problems engineered by the cool, darkly intelligent Clarice Motte, occasionally appearing as a housemaid or visitor--or lodger?--at a house of shady repute near Esther's digs. And after Esther marries widower Gervase Lincoln--whose estate, Barbarrow, near her old home, has been vacant since 1902--Clarice steps forward, claiming to be Gervase's long-lost daughter (and heiress). And is she? Was she the child Daniel found that day in 1914, hidden under a thorn bush? And what of Daniel, who in spite of Esther's deep affection for kind Gervase, remains her true love--``idealized and unfulfilled''? The mysteries surrounding Clarice are solved abruptly in the novel's last pages, but Gilbert's narration otherwise is unhurried, easy, and leafy with pleasant sentiment. Great hammock reading. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Corgi Books, 1995. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Very Good condition with no significant faults. Clearly used but very few minor defects. Will look good on your book case after reading but may not be suitable as a present unless hard to find elsewhere SECURE DAILY POSTING FROM UK. 30 DAY GUARANTEE. Seller Inventory # mon0002256994
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Book Description Corgi 1995 Paperback, 1995. Condition: Good. A cart is driven furiously down a lane by a man whose face young Esther will never forget. Later a child in rags is found and Esther disappears. Who was the girl? And who is Clairy, the maid who steals Daniel from the grown-up Esther? This book won the 1995 Catherine Cookson Prize. Seller Inventory # 036408
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