Daughters Of Eden: The Eden Series Book 1

BOOK: Daughters Of Eden: The Eden Series Book 1
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Also by the Author

CORONET AMONG THE WEEDS

LUCINDA

CORONET AMONG THE GRASS

THE BUSINESS

IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW

STARDUST

NANNY

CHANGE OF HEART

GRAND AFFAIR

LOVE SONG

THE KISSING GARDEN

THE BLUE NOTE

SUMMERTIME

DISTANT MUSIC

THE MAGIC HOUR

FRIDAY'S GIRL

OUT OF THE BLUE

IN DISTANT FIELDS

THE WHITE MARRIAGE

GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART

THE ENCHANTED

THE LAND OF SUMMER

THE DAISY CLUB

 

The Belgravia series

BELGRAVIA

COUNTRY LIFE

AT HOME

BY INVITATION

 

The Nightingale series

TO HEAR A NIGHTINGALE

THE NIGHTINGALE SINGS

 

The Debutantes series

DEBUTANTES

THE SEASON

 

The Eden series

DAUGHTERS OF EDEN

THE HOUSE OF FLOWERS

 

The Bexham trilogy

THE CHESTNUT TREE

THE WIND OFF THE SEA

THE MOON AT MIDNIGHT

Novels with Terence Brady

VICTORIA

VICTORIA AND COMPANY

ROSE'S STORY

YES HONESTLY

 

Television Drama Series with Terence Brady

TAKE THREE GIRLS

UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS

THOMAS AND SARAH

NANNY

FOREVER GREEN

 

Television Comedy Series with Terence Brady

NO HONESTLY

YES HONESTLY

PIG IN THE MIDDLE

OH MADELINE! (USA)

FATHER MATTHEW'S DAUGHTER

 

Television Plays with Terence Brady

MAKING THE PLAY

SUCH A SMALL WORLD

ONE OF THE FAMILY

 

Films with Terence Brady

LOVE WITH A PERFECT STRANGER

MAGIC MOMENT

 

Stage Plays with Terence Brady

I WISH I WISH

THE SHELL SEEKERS

(adaptation from the novel by Rosamunde Pilcher)

BELOW STAIRS

 

For more information on Charlotte Bingham and her books,

see her website at www.charlottebingham.com

 

DAUGHTERS
OF EDEN

Charlotte Bingham

Contents

Cover Page

Also by Charlotte Bingham

Title page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Part One England in the Late Nineteen Thirties

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Part Two England At War

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Version 1.0

Epub ISBN:9781409057154

www.randomhouse.co.uk

TRANSWORLD PUBLISHERS
61–63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA
a division of The Random House Group Ltd

RANDOM HOUSE AUSTRALIA (PTY) LTD
20 Alfred Street, Milsons Point, Sydney,
New South Wales 2061, Australia

RANDOM HOUSE NEW ZEALAND LTD
18 Poland Road, Glenfield, Auckland 10, New Zealand

RANDOM HOUSE SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LTD
Endulini, 5a Jubilee Road, Parktown 2193, South Africa

Published 2004 by Doubleday a division of Transworld Publishers

Copyright © Charlotte Bingham 2004

The right of Charlotte Bingham to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 0385 606346

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

In memory of ‘Jack Ward' – patriot and gentleman.

‘This other Eden …

This precious stone set in the silver sea'

Richard II

(Shakespeare)

To dream of Eden is to dream of a quiet wooded valley where nothing but birdsong is heard, where the clean, clear waters of a river undulate in a peaceful ribbon on either side of which the grass is grown and cut for the simple pleasure of walking. Trees have been planted so that it takes only a gentle breeze to bend them forward to see their leafy reflections in the water below. And there is a house palely lit in early morning light, its window casements long and graceful, its classical Corinthian columns guarding shallow steps that lead up to vast, carved double doors.

Around the garden are grouped buildings of the same stone as the house, lodges and cottages, an icehouse, a gazebo for lakeside picnics. Further on a stable yard houses a clock with gold painted numerals, and a cobbled stone yard that once rang to the sound of thoroughbred hooves.

But no one lives at this other Eden now, no one that was born there that is. No one that once ran about its lawns, or pushed the old ridge-bottomed wooden boat on to its lake, or sat above the aqueduct listening to the waters rushing through below, now haunts its follies. There are no beautifully
dressed women to be seen, gloved hands resting on the perfectly tailored sleeves of the men accompanying them, all of them laughing and talking, wondering at the beauty of some new day. Now all that can be heard are secrets being plotted in and around the walls of the old house, secrets that will shape lives and change the world, and Eden, for ever.

 

Part One

ENGLAND IN THE LATE
NINETEEN THIRTIES

Chapter One

Mrs Beaumont sighed with satisfaction as she put down
The Times
, for there in the engagement column was the announcement of her darling daughter Poppy's forthcoming marriage. She patted the side of her hair, and then picked up the newspaper again.

Mr and Mrs Spencer Tynant Beaumont are pleased to announce the engagement of their beloved daughter Poppy Elizabeth to Arthur Basil Hetchett Tetherington, fourth Baron Tetherington
.

Despite the announcement's having been made some months before, and the wedding's being about to take place – Westminster, the Savoy and all the usual trimmings – Oralia Beaumont still loved to start off the day by once again reading that announcement in the now yellowing copy of the Thunderer. It was the knowledge of the apoplexy with which the rival mothers of other debutantes would have greeted the announcement that gave her such particular pleasure. She could hear them moaning to each other on their telephones, or from under their hats over lunch at the Savoy.

‘Poppy Beaumont
of all people
. I mean, of all the girls out this Season, you would never think that
she
would be snapped up by a baron. And not just any baron – not some ropy old Irish peer – but a rich English baron. Owner of a vast estate, a house in Eaton Square, everything you could wish for – and she as plain as a pikestaff, and wears
spectacles
.'

Oralia stared with quiet pride around her bedroom as the maid came in to take away her breakfast tray. Poppy might not be a beauty, but she obviously must have something special to attract such a handsome, amusing, and elegant man as Basil Tetherington. For why else would he have snapped Poppy up after only three balls and a luncheon?

He was so generous, too. Nothing would do but he must buy her a new motor car, which Poppy hoped one day to be able to drive, but in which he now drove her. With all the talk of war, by necessity it had been a whirlwind romance, but a romance it most certainly was, for Mrs Beaumont was sure that Poppy was quite as happy to marry Basil as he was to marry her.

‘Ah, there you are, my dear. Out again, do I see?'

Poppy peered round the door at her mother, who was now preening herself in front of a silver hand mirror. The ostrich feather trimming of her bedjacket caused Poppy to sneeze suddenly and vehemently as she drew close.

‘Yes, Mother. I am just going out, to meet Mary Jane Ogilvy for lunch.'

Oralia replaced her hand mirror on the pink satin quilt.

‘I expect her mother is spitting nails, isn't she, my dear?'

Poppy pushed her spectacles further up her nose and stared at her beautiful, elegant Southern Belle parent with a puzzled expression.

‘I am sorry, Mother?'

Mrs Beaumont stared back at her daughter with barely concealed impatience.

‘I mean, about your engagement, Poppy darlin',' she said slowly. ‘Since Mary Jane is not engaged to anyone at all, and you are engaged to Lord Tetherington, one imagines she will be spitting nails.'

Poppy sighed inwardly. She simply did not understand her mother's competitive nature. She herself had never felt competitive with anyone, and with good reason. Born with what her dear old Irish nurse always called a
stigmata
in her left eye, Poppy had unfortunately been forced to wear glasses – or spectacles, as her mother insisted on calling them – from a very early age.

Sure and she
'
ll never marry now
, Nanny Beaumont had used to say with some satisfaction to the other nannies when Poppy was walked in the Park.
Gentlemen are simply not attracted to girls who wear spectacles, as everyone well knows
.

Even at children's parties little boys would make it quite obvious that they couldn't wait to leave her side and sit beside some other little girl, who did not wear pale pink spectacles whose wire ends pulled her ears forward, making them stick through her hair.

Fortunately she had been educated at home, so her mother and father had been only too happy to
leave her to her own devices, as well as to the kindly if sporadic attentions of the servants, so that Poppy grew up with her books as friends, and her dogs for company. As long as she had books and dogs, however, she was happy, and would have remained so, living an oddly solitary existence on the upper floors of her parents' town and country houses, if her mother had not suddenly decided it might be fun for
her
– if not for Poppy – if Poppy were to do the Season as a debutante.

BOOK: Daughters Of Eden: The Eden Series Book 1
12.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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