Carys Miller doesn’t believe in the aristocracy nor does she believe in the supernatural. So, when she finds herself married to Richard, 12th Duke of Cuthland, and living in his haunted house, she wonders if she’s going mad.
As the new mistress of Amberley Court, Carys discovers she’s now in charge of a house the size of a small village. And, as if that isn’t enough to be getting on with, she finds herself in the most unpopular of roles: a stepmother to young Cecily and Evie. Then there’s the formidable mother-in-law, the Dowager Duchess, who might once have been a society beauty but now possesses a frown which could freeze an ocean.
Carys desperately needs help but she doesn’t expect it to come from an eighteenth century duchess who simply refuses to leave Amberley.
Three Graces is a story about mothers, daughters, lovers and ghosts, and how the past, somehow, always manages to find its way into the present.
Deep in the English countryside, at least three train rides away from London, lies the forgotten county of Cuthland. It’s not the first choice of tourists but those who discover it revisit it until they know every perfect mile.
It’s a county of winding roads, gently sloping hills and river valleys. Beech woods sprawl luxuriously, rivers flow calmly, and the brilliant purple moors spread to the very heavens.
In the heart of this landscape lies Amberley Court. For most of the year, it’s hidden by a dense emerald veil of trees but, during the winter months, you can catch a glimpse of it from the road. It looks something like a honeycomb with its warm golden stone but it’s anything but symmetrical. Added to down the centuries with a wing here and a turret there, it is a wonderfully higgledy-piggledy sort of house. No two towers are the same height and no two windows are the same shape. If one was comparing it to a human face, one would, perhaps, think of a Picasso and yet it has all the grace of a Gainsborough.
Inside, it is a perfect jamboree of Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean and Georgian with fourteenth century alcoves and sixteenth century fireplaces. Mahogany vies with walnut, and rosewood with satinwood. There are Chippendales and Hepplewhites, Sheratons and Gillows. There are cellarets and chaise longues, davenports and dressers. There are tapestries to take your breath away, galleries that will make you gasp and ceilings that will have you reeling.
There are …
Hang on …
You’re not interested in all that, are you? You don’t want me to tell you the strange story about the dining room doors or how long the ornate plaster work in the Long Gallery took. You have no desire to know how much the sixth duke paid for a bust of himself or how long the enfilade is. You want to know if it’s haunted, don’t you? That’s why everyone visits these old houses. They’re not interested in the furnishings. They don’t want to know dates. They all have but one question to ask the tour guides and room stewards.
Is the house haunted?
Georgiana? Do you care to answer this question?
Are you sure? This could be your big moment.
Oh. All right then.