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False Enchantment [Secure eReader]
eBook by Helen Magee

eBook Category: Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Nothing was ever the same after Perdita entered Abby's life. She was dressed in rags, but no one noticed that, only the extraordinary beauty of the exhausted child which grew even more haunting as the years passed. So too did the air of danger that clung to her, and Abby was plunged into a web of fear as Edmund, whom she had always loved, was caught up in Perdita's spell.

eBook Publisher: Pollinger in Print/Pollinger in Print
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2007

There was the faintest scent of roses as I opened the door and stood for a moment on the threshold. Then, closing it quietly behind me, I stepped into the room. I looked around at the pretty pink damask covered chairs, at the half tester bed canopied and counterpaned in the same material and finally at the two long windows on the far side of the room, curtained in heavy rose velvet. One of them was open slightly and I moved towards it, drawn by the faint sough of the sea in the distance. I stood for a moment looking out on the moors and the gleam of water beyond. I felt stifled, closed in. My veil was heavy and suffocating so I took it off and laid it and the hat on a little escritoire in front of the window. It looked sombre and out of place on the pretty little desk and the black folds of the veil stirred menacingly in the draught from the window. I pushed it aside, impatient with myself for entertaining such fancies and as I did so a thick packet of papers fell to the floor. I bent to pick it up. It was sealed and on it, in large sprawling handwriting, was written ?Abby?. I sat down slowly at the desk. My legs no longer seemed able to support me and I could feel the blood beat in my temples for I had recognised that writing. It was Perdita?s, and I felt suddenly afraid. It is strange how one person can change the whole course of another?s life. That is what Perdita did when she came to Hadley Grange. Perdita ? she was a creature from another world, a nymph, a changeling and from the moment she appeared she fascinated all who came in contact with her, and I, so different from this exotic fl ower, was a willing admirer. My childhood, before she came, seems almost like a dream now, a beautiful memory, something that happened to someone else. It was as if my life had been destroyed and remade after she came. Nothing was ever the same again. When I think of that childhood it is like looking into an old and dim looking glass where the world was a calm and predictable place and I had not learned to be afraid. I was born Abigail Augusta Hammond, a grand name for a sickly child who came near to dying, as did my mother, who after a long and painful labour gave up the fight and died whilst I was being drawn from her womb. So you might say that I was born an orphan for my father had died in a shipwreck some months before my birth and it was his death, so Aunt Josephine always said, that broke my mother?s spirit and took away her will to live. Aunt Josephine was not my real aunt. My mother had been the daughter of a parson and when he died she, having no other relatives, was faced with a choice: to marry the curate and be assured of a roof over her head for life or to find employment and make her own future. ?I wish you had known your mother, my dear,? Aunt Josephine had said as she told me the story, ?such a spirited girl and so pretty. There was no question of her accepting the curate although I understand he was more than willing and was by all accounts quite a personable young man.? And so it was that, on the recommendation of some mutual friends she came to the mistress of Hadley Grange whom I now called Aunt Josephine, as lady?s maid and companion. ?A delightful creature, like a breath of spring air,? said Aunt Josephine, dabbing at her eyes with an inadequate scrap of lace, ?and when your father came to see Uncle Bart about business, well it was love at fi rst sight for both of them. So romantic, really it was quite affecting,? and she dabbed once again.

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