As Mistress of Fairlyden, and happily married to William Fairly, Sarah feels her life complete. But longing to share the joyful news of her pregnancy with Beatrice Slater, her childhood friend, Sarah defies her husband’s wishes and goes alone to Muircumwell Mill. She could not have foreseen the dreadful consequences which are to haunt her for the rest of her life, and force her to become the sole keeper of a disturbing secret.
At the Mill, she meets Beatrice’s sly and ambitious father, Edward Slater, whose evil jealousy and desire for revenge lead to a frenzied attack upon Sarah. Months later little Alex is born with a deformity of his feet. Sarah blames upon herself. William cannot bear the fact that his son will never be perfect and a rift develops.
Bored with the farm life of Fairlyden, and troubled by his son’s condition, William sets up a precarious business venture with Sir Simon Guillyman. Sarah cautiously welcomes this outside interest, thinking it good for William and their marriage. But when Sir Simon dies unexpectedly, his attractive widow poses a new problem.
With a growing family, financial hardship and the secret burden resulting from Edward Slater’s revelations, Sarah finds herself increasingly drawn to Crispin Bradshaw, owner of a Yorkshire woollen mill.
Mistress of Fairlyden is the moving and evocative second novel in this quartet of life on the land in nineteenth-century Scotland, following Fairlyden.
The Family at Fairlyden and Fairlyden at War will be uploaded in a few weeks time.