The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series

As I publish each book in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series – a gritty family saga set in 1880s Ireland – I’ll be adding blog posts with character profiles, location histories and general background information. Below, I’ve listed all the posts so far and categorised them so they are easier to locate. All the posts contain an excerpt from the books. You can subscribe to my blog by clicking the Follow button or the RSS Blog Feed Reader link in the sidebar on the right so you won’t miss a post.

Love, trust, family ties and secrets…

The Books 

Book One: A Scarlet Woman

Can an idealistic young doctor and a fallen woman find love when Victorian society believes they should not?

A Scarlet Woman by Lorna Peel eBook Cover

Book Two: A Suitable Wife

Can Will and Isobel hold the Fitzgeralds together when tragedy and betrayal threaten to tear the family apart?

A Suitable Wife by Lorna Peel Kindle Cover

Book Three: A Discarded Son

Can Will and Isobel right the wrongs of the past without hurting those closest to them?

A Discarded Son by Lorna Peel Kindle Cover PNG

Character Profiles

Mrs Langtry  Meet Isobel Stevens

Eugène Delacroix  Meet Dr Will Fitzgerald

Sarah  Meet Sarah Fitzgerald

George_Bernard_Shaw_1925  Meet Dr John Fitzgerald

Fred Simpson  Meet Dr Fred Simpson 

edith_wharton  Meet Margaret Simpson

Location Histories

  A Map Of Dublin, Ireland

Merrion Square  Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland

Guinnesses  The Liberties of Dublin, Ireland

Elliot Place 1930s  Monto: Dublin’s Red Light District

450px-Fitzwilliam_Square_West_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1410337  Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, Ireland

History

Mountjoy_Square,_Dublin,_Ireland_(January_2010)  The Great Snow of January 1881

Irish History YouTube Videos (Not By Me!)

Wrong date – should be 6 May 1882

The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series is

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A Discarded Son: Available to Pre-order

A Discarded Son by Lorna Peel Kindle Cover PNG

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Isobel Fitzgerald’s mother, Martha, marries solicitor James Ellison but an unexpected guest overshadows their wedding day. Martha’s father is dying and he is determined to clear his conscience before it is too late. Lewis Greene’s confession ensures the Ellisons’ expectation of a quiet married life is gone and that Isobel’s elder brother, Alfie Stevens, will be the recipient of an unwelcome inheritance.

When a bewildering engagement notice is published in The Irish Times, the name of one of the persons concerned sends Will and Isobel on a race against time across Dublin and forces them to break a promise and reveal a closely guarded secret.

Read An Excerpt From Chapter One…

Dublin, Ireland. Saturday, December 10th, 1881

Will exchanged a smile with Isobel as she came slowly down the stairs from the nursery holding his nephew, John, by the hand. His wife’s matron-of-honour dress was a high-necked emerald green satin creation with a gold-coloured trim and ribbons of the same green were woven into her thick brown hair. By contrast, the three-year-old boy didn’t look at all happy, glaring at his navy blue sailor suit with disgust.

“You look wonderful,” he said all the same and kissed them both.

“I hate my dress,” John declared and Will glanced at the knee-length box-pleated skirt. “Why can’t I wear a frock coat and trousers like you?”

“It’s only for Grandmamma Martha’s wedding,” he assured the boy for what seemed like the umpteenth time. “And she did choose it especially for you. Afterwards, you’ll be back in your short trousers, I promise.”

“But it’s a dress. Everyone will laugh at me.”

“Well, to be precise, it’s a skirt.” Crouching down, Will tilted John’s chin up and met the boy’s dark eyes, a legacy from his Indian mother. “If anyone says something nasty to you, tell them Roman soldiers wore what could be described as skirts and no-one dared to laugh at them. Isn’t that right, Isobel?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Are Ben and Belle fed and asleep?” he asked, mentioning the twins in the hope they would take the boy’s mind off his ‘dress’. “Good,” he replied as John nodded. “Shall, we go? We can’t keep Grandmamma Martha waiting on her special day.” Picking the boy up, they went downstairs to the hall where Zaineb, one of their house-parlourmaids, smiled at John before opening the front door for them. “Thank you, Zaineb,” he said as they left the house. “See you later.”

It was a chilly morning but, thankfully, there were no signs of rain and they walked around the private railed-off Fitzwilliam Square garden to number 55 – home to Isobel’s mother and brother. Two carriages were waiting outside and Alfie Stevens gave them a grin from the front door as they approached.

“The Fitzgeralds – good morning. Isobel, I think our darling mother is going to be late. May has been sent to the servants’ hall for something or other twice since you left.”

“Everything was fine fifteen minutes ago,” Isobel muttered, shaking her head. “I’ll go and hurry Mother up.”

She went inside and Alfie shrugged his shoulders as he came down the steps to the pavement.

“It’s hired,” he explained, gesturing to his frock coat. “And I think I’m the first man to have worn it. You both look very smart.”

“Thank you.” Will peered at his own new frock coat and silver-grey cravat. “But John doesn’t like his outfit, it was all Isobel and I could do to persuade him to wear the ‘dress’,” he told Alfie in a low voice.

“It’s only for today,” Alfie reminded the boy. “After the wedding, I’ll be back in my far more comfortable morning coat and you’ll be back in your short trousers. Yes?”

“Yes,” John replied firmly and Alfie gave him another grin.

Fifteen minutes passed with Will and Alfie glancing impatiently at each other and their pocket watches until Isobel and her mother came down the stairs to the hall. Mrs Henderson’s wedding dress was identical to Isobel’s, only that it was gold-coloured satin with an emerald green trim and ribbons of the same gold were woven into her greying brown hair. She paused to lift a bouquet of gold and emerald satin roses from the hall table before continuing on out of the house with Isobel following her. Alfie assisted his mother into the first carriage, gave Will a quick wave then climbed in after her.

Relieved they weren’t going to be excessively late, Will helped Isobel and John into the second carriage. He got in and lifted the boy onto his lap so John could see out of the window and the short procession left Fitzwilliam Square.

* * *

Isobel and young John took their places behind her mother and Alfie at the door to St Peter’s Church on Aungier Street. Will hurried inside and, less than a minute later, the wedding march began. Almost halfway up the right-hand aisle, an elderly man with a snow-white beard and hair and wearing small round spectacles caught her attention. His black woollen overcoat was far too big for him and a long white scarf was wound around his neck. He was seated twisted around in his pew while everyone else was standing to view the bridal party so Isobel couldn’t help but stare until the penny dropped and his eyes also widened in recognition as she passed him. Nearing the chancel steps, John tried to pull his hand away from hers and she looked down at the boy, realising she had been squeezing it tightly.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, rubbing his fingers with her thumb.

Taking the bouquet from her mother, she and John sat beside Will in the front pew as the ceremony began. Will lifted John onto his lap so the boy had a clear view of his Grandmamma Martha and soon-to-be Grandpapa James before clasping her hand.

“What is it?” he whispered anxiously during the first hymn. “You’re both freezing and on edge.”  

“I’ve just seen Mr Greene – Mother’s father,” she replied and his jaw dropped.

“Here in the church?” He threw an incredulous glance behind them. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. Mother has only one photograph of her parents and her father has aged, of course, but it’s definitely him. He is sitting behind us in this central block of pews about halfway down the church and is wearing a white scarf. I don’t know why he’s here – he and my grandmother broke off all contact with Mother when she ran away from home to marry Father against their wishes.”

“What do you want to do?” he asked and she gave a helpless little shrug.

“I don’t know, because Mother and James are going to greet everyone at the door and I’m dreading a scene.”

He nodded as the hymn ended and they sat down. She did her best to enjoy the service but it was all she could do not to push past Will and John, run down the aisle and drag her grandfather out of the church. Alfie gave their mother away and joined them in their pew and, as the wedding concluded, she reached over and touched his arm.

“John would like to walk out of the church with you,” she said and both Alfie and the boy smiled. “And Will and I shall walk out together, too.”

Standing behind the new Mr and Mrs Ellison with Alfie and John bringing up the rear, they proceeded down the left-hand aisle. Spotting her grandfather through a sea of faces, Isobel noted how his eyes were fixed only on his daughter and that, thankfully, she had not seen him yet.

They greeted the happy couple at the church door, Isobel kissing them on both cheeks so she could quickly whisper in James’ ear;

“Lewis Greene – Mother’s father – is in the church. He is wearing a black overcoat and a white scarf wound around his neck.”

Her step-father’s brown eyes bulged in alarm but he nodded and she and Will moved on towards the gates to Aungier Street.

“Isobel?” Hearing Alfie’s fierce whisper, they both turned. “What on earth is the matter?” he demanded, leading John towards them. “You and Will were whispering through every hymn and now you’ve told James something that’s made him go as white as a sheet and—” He broke off and gasped as he recognised the elderly man emerging from the church clutching a top hat and a walking cane.

Mrs Ellison’s eyes widened in first disbelief and then shock before she forced a smile and greeted her father warmly and no different than anyone else. James shook his father-in-law’s hand then Mr Greene walked on and, to Isobel’s consternation, made a beeline for the four of them.

“You must be Isobel,” he said, leaning on his cane and looking her up and down. “You know exactly who I am.”

“I do. What do you want?”

One of her grandfather’s eyebrows rose at her bluntness but he didn’t respond and turned to Alfie.

“And you must be Alfred?”

“Yes, I am, but everyone calls me Alfie.”

“And who is this?” Her grandfather nodded to John, who was still clutching Alfie’s hand. The boy’s dark eyes were darting from Alfie to her and to Will, clearly sensing the animosity and suspicion amongst the three of them towards the stranger. “Your son?”

“No, my nephew, John Fitzgerald,” Will replied, holding out a hand. “I am Isobel’s husband, Dr Will Fitzgerald.”

“I see,” Mr Greene replied but made no attempt to shake Will’s hand.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Isobel persisted as Will picked John up. “What do you want?”

“I would prefer not to discuss the matter here in front of all and sundry.”

All and sundry? It was just as well the other members of the congregation were paying them little attention.

“Well,” she replied stiffly. “I am afraid it is here or not at all.”

Her grandfather’s eyebrow rose again. “I am dying, Isobel,” he said with equal bluntness and she heard Alfie gasp again. “And I wish to make my peace with your mother and get to know my new son-in-law and you and your brother before I die.”

This time, Isobel looked him up and down. Mr Greene was leaning heavily on his walking cane, beginning to wheeze and she hoped he had a cab waiting for him.

“Mother and James leave for a week’s honeymoon in London late this afternoon. It is bad enough you turn up at their wedding without warning but you will not break such news to Mother until she returns to Dublin. Is that understood?” she insisted and her grandfather exhaled a phlegmy laugh.

“I learned of your mother’s wedding purely by chance, I can assure you. But I understand.”

“Where are you staying? The Shelbourne Hotel?”

“Your grandmother and I have rented a house on Fitzwilliam Square,” he replied and Isobel’s heart sank. “Number 7.”

“I live on Fuzwillan Square with Will and Isobel,” John announced. “So does Grandmamma Martha. And Grandpapa James will live there, too.”

Her grandfather glanced at the boy in surprise before looking up at Will plainly of the opinion that children should be seen and not heard. “This boy lives with you, Dr Fitzgerald?”

“John is my late brother’s son,” Will explained. “He lives with Isobel and I and Ben and Belle.”

“Ben and Belle?” his grandfather-in-law inquired with a frown.

“Our twin son and daughter,” Isobel informed him. “Your great-grandchildren.”

“I have great-grandchildren.” Mr Greene produced another phlegm-filled laugh. “Your mother was a twin.”

“So I was told. Please do not upset her further on her wedding day – please go – and we shall call on you tomorrow.”

“Until tomorrow, then.” Putting on his top hat, her grandfather walked away and was soon lost in the crowd which had spilled out onto the pavement.

“Isobel?” A hand grabbed her arm from behind and she turned to face her mother. “Where is he? Where is my father?”

“I’m afraid he had to leave.”

“Had to leave?” her mother echoed incredulously and James turned briefly to the street. “Whatever was he doing here?”

“He and Grandmother live in Dublin now.”

“Where?” James asked.

“He did not say,” she lied.

“Oh, Isobel, I can hardly believe it.” Her mother fought back tears. “I thought I would never see my father again.”

“Never say never,” Isobel replied with a smile. “Congratulations again, Mother. And you, too, James.”

“Thank you, Isobel,” he replied and gestured to the gates. “I think we should make our way to our carriages.”

“I agree,” Will added. “It is far too cold to stand about here.”

As soon as they returned to number 55, Mrs Ellison insisted on speaking to her in private and, reluctantly, Isobel followed her mother into the morning room. Closing the door, she looked at the hearth. A fire had been set that morning but not lit and the room felt unusually cool.

“You may now tell me the truth,” Mrs Ellison began. “Where are my father and mother living?”

Isobel grimaced. Was she so bad a liar these days? “I don’t—”

“The truth, Isobel,” her mother interrupted crisply.

“They have rented a house here on the square – number 7,” she said and Mrs Ellison went straight to the window and looked out at the street. “And you will call on them when you return from London.”

“No. I want them both here – now.”

“Mother, no,” she begged. “You have been looking forward to this day for such a long time don’t allow them to ruin it.”

“They are my parents,” Mrs Ellison replied, her voice rising.

“The same parents who cut you off when you married Father and who are now suddenly here in Dublin for your marriage to a gentleman they approve of.”

That made her mother flinch and Isobel hoped she hadn’t gone too far.

“I want them both here – now,” Mrs Ellison repeated quietly, walking to the rope and ringing for a servant.

“Very well.” Isobel reached for the doorknob.

“And I want you, Alfie, James and Will here when they arrive.”

Letting her hand drop to her side, Isobel walked to the window turning momentarily to the door as the butler came in then watched a ginger cat squeeze between the railings surrounding the Fitzwilliam Square gardens before disappearing from view.

“You rang, Mrs Ellison.”

“Gorman, please, send someone to number 7 and ask that Mr and Mrs Greene join Mr and Mrs Ellison for luncheon and to meet their families. Oh, and this means there will be two extra for luncheon.”

“Yes, Mrs Ellison.”

“And ask my husband, son and son-in-law to join myself and my daughter here.”

“Yes, Mrs Ellison.”

The butler left the room and Isobel pulled a face, only turning around again when the door opened and James, Alfie and Will came in.

“I have sent for my parents,” Mrs Ellison announced and Isobel met Will’s brown eyes for a moment. “And, no, Isobel does not approve of my decision but I want them both here on my wedding day.”

There was no response, Mrs Ellison gave a little shrug and the five of them waited in a tense silence until voices were heard in the hall and the butler came into the room.

“Mr Greene,” Gorman announced, the elderly gentleman walked in and Isobel peered behind him. Where was his wife? Why wasn’t she here? And why hadn’t she accompanied her husband to St Peter’s Church?

“Martha.” Mr Greene went to his daughter reaching out his hands. “Oh, let me look at you.” Clasping her hands, he stood back with a smile. “Oh, how I have missed you.”

Isobel clenched her fists and banged them against her thighs in frustration as her mother burst into tears. How could she be so forgiving?

“And I have missed you.” Her mother smiled through her tears. “Oh, Father…” Holding him to her, the two cried unashamedly.

Isobel glanced at Will who returned a helpless expression while Alfie began to shuffle uncomfortably and James examined his hands.

When the two finally stopped sobbing, Mrs Ellison wiped her tears away with her fingers and looked over her father’s shoulder.

“I must introduce you to my family, Father. This is James Ellison – my husband.”

James joined them and greeted his new and unexpected father-in-law with admirable calm politeness.

“Alfie?” his mother called and he shuffled forward. “My son, Alfie, is a medical student at Trinity College.”

“A budding doctor, eh?” his grandfather commented.

“I have wanted to be nothing else,” he replied.

“And this is my daughter, Isobel, and her husband, Will,” her mother continued and she braced herself as Will took her hand, led her to them and her grandfather inclined his head politely.

“Your concern for your mother is commendable, Isobel.”

“I do not wish to see my mother upset – especially on today of all days.”

“But I am not upset,” her mother protested with an almost hysterical laugh which made her cringe. “I am absolutely delighted to have my father here today.”

“Where is Grandmother?” she asked on behalf of them all and he gave her a little smile, no doubt having expected her question.

“Resting,” he answered simply and she didn’t believe him for a second.

Quickly realising she wasn’t going to reply, her mother gestured to Will.

“This is my son-in-law, Dr Will Fitzgerald.”

“Are you a Dublin man?” Mr Greene inquired.

“Yes, I am,” Will replied. “I was born and brought up on Merrion Square.”

“Isobel and Will have twins – a boy and a girl – Ben and Belle – who are five months old,” Mrs Ellison went on. “And they are raising Will’s nephew, John, who is almost four.”

“I am a great-grandfather.” Mr Greene smiled and shook his head. “Good gracious me. I may be as old as the century, but this news makes me feel utterly antiquated.”

“I think we should go upstairs and introduce Mr Greene to our guests,” James suggested and his wife nodded.

“And luncheon will be served soon.”

They went up the stairs to the pleasantly warm drawing room where Mrs Ellison introduced her father – wheezing after the climb – to the guests. Will’s mother, in particular, was astonished, Sarah having assumed her friend’s parents were both long dead.

“You don’t seem at all happy to finally meet your grandfather, Isobel,” Will’s father commented and she sighed, taking his arm and leading him to a relatively quiet corner.

“My grandparents cut Mother off when she ran away from home to marry my father just days after her twenty-first birthday and yet here they both are in Dublin – twenty-five years later.”

“Your grandfather has the pallor and laboured breathing of a very ill man,” he said as they observed Mr Greene now leaning heavily on her mother’s arm and she nodded.

“Grandfather is dying and my mother does not know – and will not know – until she and James return from London.”

“Of course. They live in Co Mayo, don’t they?”

“They did, but not anymore, apparently. They are renting number 7.”

“Here on Fitzwilliam Square?” John Fitzgerald’s eyebrows shot up.

“Yes. I think their move to Dublin and my grandfather’s ‘sudden’ appearance at the church were very carefully planned, despite his words to the contrary,” she said as Will came to them.

“James seems rather stunned, what do you think of all this?” his father asked.

“Poor James is walking on eggshells,” Will replied. “He did not expect to acquire parents-in-law. I agree with Isobel that Mr Greene’s ‘sudden’ appearance has taken careful planning, so I am rather… wary.”

“Well, do not agree to be your grandfather-in-law’s doctor whatever you do.”

Will shot his father a sharp look. “I’m sure Mr Greene already has a doctor.”

“My namesake didn’t look too happy to be wearing a skirt.” John swiftly changed the subject.

“He wasn’t happy,” Will confirmed. “He hated his ‘dress’. But when I left him at number 30 with Zaineb, he went running up the stairs ahead of her for his short trousers immediately.”

A quarter of an hour later, they all sat down to the wedding luncheon – a place setting for Mrs Greene having been added and then quickly taken away. Isobel glanced at Will’s estranged parents, placed opposite each other at the huge dining table. Living separately – although under the same roof at number 67 Merrion Square – John and Sarah had behaved impeccably at Ben, Belle and young John’s joint christenings and could put on a show of togetherness when required.

Isobel was seated between John and one of James’ brothers and, although she spoke politely with both men, she couldn’t rid herself of the shock and anger of her grandfather’s unexpected arrival. She had rarely thought of either her paternal or maternal grandparents over the years. Her father’s parents had both died long before Alfie and she were born and she had never expected to meet her mother’s father and mother.

Mr and Mrs Ellison were to leave by cab at five o’clock. It would take them to the North Wall Quay passenger terminus and the boat to Holyhead in Wales. From there, they would travel to London by train. Isobel went upstairs with her mother and helped her to put on an exquisite three-quarter length ‘going away’ coat and hat made from the same gold and emerald green satin as the wedding dress.

“Promise me one thing,” Mrs Ellison said as Isobel opened the bedroom door. “Promise me you won’t row with your grandfather while James and I are in London. I know you are not at all happy at his rather sudden appearance.”

“I cannot promise you that, Mother,” she replied truthfully.

“In that case, I would like you to keep away from him – and your grandmother.”

Isobel’s jaw dropped. “Keep away?”

“Yes, Isobel, keep away. Yes, they hurt me deeply – cutting me off when I married your father – and I appreciate your wish to protect me from any further distress. But until I have the opportunity to sit down with them and determine whether their move to Dublin is temporary or permanent and what either could mean for us all, I would like you to keep away from them – please?”

Isobel gave a little shrug. “I can only promise you that I shall not call on them. But if they call on me…” She tailed off intentionally and her mother sighed but nodded.

“Yes, it is natural that they would wish to see their great-grandchildren.”

Is it, Isobel wondered. Today was the first occasion Mr Greene had set eyes on his grandchildren, never mind his great-grandchildren, even though he has no doubt known of us all and where we live for quite some time.

“And now it is time for you to go,” she said, hugging and kissing her mother. “Have a lovely time in London.”

“I’ll try.”

They went downstairs and she kissed James goodbye. He smiled before giving her a firm nod, silently telling her he would ensure his new wife enjoyed her honeymoon.

The wedding guests stood on the steps of number 55 waving the cab off and as it left the square Mr Greene turned to her.

“I shall take my leave now, too.”

“Goodbye,” Isobel said simply and her grandfather’s eyebrows rose, no doubt having expected something a little more acerbic. Turning away, she went back into the hall with Will following her. “My grandfather is returning to number 7,” she informed Gorman who lifted Mr Greene’s overcoat down from the stand. “And I hope the other guests leave soon as well,” she added to Will. “Because I don’t know for how long I can remain polite and make inane small talk.”

It took two hours for the last guests to leave and as soon as Will closed the drawing room door, Isobel exploded – throwing her hands up into the air.

“Twenty-five years—”

“Isobel.” Will clasped her hands and kissed them. “Let’s try and remain calm – we need to remain calm. Alfie, tell me what you know about your grandparents while I pour us a drink.”

“Well,” Alfie began, rubbing his forehead as Will went to the drinks tray. “They live – or lived – at Greene Hall in Co Mayo – not far from Westport. Their estate borders the Marquess of Sligo’s estate.”

“Their estate?” Will echoed, reaching for one of the decanters. “How much land do they have?”

“A lot,” Isobel replied, trying to recall what she had been told over the years. “About ten thousand acres. Some of it is peat bog and mountain and only fit for sheep, but there is also some good land. The house is large, too, according to what Mother used to say. But I’ve never seen a painting or a photograph of it, so I don’t know how accurate her description is. Mother took one photograph of her parents with her when she ran away to marry Father, that is all.”

“And they cut your mother off completely?” Will asked her while pouring the drinks. “There was no secret correspondence?”

“Not as far as I know. Do you know any different, Alfie?” she asked and he made a helpless gesture with his hands. “What about when Father died?”

“When Father died, Mother and I both decided to move to Dublin more or less straight away. If there were any letters, I knew nothing of them.”

Will passed her a glass of brandy and Alfie one of whiskey before holding up his own whiskey glass.

“Well, apart from your grandfather appearing, the day was very pleasant. Long life and happiness to the Ellisons.”

They touched glasses and drank.

“Today would have been an emotional one for your mother even if your grandfather hadn’t turned up at the church,” he continued. “So, let’s see what her state of mind is when she returns from London.”

“Hopefully, James will be able to talk some sense into her,” she added as the door opened and Gorman came in.

“Mr Greene has called and is asking to speak to Mr Stevens and Mrs Fitzgerald.”

“What does he want now?” Isobel muttered, rolling her eyes.

“Mr Greene needs to sit down, Dr Fitzgerald,” the butler added. “He is puffing and panting rather alarmingly.”

Will quickly put his glass on the mantelpiece, her glass and Alfie’s joined it and they went downstairs to the hall. Her grandfather was standing at the front door, leaning heavily on his walking cane and wheezing. Taking Mr Greene’s arm, Will guided him into the morning room and sat him down on the sofa while Alfie and Gorman lit the gas lamps.

“Breathe as slowly and deeply as you can,” Will instructed as she closed the door.

Mr Greene exhaled a phlegm-filled laugh. “That is easier said than done.”

“Would you like whiskey, sherry or brandy?” Isobel asked and he glanced up at her in surprise.

“Brandy. Thank you.”

She nodded and went to the decanters. Returning with a large glass of brandy, she passed it to him but his hand shook and Will had to grab the glass before it fell onto the rug. With Will holding the glass, the elderly man took a sip and sat back, pulling a handkerchief from his overcoat pocket and mopping his forehead.

“I don’t like sherry,” he announced. “I can tolerate a single malt whiskey, but I much prefer brandy.”

She almost smiled, as she had exactly the same taste in alcohol. Who knows what else she had in common with him.

“Why come to Dublin?” she asked and the butler discreetly left the room. “Why turn up unannounced at Mother’s wedding? Why did Grandmother not attend the wedding with you? Why did she not attend the wedding luncheon? Why is she not here with you now?”

“Because, Isobel,” he said, taking the glass from Will. “I am about to tell you something your grandmother wishes to keep secret.”

“Well?” she prompted irritably as he enjoyed another sip of brandy and handed the glass back to Will.

“It was wholly my idea to attend your mother’s wedding,” he told her. “Your grandmother wished to stay away but I wanted to see my daughter marry so I insisted I attend, even though it went against my doctor’s strict advice. I have chronic lung disease,” he added, with a glance towards both Will and Alfie. “I am dying, and there are many things I have done over the course of my life I want to try and put right before it is too late. I wish to get to know my darling daughter again. I wish to get to know my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren. But I also have a son and it is my dearest wish that I see him once more before I die.”

Fitzgerald series Books

Explore my blog for more excerpts, character profiles and historical background information

A Discarded Son: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Three will be published on 7 August 2019

Pre-order A Discarded Son: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Three for 99c/99p  

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Amazon ASIN: B07V1C41X2

Paperback ISBN: Coming Soon

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Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Discarded Son

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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A Scarlet Woman: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book One is on a virtual book tour organised by Goddess Fish Promotions. I will be awarding a US$25 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour so check out the reviews below and leave a comment! 

July 8: Enchanting Reviews
July 8: The Avid Reader
July 15: Fabulous and Brunette
July 22: Long and Short Reviews
July 29: KayBee’s Bookshelf, A Literary Blog
July 29: Straight From the Library

If you haven’t read A Scarlet Woman yet, the Kindle edition is currently 99c/99p! 

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Cover photo credit: Wilhelm Roentgen (1845-1923), German physicist, received the first Nobel Prize for Physics, in 1901, for his discovery of X-rays in 1895: Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com and Portrait of a man in a top hat and morning suit holding a cane: Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com
Cover photo credit: Florence Court, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland: phb.cz/Depositphotos.com
Eugène Delacroix – Portrait of Léon Riesener: Photo Credit: irinaraquel via Flickr.com / CC BY 4.0
Lily Langtry, The Lily of Jersey: Photo Credit: the lost gallery via Flickr.com / CC BY 4.0

Meet A Suitable Wife’s Sarah Fitzgerald

Sarah

Sarah Fitzgerald, née Crawford, was born in 1824 in York Street, Dublin, Ireland the second of three daughters. Sarah’s father, William, was the son of a draper from Parliament Street and became a surgeon at Mercer’s Hospital through hard work and stubborn determination on both his part and his father’s. Draper Crawford had to ensure he earned enough to keep his family fed and clothed and ensure William had the means to be bound as an apprentice to a prominent surgeon.

Continually reminded that he has ‘come from trade’ by certain sections of Dublin society, Surgeon Crawford wanted Sarah to marry well. His former apprentice, Duncan Simpson, had married Maria Wingfield of Rutland Square (now Parnell Square), but Duncan introduced Sarah and her father to his best friend, John Fitzgerald. A doctor with a home on Merrion Square and heir to a prosperous medical practice on Merrion Street Upper, John is the ideal husband.

Sarah and John married at St Peter’s Church, Aungier Street in 1845. Their son, Edward, was born in 1846 and joined the army while Will was born in 1849 and became a doctor.

At the start of A Suitable Wife, Sarah has been married for almost thirty-six years and believes herself to be still in love with John. But did Sarah marry John, a stern and rather secretive man ten years her senior, simply to please her father?

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Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

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Read an excerpt from Chapter Seven…

Will was quiet as they strolled home arm-in-arm, his mind clearly on his father. As they approached number 30, she could hear raised voices and they stopped. Tess, Will’s parents’ house-parlourmaid who doubled as his mother’s lady’s maid, was hurrying down the steps to a waiting cab while Mrs Dillon pleaded with someone from the front door.

“Doctor and Mrs Fitzgerald will be home soon. Please come inside and calm yourself.”

“But I have no money to pay the cabman.” Will’s mother emerged from behind the cab smoothing down the skirt of her black dress and, to Isobel’s horror, sank down onto the kerb bursting into tears.

“Christ,” Will whispered and they ran to her. “Mother?”

“Oh, Will…”

“I’ll pay the cabman, Mother. Isobel will escort you inside.”

“Sarah.” Clasping her mother-in-law’s cold hands, Isobel raised her to her feet. “Come into the house, you’re freezing.”

“Tess, too?” Sarah asked and Isobel glanced at the girl. Usually, a capable maid, Tess’ face was ashen. What on earth had she heard or witnessed?

“Yes, Tess, too. Come inside.” Slowly they climbed the steps and went into the hall. “Mrs Dillon, this is Tess. Tess, this is Mrs Dillon. I think we could do with some tea – all of us,” she added with a nod towards the maid, and the housekeeper took Tess’ arm.

“Yes, Mrs Fitzgerald.”

“Come into the morning room, Sarah.” Isobel led her inside and sat her down on the sofa, hearing the front door close then silence as Will most likely hung up his hat and overcoat before his footsteps could be heard approaching the door.

“What’s happened, Mother?” he asked, coming in and closing the door behind him.

“Oh, Will,” she said in a shaky voice. “I don’t know where to begin.”

“Take your time.”

“I have separated from your father.”

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Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Suitable Wife

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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Photo credit: Hubert von Herkomer – Emilia Francis (née Strong), Lady Dilke, is a derivative of irinaraquel, used under CC BY 4.0

Meet A Suitable Wife’s John Fitzgerald

George_Bernard_Shaw_1925

Will Fitzgerald’s father, John, was born at number 67 Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland in 1814, the eldest son of Dr Edward Fitzgerald and his wife Mary Jane neé Maquay. John’s younger brother Thomas died at a year old.

John met Duncan Simpson at the ‘Seminary for General Education’, a school run by the Reverend R.H. Wall at number 6 Hume Street. They became best friends but John followed Fitzgerald family tradition that the eldest son study medicine at Trinity College. Duncan was bound as an apprentice to William Crawford, a surgeon at Mercer’s Hospital while also studying at the private school of anatomy, medicine, and surgery in Park Street (now Lincoln Place) before receiving his letters testimonial from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. On graduating with an M.D. from Trinity College, John joined his father’s medical practice on Merrion Street Upper. Duncan became a renowned surgeon at Mercer’s Hospital and married Maria Wingfield of Rutland Square (now Parnell Square) in 1844.

In 1845, John married Sarah Crawford of York Street, William Crawford’s middle daughter. Their son, Edward, was born in 1846 and Will was born in 1849. In 1851, following the death of his father, John took over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice and entered into partnership with Dr Kenneth Wilson, father of Cecilia, Will’s former fiancée.

John is immensely proud of his sons but discovers they are just as stubborn as he is. Edward breaks with family tradition and insists on joining the army. Currently serving in India, Edward has been promoted to the rank of major and is married to Ruth with a son named after his grandfather but despite all this, John still wishes Edward had gone into medicine.

It is Will who was intent on becoming a doctor but John is appalled when, on graduating from Trinity College, Will joins the Merrion Street Upper practice only to leave after a few months to live and set up his own medical practice in the Liberties, a poorer area of Dublin. Nor does John approve of Will’s choice of wife. Isobel Stevens may be a well-educated clergyman’s daughter but she is a fallen woman and simply not good enough for his son. 

When Duncan dies suddenly in November 1880, John retires from practising medicine and offers the Merrion Street Upper practice to Will. When Will agrees to take over the practice, a relieved John takes up the position of editor at the Journal of Irish Medicine. It is a well paid position so John won’t be left out of pocket by no longer practising medicine.

Never one to display his feelings publically or otherwise, at the start of A Suitable Wife, John has become even more distant. At first, Sarah, Will and Isobel put John’s behaviour down to him coming to terms with losing his best friend, retiring from medicine and adjusting to an office job in a short period of time.

But when Isobel and Will each see John getting into a cab on St Stephen’s Green and then see him leaving a cab in the middle of Merrion Row whilest holding up all the traffic, they can’t help but be puzzled and concerned. Is John hiding something from his wife and family?

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Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

FitzgeraldSeries_TWITTER

Read an excerpt from Chapter Two…

A copy of The Irish Times was lying on the desk as Will went into his surgery the next morning. He put his medical bag down on the floor and glanced at the advertisements on the front page. What was he supposed to be looking at?

“Page four,” Fred informed him from the doorway.

Will went to the page and his heart sank. Doctor Saves Infant’s Life Through New ‘Piglet Procedure’. The article described how he had saved the life of the premature newborn son of the late Clive Ashlinn Q.C. Will was named but Fred, and how he had saved Cecilia’s life, was not.

“This is nothing to do with me, Fred.”

“No?”

“No,” he replied firmly. “The detail in this article could only have come from a doctor and I haven’t spoken to Cecilia’s father since that night.”

“Well, Dr Wilson certainly told someone after I’d spoken to him.”

“I’m sorry, Fred. This article should be about you. You saved Cecilia’s life.”

“Yes, but not with the ‘Piglet Procedure’,” Fred muttered. “I’ll see you this evening.”

Will sighed and closed the newspaper.

“Will?” About to run up the steps to number 30 and escape the cold just before one o’clock, Will turned hearing his father’s voice. “Have you seen The Irish Times?”

“I have,” he replied shortly as his father stopped beside him. “Come inside, it’s freezing.” Will hurried up the steps, opened the front door and they went into the hall. “Who was responsible for that sensationalist article?” he demanded, quickly closing the door and putting his medical bag on the hall table.

“I met Ken Wilson and he told me—”

“He clearly didn’t tell you the baby was full term,” Will interrupted and his father’s jaw dropped.

“Full term?”

“Yes,” he replied, taking off his hat and hanging it on the stand. “And, thanks to you, all those who can count and know Cecilia was the one who ended our engagement and married Clive Ashlinn with undue haste, now know why – she was pregnant with his child after having sexual relations with him behind my back. For God’s sake, Father, did you not stop for a moment to think – to count back the months? If the baby had been conceived after Cecilia married Clive, it wouldn’t have survived five minutes – if even that – no matter what was done to try and revive it. Fred saved Cecilia’s life. He performed a difficult caesarean – that old fool Smythe should have done it hours beforehand – and I get all the credit for clearing the baby’s airway. It’s completely ridiculous. Please don’t do it again.”

His father’s eyebrows rose in clear offence. “The practice needs more patients and it was an ideal opportunity to obtain some publicity for you. As well as that, I was going to ask you to submit a paper to the Journal of Irish Medicine.”

“On how to swing a baby by its ankles? Thank you, Father but, no. Ask Fred for one on the caesarean.”

“We receive papers on caesareans all the time.”

“Well write an editorial on elderly doctors and how they put their patients’ lives at risk.”

His father nodded. “I have heard complaints about Smythe before but he cannot be compelled to retire until…”

“He does actually kill someone.” Will rolled his eyes. “While you’re here, could you come into the breakfast room, I need to speak to you about Fred.”

They went inside and Will closed the door to the hall. The table was laid for luncheon and his stomach began to rumble.

“Is Fred in trouble, Will?” his father asked.

“Yesterday morning, I caught him in his surgery with a young woman.”

“A young woman? You mean a whore?”

Will winced. He hated the term. “I mean a prostitute. And it doesn’t seem to be the first time he’s brought one to the practice house.”

“I caught him twice with one.” His father sighed. “I thought that now he is going to be a father…”

“It would seem that has only made matters worse. Needless to say, we had ‘words’ about it. I told him if I caught him with a prostitute there again, he’d be out and—”

“You can’t dissolve the partnership so soon, Will,” his father interjected firmly. “How would it look?”

“Father, Fred’s sexual excursions are none of my business, but he will not indulge his urges at the practice house. He and Margaret are coming here to dinner this evening and I want to try and build bridges with him but I also think he misses his father greatly.”

“We all miss his father greatly.”

“Could you speak with him, please?” Will asked. “Perhaps bring him to your club for a drink occasionally?”

“Be a father figure to him, you mean?”

“Yes. I’m finding it very difficult to be a friend to him at the moment and the newspaper article certainly hasn’t helped matters.”

His father nodded. “It was well intended.”

“I know it was,” Will conceded. “But don’t expect Cecilia or her parents to be too pleased about it either.”

“No,” his father replied quietly. “How is Isobel?”

“A little nervous about the dinner as it’s our first but other than that she is very well.”

“Good. Well, I’ll let you begin luncheon.”

“Please don’t tell Fred I’ve spoken to you about him?” Will asked.

“I won’t.”

“Thank you for calling, Father, and my love to Mother.” He saw his father out and turned as he shrugged off his overcoat, hearing the morning room door open. “My father,” he told Isobel, hanging the overcoat on the stand.

“Yes, I heard his voice,” she said and closed the door. “Will, have you seen today’s Irish Times?”

“Fred showed the article to me.” Taking her hand, they went into the breakfast room. “He isn’t happy about it. My father has just told me he is responsible.”

“Oh.”

“I’ve asked him not to do it again.”

“You didn’t row, did you?” she asked.

“No. I didn’t row with Fred either.”

“Good.” She gave him a little smile. “For a moment, I thought you were going to tell me Fred has refused to come this evening.”

“Fred and Margaret are definitely coming to dinner this evening,” he assured her. “I have some house calls to make this afternoon, but I should be home before six o’clock.”

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Buy A Suitable Wife: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two the sequel to A Scarlet Woman for   

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Or read A Suitable Wife FREE with 

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Buy the A Suitable Wife paperback at

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Amazon ASIN: B07FDB3B3W

Paperback ISBN: 9781723286810

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Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Suitable Wife

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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Photo credit: George Bernard Shaw 1925 – by Nobel FoundationPublic Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Meet A Suitable Wife’s Fred Simpson

Fred Simpson

Frederick (Fred) Simpson was born in December 1849 at number 1 Ely Place Upper, Dublin, Ireland, the only son of Duncan Simpson, a renowned surgeon, and his wife, Maria. Duncan Simpson and Dr Will Fitzgerald’s father, Dr John Fitzgerald were best friends and Fred and Will also became best friends.

Fred and Will attended the Weslyan Connexional School (now known as Wesley College) where they became friends with Jeremiah (Jerry) Hawley from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire).

Instead of becoming a surgeon like his father, Fred studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin with Will and Jerry. On graduating, Jerry moved to London and set up practice there, Will set up a practice in the Liberties area of Dublin, and Fred joined Dr John Fitzgerald’s prosperous medical practice on Merrion Street Upper.

At the start of A Scarlet Woman in July 1880 and, after spending his last night of freedom with Will and Jerry in a brothel in Monto, Dublin’s red light district, Fred marries Margaret Dawson from Dame Street in St Andrew’s Church. By Christmas 1880, Fred’s father has died suddenly, his mother has gone to live with her spinster sister on Rutland Square (now Parnell Square), and Margaret is expecting a baby.

When Dr John Fitzgerald retires in December 1880, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice and he and Fred go into partnership together. They begin to rebuild the practice following the departure of many patients who left when Will’s father departed rather unexpectedly.

When A Suitable Wife begins in January 1881, Will finds that being in partnership with his oldest friend isn’t all plain sailing. Fred hasn’t come to terms with the sudden death of his father and his own impending fatherhood. Fred has become a law unto himself and is on the brink of bringing the good name of the practice crashing down. There is also ill-feeling between Fred and Eva Bannister, who has been practice secretary for the past twenty years but is now threatening to resign. Eva has always dealt professionally with both doctors and patients so the cause of the animosity cannot be a trivial matter.

Dealing with troubles of his own, difficulties with both Fred and the practice are the last thing Will needs to contend with and when he challenges Fred they almost come to blows. After almost five years of running the Brown Street medical practice alone, has Will made a terrible mistake in going into partnership with Fred? What can Will do to resolve matters before he and Fred actually do come to blows, Eva resigns and patients begin to notice a bad atmosphere causing more of them to leave the practice? Is this the end of Will and Fred’s long friendship?

A_Suitable_Wife_SQUARE

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

FitzgeraldSeries_TWITTER

Read an excerpt from Chapter Two…

The following Monday, a gradual thaw had begun and a smoke-fog hung over Dublin. Will walked to the practice house half an hour early in order to write to two suppliers of fish bladder condoms, preferring to correspond from and have them sent to him there to avoid any embarrassment at number 30.

Hanging up his hat and overcoat in the office, he froze hearing a thud and then a moan from upstairs. He ran up the stairs two at a time and tried the door to his surgery but the room was still locked. He went along the landing, opened the door to Fred’s surgery and couldn’t help but stand and watch for a few moments. Fred was on his knees behind the desk, his head between the thighs of a young blonde woman seated in his chair, her head thrown back as she moaned and implored him never to stop.

“Fred.”

Fred jumped, straightened up and stared at him in consternation. “Will—”

“I think you should leave now.” He addressed the young woman remarkably calmly and she stood up allowing the skirt of her black cotton dress to fall. Grabbing her straw hat and black woollen shawl from the desk, she pushed past him and left the room. He heard her run down the stairs and a moment or two later, the front door slammed.

Fred got to his feet, pulled up his drawers and trousers and did up the buttons. “Will—” he began again but Will held up a hand.

“I could have been Eva coming to unlock all the doors.”

“I know. I’m sorry. Margaret won’t let me near her and—”

“That was the first and last time here, Fred. Do I make myself clear?”

Fred exhaled a humourless laugh. “You sounded exactly like your father, then.”

“Had my father caught you here with a prostitute?” he asked, Fred looked away and Will took it for a yes. “Well, I mean it, Fred.”

“Do you?” Fred demanded, turning back to him. “Christ, you can be so fucking holier than thou sometimes, Will. You wouldn’t be a tiny bit frustrated, would you? I take it you haven’t fucked Isobel since she lost the baby? Here.” Fred opened a desk drawer, lifted out a small red box and threw it at him. The box hit Will on the chest and fell to the floor. “Condoms. Take them and fuck your wife tonight.”

Will strode across the room, seized Fred by the throat and held him up against the wall. “First – my marriage is none of your concern. Second – your marriage is none of my concern. And third – if I find you here with a prostitute again, you will be out. You’re an excellent doctor but it was little wonder my father never made you his practice partner – you’re far too bloody immature.”

“Your father always wanted you to become his practice partner,” Fred croaked. “But you preferred to work in a fucking slum. You have all this and you still want to go back to the Liberties.”

“How many times do I have to tell you that Brown Street is not a slum and neither is Pimlico. I’m going back because I’m needed there.” Hearing the front door close, he let Fred go and stepped back from him. “You will not bring prostitutes here again,” he repeated quietly, then turned and left the room, stepping over the box of condoms.

Sitting down at the desk in his surgery, he closed his eyes for a few moments to suppress his temper before opening a desk drawer and lifting out some headed notepaper. He wrote the two letters then went straight out to post them so they would be amongst the first postal collections of the day.

After surgery three and a half hours later, he walked home without speaking to Fred again. He went into the morning room and found Isobel seated on the sofa reading a newspaper.

“Can we go to Pimlico this afternoon and clean the two rooms?” he asked her by way of a greeting.

“Yes, of course, we can,” she replied, closing and folding the newspaper before putting it on the arm of the sofa. “What is it? You sound angry.”

“I caught Fred in his surgery with a prostitute,” he said and her eyebrows rose but other than that, she didn’t seem at all surprised. “Needless to say, we argued. Oh, Christ.” Resting his hands on his hips, he stared up at the ceiling. “Have I made a terrible mistake going into partnership with Fred? Marriage hasn’t matured him, the death of his father hasn’t matured him, impending fatherhood hasn’t matured him…”

“Could you run the practice on your own?” she asked and he lowered his head.

“Yes, provided the number of patients stays as it is now but, ideally, the practice needs twice the number of patients we have now, and how would it look if I were to dissolve the partnership after such a short period of time?” Isobel’s frown gave him his answer. “I’ve given Fred one more chance,” he went on. “And if he throws it back in my face, then he’s out. Do you think Margaret suspects anything?”

“She seemed quite happy when I called but we aren’t really close enough friends for her to divulge anything too personal.”

“No, I suppose not. I’m sorry.” He bent and kissed her lips. “But sometimes Fred infuriates me.”

“Fred’s your oldest friend and you care about him. Which is why I think you should either postpone starting the surgery in Pimlico for a while. Or involve him, too.”

“Fred has the same attitude to the Liberties as my father and I don’t want a repeat of what that led to.”

“Well, it was just a suggestion,” she said with a little shrug.

“No, it’s a wonderful suggestion and if I broke Fred in gently—” He halted, seeing her smile. “Thank you,” he continued. “I’ll discuss it with Fred. The last thing I want is to fall out with him like I have with my father.”

“Shall we clean the rooms in Pimlico this afternoon, then?”

“No,” he decided. “Not until I’ve spoken to Fred. I have only three house calls to make this afternoon. Afterwards, I’ll take you out for tea or coffee – whatever you’d prefer. When the condoms arrive, I will make love to you for an entire afternoon.”

“When the condoms arrive?”

“I’ve ordered condoms from two manufacturers,” he explained. “And I’ll make my choice from them, although I know which Fred prefers.”

“Oh?”

“He threw a box of them at me.”

“Will, did you and Fred fight?” she asked slowly.

“Almost,” he admitted, staring down at his shoes like a naughty schoolboy. “I grabbed him by the throat.”

“For God’s sake, Will,” she snapped, getting to her feet. “What if Eva or your patients heard or saw you?”

“I know, I know. It won’t happen again.” She gave him a long look and he grimaced. “It won’t happen again, Isobel,” he repeated in a firm tone and this time she gave him a satisfied nod.

“You can take me out for coffee this afternoon. And perhaps a stroll around St Stephen’s Green? Then, on our way home, we’ll call to Ely Place Upper and invite Fred and Margaret to dinner in the next few days so you and he can discuss the future. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he replied quietly then went to the fire to warm his hands.

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Buy A Suitable Wife: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two the sequel to A Scarlet Woman for   

Kindle

Or read A Suitable Wife FREE with 

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Buy the A Suitable Wife paperback at

amazon  B&N  wordery  Book Depository  blackwells  waterstones  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound

Amazon ASIN: B07FDB3B3W

Paperback ISBN: 9781723286810

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Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Suitable Wife

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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Photo credit: Portrait of a young man, 1870-1880: State Library of Queensland on Flickr: No known copyright restrictions

Meet A Suitable Wife’s Margaret Simpson

edith_wharton

Margaret Simpson, née Dawson, was born on Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland in 1857, the younger daughter of the late Nicholas Dawson and his wife. Nicholas Dawson was a solicitor and his offices at street level are now leased to a law firm while his widow lives alone on the floors above.

Having been in love with Dr Fred Simpson since seeing him at a church service when she was sixteen, Margaret can’t believe her luck when they marry in July 1880 and she moves to number 1 Ely Place Upper. In December 1880, Fred’s surgeon father, Duncan Simpson, dies suddenly and Fred’s mother, Maria, moves out and goes to live with her spinster sister, Diana Wingfield, on Rutland Square. Margaret is now mistress of number 1, but also finds herself expecting a baby.

As Fred and Dr Will Fitzgerald are old friends, Margaret hopes she and Will’s new wife, Isobel, can also be friends. Margaret has many acquaintances but none that she can discuss ‘marital matters’ with. When A Suitable Wife begins in January 1881, Fred and Will’s friendship has come under strain, mainly due to Fred’s erratic behaviour, and a dinner is arranged at number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, Will and Isobel’s new home.

While Will and Fred attempt to reconcile their differences over port after the meal, Isobel and Margaret retire to the drawing room. Knowing Isobel’s reputation as a fallen woman and assuming Isobel will understand and offer advice, Margaret seizes the opportunity to confess the strain her marriage is under. Margaret has been married to Fred long enough for her to realise that while he is the love of her life, Fred can only love her in his own way and that she alone will never be able to satisfy him. Margaret then admits she has given her husband her blessing to find sexual satisfaction with prostitutes.

Unfortunately, Margaret gets carried away and goes far too far. Isobel is already nervous because this is her first dinner party at number 30 and is uncomfortable at the conversation having turned to prostitution. When Margaret informs her that if she can’t be a good wife to Will, he is a very handsome man and there are many ladies in Dublin who would welcome him into their bed, Isobel can’t help herself and hits her.

Given her past, Isobel knows she can never be a true friend to anyone except Will, but can she and Margaret ever be simply acquaintances? If she and Margaret can’t get along, what hope is there for their husbands whose friendship and partnership at the Merrion Street Upper medical practice are on the brink of collapse. Is Isobel striking Margaret going to be the straw which breaks the camel’s back?

A_Suitable_Wife_SQUARE

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

FitzgeraldSeries_TWITTER

Read an excerpt from Chapter Two…

Isobel was in the drawing room by the time Will arrived home and his brown eyes widened as they took in her evening dress. It was new, short-sleeved, and deep red in colour. His eyes rested on her cleavage and she exhaled an exasperated sigh.

“It is cut too low, I knew it.”

“No. It’s stunning. You are stunning. Oh,” he added softly. “The condoms can’t arrive quickly enough.”

“Don’t mention the condoms,” she whispered. “I’m trying not to think about them. Go and get changed,” she said, giving him a gentle push.

The servants had worked hard and both the drawing room and dining room looked magnificent lit for the first time by the new gas lamps. Fires had been lit early in the morning and, despite it freezing sharply all day, both rooms were pleasantly warm as she made a circuit of them waiting for Will.

“Mrs Fitzgerald?” Will was standing in the drawing room doorway dressed in white tie and tails and she couldn’t help but stare. Would she ever get used to the fact that this handsome man was her husband? She hoped not. She never ever wanted to take him for granted. “Shall we do, do you think?” he asked with a grin.

She went to him and kissed his lips. “I think we shall do very well, Dr Fitzgerald. Ah.” She smiled, hearing voices on the stairs. “They’re here.”

Mary showed Margaret and Fred into the drawing room and Isobel kissed their cheeks.

“Thank you for coming. Come and sit by the fire, you must be frozen. Dinner will be served shortly.”

The three-course meal was delicious and, silently thanking Mrs Dillon for being such an excellent cook, Isobel got up from the table.

“It’s time to allow the doctors to have a chat,” she announced lightly and she and Margaret went into the drawing room. “Some more lemonade?” she asked Margaret as she walked to the drinks tray.

“Yes, please.”

“I think I’ll have some, too,” she added, reaching for the jug. “I don’t particularly like sherry and my mother always looks horrified when I ask for whiskey or brandy.”

“Don’t let me stop you.”

“Thank you, but I’d prefer lemonade.” She poured two glasses and passed one to Margaret. “Please, sit down.”

“Thank you.” Margaret chose the sofa and smoothed a hand down the bodice of her sky blue evening dress before resting it on her small belly. “This is a beautiful room.”

“Yes, it is,” Isobel replied as she sat down at the other end while glancing at the pale gold wallpaper and the sofa and two armchairs upholstered in burgundy silk satin. “Will and I really must use it more. Perhaps in the summer.”

“Isobel, while it is just the two of us, there is something I think you ought to know.”

“Oh?” she replied a little apprehensively.

“I know Will caught Fred with a prostitute in his surgery. In fact, I know Fred uses prostitutes regularly.”

Isobel had to consciously close her mouth. How on earth had Margaret found out? Surely Fred wouldn’t have been foolish enough to disclose to his wife of less than a year that he uses prostitutes? She took a sip of lemonade and put her glass down on a side table, not quite knowing how, or if she should respond.

“I have discussed the matter with Fred and he assures me he will be more discreet in future,” Margaret went on.

“In future?”

“I’ve known all along that Fred will not be faithful to me,” Margaret told her matter-of-factly. “My only stipulation during our discussion was that he use condoms with the prostitutes.”

“I see.”

“Oh, dear, I think I’ve shocked you, Isobel.”

It will take much more than that to shock me, she smiled wryly to herself. “No, not at all,” she said. “I’m glad you feel you can confide in me.”

“Thank you. I could never speak like this to my other friends but with you…”

“Being a fallen woman..?”

“I wasn’t going to put it quite like that.” Margaret put her glass beside Isobel’s. “But I have discovered I do enjoy sexual relations as well. However, I know I will never fully satisfy Fred. And I would rather we did not engage in sexual relations while I am pregnant,” she said, laying a hand on her belly again. “So he finds release elsewhere. With my blessing.”

“I must admit I could never give Will my blessing to—”

“You and Will are very lucky. You both love and satisfy each other.”

“Yes, we do.”

“But you cannot give him a child.”

Isobel tensed. “I will give him a child, Margaret.”

“I hope for your sake you are right, Isobel. Will is a very handsome man and I know for a fact that there are many ladies in Dublin who would welcome him into their bed and—” Margaret broke off and screamed as Isobel struck her hard on the cheek.

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Buy A Suitable Wife: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two the sequel to A Scarlet Woman for   

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Buy the A Suitable Wife paperback at

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Amazon ASIN: B07FDB3B3W

Paperback ISBN: 9781723286810

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Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Suitable Wife

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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Photo credit: EDITH WHARTON American writer 1862 1937: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Fitzwilliam Square

Fitzwilliam Square is a Georgian garden square named after the Fitzwilliam family, Earls of Merrion, who urbanised the land as part of their great estate on the south side of the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland. The square was managed and developed by Richard Fitzwilliam, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam and was laid out in 1792. The centre of the square was enclosed in 1813 through an Act of Parliament.

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The Hon. Richard Fitzwilliam, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion

The square comprises a central garden, surrounded by four streets – Fitzwilliam Square North, East, West and South. There are 69 houses with 17 houses in the north, west and east sides and 18 houses on the south side. All four sides of Fitzwilliam Square had long rear gardens and stable lanes.

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Fitzwilliam Square West

Lord Fitzwilliam opted for a simple design for the square consisting of red brick houses of four storeys over a basement with the windows diminishing in height in the first, second and third storeys. The typical Fitzwilliam Square house had a standard two-room plan with a rear dog-leg stairs and long yellow-brick rear buildings. Front doors were flanked by pilasters and surmounted by wide fanlights with delicate, lead glazing bars – creating the iconic Dublin doorcase. All the houses are two bays wide except for Nos. 56-59 (North Side), which are narrow three bay and Nos. 5 (East Side) and 35 (South Side), which have broad three bay facades.

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Georgian doors in Fitzwilliam Square

From the beginning, Fitzwilliam Square was a prestigious location and during the 19th century it continued to attract the middle classes, comprising of military officers and the professional classes. There was a significant increase in the number of doctors living in the square in the early 20th century, who were locating their consulting rooms within their private houses,which was also the case for the legal residents of the square. This period of change showed the adaptability of the houses and represented a growth of non-residential uses on the square. In the mid 20th century, doctors and their families moved to the suburbs and continued to use Fitzwilliam Square for their consulting rooms.

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46 Fitzwilliam Square

By 1950, only 24 houses were still residential and 69 doctors had consulting rooms on the square. This trend continued until the 1970’s when the relocation of St. Vincent’s Hospital from Leeson Street to a new campus meant many of the doctors in Fitzwilliam Square moved their practices south to Donnybrook. Following their departure, multi-office use became popular on the Square including accountants, solicitors, doctors, management consultants, architects and financial services.

The Garden

The layout of the garden in the centre of Fitzwilliam Square has not changed since its layout in 1813. The main reason for this may be that the garden has remained in private ownership unlike the other Georgian Squares in Dublin, i.e. St. Stephen’s Green, Mountjoy Square and Merrion Square whose original layouts have changed considerably over the years.

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Fitzwilliam Square Garden

In 1813, an Act was passed naming 14 Commissioners to be responsible for maintaining the central garden. The layout of the Garden in the early days comprised of perimeter planting of trees and flowering shrubs around the large grassed open space in the centre.

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Later in the 19th century, the planting of the flowerbed was added to the garden.  There was also the added responsibility of the maintenance of railings, gates and garden seats. In 1875, new gaslight pillars were erected and a few years later the Commissioners paid Dublin Corporation to widen the kerb and concrete path outside the railings. In the 1880’s, the final physical change to the garden was the erection of a small timber summer house on the eastern side.

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A hot day in 1890s Fitzwilliam Square. 

The garden became an international focus during the later 19th century when the Lawn Tennis Championships of Ireland were first held on the open grass centre. In the 20th century little changed until in 1963, the original 150-year lease expired ending an historic link with the commissioners and the early days of the square. After a few years of discussion it was agreed that the garden would be leased to the Fitzwilliam Square Association Ltd. for another 150 years.

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Irish Lawn Championships at Fitzwilliam Square

Today the large grassed open area remains and is used still for tennis in the summer and the pathways within this area along with the planted trees and shrubbery have remained intact as existed nearly two centuries ago.

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Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

A_Suitable_Wife_SQUARE

Read An Excerpt From Chapter Five…

[Isobel] smiled then turned as the morning room door opened and Alfie was shown in.

“I was in the gardens, making myself scarce, and I saw the three of you walk home so I thought I’d follow you.”

“Is Mr Ellison is calling on Mother again?” Isobel asked. “Should I call, too?”

“What do you mean, again?” Will inquired before Alfie could reply.

“With all that’s happened, I forgot to tell you that Mr Ellison appears to be courting Mother,” Isobel told him.

“There’s no ‘appears’ about it,” Alfie added. “He calls to the house every few days.”

“Has he spoken to you?”

“Mr Ellison doesn’t need my permission to court Mother, Will.”

“No, but has he?”

“No, he hasn’t,” Alfie replied. “But he knows that I know why he’s calling. I also called to thank you for taking David on as locum, Will. He’s looking forward to Monday.”

“I’m looking forward to him starting, too. I dealt with all the patients myself last week. I don’t want to have to do that again.”

“When do you think Dr Simpson will return?”

Will didn’t answer the question and Alfie flushed. “It’s none of my business. I’m sorry, Will.”

“You and David must come to dinner soon,” Isobel interjected brightly.

“That’s very kind, but how, exactly?”

“We’ll invite David and you will call at an agreed time and be ‘persuaded’ to stay to dinner,” she said and Alfie mulled it over for a few moments before nodding.

When he had shown Alfie out, Will returned to the morning room and Isobel sat on the sofa making a helpless gesture with her hands.

“Someone needs to speak to Mr Ellison about him courting Mother so soon after Mr Henderson’s death. If Alfie is reluctant to do it, then I will. On Monday.”

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Buy A Suitable Wife: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Two the sequel to A Scarlet Woman for   

Kindle

Or read A Suitable Wife FREE with 

download

Buy the A Suitable Wife paperback at

amazon  B&N  wordery  Book Depository  blackwells  waterstones  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound

Amazon ASIN: B07FDB3B3W

Paperback ISBN: 9781723286810

goodreads11-1024x409

Author: Lorna Peel

Title: A Suitable Wife

Series: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin

Genre: Irish Historical Fiction

Cover Designer: Rebecca K. Sterling, Sterling Design Studio

Ebook and Print Formatting: Polgarus Studio

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facebook-48x48  twitter-48x48  pinterest-48x48  mewe-500-2  goodreads-48x48  Wordpress  instagram_app_large_may2016_200  newsletter  BookBub Icon

Photo credit: Richard Fitzwilliam of Merrion: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Margaret Clough / Georgian doors in Fitzwilliam Square / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo credit: Oliver Dixon / Fitzwilliam Square West / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo credit: 46 Fitzwilliam Square by Ralf Peter Reimann used under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo credit: Fitzwilliam Square Garden – Alamy Stock Photo
Photo credit: A hot day in 1890s Fitzwilliam Square – Dublin Civic Trust
Photo credit: Irish Championship Matches – Cultural Tales 
Photo credit: by Robinson – Arthur Wallis Myers (1903): Lawn Tennis at Home and Abroad. Scribner’s Sons, New York. (online), Public Domain