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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:292
  • eBook ISBN:9781483545370

The Widow Darling

by Suzanne Hadfield Semsch

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Overview

In this sequel to Turn on No-Bridge Road, Claire Darling, a spunky redheaded mother and grandmother struggling with grief over the death of her beloved Nick, discovers his secret gambling addiction has left her virtually penniless. Shock morphs into panic—she could lose Woodbine, her ancestral home. While visiting a retirement home for seniors to console her mother-in-law, Claire has an inspiration. She could build and operate such a place on Woodbine’s forested acres! Convinced this enterprise can save her from bankruptcy, Claire sets out to persuade family and friends of the need for such a service in Devon County. Trouble begins when she seeks financial help from Steven Steeples, the wealthy D.C. developer who lives in a small subdivision on what was once part of the Woodbine estate. Can she convince this man she has successfully avoided for twelve years to partner with her? What might he expect in return?

Description

In this sequel to Turn on No-Bridge Road, Claire Darling, a spunky redheaded mother and grandmother struggling with grief over the death of her beloved Nick, discovers his secret gambling addiction has left her virtually penniless. He has left Claire deeply in debt, the house and property re-mortgaged. The final blow comes when she discovers Steven Steeples, a wealthy suburbanite and developer, was the co-signer on a new mortgage with Nick. The same Mr. Steeples who, a dozen years previously, signed another deal with Nick, over her objections, and became owner of half of Woodbine’s 400 acres. For twelve years she has successfully avoided the bewitching purple-blue eyes and cheeky grin of Steven Steeples. His River’s Edge Estates, all twenty-four of those ugly modern steel, stone and glass houses are up river, right over the hill. Now Steven has virtual control of all her ancestral property, all high-dollar Rappahannock River frontage. Shock morphs into panic—she could lose Woodbine, the homestead itself, her ancestral home. Then, while visiting a retirement home for seniors to console her mother-in-law, Claire has an inspiration. She could build and operate just such a place on Woodbine’s forested acres! Convinced this enterprise can save her from bankruptcy, Claire sets out to persuade family and friends of the need for such a service in Devon County. Trouble begins when she is forced to seek financial help from Steeples—the person now responsible for the mortgage on Woodbine Farm. She was not gracious after Nick’s funeral, when Steven had offered to help in anyway he could. But now, she reconsiders, working up courage to invite him to Woodbine under a false pretense about the property line. She serves him a glass of sherry and eventually gets around to her real purpose—that of persuading him to assist with funding the construction of a retirement home. He laughs at her. It is only later when Anton, Claire’s longtime lawyer friend, gets involved that Steven is brought into the fold, and it is Steven’s money that brings together a planning group and other wealthy investors. And so a venture that will take two years to completion is born. Trees come down, construction begins, and Woodbine Village is underway. The relationship between Claire and Steven, sometimes testy, rarely boring, evolves slowly as they see each other at the work site or board of director meetings. Although it is no longer an option to avoid those bewitching purple blue eyes totally, she learns to control her emotions. Indeed, what choice does she have? Were it not for Steven’s deep pockets, they would not be building anything. One evening after a long board meeting, they have a drink together. Steven surprises her with a sudden kiss. A kiss that leads to a passionate night and day of lovemaking. When Steven expresses his longtime yearning for her, his desire to make her his wife, Claire balks. She tells him when she said her marriage vows to Nick, she meant them forever. In light of the feelings they have for each other, she suggests they enjoy each other’s company without the complications of marriage. Steven tells her he has no desire to have an occasional romp in the hay. The door slams behind him, leaving a sad, confused Claire to ponder her own logic for several long months. A grand party to celebrate the opening of Woodbine Village is planned for Twelfth Night, two years after Claire first disclosed her vision. During the festivities Claire makes a surprising announcement that will be talked about for years by those who know the Widow Darling, and cause those who don’t to wish they’d been there for the excitement on that frosty January night.

About the author

Suzanne Semsch has been writing for her own enjoyment and professionally for many years. The Lees of Menokin, her first novel, published in 2009, is based on the life and times of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She drew on her experiences as the daughter and wife of career Army officers for her second book, The Sound of Caissons, an epic covering five generations of a mid-20th century military family. Although she’s lived in many states and Europe, she and her husband spent 23 years in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Her recollections and love for the region were the inspiration for Turn on No-Bridge Road and the fictional Woodbine Farm. She has just completed a fourth novel, The Widow Darling, a sequel to No-Bridge Road. Suzanne currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is a mother and a grandmother and the happy owner of two cats. Her books are available, both in paperback and on Kindle, through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookbaby and other online booksellers. They may also be purchased directly from the author by contacting her on her website/blog at http://suzannesemsch.com.

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