In 19th century Isle of Wight, Sarah Bembridge sets on a journey of adventure and misadventure. With Napoleon Bonaparte just across the channel, poised to invade, Sarah has other things on her mind.
With a shipwrecked sailor in her mother’s inn, a volunteer officer in her bed and a mysterious visitor who may be a French spy, Sarah strides from one complication to the next as she seeks a suitable husband.
‘To lose one husband is unfortunate,’ Kitty said severely, ‘but to lose two is careless. I certainly hope that you can retain husband number three a little bit longer, Sarah.’ She gave a melodramatic sigh. ‘I have never known a woman experience so many misadventures in affairs of the heart.’
I was not quite sure how to respond to that, so I showed her a cold shoulder. I always found that the best way to respond to Kitty Chillerton when she is being hurtful.
‘You can’t ignore me, Sarah Bembridge,’ Kitty said, as we walked toward Knighton Hazard with the rolling fields stretching away on either side and a light rain drifting in from the Channel half a mile ahead,
She was right of course. Kitty was always the most irritating of women and so very hard to ignore, much as I wanted to.
‘You had better try and make this marriage last longer,’ Kitty continued. ‘You already have a reputation as a harbinger of misfortune.’
Ouch. That one stung, probably because there was a lot of truth in it. I took a deep breath and looked toward Knighton Hazard and its chapel that seemed fated to be the nemesis of my misfortunes. I had a sudden feeling of sick despair as I remembered what had happened on my previous two visits here as an eager young bride, and then I had a moment of inspiration. You must have had them, these flashes of realisation where you suddenly see something that should have been obvious days or months ago.
Already translated. Translated by ENDER VARGAS