In 1916, on the French battlefields, a dying soldier’s confession has the power to ruin the woman he loves.
Meanwhile, on the home front, Allison Waverley has to battle shame, loss and betrayal. Can she overcome the dark secrets in her past and find happiness, or will it always elude her?
The war news went from bad to worse. The French, outnumbered and outgunned, retreated towards Paris. Belgium had fallen and was occupied by the Germans, but for her, Allison shuddered. It was spring, a time for new life, and a new life grew inside her, callously put there by Phillip.
Rolling up newspapers to start the fire, pure chance had her staring at the social pages. Blood pounded through her veins as she read the few devastating lines: “Queensland society wedding of the year. Phillip Ashfield, only son of Lord and Lady Ashfield of Yorkshire, England, married Miss Isobel St. John, only daughter of Colonel and Lady St. John formerly of Herefordshire, England, now residing in Queensland.”
The room tilted, and she clung to the table until it righted itself again. She stared at the wedding party. Six attendants. What did she care that the bride wore a white silk gown adorned with imported French lace? The bridal couple was returning to England immediately, as Phillip Ashfield, a graduate from Sandhurst, was anxious to join his father’s old regiment.
Well, Miss St. John was welcome to him, but the sheer vileness of it overwhelmed her. Even as he forced himself on her, he had planned to wed another woman. How could a man be so heartless?
It was terrible being so desperate and alone, Jim and Tommy away, her father hardly home and then never sober. She rode recklessly, moved and lifted heavy objects, took scalding hot baths, but nothing happened.
Maybe she should go to the police and tell them what Phillip had done, but who would believe her now? What good could it do? Would the minister know of a place where girls in her predicament could go? Visions of slaving away in some terrible workhouse rose up like pictures on a canvas. Abortion? The word gave her the shudders. Some backyard butcher? Vomit rose up in her throat.