Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.
A SCARRED BEAST
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.
A SECOND CHANCE
A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is a soldier – that’s his life, and it’s what he knows. Although he’s the second son of an earl, he doesn’t spend time in society, but when a friend invites him to a musical event, he accepts to be courteous. When he spots a beautiful young lady, and hears her lovely singing, he’s captivated in spite of himself. She’s surrounded by friends and beaus, so Sebastian has no expectation that she’ll even notice him, but she does.
Sylvia Stafford is the daughter of a baronet, and is a popular young lady. She’s drawn to Sebastian, who appears quiet and serious, and so unlike the society gentlemen she’s familiar with. As Sebastian changes his tune, and begins to attend every event, just to spend time with Sylvia, it seems that they are rapidly falling in love. On the night before he has to leave for India, Sebastian intends to propose, but loses his nerve, believing Sylvia could never accept him. They share a romantic moment and some tender kisses, then Sebastian leaves, without any further word.
Sylvia obtains her father’s permission to write to Sebastian, and pours her heart out in dozens of letters, but never receives a reply. As for Sebastian, he never receives any correspondence from Sylvia, and is convinced that he was just a flirtation. Obviously, someone is determined that this couple should not be together, but who, and why?
Eventually Sylvia and Sebastian will both have to endure devastating and life changing events. Sylvia’s father gambles away everything, then takes his own life, and the ensuing scandal causes Sylvia to be cut by society. As well as having to leave the only life she’s known, Sylvia now has no means of support, and must decide whether to be a poor relation or to seek employment. She chooses to become a governess, even though her employers are in trade, rather than society. Still, they are kind, and Sylvia makes peace with her new lot in life, while she convinces herself that she no longer loves Sebastian.
Meanwhile, Sebastian was severely injured in India, and sent home, only to find that his father and older brother have died. He’s now the Earl of Radcliffe. Badly scarred, and blinded in one eye, Sebastian chooses to retreat to the country at Pershing Hall, licking his wounds in private. He doesn’t want to see anyone, or run the earldom. But his younger sister, Julia, can’t bear to see him like this. She has a plan…
Sebastian is furious when Sylvia appears as Julia’s guest at Pershing Hall. (You’ll have to read the story to discover how Julia managed to arrange this.) The two former sweethearts are hurt and angry – each believing they were played false three years ago. They also misjudge the other’s motives for their meeting now. Through the tangled web of deceit that originally kept them apart, to the misunderstandings they believe today, it seems unlikely there can be any type of reconciliation.
I love both these characters and hate the underhanded way they were separated. Sebastian is a serious and quiet man, who is very honorable, but is hurting both physically and emotionally. Eventually, he is determined to find out the truth, and when Sylvia’s first letter is found, and he finally is able to read of her love and longing, it’s an emotional and beautiful moment. Sylvia has a strength and dignity that I admire so much. She accepted her heartbreak, as well as her change in fortune, and began to build a new life for herself. This couple is so different from each other, and so perfect for each other. Their reconciliation is sweet and satisfying, though their passion is not expressed beyond kisses. THE LOST LETTER is a bittersweet and emotional second chance at love story, which I found touching and extremely well written.