The Duchess of Idaho
Publication Date: 29th March 2022
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Page Length: 340 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Travel Fantasy
How would you survive with one life in the past and another in the present?
Grace Wentworth knows two things about her parents, James and Sarah—one, they are deeply in love, and two, they have a secret they will share with no one. Grace senses that she is a part of that secret, but she is not sure how and James and Sarah are less than forthcoming.
A budding historian, Grace is drawn to her grandmother’s house near Boise, Idaho where she learns about her mother’s family for the first time. In Idaho Grace must deal with her own secret—vivid dreams about a 2000-mile journey on the Oregon Trail alongside a handsome, friendly pioneer named Matthew Cooper. With the help of Olivia Phillips, a dear family friend and the most powerful of witches, Grace must make a decision that will alter her family forever.
Part historical fiction, part time-travel fantasy, The Duchess of Idaho is a story for anyone who believes that the bonds of true love will never be broken.
“James? What is it?”
“Are you sure Grace is all right?”
“She’s not alone on the moon. She’s in Idaho with my mother. I know my mother isn’t the easiest person in the world to get along with, but I believed Grace when she said she’s beginning to like Annabelle and she’s enjoying her time there.”
“But why is Annabelle showing this interest in Grace now?”
“She’s always asked questions about Grace, wanting to know about her, her interests, wondering if she might like Idaho.”
“Then why didn’t she ever come to see her?”
“I don’t know. But to be fair, we didn’t go to see her either. Once she questioned me about why we named her Grace.”
“Did you tell her?”
“Of course not. Can you imagine what someone as logical and straight-forward as Annabelle would do with a story like that? But she asked Grace to visit her and I’m glad. Annabelle and I will never be close, but maybe she and Grace can be.” Sarah brushed a stray lock of gold from her husband’s eyes. “My mother has a lot of interests that she and I never shared. I enjoyed horseback riding when I was a kid, and I learned how to cook and garden from her. I’ve never enjoyed baking as much as she does, and sewing and quilting were never my thing. Maybe she’s hoping she can leave some of that knowledge with Grace. That’s what it sounds like anyway.”
“Perhaps. But there’s something about this that doesn’t feel right to me.”
“You sound like Olivia.”
James leaned back and rested his head against the chair. Sarah reached for him, and he reached back.
“James, we promised each other a long time ago that we would always be honest with each other. Something else is bothering you. I can see it. You should know by now that you can’t hide anything from me.”
“I’m sure I’m just being paranoid. After everything we’ve been through, worries still pop out at me from nowhere. It’s as if I can’t trust in our joy. As if I’m waiting for something terrible to happen. I think that’s it, Sarah. That’s what I’m looking for—something bad to happen. We’ve experienced so many tragedies before.”
“We’ve had smooth sailing for a long time now, my love.” Sarah smiled as she brushed more gold from James’ face, his hair as stubborn as the rest of him, and she settled his glasses on his nose. “I think we’ve been through the worst of it.”
“But that’s just it. We can’t know for certain.”
“Of course not. No one can. But Johnny is doing well, and Grace is doing well. We’re doing well, aren’t we?”
“Of course we are. You are my life, Sarah. But I’m worried about Grace. It’s this feeling I’ve had. Like we’re going to lose her. Again.”
Sarah pressed her finger to James’ lips. “Don’t say that. Please. We went through so much when we lost her the first time. We nearly lost her the second time too.”
“I lost the both of you, and I had to live with that void for oh so very long.”
“But we’re all here now, all happy. And you have to remember one important thing. Grace isn’t ours to keep, James. Neither is Johnny. They never have been. You know how they say children don’t belong to their parents. Their parents get to keep them awhile, help them find their way in the world, but then they have to let them go.” Sarah touched her husband’s cheek, and he slid his hand over hers. “Grace is a young woman and we have to let her go. That doesn’t mean we’ll lose her like we did the first time. It just means things will be different. But we’ve been through a lot of different together, haven’t we? And we’ve survived it all.”
“Yes, we have.”
“And whatever this is, we’ll survive it too.”
Sarah pressed her head into her husband’s chest and exhaled, because everything seemed surmountable with her dear and loving husband’s arms around her. When she looked into his deep blue eyes she saw that he was still struggling, the mist hovering beneath under his eyelids.
James sighed. “I can’t believe how our children have grown, Sarah. Grace is starting graduate school and Johnny is traipsing around Europe.” He pulled Sarah closer. “But watching them grow into fine young adults with you by my side is the greatest joy I’ve ever known. I’m so thankful to Olivia for helping us. For the way she continues to help us.”
Sarah sat back so she could see into James’ face. “What is it that Olivia says? Everything always turns out right in the end. If it’s not right, it’s not the end. And haven’t things always worked out for us in the long run?”
“Sometimes the very long run.” James walked toward the window, still seeking some unnamed clue in the darkness. Finally, he said, “What if Grace discovers the truth? About us? About her? I think she suspects something.”
“She’s suspected something for some time now.” Sarah stood beside James. “I think we should tell her.”
“I don’t see what good can come from that.”
“You don’t want her to find out accidentally, do you? She’ll never forgive us if she doesn’t find out from us. We probably should have told her long ago.”
James managed a weak smile. “It never gets easier, does it?”
“No, not that. But this.” She took James’ hand and brought it to her cheek. “This is worth everything we’ve had to go through to get to this moment. But I still think we should tell Grace the truth.”
“The truth is we are her parents who love her very much.”
“And that won’t change when she learns about our past.”
“If you think it’s best. But Sarah?”
“The thought of it terrifies me.”
“I know. But it has to be done. She needs to know.”
“You’re right, of course,” James said.
Sarah smiled. “I usually am.”
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Series. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her first nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 new release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help on Amazon. Meredith is also the founder and executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at www.meredithallard.com.
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