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Today we have a lovely Sneaky Snippet of The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke. I adore the cover of this book, it reminds me in a way of Downton Abbey. With that look of determination on the main character Annabel Tarleton’s face, it tells me that this is her unique tale and nothing can compare to it.
| Synopsis |
Love, marriage, obsession, betrayal and treachery in 1920’s London – a powerful and gritty saga perfect for fans of Kitty Neale, Josephine Cox and Rosie Goodwin.
The hedonism of London in the roaring ’20’s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton’s ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life for ever.
Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises all that all that glitters isn’t gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.
Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel…
| Sneak Snippet |
Would he be there that evening? Annabel Tarleton wondered as she discarded yet another of her dresses and selected one she had earlier rejected as having been worn too often in the past. Yet what did it matter if the evening gown was last season’s? She did not suppose he would be there for one moment. And she wasn’t likely to meet anyone else in the least interesting; it would be the same crowd as usual and she would be bored long before the evening was out. In fact, if she thought about it, she didn’t particularly want to go.
She gave herself a long, critical look in the cheval mirror, turning all ways to see her reflection. She supposed the dress she was wearing would do for the Munsters’ dance at a pinch. The cut and style were good for it had come from the House of Worth and been expensive when new, but she had worn it more than a dozen times already. However, there was absolutely no chance of her having anything new for the foreseeable future, nor would she dream of asking her brother for money at such a time. Just as she had almost decided to change again, the bedroom door opened and her younger sister came in.
‘Mother sent me to see if you were ready, ’Hetty Tarleton said. ‘Tom and Selina have arrived. They’re having a sherry in the library but he wants to get off because they encountered some patchy fog on the way here.’
‘Jonah told me it was going to be a bad night,’ Annabel said and pulled a face at her reflection. The dress was last season’s and nothing was going to change that, though she’d added some silk flowers to the bodice and her evening shawl was new, a birthday present from Selina Manners, Tom Brocklehurst’s sister. Oh, what did it matter? ‘Is it bad out, Hetty?’
‘Look for yourself. It seems to be coming thicker now.’
Annabel turned to glance out of the window and sure enough the mist had begun to swirl about the flat countryside surrounding Tarleton Towers. ‘How does Jonah know these things and why does he forecast gloom and doom all the time?’
‘That’s our Jonah for you.’ Hetty laughed; her face lighting with mischief. As children they had all enjoyed tormenting their long-suffering gardener and she was secretly rather fond of him. She thought Annabel was too, though she wouldn’t have admitted it. ‘I think he tries to live up to his name.’
‘That’s quite possible.’ Annabel cast her eyes upwards and then sighed. ‘I look awful in this wretched dress but I suppose it will have to do. Mary Hadleigh knocked wine over my best one at the last bash and it’s still being cleaned. I doubt if the stain will come out.’
‘Now you sound just like Jonah,’ Hetty said and pulled a face. Annabel’s evening bag lay on the bed, its contents spilled out on the cover. She picked up a pretty silver compact, which their brother had bought at Liberty of London as a birthday present for Annabel, and replaced it in the silk evening purse together with a lace handkerchief. ‘You look gorgeous as usual, Belle, and no one will care if you’ve worn the dress before. You’re so lucky to be going to yet another dance. I just wish I could go to one.’
Annabel glanced at her sister and smiled. Hetty’s hair was darker and thicker than her own; a honey blonde similar to Lady Tarleton’s rather than the fine, spun gold Annabel had been blessed with. Her brother Benedict’s colouring was a match for hers, but then they were twins, alike in many ways and not just in looks. Hetty took after her mother and was generally thought not to be as pretty as her sister, though she had a wide, generous mouth and a lovely smile. Annabel thought her sister was like a young colt, all long legs and tossing hair.
‘Your turn will come, poppet,’ Annabel said. ‘Another couple of years that’s all. I shall be married off by then and hopefully you will be able to have more clothes than I have. If my husband is rich, I’ll spend some of it on you, and that’s a promise.’
‘I’m not sure I care much about clothes.’
‘You will,’ Annabel said. She dropped a kiss on her sister’s head in passing. ‘When I marry a rich man I’ll take you shopping and buy you lots of lovely things.’
‘Just as long as you marry someone you care about,’ Hetty said, looking at her with anxious eyes. ‘Ben was telling me he intends to marry for money. He says he doesn’t care if she looks like a horse as long as she comes with a fat settlement.’
| Author Info |
Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. She started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antique shop. In 2004, Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy. Rosie also writes as Anne Herries and Cathy Sharp.
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