It is too dark to make out her face, but in an enchanted moment they kiss in the moonlight and a nightingale sings in the trees above as if just for them.
Two years later the beautiful Aleta Wayte, the recipient of that anonymous kiss, and her brother, Sir Harry Wayte, are forced to let their beloved ancestral mansion to a millionaire American called Cornelius Wardolf, disguising themselves as servants in their own home and at their tenant’s beck and call.
Of noble birth but penniless, Aleta still dreams of that handsome stranger. So, when Fate in the form of a road accident brings him injured to her door, her hopes are raised and then instantly dashed.
In her guise as a lowly servant how can she reveal herself as Tybalt Hampton is now the fifth Duke of Stadhampton and anyway, because of his impoverished estates, he has been earmarked by Cornelius Wardolf to marry his attractive daughter, Lucy-May?
Is it possible that Fate could be so cruel as to bring love so close only to snatch it away?
Mimosa’s villainous cousin, Norton Field, is plotting to murder her young brother, Jimmy, in order to inherit the title of the Earl of Petersfield and his valuable estate.
Girded by the challenge, the Marquis takes Mimosa and Jimmy under his wing and soon has a strategy to defeat this dastardly enemy.
And, as he wins the day, he also wins Mimosa’s heart.
Captivated though he is by her beauty, he feels that this naïve country bumpkin can never be a bride for a dashing war hero at the apex of the Social world and who counts the Prince Regent amongst his close friends.
Mimosa is desolate as she has now realises that she has fallen in love with the Marquis.
‘He came into my life like a meteor,’ she thinks, ‘and now he has vanished and I am all alone and exactly as I was before – ’.
But then an unmistakeable figure beckons from the darkness in the garden below her window –
On visiting her at her lodgings Carina is dismayed to find that Lady Lynche, an Oriental lady, is at death’s door and so is reluctantly persuaded to take her child, Dipa, to his father in the English countryside.
Arriving at the vast and imposing Lynche Castle in the depths of Gloucestershire, however, she finds that the child is far from welcome and that Lord Lynche, although more handsome than any other man she has ever seen, is living a dissolute bachelor’s life with his disreputable friends, who only want to gamble day and night at cards.
As well as the ghosts that apparently linger behind The Castle’s imperious walls, the place is haunted by a sense of shame and misery, for what Carina knows not, but she is determined to find out.
Slowly the veils of secrecy and mystery are peeled away and the darkness is lit up with the fire of love.
But then she is told that her father has been killed by a savage bull and that she must leave the family’s Vicarage forthwith. Penniless Shenda is obliged to take a job at Arrow Castle as a seamstress, where she stumbles across a letter from one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s spies to Society beauty Lucille Gratton, ‘the most beautiful Lady in England’, who is staying at The Castle.
Reporting the discovery to the Earl, she finds that he is no other than her ‘gentleman stranger’ and just as she realises that she is falling in love with the heroic Earl of Arrow, she is embroiled in a counter-espionage plot that puts her young life – and her love for the Earl – in deadly peril.
So she travels unchaperoned to London to seek the assistance of the Duke of Broxbourne, her fatherÕs friend and the Godfather she has never met.Ê
On the stagecoach journey Andrina has a frightening encounter with a gentleman at a Posting inn Ð and on arrival at Broxbourne House she is appalled to find that this man is none other than the Duke of Broxbourne himself.Ê
At first unwilling to help her, the Duke grudgingly agrees to her requests and although grateful, Andrina despises this arrogant and insensitive man Ð until, little by little, his true nature is revealed and a very different emotion begins to stir in her heart.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ He had been asked by Count Yuri Unkar of Samosia, a small but significant country in the Balkans if an English bride of Royal Blood could be found to marry Prince Ivor and thus ensure the countryÕs protection of Great Britain and the Union Jack.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Queen Victoria had already sent many of her relations to sit on thrones to protect the Balkans from invasion by the Russians, who were intent on expanding their Empire at the expense of many small States.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ ÊThis time Queen Victoria could think of no one as she was rapidly running out of suitable relatives.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ However, Earl Granville had been awake all night thinking of solutions to the problem and then he remembered. Prince Vladimir a cousin of the Queen.Ê He had married a woman who played the piano in public, which was not considered correct for a Prince of Royal Blood.Ê They had been banished from London and had gone to live in a small village in Devon and then forgotten.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Earl Granville leaves immediately to see Prince Vladimir to ask if his beautiful daughter Linetta would go to the Balkans as bride to Prince Ivor.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Linetta finally agrees but only on the condition that she could get to know the Prince first and if she did not like him then she would return home to her beloved parents.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ She plans to go to Samosa as a Governess to the CountÕs children and in that way would meet the Prince without him realising who she was.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ How they met for the first time when Prince Ivor heard Linetta playing the piano as beautifully as her mother had taught her.ÊÊ
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ How Linetta saved the PrinceÕs life by her quick reactions.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ And how she finds the love of her life through the beauty of herself and her ethereal music is all told in this exciting and romantic novel by BARBARA CARTLAND.Ê
Eager to fit into a world that values birthright over cash, he decides to marry her off to the highest bidder. But he hasn't bargained for his vivacious stepdaughter's willful defiance. Determined to marry only for love, Selina flees the harsh discipline of Gardener Manor and takes her chances on the open road. Rescued from peril by the Marquis of Castleton, a serious and thoughtful man committed to doing his best for the people of his estate, Selina finds in him an unlikely ally. Equally appalled at plans for his own arranged marriage, the pair join forces against those intent on pushing them up the aisle. Pitched into an exciting adventure that sees them chased across Europe, Selina and the Marquis soon discover that despite their age difference they are both romantics searching for true love. But will they find it, or will their sense of duty see them both married to the wrong person? Trickery, deception and a tangled web of emotions will see their good intentions pushed to the limits, before the final explosive showdown where the Marquis finally proves himself a man of shrewd wit -- and passion.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Their mother, who was now dead, had been English and so they themselves speak the language fluently.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Ivor told Weena that he had been expecting trouble from the locals for some time and had been secretly removing valuable paintings and objets dÕart from their home and storing them in a warehouse at the docks.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ These they would bring to England and by selling them they would have enough money to live on until they both married, as Ivor insisted, to an heiress for himself and a rich millionaire for Weena. And then all their troubles would come miraculously to an end.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Ivor also has the brilliant idea that they would impress and intrigue the Social world in London if they called themselves Prince and Princess as the English always loved people with titles from any country. And anyway anyone of any standing in Russia always boasted a grand sounding title.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ When they reached England, they would say that they were great friends of a rich influential and real Russian Prince, who had been very popular in smart circles in London and who had now died, so that they would then be invited to Society parties and balls where they would meet their future rich spouses.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ On board ship to England Weena meets a man called David Hart and she becomes very attached to him, especially after an uncouth passenger tries to kiss her forcibly in the moonlight one evening as she is so beautiful.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ Then David rescues her at the critical moment from a desperate situation and he is to rescue her again.
ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ What happens when they arrive in England with all their treasures and how love comes to both Weena and Ivor is told in this unusual and romantic tale by BARBARA CARTLAND.Ê