From Chapter One
Rousseau Mansion, New Orleans—October 1883
Nothing existed of the life she had known.
Her slender arm wrapped around the little boy’s shoulder and pulled him closer to her side. She could feel his slight trembling and wished more than anything that she could take away his sadness. They were alone in the world. They had each other, and she prayed that would be enough for them both.
They stood and listened as the priest gave the final blessing, and two men lowered the caskets into the ground. The few other mourners who had been kind enough to attend the funeral asked her to leave with them, but she needed the closure. She needed her eyes to see what her heart refused to accept. “An unfortunate affair,” everyone called the incident, for it wasn’t every day that a man murdered his wife and then shot himself. Isabelle wished not to think on the possible reasons why, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. She never imagined her family to be anything but happy. Their father’s death, however, revealed the truth. No one spoke of it with them, of course, but the lawyer had made the situation quite clear.
They were penniless.
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