STORY: Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Kingston upon Hull. When a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.
Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s prison. Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of money. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after, as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.
Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those desperate to get their hands on her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte turns to the ghost of the beheaded queen, Anne Boleyn, for help. But no matter the size of the fortune, life—and love—are never smooth sailing.
REVIEW: Charlotte Darby has just inherited he estate of Willowkeep in Kent with a allowance of 12 thousand per year. The inheritance is from her uncle, Walter Kelton, whom she did not know about. Her father is a shipping merchant who never returned from a shipping trip and is presumed dead. She is nearly penniless. Her mother has also passed away, Her younger sister, Susie, is a slow-witted child that requires all of Charlotte’s attention making it impossible for her to get a job. So, Charlotte is stunned and thrilled at the news of her inheritance. She learns that she is to move to Willowkeep right away and the steward for the property, Henry Morland, will accompany her on the journey.
When Charlotte’s mother, Louisa, married her father, a mere shipping merchant, her father cut her off. Louisa and her brother were twins. Still residing at Willowkeep is her uncle’s second wife who would have inherited had her uncle not decided to leave everything to his niece. The woman was left a good sum of money by her late husband. If Charlotte wishes, the woman can leave Willowkeep.
On the trip to Willowkeep, Henry is most helpful with Susie and she takes to him immediately which is unusual. Henry tells Charlotte about Willowkeep and the life she will come to know there. He also tells her that there is a man who is trying to claim the estate away from her.
Having grown up on the docks, Charlotte’s speech and mannerisms are coarse. So, the servants and Mrs. Kelton are taken aback at her and she is overwhelmed at the opulence of everything. Mrs. Kelton’s son by her first marriage, Hurst Hardwick, is a bit of a dandy and due to visit his mother soon.
Henry lives with his sister, Jane, in Willow Grange, a cottage on the estate. Jane is a sweet girl but a dreadful cook so Henry wishes he could afford to hire someone to cook for them but he is has to save everything he can to pay off his father’s debts so he can get the man out of debtor’s prison.
Charlotte slowly finds her way in her new home but does all she can to keep Susie away in her room. Being around people the child doesn’t know tends to upset her and other people think she should be sent to an insane asylum.
The story follows the friendship that Charlotte and Henry maintain and the threat of someone who wants to take Willowkeep away from Charlotte.
This is a great book with a lot of suspense. Charlotte and Henry’s patience and love of Susie is so devoted. I loved the story and hope other readers will as well.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b