Finding Her Place

 

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Finding Her Place (1817) – (The Foundling’s Path – Part 2) – continues the saga of the foundling’s search for respectability, with the people in Linmore Dale who help her – and those who would see her fail. Set in rural Shropshire during the Post-Napoleonic Regency era (1817).

Who is Nell Walcote – and from which family did she inherit her distinctive tawny curls?  It is a question that begs to be answered.

Nell Walcote has gained acceptance as a physician’s nurse, but her early life is a closed book. Although she is happy in her work, Nell senses that her routine is changing and she is being guided along a different path by people whose expectations she cannot comprehend. Marriage is not an option, for only one man would meet her ideal, and he is beyond her reach. (66 words)

Meg Chapel, the gypsy herbalist and midwife, is a misfit, living between two worlds. A woman who, knowing the secret of the foundling’s past, shared her skills to help the girl survive.

Summoned to a confinement, Meg comes like a shadow in the night and disappears with the dawn. What is it about her appearance that causes consternation in the household at Linmore Hall? What does she know of the people there, and when she leaves, will she take more illicit secrets than those acquired at the bedside?

Dr James Althorpe, a country physician, has a duty to maintain his professional integrity. How can he respond when his patient, a lady in distress, is less than honest? Should James base his diagnosis on what he is told or clinical judgement – and what part does his instinct for the truth play?

What he suspects is a secret so shocking it should not be kept – but what if he is wrong and the cause is a legitimate one? Can he afford to be judgemental when this could solve another man’s problem? How will James justify his decision when the situation becomes increasingly complex?

Embroiled in a web of secrecy and subterfuge, James meets people in senior positions who act out of character; and others determined to compel him to believe their version of events. Loyalty he can understand, but only so far.

With too many demands on his time and a conflict of interest between two lady patients, James’s suspicions are aroused when a pregnancy is not what it seems, and he learns that a secret commission he is given will have far-reaching consequences. Discretion is imperative for a careless word could bring scandal for one and endanger another. He needs help, but on whom, apart from Nell Walcote, can he rely?

Mystery and speculation abound when enquiries into a foundling’s past reveal links with people of quality, and the conspiracies of people who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims?

How can James reconcile his conscience to the decisions yet to be made, when the ethical and moral issues raise grave concern – equal to those involving his patient of the gentry?

The story will continue