The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl


Annabelle Wallis was herself an orphan. Taken in and adopted by a kind herbalist, Mrs. Wallis, Annabelle has grown into a fine young woman. When a young, very pregnant, woman appears at her door, Annabelle helps with the delivery. Yet, the next morning, the woman is gone, leaving her new baby wrapped in a shawl. The young mother’s express desire is for Annabelle to care for her baby and turn her over to her own family. It isn’t until later that Annabelle discovers who the girl was—sister to a very powerful man.

This story is filled with flowing descriptions and just enough romance thrown in to consider it part of that genre. John Hartley may be a rich man, and heir to his family’s estate, but he’s also got a kind heart. And, an eye for Annabelle. Despite her lower status, he never treats her with anything but respect. When he realizes she’s caring for his niece, he offers her the opportunity to work at the manor caring for the baby. Believing she doesn’t belong in John’s world, Annabelle refuses and turns the baby over to a nanny. It isn’t until the infant is deathly ill, that Annabelle is pulled back into John Hartley’s world. The story’s ending is a bit rushed, with both characters declaring their love for one another out of the blue. More interaction between Annabelle and John is necessary to make the ending more plausible. However, for fans of emotional, historical fiction, this could be just the right book.

N.E. Kelley