Patricia M. Muhammad
Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Crime
September 27, 2020
It is the 18th century. Emmeline's mother dies after leaving her a clue about her possible future based on her biracial heritage. Emmeline abandons the wealthy estate in North Carolina. She stows away on a cargo brig set for England. A seaman, William escorts her to the shantytown of 18th century Liverpool. A rebellious aristocrat ventures to the unsavory neighborhood. He attempts to befriend her. She initially refuses. Emmeline seeks assistance from a benevolent society. After initial reluctance, Emmeline courts the marquis who eventually announces their engagement. His mother plots with Lady Edna to be rid of Emmeline. Emmeline still attempts to reveal the secret of her heritage while the marquis still seeks her hand in marriage.
A young woman is raised by her mother in the confines of a plantation in North Carolina. She appears Caucasian and is considered a full member of the estate’s family. Emmeline knows that her life is different than the other children of the manor yet was shielded from the horrors of the plantation. Her mother hints that her freedom lies elsewhere and she is not destined to live out her days in the colonies. She escapes as a stowaway on a cargo brig that is set to sail to England. Her voyage is not an easy one as she is readily discovered by a William, a shipmate who is now told that Emmeline is his charge until they disembark in Liverpool. She doesn’t trust anyone but the seaman escorts her to a Liverpudian shantytown where she finds temporary shelter. The parents of a rebellious aristocrat attempt to arrange a marriage to unite two houses. The marquis ventures to the slums to discover something about himself against the loyal butler’s wishes. The servant hesitantly continues to bring the marquis to the unsavory neighborhood where he discovers a bashful maiden cloaked in tattered garb. He attempts to befriend her but she is reluctant. The marquis is relentless and shares stories of his family and how he is lost as well. In a show of cordiality, he brings her food and fine clothing in the hopes of making her comfortable. The marquis is fascinated by her silence and her rare beauty. She eventually partakes of the food but keep the garments hidden. His continued generosity and patience opens a rare communication between the two. Emmeline reminds herself that she is there on a mission and no one can interfere with it, not even a handsome, oddly social aristocrat. She meets with members of the benevolent society who assist her with papers and documents that hold clues regarding her and her mother’s circumstances. Upon gaining some familiarity with Emmeline, she discloses to the marquis that she is not whom he assumes her to be and whatever his motive, he would be best served taking his attention elsewhere. The marquis is relentless and sees that she is in need but until she discloses what problem she must solve, he remains in her company seeking to protect her. He rejects the duke and duchess’ attempt to arrange a marriage between him and a maiden of low peerage. Instead he and Emmeline begin an unexpected courtship where he is encompassed by her and she is impressed by his relentlessness. The duke returns from overseas business and expects his son to attend a gala prepared by the duchess. The marquis appears in the finest tailored clothing with Emmeline at his side. She is a sight of rare beauty and adorns herself with a gift of extravagant Tahitian pearls draping her neck. It is at this gathering that the marquis announces his engagement to Emmeline, causing a jealous stir among the anticipating maidens who sought his hand in marriage. Lady Emmeline continues on her search that her mother set her on before her death, not letting romance interfere with her goal. She continues to bring documents and reviews certificates and papers with the volunteer and eventually a barrister who desires to represent her. Emmeline attempts to keep her activities anonymous as she is not confident there aren’t any interested parties. She crosses paths with William once more in the city and wonders why has returned to Liverpool. He has taken an interest in her that makes her somewhat uncomfortable but dismisses any thoughts of unscrupulousness on his part. One of them is as unscrupulous as the duchess, kidnaps the marquis’ fiancé and mother and intends to torture Emmeline to death and subdue the former. It is revealed that it was the daughter of the baron, a cunning woman who, just as much as his duchess mother would go to any lengths to attain what she desired. John and his servant-friend Nathaniel realize where she is being held without even noticing that his mother is missing. After the successful rescue, Emmeline and John remain confined in the manor in order to recover from injuries sustained from the poison and other injuries. The cruel Lady Edna is adjudged guilty of crimes she committed and is hanged. After some time, Emmeline finally has her day before the King’s Bench in London where her case is adjudicated…