Published: October 2017
Publisher: Falcon Historical
Page Length: 381
Genre: Historical Fiction
Widowed and destitute, Lucy St.John is fighting for survival and makes a terrible choice to secure a future for her children. Worse still, her daughter Luce rejects the royal court and a wealthy arranged marriage, and falls in love with a charismatic soldier. As England tumbles toward bloody civil war, Luce’s beloved brother Allen chooses to fight for the king as a cavalier. Allen and Luce are swept up in the chaos of war as they defend their opposing causes and protect those they love.
Will war unite or divide them? And will they find love and a home to return to—if they survive the horror of civil war. In the dawn of England’s great rebellion, love is the final battleground.
A true story based on surviving memoirs, court papers, and letters of Elizabeth St.John's family, By Love Divided tells of the war-time experiences of Lucy St.John, the Lady of the Tower. This powerfully emotional novel tells of England's great divide and the heart-wrenching choices one family faces.
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The fire is most fervent in a frosty season.
21st August, 1642
These were the times in which Lucy Apsley questioned if God had deserted her.
Around the table, her children gathered. When had they grown into men and women? Where went the innocent Allen, the child in Luce? These young people talked recklessly tonight.
Lucy shook the ghosts of yesteryear from her thoughts.
Be grateful for the hour at hand, the joy shared in this pleasing home.
Still, the doubts chattered in her mind. The past crept close tonight, the door ajar between dead and living.
This dinner was a happy occasion, a celebration of Allen’s knighthood. A fresh carp caught in their own fishponds graced the table. Elegant clothes were unpacked from trunks, dried lavender shaken from the skirts. Even Luce, always careless with her dress, wore a fine gown of blue watered silk, dotted with moonstones.
And then, as unpredictable as a summer storm, a lightning exchange heralded dispute.
For the king. Against the king. Favored by Villiers. Betrayed by Parliament.
Those old arguments restored her husband’s memory, twelve years departed from this life. And now, their past disputes echoed in her children.
“Where lies your loyalty, Allen?” demanded Luce. “Your family deserves the truth.”
He shrugged, his broad shoulders strong under the fine holland shirt, the beautifully cut doublet. Court was good to her son.
“Why, Luce,” he replied, “As God is my witness, I am loyal to His Majesty and faithful to the Parliament. My heart lies with the men of this country, and their wish for peace.”
“By forming armed bands of Cavaliers?” cried Luce, her voice rising. “My heart is loyal and faithful too—loyal to the Parliament who represent the rights of men, faithful to the tradition of monarchy. Consider your own world order, not mine.”
Allen stood too, his soldier’s physique suddenly charging the atmosphere. His color rose. “The king is as a father to the people of this nation. He knows what is best for them.”
“Is that why he commandeers our ammunition, leaves our towns defenseless, our woman and children vulnerable to any band of armed men?”
“Keep to your writing and notebooks, Sister, and leave the business of government to men.”
Lucy prayed for the storm to subside. Thus always ranged their arguments, until one caught the other’s eye, and a shared smile would appear, contagious and healing.
Please, God, let this night be no different.
“Tomorrow, we ride to Nottingham to attend King Charles,” she said. “He speaks to unite our country, to stand down the armies. Tonight, let not differences divide us.”
A mother knows what is best for her children. And still, they seek out their own destinies. Perhaps, once more, she could protect her children with a lie.
God save us. For again, the fate of my family and of England lies within this deceitful king’s hands. And if he cannot have his way, he will destroy us all.
Having spent a significant part of her life with her seventeenth-century family while writing The Lydiard Chronicles trilogy and Counterpoint series, Elizabeth St.John is now discovering new family stories with her fifteenth-century namesake Elysabeth St.John Scrope, and her half-sister, Margaret Beaufort.
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