The Soldier’s Daughter Read Online AnneMarie Brear

Categories Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 102
Estimated words: 95366 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 477(@200wpm)___ 381(@250wpm)___ 318(@300wpm)
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Yorkshire 1860

With the heat of their beloved India far behind them, Evie Davenport and her widowed British Army officer father, are starting a new life in England. But Evie is struggling. With her dearest mother gone, Yorkshire with its cold, damp countryside and strict societal rules makes Evie feel suffocated and alone.
Her friendship with Sophie Bellingham, the gently reared daughter of a wealthy rail baron, is Evie’s only comfort. Until the arrival of local cotton mill owner, Alexander Lucas.
Newly returned from America, it is expected Alexander will marry and finally make England his home. And Sophie with her family connections and polite manners is the obvious choice.
But when Alexander meets Evie, a simmering passion ignites between them. Evie, with her rebellious spirit is like no other woman Alex has ever met, but to reject Sophie for Evie would cause a scandal and devastate everyone Evie loves.
Evie knows she must do her duty. But in doing so faces the unbearable future of being without the man she loves.

FULL BOOK START HERE:

1

LYLSTON VILLAGE, WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

January 1860

Evie Davenport skipped lightly down the stairs, a book of British birds in her hand. At the half landing, she paused and glanced out of the window at the crunching sound of a carriage on the snow-covered drive. As the woman descended from the vehicle, Evie groaned.

Mrs Myer.

A widow from the village, the woman was like a homing pigeon. The minute Evie or her papa were indoors, she arrived.

Quickly changing her mind about sitting in front of the fire with her book, Evie dashed to the cupboard by the stairs and pulled on her coat. She flung off her house slippers and hurriedly put on her boots, tying the laces around the hooks so fast she missed several.

The doorbell rang.

Evie plucked her black felt hat from a hook and squashed it on her hair with only one pin to secure it.

Fanny, the housemaid, came along the corridor that led to the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron as she did so. ‘Oh, miss. I didn’t know you were going out. Shall I send for the carriage?’

‘No, no, it is fine, Fanny. I’m going for a long walk, likely to Bellingham Hall.’

‘The snow has stopped, miss, but it’ll be deep in places.’ Fanny straightened her apron as the doorbell jangled again.

‘Tell my papa,’ Evie whispered, fastening the last button on her coat.

Fanny opened the door and Mrs Myer sailed in with a look of displeasure on her beautiful face. Her pointed glare at Fanny spoke a thousand words, but she also voiced them. ‘Dear me, girl, you are tardy at answering the doorbell. In this weather, especially, you should not keep your master’s guests waiting in the cold. Punctuality is a most prized virtue and one that you should uphold in respect for this household’s reputation.’

‘Begging your pardon, madam.’ Fanny bobbed her knees, her freckled face keeping straight though her green eyes danced merrily.

Mrs Myer turned for Fanny to help her off with her cape and noticed Evie standing by the cupboard. ‘Goodness, child. What are you doing hiding there?’

‘Not hiding. I was just on my way out, Mrs Myer.’

‘In that state?’

Evie put a hand up to her hat and adjusted it, then checked the buttons on her coat were done up correctly. ‘I was in a hurry.’

‘To go for a walk in this weather?’

‘It is good to walk for one’s health.’

‘Not in zero temperatures, surely?’ The older woman slipped off her gloves, disapproval etched on her fine features.

‘Papa says it is good for the lungs.’ Evie couldn’t help but taunt, knowing Mrs Myer would not speak against anything Major Davenport said.

‘Indeed, but I am here now. So, take off your things and we shall have some tea. Your dear papa will be most pleased to have us both for company.’

Evie bristled at being commanded by this woman. ‘Forgive me, Mrs Myer,’ she replied with false sweetness. ‘But I am expected at Bellingham Hall,’ she lied.

‘Gracious, you spend far too much time at that hall.’ Mrs Myer swept her haughty gaze around the fine entrance as though ready to pick fault with it. Not that she could. Fanny kept the whole house tidy and clean, a large task for someone who had to be the parlourmaid, chambermaid and everything in between.

Evie smiled brightly. ‘Good day, Mrs Myer.’

‘Where is the major?’

‘In his study.’ Evie hesitated, torn as whether to stay and protect her papa from this woman’s wiles or to flee and be free of her condescension. ‘We were not expecting visitors.’

‘But I told the major I would be calling today. I mentioned it before you left to visit your aunts last week.’

‘We only returned from Bradford last evening. It must have slipped his mind.’ She gave Mrs Myer a small shrug as though a visit by her was not important to them.


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