And yet, this multitude of hauntings doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over, although there are legions of tales that do and entire companies of ghosts said to battle on. Many tales feature the myriad of people, great and small, who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories.
I was ever determined our old family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. Frequently. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in other Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady…did she love him?
Often, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder…and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, and so I answer ‘yes.’
*Homes pictured in order are the most prominent behind my inspiration for Somewhere My Love:
Berkeley Plantation (well worth a visit)
Shirley Plantation (well worth a visit)
Family home place called Chapel Hill (Not open to the public)
Star-crossed lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it is too late? Newly arrived at Foxleigh, the gracious old Wentworth home in Virginia, British born Julia Morrow is excited at the prospect of a summer working as a guide in the stately house and herb garden. She quickly discovers the historic plantation holds far more. She becomes obsessed with the portrait of handsome Cole Wentworth, killed in a quarrel over the lovely English lady, Julia Maury, two hundred years ago. Then she meets his double, William, the only remaining Wentworth heir.
Somehow, Julia must persuade Will that their fates are entwined with those of Cole Wentworth and Julia Maury, and that the man who killed his ancestor has returned to enact the deadly cycle again, or she will lose him twice. The blade is about to fall.
Star-crossed lovers, flashbacks to early 18th century Virginia, ghostly, murder mystery, light paranormal romance, Gothic flavors…SOMEWHERE MY LOVE.
“He’s said to have been run through by the very man who made that mark on the door. A Mr. Cameron. Scottish fellow he was, back in…” Mrs. Hensley pursed her thin lips, blue eyes distant. “Ah, yes, 1806. Some fuss over a woman.”
“How dreadful. What about Mr. Cameron?”
“The friend of a neighbor, I believe. He escaped and was never found. No justice was ever done in the matter.”
Julia hesitated, then asked, “And the woman?”
“Heartbroken, poor thing. She returned to England. She was a guest of the Wentworth family and greatly enamored of Cole. All the young ladies were, but he had a particular fascination with this girl.”
“Why was she so special?”
“Apart from her legendary beauty? She had an angelic quality about her. Or so the story goes.”
An irrational jealousy twanged a jarring note in Julia. In the space of a few short minutes she’d fallen in love with the man in the portrait—typical of her impractical nature and unlikely to advance her nonexistent love life. And yet, she couldn’t help plunging into this sweet madness.
She tore her eyes from the painting. “Do you recall the lady’s name?”
Mrs. Hensley gave a little laugh. She tapped a finger to her furrowed forehead. “Isn’t that odd? It was Julia something…hmmmm.”
Was Mrs. Hensley teasing her? She had to know.
“I’ve got it. Julia Maury,” the guide continued and arched graying brows. “You’re from England, aren’t you, Miss Morrow? Tread with care here, my girl. We don’t want you stirring up any ghosts. Foxleigh has enough already.”
“No,” Julia said, reaching out to the dresser to steady herself. Without meaning to, she suspected she’d already stirred up some force beyond her understanding.
Julia startled at the low, uncannily familiar voice and whirled around to find none other than Cole Wentworth poised in the doorway. Her jaw dropped and she stared up at him. He was tall, all right, easily over six feet. The rational part of her knew this couldn’t possibly be Cole, but dear Lord, they were much alike, down to the small cleft in his chin, though the expression in his dark eyes was far less impassioned. He even appeared to be the same age as Cole in the portrait, in his late twenties. She’d had little experience with sensuality—strict education at home under tutors that her eccentric professor father had seen to—but this man awakened every sense latent within her.
Mrs. Hensley chuckled softly. “He’s not the ghost. Julia Morrow, meet William Wentworth, former attorney in Richmond, now manager of Foxleigh.
His name struck a familiar chord as Julia stood gaping at her new employer, not at all the impression she’d hoped to make. His thick wavy hair was shorter than that of the figure in the portrait and the hunting costume replaced by a burgundy shirt and Levis stretched across his muscular thighs. Instead of mahogany topped riding boots, he wore brown leather shoes.
He looked at her with a sardonic glint in his eyes. “I trust you don’t intend a repeat of this performance each time we meet, Miss Morrow? It’s flattering, but somewhat unnerving. You’ll frighten the life from our visitors.”
“As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca long ago. Using deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now.” ~Joysann, Publishers Weekly