The Eldest Miss Talbot

Sensible, irreproachable Grace Talbot’s engagement to London-based Walter Keene is the envy of her Kentish village. But when her life is shattered by a deeply cruel betrayal she is forced to adapt painfully to unimaginable changes in order to rebuild it. She is aided by her friend Philomena Joyce and the local young doctor, Theo Murray, all of them discovering to their surprise that ideas they once thought invincible can alter. They must all learn that second thoughts about love are often the truest ones.

A few moments from The Eldest Miss Talbot:

As she made her way round to the front of the house she ran off down a little track leading into some woodland, there to lick her wounds in private and give vent to the tempest within her. How dare he! Hot tears of mortification and anger coursed down her cheeks unchecked as she leant against a tree, fending off the memory of his cruel words. How dare he! He had just been flirting outrageously on their previous meeting then, leading her on in a most callous fashion. It was certainly not the behaviour of a gentleman.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The heat was going out of the day by six o’clock. Grace was glad of it, as sitting out in the glare for so long this afternoon had been less than pleasant, even with her parasol. Being without Walter had placed a constraint on other people after all, for it was tacitly understood she would not wish to partner any of the young men for sports as the other girls were doing. Grace was very sorry for this though pretended unconcern, for she would have greatly enjoyed a game of badminton or croquet.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

As he rode off down the lane he mused on what had just passed. Her behaviour last autumn seemed even more astonishing now than it had then ─ an act of generous courage entirely wasted on them. He could never forget how she had looked not much more than a year ago in his aunt’s library, how shocked he had been by her shattered appearance, what pain she had endured. He had had some acquaintance with that himself in the past year but the public nature of Grace’s ordeal, the family rift which would never really heal was beyond anything he had ever experienced. And there they were, the pair she had rescued, skipping off into their golden future where success and self-satisfaction would only breed more of the same.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The great drawing room in which all the dinner guests were assembled was packed, strains of popular melodies from a small military band in the adjoining hallway perfectly regulated not to overwhelm conversation. A great buzz had arisen by the time Walter entered, taking his place as protocol demanded with his colleagues near the door. Soon the Master of Ceremonies would move among them with cards bearing the name of which lady each was to approach, pointing them out discreetly. Occasions such as this demanded a full display of honours, and candlelight flashed on a dazzling array of ladies’ jewellery and the diamond-studded insignia of the gentlemen.