042 - Flowers from the Storm
In this book our hero meets our heroine, fights a duel, has a stroke, loses his speech, re-meets our heroine, and escapes from a Sanitarium. AND WE’RE NOT EVEN HALFWAY THROUGH!! Laura Kinsale with her fantastic command of the English language really shows us a different side of love. Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx, has to deal with relearning his words and Archimedea Timms, has to figure out how to love someone outside Quaker Society. Flowers from the Storm took us on a wild adventure and we cannot wait to tell you all about it. **Thou shalt find SPOILERS**
Pick up a copy of this week's book, Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale, here!
Want to listen to a certain segment? Here is our outline this week:
0:00 - 10:43: Intro/Author Facts/History Facts/Tropes
10:43 - 55:29: Synopsis
55:29 - 59:59: Parlour
59:59 - 01:47:35: General Discussion
We are now including our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Flowers from the Storm Synopsis:
Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx is about to enjoy an evening with his mistress. She’s married but her husband has been away and isn’t expected home for another two weeks.
He notices that she is increasing and tells her she should make sure to sleep with her husband right away when he returns.
Turns out, that’s a shorter period of time than Jervaulx expected.
As he’s slipping down the stairs, he hears a sound. Mr. Sutherland has returned and this is not going to go the way you think it is guys.
Mr. Sutherland turns and sees Jervaulx. He immediately loses his shit (as he has every right too) and challenges him to a duel. As all this is happening Jervaulx notices his right hand feels weird and isn’t really moving as quickly as it should. He also has a terrible headache and heads home, a little in a daze.
Archimedea “Maddy” Timms is a Quaker. She is also a spinster with no prospects. Her mother has died and now she is the only one to care for her blind father.
Now her father also happens to be a very respected mathematician and he’s been corresponding with the Duke of Jervaulx on a particular theory. The two of them are meant to present their findings to the London Analytical Society soon.
In fact, the day in question comes the day after the Duke is challenged to the duel and the day before it actually takes place.
Maddy, personally wants nothing to do with the duke and his creaturely comforts. After a successful presentation of their theory, Jervaulx invites Maddy and her father to his house for dinner to celebrate. Maddy tells her father they should refuse but her father insists they go.
At dinner Jervauxl turns out to be a rather nice guy despite his terrible reputation. Even taking the time to describe Maddy to her father, who has not seen her face in years. Her father is very moved by the description and while Maddy thinks it’s a bit overblown, she’s secretly flattered.
Dawn comes and Jervaulx is on the dueling field. He knows he’s in the wrong and plans to shoot wide and hope that that is enough for Sutherland. However, as the men raise their arms, Jervaulx is struck with an intense pain in his head and he feels as if he is adrift from his body. He falls to the ground as Sutherland fires.
Maddy is on her way to the Duke’s house with a thank you note for dinner the night before. The duke had made her father very happy and she admits he’s not the man she expected based on his roguish reputation. When she arrives though, she sees a crowd of people and sees two women, one older and stoic, the other younger and hysteric run to the house. Maddy is very concerned so she flags down an errand boy who is coming her way. He tells her that the duke has died in a duel.
And that concludes the first like 30 pages of this book. Strap in friends. It’s going to get wild!
Maddy and her father have arrived at their cousin’s house. Dr. Edward Timms is the doctor in charge of a sanitarium and he needs Maddy’s help since his wife just had a baby.
Dr. Timms is showing Maddy around and introducing her to the patients when he arrives at the cell of one of the more volatile.
“THis is one of our most tragic cases, I fear. An example of moral insanity which has blossomed into mania.”
Maddy, nervous upon meeting such a man, cautiously issues a greeting.
“He turned suddenly, the motion caught halfway with a sharp steel clang, his dark hair falling wildly over his forehead, the deep blue eyes intense, frozen cobalt rage: a caged and bound pirate, a brute at bay.”
Turns out Jervaulx did not die in a duel after all. (Fortunate since he is the hero of the story)
Dr. Timms tells us that he had an apoplexy (brought on by his degenerate and immoral ways) and was unconscious for two days. They thought him dead but when they tried to move him, his dogs threw a fit and would not let anyone touch him. It was then he produced movement but while he regained consciousness and movement he was “left in a state of maniacal idiocy.”
Maddy comes forward to see if Jervauxl recognizes her in any way and he looks very innocent until he traps her and holds her with the barber’s razor to her throat. It is then he tries to convey to Maddy a symbol of some kind. He cannot speak but he does seem to know how to draw this shape. Afterward he lets her go and submits to the attendants not so gentle handling.
It turns out it is a mathematical symbol. One that Maddy recognizes from the notes she has taken for her father.
She consults her father and in the middle of the night sneaks over to Jervaulx’s room with a piece of paper with the entire formula.
At this point, we’ve gone into the narrative from Christian’s point of view. His mind is a jumble of words and feelings. He has conscious thought but cannot seem to easily understand words nor speak them. He knows that what he is understanding is wrong but does not have the ability to voice a question.
Maddy shows him the completed formula and tells him it’s a “sign funshun”
“He looked at the symbols. He knew what the series made, he understood it’s meaning - And the revolving worlds fell, dropped into the cup, settling. Sine Function. Of course.”
He then utters his first words in a whisper, “Sine, yes.” From there more words come. But this is not a Disney movie and the words do flow freely like water from a broken dam. Each word is a struggle and he cannot seem to get the most important words out, “Don’t go”
Maddy is the first person who has shown him patience and kindness since being sent to this madhouse and he wishes her to stay and help him. However the words do not come and Maddy leaves him alone once again.
The next morning Christian is throwing a fit. He is calling her name and banging around his cell to get her attention. She did not believe he was insane the night before but maybe she was wrong.
She goes down to look at the isolation chamber and reflects that it is similar to the quaker meeting house. A place for quiet contemplation and reflection, to allow God to show you the way.
Down there she has her first realization
“He isn’t mad; he is maddened. The thought came so clearly that she had the sensation someone had spoken it aloud.
Jervaulx had not lost his reason. His words had been taken away. He couldn’t speak, and he couldn’t understand what was said to him.”
Maddy feels God is speaking to her and giving her a mission. Not to abandon Jervaulx while he suffered.
Emboldened by this new calling, Maddy takes this to her Cousin and explains that she has had an Opening and she needs to attend to Jervaulx. He is not keen on the idea but Maddy has a very quiet way of refusing to budge, so she gets her way. She cannot quite shake Larkin, the terrible attendant, but it’s a start.
She begins her journey with Jervaulx.
The first step was getting him to eat. Frankly Jervaulx finds the food they serve to be worse than what they feed animals, which is why he usually has to be force fed. He is a Duke afterall and they treat him worse than a dog.
However, Maddy is patient and he understands what she wants of him despite wanting to erupt in anger at the entire thing. He calms himself and takes a spoonful of soup.
“And that was the test. He passed. For the first time since he’s woken from the drugged stupor in which they’d brought him here, he’d sat down voluntarily and eaten like a human.”
They continue with little improvements and also set backs. The biggest set back being Larkin, who has made it his personal mission to see Jervaulx suffer.
However things proceed well and they are permitted an outing to the village nearby. The Duke has a hearing in London coming up and this is a bit of trial one. While visiting the local vicar and his wife, Jervaulx sees a cat, which prompts a walk in the garden alone with Maddy.
Christian finds kittens behind a bed of Dahlias and uses the opportunity to ruffle Maddy’s thee thou feathers. They even share a chaste kiss, which is ended by kittens and then Cousin Edward wondering where they were.
As they take their leave and Christian offers Maddy his arm, Maddy has a realization.
“In a moment of revelation, Maddy realized that this was the Devil looking at her out of gentian eyes: that her Opening to serve Jervaulx was not without it’s real and dangerous temptations.”
This thought deposits a seed into Maddy’s heart. She is still going to help Jeraulx but she doesn't trust him in the same way.
After a few more ups and downs, it’s time for Jervaulx to head to London for his competency hearing. The hearing is meant to give control of the entire dukedom to Christian’s brothers-in-law. They are not happy to hear of his improvements. Christian’s mother is a religious fanatic and is just saying that he needs to pray and repent his sinful ways of the past. She’s no help. The only person who seems to want to help Christian is his Aunt Vesta. She is a dragon of a lady and for her, he cannot be declared incompetent because the dukedom is not secure. There is no direct descendant and the title will revert to the crown if there is no heir.
Maddy finally gets it across to Jervaulx the importance of the hearing. He is not in London for good like he thinks. He can and will be sent back to the sanitarium unless he passes the competency hearing.
Christian practices his words constantly but when the hearing happens the words fail him. He is unable to perform the tasks given to him and gets upset which leads to Dr. Edwards getting punched and Larkin having to restrain him.
Luckily the lord in charge tells everyone that while the Duke could not do anything that was set in front of him, they had filed the wrong petition. They had filed for a idiocy hearing and what they needed was a mental derangement hearing. They’ll have to resubmit and wait for another trial date.
This is great news for Aunt Vesta. Maddy is confused at her joy, Christian still isn’t safe. But Aunt Vesta is concerned about the line of succession. They have maybe 6 months before the next hearing and if Christian can marry and get an heir off the girl, then the line will be secured.
Maddy thinks this is a poor plan and does not understand the necessity but Christian agrees. He refuses to go back to the Sanitarium.
So Aunt Vesta arranges a marriage and Maddy and Christian practice the marriage ceremony. He has to speak the words to make the marriage valid.
The girl who is to be his duchess is only 17 and proves very quickly unnerved by Christian. She’s there to be a duchess as her father wishes, even if she thinks the man mad.
The day of the wedding comes and Christian is ready to face the day. When it comes time to say his part of the ceremony, he cannot speak the words. While the words come freely in private, he cannot seem to produce them under public scrutiny.
Suddenly people are moving, Christian calmly walks up the aisle, grabs Maddy and makes an exit. He enters a room and throws the bolt behind them but when he tries to unlock the door leading outside he cannot make the key work.
“He seized her hand, compelling to toward the lock. “No,” she cried. “Can’t!” He held her wrist in both of his hands, pressed it up against the door. She made a sob of frustration. Still Christian held her there, halfway to tears himself, not even able to say her name to beg and plead and grovel for the one trivial move, the small petty commonplace act, a key in a lock and his whole life balanced on it - he would have gone down on his knees to induce her but he had no time.”
As he throws himself against the door, Maddy relents and opens the door, allowing them to escape.
They make it into a hack, manage to sell one of Jervaulx’s fancy diamond shoe buckles, and get a coaching station. At the coaching station, Maddy tells Christian that she’ll help him get a ticket out of town but she won’t be going with him. He tries to ask her to marry him but she instantly refuses and with Christian’s limited verbal skills, he’s unable to argue his point.
In her attempts to figure out how to help Christian, while also head back to her father, she spies another Quaker in the inn.
She turns to fellow Quaker Richard Gill for advice and he mainly tells her to send Christian back to his family. She explains that sending him back is not an option and asks for him to stay with Christian so she can tell her father what is happening. She implores him to make Christian’s well being his Concern.
Richard let go of a deep breath and looked at her. “I will make it my Concern. I will consider further if he should go back.”
Just when Maddy is reaching Richard and getting some potential help, Christian hauls her out of the inn and into a hack.
Christian has remembered a friend. Kit Durham hasn’t seen him or heard anything about him since the day of the duel. He is shocked to see Christian and Maddy but quickly ushers them in.
He is a true friend. Despite Christian’s broken speech, Durham is quick to treat him as normal and is on board with getting Christian out of town.
While Maddy gives backstory to Durham we meet another friend, Colonel Fane, who is all in with helping Christian and also Richard Gill makes another appearance.
Maddy is still insisting she not accompany them out of town. She feels she’s done her duty by him and cannot continue on. Mainly using her father’s blindness as the reason she cannot leave.
Christian will not leave without her. So it is decided (although he argued it) that Richard Gill would let Maddy’s father know where she was and then return with a response from him.
Maddy agrees and goes to sleep for the night. Durham and Christian spend the night drinking and the next morning Maddy is awoken early, like 3am early. Durham has a letter from her father saying that she should stay with Christian and not abandon him. Then she is bustled into a carriage and they leave London.
They end up in Gloucestershire at the rectory of Durham’s parish. He is not often there and no one will expect them there. He is back to London to make sure that no one follows them.
Maddy awakes the next day and is distraught. She should not have trusted Durham.
“Durham was even worse than she thought. Not only did he turn out to be one of the false priests - and a more unlikely man of God she’d never met...he’d allowed this garden and this house to fall almost into ruin.”
There is a spot of good news. Christian is continuing to get better. He even manages to read and speak aloud, albeit brokenly, what he has read.
The time there is short with Christian trying to convey to Maddy all that she means to him, while Maddy feels as though she is bidding her time before going home to her father. In fact, after a tender moment the evening before Maddy lashes out at Christian.
“What dost thou want of me? She cried. I am no scarlet, yielding woman.” She snatched the flowers from his hand and threw them to the wind. The gust took them, tossed them end over end, bent the stems and rolled them awkwardly along the ground. Thou art unkind, to beleaguer me with thy idle attentions!”
She tries to tell him that to be with him would mean to be excommunicated from the Society of Friends.
Besides he’s lived a life of sin and she refuses to live that way.
After only a couple days, Durham returns as if the hounds of hell are on his heels. They’ve been found out and the Dowager Duchess has sent men to drag Christian back to the mad house.
The only option is for Maddy to marry Christian. She will then become his closest relative and can keep him out of the mad house.
He and Fane take them to church and Maddy is presented with the prospect of marring the duke right then and there. She refuses.
“Thou dost not understand! I can’t be married by a priest - in a steeplehouse! Only to satisfy a law! I can’t! We must try to hide him!”
Apparently that’s not going to work and the men prepare for battle as Maddy hears banging start on the door.
Under these distressing circumstances, she agrees to marry Christian, becoming the duchess of Jervaulx. She does make sure to say a vow to him outside the traditional angelican marriage ceremony.
“Jervaulx, Maddy barked, I have received from the Lord a charge to love thee. Thou art my husband, and I am thy wife, helpsmeet, with no rule but love between us.”
For his part, Christian makes it through this ceremony, with pauses but saying almost every word correctly.
Later that day Maddy tries to tell Christian that the marriage was not true. He is not happy. Asking if she lied when said her vows.
She said that she only did it to prevent violence but…
“The turmoil of doubt inside her relaxed. She had done right. There had been two choices, two inevitable outcomes: to marry and keep him free, or to forbid strife only - and let him be seized and chained.
She had done what God wishes, then: married him - and therefore it must be a true marriage.”
After this they remove themselves to Jervaulx Castle. It is exactly what Maddy does not wish for life. Full of opulence and creaturely comforts. And demands that no one call her duchess. She is simply to be called mistress.
Maddy takes her concerns of the marriage to Durham and he tells her they could potentially dissolve the marriage if it is not consummated...that’s food for thought. Especially when Christian overhears.
Also Aunt Vesta and the rest of the family is to be notified of the marriage and Maddy’s father will be brought to the Castle. Aunt Vesta also comes to the castle to make sure Maddy knows her duty to the dukedom.
Our two MCs go about their lives with Christian getting better and slowly waging a war for Maddy’s heart.
When Aunt Vesta is there, the two newlyweds end up sharing a bed. Christian cannot resist embracing Maddy but she reminds Christian she does not wish to consummate the marriage.
She was his wife. She was his. He held her tighter and put his face against her. “You tell...when to stop,” he said, his voice muffled. “You say...you don’t want.” The flame in her was slow and deep—he was going to incite it with the fire in himself; he was going to make a blaze to burn down cities, to lay waste cathedrals and castles and plain meetinghouses—to make a world where it was only him, and only her, and this bed, and one flesh.
But Maddy does not say stop. And we have Encounter 1 and they consummate their marriage. Afterward Christian whispers to her:
“Maddy, he said, between hard breaths, make you...glad. I swear.”
Maddy is trying to figure out what she just did by consummating this marriage.
Stop. Oh, stop, say stop, but it’s too late. Too late. Because God forgive me, I love thee more than my own life.
At the encouragement of Aunt Vesta and Christian, Maddy starts to tackle the accounts of the house. She is flabbergasted at the cost of everything. But Christian supports her and he begins to figure out how to coax Maddy out of her Quaker shell.
He’d learned that a matter-of-fact bearing relaxed her, and from there a gentle tease was most effective: a silly joke more likely to disarm her than gallantry or urgent wooing. Her sense of humor was unsophisticated. The more patently ludicrous a jest, the more likely she was to understand. He wondered if her Quakers ever laughed at all.
While Maddy visits with her father, Christian is learning of attempts to get him back to the sanitarium. And now that he’s married, he worries for Maddy.
To lie in the cell, to lie imprisoned there not knowing where she was, what they’d done to her; not even knowing if she was alive. He imagined it, and the nightmare of that place descended to a depth he had not known it could fathom.
Later that night, we have encounter number 2, which is a bit of a slower love making with some exploration on Maddy’s part.
The family moves forward with plans to get Jervaulx back in the public eye and secure him his freedom.
Everything is interrupted though when Jervaulx gets a letter from his solicitor, who he had written to himself, about making sure Maddy was cared for by the estate if something should happen to him.
The man refuses to do anything. Christian’s nasty brothers-in-law and his mother have gotten to the people who help run his estate. The solicitor won’t act, the bank has frozen his accounts, and his lenders are demanding payment.
To fight this Christian drags Maddy back to London where he sets out to be the duke again. Maddy is against this plan. She cannot leave her father again. And besides, he cannot just go about spending money when he has debts due!
Finally Christian relents and allows Maddy to return to fetch her father. While he is alone he works to solidify his plan. If the public do not think him mad, then his family will have a harder time returning him to the sanitarium.
His plans are almost quickly derailed when his brothers-in-law come to the house to try to blackmail him into renouncing his marriage, taking a pension, and leaving control of the dukedom to them. Obviously the situation escalates and is only calmed when Maddy walks into the room.
She was on her way to her father when she felt that she should not have left.
“I am thy protection. I ought not to have left thee.”
This ends with a fade to black romantic scene.
Things get more complicated when Richard Gill reappears in their lives. He tries to convince Maddy to leave the duke and return to the Society of Friends. She should turn away from this sinful world. The duke arrives to see Richard trying to get Maddy to leave and looses his temper, this causes him to lash out, hurting Maddy.
To say this causes problems in the marriage is an understatement.
Added to the fact that all Maddy can hear is Richard Gill’s words in her head and only sees the massive amount of money the duke is spending. She tries to reason with him and tell him to pay his debts but that is not what is in the plan.
Christian tries to explain that he needs to spend money to make himself the duke again in the public’s eye. All they know is rumor, he can only save them if he repairs his image. Sadly the words are not there for him and our plot is furthered along by the continued misunderstanding.
Things further unravel by an appearance of Mrs. Sutherland who comes to the house directly and does not believe Christian when he tells her Maddy is his wife. Shortly after the duel, Mr. Sutherland died. Since Eydie had been exiled to Scotland for her unwifely behavior, she told the entire Sutherland family that the child was not Sutherlands. Now she is adrift and apparently planned to marry Christian (She knows nothing of the whole mad house thing).
Obviously that plan does not work and then it comes to demanding money from Christian for the care of his daughter...Maddy does not know any of this…
After dealing with his former mistress and does get some money released from his bankers. Maddy confront him of the former mistress and tries to convey her own confused feelings about the whole situation.
“I’m afraid,” she whispered. “I’m afraid of what thou wilt do to my soul and my heart.” “Your heart...is precious to me,” he said quietly.
There is a slight thawing between the two. Christian tries wooing his bride while also seeing to his plans. We have one last passionate encounter and then all hell breaks loose.
Despite loving her husband, Maddy is distraught over the amount of money he is spending and is not convinced that the ball for 500 people is the way to go about saving himself.
The money becomes a force that drives them apart. Maddy sees the money going out and can do nothing to stop the spending. On top of that, she feels as if he does not need her anymore. His speech is improving and he’s able to do his own correspondence, her whole point in staying was to help him and she’s not doing that.
The day of the ball arrives and Maddy has visitors. Friends from the meetinghouse. They are there to tell her that she is no longer welcome unless she wishes to renounce her marriage. They can help her dissolve it.
This is the day Maddy has been dreading and it brings up all her insecurities about her decision to marry Christian. She holds onto that lifeline of return.
At first she refuses to attend the ball but Christian told her that is not an option. If the king arrives, she must be there by his side. They have to do this together. Maddy tells him she will not bow to a king and address him by an overblown title. Christian doesn’t care about that, just her presence.
She relents and attends. Everything is going well except midnight arrives but the king does not. Christian is banking on his arrival and knows he cannot start the dancing before that arrival.
While they’re waiting, Maddy gets a note saying to meet upstairs. Thinking it is from Christian she is surprised to find the evil brother-in-laws. They try one last time to get Maddy to renounce the marriage and allow them to take control of Christian. She stands strong but escapes to the stable, where she finds a woman holding a child. It is the baby girl born by Eydie Sutherland. The woman has gone off to marry some other man and is leaving the child to Christian to deal with. Maddy takes the woman and child inside.
Christian has been holding down the fort in the ballroom and it’s taking it’s toll. Things get worse when he thinks he sees Larkin in the crowd. It creates in him a panic. Luckily he holds it together just in time for the King to arrive.
This part actually goes well. The King has shown his favor. Maddy never bowed to the King and he in turn smiled and is chuffed at her Quaker ways.
Finally Christian no longer has to fear going back to the sanitarium. He spends the rest of the ball attending to the king and solidifying his favor.
When he finally heads upstairs, he finds the woman and child, with a note from Maddy telling him that she’s left.
He is devastated by the loss but also fascinated by his child. He takes great comfort in becoming a father and while he wants to go after Maddy he knows it is not the right plan.
Maddy is trying to readjust to her Quaker life. She misses CHristian but is convinced that her path is with the Quakers. Her father though, can tell she is miserable.
He secretly goes to speak with Christian and tells him all about her formal letter reading to the meeting. It is a letter outlining all her sins and asking for forgiveness. This public reading is the only way for her to actually regain her reputation within the Society of Friends.
Christian really does not wish to go but he has to try one last time to get Maddy back.
As Maddy approaches the meeting house, it is not Christian she sees but Aunt Vesta, who tells her she’s thinking about it all wrong. She only sees the decadence, she has failed to see how many lives she could positively impact by being a duchess.
“Oh, you foolish girl. You foolish girl. You don’t know what you had. You were too afraid to take your hands down from your eyes and look.” She carefully set her feet on the dirt and pushed herself up. The footman moved swiftly forward and supported her to the carriage door. She stopped and turned back to Maddy, leaning on her stick. “You will feed—how many? Ten, out of those basins. Think of it, girl. When you might have fed ten thousand, if you’d only had the nerve.”
Maddy however proceeds with the reading of her letter. Christian is there and she sees him. Reading her letter to him.
The letter says that she lived in sin with him and gave into temptation to live amongst decadence. It is a plea for forgiveness by the Society even though she does not deserve it.
Christian is outraged and heartbroken by her letter.
“Think...not?” he demanded. “Think you’re a meek mild little Quaker?” His reckless laugh at that echoed to the rafters “Stubborn...self-will...pride opinionated liar! Won’t curtsy to the king, damn you! Walk in madman’s cell—head up...no fear...I could have killed you, Maddy. Killed you a hundred times.” “It was an Opening,” she whispered. “It was...you,” he said. “Duchess. You...took me out of there. You married...duke. You said... no powder on the footmen.” He pointed at the floor. “You tell me now—go down on my knees, and I will do it. The Devil’s gift.” His mouth curled. “Not pearls, flowers...gowns. Something unholy in truth. I give you... selfish arrogant bastard...what I am, and all I can do. I give you...my daughter...because I’ll keep her...because I’ll ruin her name to please myself...because only you—only you, Duchess...understand why I do it. Because only you...can teach her courage enough...teach her not to care...the scorn...what they say. Only you...can teach her to...be like you. A duchess.” He opened his hand and let the paper fall to the floor. “A duchess inside!”
He leaves telling her that he still wants her as his wife and he will wait 5 minutes.
He waits a couple hours instead. But eventually she leaves the meetinghouse and finds him. She had to write a new letter.
They speak more about his former mistress and his daughter whom he cannot seem to give up.
He could not look at her. It was too hard. His shame—his mistakes—his sins. He had driven her away with them long before he had ever met her. She was luminous and calm, unworldly. The aura of tranquility about her made him bleed inside. “Thou wilt keep her?”
He bent his head. An unexpected strangeness gripped his chest. The lichens on the gravestone began to slide into the letters. He blinked and laughed. “I just think...‘she’ll be cold, and they won’t care.’” From where he stood the sound of traffic was like a distant grinding, queerly softened, as if from some other world. “I didn’t know...it would be so hard.” He wiped the heels of his hands over his eyes. “Maddy!”
At her consent to stay with him, Christian goes down on his knees and gathering her in his arms. The words of love he feels failing.
He can get out one thing though.
You...make me...better.” “Oh, I will try.” She played with a lock at his temple. “But thou art the duke, a bad wicked man, and I love thee too well to make thee something different.”
It is a year later and the Duke and Duchess of Jervaulx are making up for the missed Christmas celebration for the staff the year before.
Maddy is learning that there is a lot of gray area when one has a large income. Right and wrong were easier when so many people did not depend on you.
She also has noticed the improvement in Christian. He will probably never be the same man he was before, but he has lost the clouded look in his gaze.
We also get a quick bonus encounter. No details though but it’s clear Maddy has lost her conflicted nature towards lovemaking.
We also get a quick ghost scene, as a Deerhound is known to grace the great hall when a duchess may be carrying…
A buffle-headed bad wicked man he might be—but he could recognize a miracle when he saw one.