How far would she go to save her marriage? How far would he go to keep a promise?
1900. Eighteen-year old Hephzibah Wildman's world is turned upside down when she loses her parents in a tragic accident. Homeless and destitute, she must leave the security of the Oxford college where her stepfather was Dean, to earn her living as a governess at Ingleton Hall. Befriending Merritt Nightingale, the local parson and drawn to the handsome Thomas Egdon, she starts to build a new life for herself. When Hephzibah attracts the unwanted advances of her employer, the country squire Sir Richard Egdon, she makes the first of two desperate decisions that will change not only her own life but the lives of those around her.
Clare Flynn writes historical fiction with compelling characters.and a strong sense of time and place. Her books often deal with characters who are displaced - forced out of their comfortable lives and familiar surroundings. She is a graduate of Manchester University where she read English Language and Literature.
After a career in international marketing, working on brands from nappies to tinned tuna and living in Paris, Milan, Brussels and Sydney, she ran her own consulting business for 15 years and now lives in Eastbourne where she writes full-time – and can look out of her window and see the sea.
When not writing and reading, Clare loves to paint with watercolours and grabs any available opportunity to travel - sometimes under the guise of research.
The theft of the green ribbons which Hephzibah's mother had gifted her shortly before her death, reinforce how uncomfortable and out of place Hephzibah feels at Ingleton Hall.
The ribbons are a link to the past that she has lost for ever but their theft by her love rival ruins them for Hephzibah. Even when they are eventually restored to her she cannot let them go. They are a reminder of what she has lost and how she has been humiliated. She will never wear them but she feels unable to throw them away.
The Green Ribbons
The following day was Sunday and Hephzibah put on her best clothes and sat down at the dressing table to dress her hair. As she tied a length of grey ribbon around the knot of hair at the back of her head she thought of the new green ribbons her mother had gifted her. She liked to pick them up and hold them to her hair and think about how she might have worn them in Rome and wonder if maybe a day would come when she would at last have reason to wear them. She reached out to the mantelpiece where she had placed them when she had unpacked that first night, but there was nothing there. She hunted round the room but there was no sign of the ribbons. Annoyed, she finished pinning her hair in place. She frowned at her reflection in the mirror. Every inch the governess. Perhaps one of the maids had tidied the ribbons away – or maybe Ottilie had taken them to dress up one of her china dolls.