From Chapter 18
The four of them trooped through the great house like a band of ants, Charlie and Evie carrying their bags, their feet tapping on tiled floors and their eyes flying up to colossal oils and tapestries upon the walls. The staircase was laid with a carpet so thick that Evie could feel its luxury through the thin sole of her ballet pumps. On all sides, faces in antiquated costumes stared out at them. Men, young and old, were pictured holding books or sitting atop horses or standing in fields and brandishing guns. Amongst the women, there were wigs, beauty spots, bustles, ruffs, and skirts so wide they looked like sails. There were ringlets, buns, and creamy shoulders rising above shiny bodices of all colours. Where is Fitzwilliam? Evie found herself wondering. Where is Elizabeth?
She had been in her room for about ten minutes when there came a knock on the door. She jumped up. “Come in.”
The door creaked open, and Charlie’s face appeared. His eyes widened as he looked around the room. “Wow, you lucked out here. This is twice the size of my room…more than.”
“I know, it’s huge, isn’t it?” She glanced up to the great, silk paper-clad walls and the vast curtains. “And as for the bed…” Pausing, she looked at the enormous, mahogany four-poster and wondered that it didn’t have a stepladder to help her into it. Charlie’s eyes rested on the massive pillows and layers of blanket and counterpane. They each stared for a second too long before turning to each other and then, blinking, turned away. Evie’s face felt hot as she watched him walk towards the long windows and gaze out. Before him was a perfect view of the back of the estate: a lake glistening in the sunshine, rippled by ducks, a folly, wood bordering green.
“And this is quite a view as well.”
“I know. The colours here are amazing. Makes me want to do some painting.” She moved to the window and stood beside him. “Do you think we should go down and start pretending to be interested in this painting?”
“We are interested in this painting,” he replied. They smiled at one another and were gone.
“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.” —Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an emerging and independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.
Together they become entwined in a tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy.
How could Evie know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?
Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?
Jenetta James is the nom de plume of a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs. Darcy is her first novel.
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