A summary of a gripping novel about a girl stolen from her birthright in Regency England
|'Eppie' is an enthralling family drama set in Jane Austen era England. The story is by my writing buddy Jan and is available to buy on Amazon. Here is a link to the Amazon page:
An overview of the novel:
Although she is poor, Eppie adores her family, who live in a cottage beside a stream in the village of Little Lubbock. A favourite place for Eppie is the secret hollow in an ancient oak. The tree is like the centre of her universe: 'its weary arms sweeping through the dappled light to heaven, its roots stirred by a breeze in the underworld, the realm of the faerie.'
However, the early nineteenth century is a turbulent period in England's history and being trapped in poverty can be an horrendous experience. When Eppie and her family are thrown out of their cottage by Lord Robert du Quesne, the family are compelled to seek work in a nearby town, where they are constrained to work at a cotton mill for long, arduous hours.
A fast-moving history novel, this is a stirring tale of maternal love, mystery and intrigue. It sparkles with romance and a liberal dose of humour.
One Christmas, Eppie is amazed to witness the freezing of the haunted waterwheel that powers the cotton mill: 'The crashing, foaming river glazed over and froze. Crystal spears, like the ice swords of ancient warriors, spiked out from the wooden waterwheel as though thrusting against an unseen enemy. The mill engine halted. The rattling of spinning machines ceased.'
Other phantom elements in the novel include a haunted dolls' house, a ghostly rocking pony and a gargoyle which springs to life on a church roof: 'a spray of water flying from its knotted fringe of thatched hair.'
Eppie also climbs up inside a chimney to rescue a climbing boy and goes ice-skating at a fair on a frozen lake.
One of her most heart-rendering experiences, whilst working at the mill, is when she discovers that, as a new-born, she had been snatched from her cradle at the manor house in Little Lubbock. Wakelin, the young son of the village weaver, had stolen into Tunnygrave Manor and exchanged the body of his dead new-born sister for the daughter born to Lady Constance du Quesne. Can Eppie come to grips with the devastating revelation that Martha, the weaver's wife, whom she dearly loves, is not her true mother? Is it possible for Eppie to escape the brutality she encounters at the cotton mill and become who she was born to be - the lady of the manor?