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CHAPTER ONE
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1913


“Do you, Serena Mary take this man – ”

The bride was beautiful and everyone in the Church agreed that she looked a picture.

Although not in the first flush of youth, her eyes sparkled as brilliantly as the magnificent diamonds around her neck.

Her oyster-coloured silk dress was both fashionable and flattering for a woman of her age. The skirt was fitted to the hips and then hung straight down. The top was long-sleeved and covered in expensive lace.

‘No! No!’ thought Lucia, as she watched the happy couple gazing into each other’s eyes and exchanging vows.

She had not wanted to come to this wedding and if there had been anything she could have done to prevent it happening, she would have.

‘Mama, how could you?’ she wanted to scream, trying not to cry. ‘Papa has only been dead for a year and that man – that man was responsible.’

There were a few in the Church that day who would have not agreed with the first sentiment, if not the last.

The people of Shilborough were conservative and were still strict in their observance of mourning rituals and Lady Serena Mountford had raised eyebrows when she had announced, barely eleven months after Lord Mountford’s sad demise on the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic that she would marry for the second time.

“She is not even out of mourning,” the villagers had gossiped, as she was driven past them in the family’s sparkling Rolls Royce, still wearing the black woollen coat that marked her out as a widow.

It had been Lord Mountford’s pride and joy – a Silver Ghost – and one of the latest models.

Lord Mountford’s Rolls Royce was one of the few motor cars to be found speeding around that part of Hertfordshire. Even more shocking, when alive, he had actually driven the vehicle himself, they muttered.

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