One might expect an earl’s daughter to have been raised with every conceivable luxury—with the finest wardrobe and jewels money can buy, along with her own personal lady’s maid and a host of servants to do her bidding. Young ladies of the nobility would naturally be expected to attend balls and routs and a host of society events in order to attract a suitable parti for marriage. A charmed life indeed, by the standards of the day.
Not, however, by Lady Theresa’s.
Oh, Lady Theresa had her come-out, made her curtsy to the Queen, danced with eligible gentlemen, swallowed dry cakes at Almack’s, like every other aristocratic young lady. Unlike the majority, however, she did not enjoy it. In fact, she disliked it excessively.
Because Lady Theresa, despite her lofty title, despised the superficiality of the London ton. The dandified gentlemen with their pretentious manners and outrageous clothing who would stare through their quizzing glasses at unfortunate young ladies judged to be defective in some way or another. Lady Theresa herself ran afoul of them on more than one occasion, but only because she went out of her way to “rescue” the victims of these tormenters, these useless fribbles, who seemingly had everyone in the ton kowtowing to them. They disgusted her.
She preferred living in the real world. The country—specifically the Granville estate and the village where she had grown up all her life. Where people worked for a living, producing food for themselves and the rest of the country, yes, even for the indolent upper crust of society who scorned them. Where people lived—really lived—their lives and cared for their neighbors in times of need. These people—the tenants, the villagers, the families of the neighboring estates—were her family every bit as much as her father was, social status notwithstanding.
So Lady Theresa was one young lady who did not wish for a brilliant marriage and the whirl of London society. She’d rather stay in the country and marry the boy next door who also happened to be her best friend, and bring her children up among those she cared about. Was that really too much to ask?
She didn’t mind that much that someday her father’s estate would go to his distant cousin and heir, Damian Ashby. Titles and entailed property passed to the closest male heir. It wasn’t fair, of course. But that was the way of things. She’d be long married to Reese Bromfield, her childhood sweetheart, by then. By all accounts, Ashby was a London swell who would probably never spend more than a week at Granville Manor, so she’d probably see him only on rare occasions. So much the better.
But Lady Theresa’s life was about to take an unexpected turn. Not even an earl’s daughter can stop the hand of fate as it weaves its way through people’s lives. Will she have the courage to endure the afflictions heading her way and find an alternate route to happiness? Or is she doomed to a life of bitterness and misery?
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