Estrangement (1816-1817) continues the trials and tribulations of life for the gentry at Linmore Hall. Set in Shropshire during the Post-Napoleonic Regency era.
It is a story about loyalty, betrayal, sacrifice and survival. A marriage is in crisis, with a problem that cannot be solved alone, and the future of the Linmore Estate hangs in the balance. Only time will tell whether events yet to unfold, will restore its friendships and fortunes – or tear them asunder.
If marriage had changed Joshua Norbery, the loss of his father makes him doubly aware of his own mortality. He needs a son and heir, but with Arthur Bradstone’s conditions for the return of the Linmore mortgage, duty and antipathy make poor bedfellows, which render a desirable outcome impossible in the light of his wife’s absence.
Bored with her marriage, Annabel Norbery uses her children’s sensibilities to escape the restrictions of Linmore in mourning. Once free, she solicits an invitation to visit the sister of her former beau, but finds that the circle in which her friend moves, and the people they meet are very different to those with which she is familiar. Caught in a situation beyond her control, Annabel rushes home to the husband she disdained. Can she persuade Joshua to believe her version of events? Will there be consequences for her if he does? Dare she risk her father’s anger if he does not?
Miss Maria Dinchope, the paragon in black bombazine, appears invincible, but she is vulnerable to the whims of a vengeful woman. Whilst her mistress’s absence brings relief, Annabel Norbery’s precipitous return alerts Maria to a situation that will test her loyalties. Having witnessed an action of spite, she cannot avoid taking sides. Will she do likewise when the offender is in need of help?
Caught in a web of marital deceit, Maria knows the precarious state of her employer’s marriage, and the demands made on Joshua by his wife’s father. Can she now, in recognising her mistress’s plight, forgive the slights of the past to help Annabel in her distress – and still retain the master’s trust?
Major Charlie Cobarne, a childhood friend of Joshua Norbery, grew up on the Linmore Estate but left in anger. Scarred by the wars, Charlie wants to heal the rift, but this must wait while he rescues a lady in distress. In serving her needs, his loyalty to the past is compromised. Can he still achieve his wish, and honour a promise made to his father, or will his sense of chivalry prove to be his undoing? How will he then make amends to the friend he maligned?