Meet A Hidden Motive’s Cecilia Ashlinn

Thirty-seven year-old Cecilia Ashlinn was born at number 14 Merrion Square North, the only child of Dr Kenneth Wilson and his wife Cordelia. Ken worked with Dr Will Fitzgerald’s father, John, at the Merrion Street Upper medical practice and they were also great friends. Cecilia and Will were friends as children, they later fall in love and Cecilia accepted Will’s proposal of marriage.

After working at his father’s medical practice for a short time, Will moved to the Liberties of Dublin and set up practice there. Cecilia hoped she could persuade him to leave and although he agreed they would live with his parents at number 67 Merrion Square after their marriage, he refused to give up his practice in the Liberties.

Will’s stubbornness and the location of his practice made Cecilia regret their engagement and unknown to him, she allowed Clive Ashlinn – a rich barrister who lived at number 12 Merrion Square – to court her. She wrote to Will, breaking off their engagement and the announcement of her engagement to Clive was published in The Irish Times only three weeks after the announcement of her engagement to Will had been published there. Cecilia and Clive were married at St Peter’s Church in July 1880 and they took up residence at 46 Rutland Square.

Cecilia’s betrayal left Will heartbroken and his family and friends furious. All contact between the Fitzgerald and Wilson families was ended except for John and Ken who met regularly in the Trinity Club but they wisely gossiped about other families and never mentioned their own.

Cecilia and Clive were involved in a cab accident in November 1880. Clive was killed and the pregnant Cecilia was badly injured but recovered and moved back to her parents’ home on Merrion Square. In January 1881, Dr Fred Simpson delivered her son by caesarean section and Will assisted, reviving the baby by the unorthodox ‘Piglet Procedure’.

It is now September 1886, Ken Wilson has died in his sleep and Will calls to number 14 to express his condolences. It is the first time Cecilia has seen Will since just after her marriage to Clive. He is happily married with children, a home on Fitzwilliam Square and he has taken over his father’s medical practice. It is Cecilia who is fearful for the future.

Now her father is dead, Cecilia must take matters into her own hands. Hatching a plan with a hidden motive, she writes to Will and unknown to her mother and in-laws, invites the Fitzgeralds to number 14 for tea after the funeral. She desperately needs their help but after her past deceit can she be trusted?

Dublin, Ireland, September 1886. Will is reacquainted with his former fiancée when his father’s close friend Dr Ken Wilson dies suddenly. On finding they have received the only invitation to the Wilson residence after the funeral, the Fitzgeralds witness the tensions between Cecilia, her mother and her in-laws and discover her hidden motive for wanting them present.

When Isobel is reunited with an old friend from Ballybeg, his shame at what he has done to survive hampers her attempts to bring him and Alfie together again. With an empty life and low expectations, can Peter regain his self-respect or are he and Alfie destined to be alone?

Read an excerpt from Chapter One…

At five minutes to one, Will went up the steps and rang the front doorbell of number 14 Merrion Square North. Pryce opened the door and he took off his hat.

“My name is Dr William Fitzgerald and—”

“Will?” He peered past the butler and saw Cecilia hurrying down the stairs. “Thank you, Pryce, I shall speak to Dr Fitzgerald.” The butler nodded to her then went down the steps to the servants’ hall. “Please, come in, Will.”

He went into the hall and closed the front door, left his hat and medical bag on the table and followed her into the morning room.

“My father called to the practice house just before surgery,” he said. “You have my deepest condolences, Mrs Ashlinn, your father was always very kind to me.”

“Father liked you very much,” she replied. “Much more than Clive. He thought Clive was ‘too cute’ – as he put it – far too clever for his own good.”

Will wisely stayed silent and she gave him a wobbly smile.

“Please, call me Cecilia, Will. It has been a long time since we have spoken – that awkward encounter in the Merrion Square garden if I remember correctly. You look well.”

She didn’t but that was to be expected. Her face was ashen and already there were lines at the corners of her eyes and mouth and strands of white in her blonde hair. She was thirty-seven, just a year older than he was, but she appeared to have aged prematurely.

“How is your son?” he asked and she blinked away tears.

“Asking where Grandfather is and I don’t know how to explain.”

“How did you explain Clive’s death?”

“Badly. I told him that before he was born his father went to heaven.”

“Explain that his grandfather has joined his father in heaven.”

“Yes, I shall. That I have a son at all is thanks to you. I know I should have thanked you long before this but I was furious at your father for the sensationalist article he wrote and had printed in The Irish Times and then as time went on…”

“Fred performed the caesarean section. I simply revived the baby.”

“Poor Fred. Do you ever see Margaret?”

“Yes, she is godmother to my daughter Belle and visits the children regularly.”

“What a lovely name. Are your children at school?”

“Yes, Belle and Ben plus my nephew John and Vicky – who is the daughter of a doctor friend and lives with us – all attend Mrs Pearson’s school on Fitzwilliam Square.”

“Clive is educated here by a tutor and is very eager to learn and—”

“Cecilia,” he broke in gently, hearing the clock on the mantelpiece chime one o’clock. “I called not just to offer my condolences but to offer to be a pallbearer and represent my father and the Merrion Street Upper medical practice. Your father and my father weren’t just in practice together, they were great friends and your father almost became my father-in-law.”

“You’re very kind, Will. I shall send a message to number 30 when the funeral arrangements have been made.”

He nodded, opened the door and followed her along the hall to the front door.

“I never expected you to leave your practice in the Liberties,” she said. “But here you are – Dr Will Fitzgerald with a practice on Merrion Street Upper – a husband and a father with a home on Fitzwilliam Square.”

“Life takes us in many unexpected directions,” he replied, picking up his hat and medical bag then opening the door.

“It does,” she said simply.

“Take care of yourself, Cecilia.”

“Thank you, Will, I shall.”

He put on his hat and raised it to her before going down the steps to the pavement and walking away along Merrion Square North.

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

Buy A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six for

Kindle

Or read A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six FREE with 

download

If you haven’t read books 1-5 yet, click on the banner below to catch up!

Amazon ASIN: B09DYYW2ZM

Paperback ISBN: 9798467528502

Buy A Cruel Mischief in paperback at

amazon  B&N  Book Depository  blackwells  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound  TRB  Bookshop.org

   

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

Meet A Hidden Motive’s Peter Shawcross

Peter Shawcross is thirty-two years old and was born on a farm just outside Ballybeg in Co Galway. His mother died when he was two while giving birth to his brother James. The Shawcross family often visited the Glebe House as they were the Stevens family’s nearest Protestant neighbours and Peter and James’ father Thomas was the closest Isobel Fitzgerald’s father Canon Edmund Stevens had to a friend. Despite being sent to schools hundreds of miles apart, James and Isobel’s brother Alfie were best friends. Peter was more of a loner but was still a good friend to Isobel and Alfie.

Peter and Alfie are gay and Isobel later discovers they became more than good friends. Finding them together, James coerced Alfie into leaving him alone with Isobel. James seduced her, she fell pregnant and James deserted her and went to America. Isobel had no option but to tell her father and he whipped and disowned her and she left Ballybeg for Dublin.

When Isobel and Will visit Ballybeg on their honeymoon in December 1880, they meet James on the road outside the church. James smugly informs them his father discovered Peter was gay, wrote Peter out of his will and asked him to come back to Ireland and run the farm. On being asked where Peter is, James tells them he has no idea.

In September 1886, Isobel encounters a blond gentleman waiting to be interviewed for the position of her step-father James Ellison’s new law clerk. At first, she thinks he is James Shawcross but no, it’s Peter. Has he been living in Dublin all this time? Why is he using an assumed name and most importantly, how has he supported himself? When she discovers the truth mirrors her own experiences, she fears Peter and Alfie may never be reunited. Can Peter overcome his shame and start afresh?

Dublin, Ireland, September 1886. Will is reacquainted with his former fiancée when his father’s close friend Dr Ken Wilson dies suddenly. On finding they have received the only invitation to the Wilson residence after the funeral, the Fitzgeralds witness the tensions between Cecilia, her mother and her in-laws and discover her hidden motive for wanting them present.

When Isobel is reunited with an old friend from Ballybeg, his shame at what he has done to survive hampers her attempts to bring him and Alfie together again. With an empty life and low expectations, can Peter regain his self-respect or are he and Alfie destined to be alone?

Read an excerpt from Chapter Two…

After calling to number 67 with the bed linen and toys, Isobel walked to number 8 Westmoreland Street and went up the stairs to James’ offices on the first floor. As she closed the main door behind her, two gentlemen aged about thirty, one blond and one dark-haired and seated on chairs along the wall in the hall, got to their feet. Mr Dunbar, James’ law clerk of twenty years standing had died suddenly a fortnight ago and finding a suitable replacement was proving to be quite a challenge.

“This is not a position for a lady,” the dark-haired gentleman informed her forcefully and she tensed.

“Is it not?” she replied, feigning surprise.

“Clerking is a gentleman’s position.”

“Clerking is a position for a gentleman with manners,” James snapped and she turned to him as he left his office and pointed to the door. “Out.”

The dark-haired gentleman closed his eyes for a moment, mentally berating himself, before walking to the stand, lifting a hat down and leaving the hall.

“I do apologise, Isobel.” James extended a hand into the office. “I won’t be long,” he added, looking past her at the blond gentleman and she glanced at him then did a double-take, her heart almost turning over.

No, it isn’t James Shawcross, she had to reassure herself. It’s his elder brother.

“Peter,” she said, sounding breathless and he stared at her with a mixture of astonishment and horror.

“Isobel Stevens?”

“I’m Isobel Fitzgerald now,” she told him with a smile.

“Oh, no-no-no—” He began to stutter and strode to the main door.

“Don’t go, Peter, please?” Running after him, she held the door shut.

“I haven’t been Peter Shawcross for almost six years,” he whispered fiercely.

“James will understand why,” she replied and he stared at her again, realisation dawning on his face that she certainly understood why. “He is step-father to myself and Alfie.”

“Your step-father..?” Peter peered over her shoulder at James then down at her. “How is Alfie?”

“Come and sit with me.” Taking his arm, she led him back to a chair and sat him down. “I will tell you about Alfie but first, James will interview you. So gather your thoughts while I speak to him for a few minutes. Promise me you will stay and be interviewed?”

“Yes, I promise,” he replied quietly and she squeezed his shoulder before going into James’ office.

“The name on his letter of application is Richard Rutherford,” James said, closing the door. “But you called him Peter. Kindly explain why I shouldn’t ask him to leave as well?”

“He is Peter Shawcross – James’ elder brother.”

“Then, he must leave and—”

“No, please listen?” she begged. “Peter and James Shawcross are like chalk and cheese. Their father disinherited Peter when James revealed that Peter…” She tailed off deliberately and her step-father shook his head in disgust. “Richard is Peter’s father’s name and Rutherford is his mother’s maiden name. Please interview him?”

“Oh, very well,” he replied with a sigh and she gave him a grateful smile.

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

Buy A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six for

Kindle

Or read A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six FREE with 

download

If you haven’t read books 1-5 yet, click on the banner below to catch up!

Amazon ASIN: B09DYYW2ZM

Paperback ISBN: 9798467528502

Buy A Cruel Mischief in paperback at

amazon  B&N  Book Depository  blackwells  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound  TRB  Bookshop.org

   

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

Dublin City Morgue and Coroner’s Court

It was not until 1871 that Dublin had a morgue for the reception and housing of the unidentified dead or those who died in suspicious circumstances. Before then, inquests were held in various locations. Under the terms of the 1846 Coroner’s Act, a coroner could order that a dead body be deposited in the nearest public house until an inquest could be held, and if the proprietor refused he could be fined. Cool beer cellars were an ideal storage place and as time went on, it became common for publicans to keep marble tables in their cellars for post-mortem examinations. This legislation was not removed from the Irish statute books until 1962 which explains why many publicans to this day, especially in rural Ireland, are also undertakers.

The Sanitary Act 1866 gave impetus for the creation of a city morgue. The Act stated: Any Nuisance Authority may provide a proper place … for the reception of dead bodies for and during the time required to conduct any post-mortem examination ordered by the Coroner of the district or any constituted authority, and may make such regulations as they may deem fit for the maintenance, support, and management of such place. D.J. Dickinson, Secretary of Dublin Corporation’s Sanitary Department declared in Saunders’s News-Letter of 31 January 1866 that ‘the Corporation (sanitary department) lately erected a commodious dead-house in Fishamble Street for the reception of bodies found drowned, and a coroner’s room for holding inquests.’ The Dublin City Council Minutes of 29 March 1866 reveal the building, located in a corporation yard off Fishamble Street, had only been open a month when employees from a neighbouring business complained about ‘the noise being occasioned by the removal of bodies and from inquests held therein.’ Hopes that a back entrance could be knocked through to Winetavern Street came to nothing and the building was closed.

OS Map Dublin 1864. Tap/click the map to open a larger size in a new tab.

Flynn’s Livery Stables in Bass Place off Boyne Street, described by the newspapers as filthy and wretched, was used as a morgue and for inquests from at least November 1864 and continued to be used as such until 1871. According to the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail of 24 June 1871 ‘remains were often left for days, amid surroundings repugnant to every idea of decency or reverence.’ The Irish Times of 9 June 1870 described it as a ‘discreditable den in a filthy stable lane’ and ‘being dark and dirty; there are not even light and conveniences to perform post-mortem operations; the air is stifling and odorous, hanging about the walls laden with the effluvia of a charnel house. No one ever entered that dead-house without feeling disgust and horror.’

OS Map Dublin 1864. Tap/Click to open a larger size in a new tab.

On Monday 25 September 1871, the Dublin City Morgue was opened in a substantial two-storey stone building purchased from a Mr Curwin on Marlborough Street just north of Eden Quay. According to The Irish Builder of 15 April 1871, the building was originally erected for the Dublin Savings Bank and following the bank’s relocation to Lower Abbey Street, the building was used as ‘a Temperance Hall, an Irish School, a Rechabite hall, a cheap restaurant (kept by a black man), an oil stores more recently, and now it is being fitted up by the Corporation as the “City Morgue” in which King Coroner will hold his inquests!’ The location attracted criticism from The Irish Times as it was in a highly-populated built-up area and would have a detrimental effect on property prices. James Cleary was appointed as caretaker and registrar and the building was to be in readiness at all times both day and night.

Thoms Directory 1873.

The Freeman’s Journal of 21 June 1871 commented ‘That very unpleasant, but still indispensable, requirement for a great city, a morgue or dead house, has at last been supplied. Up to the present time the corpses of unfortunate persons found drowned or dead in the streets were treated with the greatest neglect not to say indecency. The remains of persons thus deceased were deposited in an open shed, and the coroner’s inquests were held in taverns. To remove such a condition of things the Corporation have converted the old Savings Bank in Marlborough Street into a morgue. One of the lower rooms of the establishment has been fitted up in the same manner as that adopted in the celebrated Parisian institution. The bodies are to be laid on large slabs, and over them a gentle stream of water is to flow. Passing from this ghastly apartment, a fine room has been fitted up for holding coroner’s inquests. The room is supplied with a bench, jury-box, witness chair and the other requirements of a court of justice. Ample accommodation is also provided for the press. The alterations were conducted under the care of Mr Glynn, Clerk of Works to the Corporation, and reflect much credit on that gentleman.’

Thoms Directory 1887.

Despite the newspapers describing the new morgue as well-ventilated, the mortuaries and post-mortem room were separated from the courtroom above only by wooden floorboards and the city coroner Dr Nicholas C. Whyte frequently complained about the insanitary conditions as the odour from below, especially in warm weather, was almost unbearable. It was impossible to alter the building as there was no room for an extension.

OS Map Dublin 1892 – Tap/click the map to open a larger size in a new tab.

In 1902, a new Dublin City Coroner’s Court and City Morgue opened on Store Street and the Weekly Irish Times of 9 August reported ‘From a letter of Messers A. Armstrong & Co. in The Irish Times it appears the old morgue in Old Abbey Street is a condemned structure, and yet it is occupied by a caretaker, who as a matter of kindness and humanity is permitted to reside in it.’ The caretaker was fifty-year-old Annie Byrne. ‘Should it collapse and kill her, she would, of course, be promptly transferred to the new morgue but it might be more judicious not to wait till then’ the newspaper added. By 1904, the old morgue, along with the adjacent Mechanics Institute were purchased and incorporated into the old Abbey Theatre as an entrance to the stalls and balcony and a portion was used for dressing-rooms.

Fire Insurance map from 1893 created by London-based company, Charles E. Goad Ltd. Tap/click the map to open a larger version in a new tab.

W.B. Yeats wrote in August 1904 “I have just been down to see the work on the Abbey Theatre. It is all going very quickly and the company should be able to rehearse there in a month. The other day, while digging up some old rubbish in the Morgue, which is being used for dressing-rooms, they found human bones. The workmen thought they had lit on a murder, but the caretaker said, ‘Oh, I remember, we lost a body about seven years ago. When the time for the inquest came, it couldn’t be found.’”

The old Abbey Theatre. The Dublin City Morgue and Coroner’s Court was in one of the buildings to the rear of the theatre.

The purpose-built coroner’s court and morgue on Store Street was designed by the city architect Charles J McCarthy who had gone on a fact-finding tour of coroner’s courts in England. It contained a court with a public gallery, a jury box, retiring rooms and a waiting room for witnesses. The mortuaries and post-mortem room were separate and to the rear of the building. The viewing lobby was separated from the mortuaries by glass screens so jurors and others called upon to view the bodies on which inquests were being held could observe them without actually entering the mortuaries.

Dublin City Coroner’s Court.

The outdated morgue was demolished in 1999 and Dublin City Mortuary was housed in temporary accommodation until a new state-of-the-art City Mortuary came into use at Griffith Avenue, Whitehall in 2016. The building is shared with the Office of the State Pathologist.

The Coroner’s Court on Store Street, Dublin.

The Coroner’s Court still stands on Store Street. It was refurbished between 2008 and 2010 and an extension was added, providing improved facilities for staff and members of the public.

Dublin, Ireland, September 1886. Will is reacquainted with his former fiancée when his father’s close friend Dr Ken Wilson dies suddenly. On finding they have received the only invitation to the Wilson residence after the funeral, the Fitzgeralds witness the tensions between Cecilia, her mother and her in-laws and discover her hidden motive for wanting them present.

When Isobel is reunited with an old friend from Ballybeg, his shame at what he has done to survive hampers her attempts to bring him and Alfie together again. With an empty life and low expectations, can Peter regain his self-respect or are he and Alfie destined to be alone?

Read an excerpt from Chapter Six…

At a quarter to ten on Thursday morning, Will helped Isobel alight from a cab outside the City Morgue on Lower Marlborough Street and he paid the cabman. They went inside and he introduced himself to a clerk then chose two seats at the very back of the area reserved for members of the public to avoid having to sit anywhere near {spoiler} who was seated in the front row.

As they waited for the inquest to begin, he gazed across the room. The Coroner was seated at a raised desk at one end of a large table with the witness box at the other end. On either side of the table were seats for barristers and solicitors and to their rear was the jury box with a casting of the City Arms on the wall behind them.

After the jury was sworn, the kitchen maid was called first to give evidence. As she was being sworn, she burst into tears and was incomprehensible much to the Coroner’s frustration. He discharged her and asked for the young police constable who was sworn and deposed that his name was Patrick Egan and he was a constable at College Street Police Station. He had been on his way to report for duty when he heard screams and went to investigate but could add little else which Will attributed to the shock of what he discovered. The Coroner thanked the constable, discharged him and Will was called to the witness box.

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

Buy A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six for

Kindle

Or read A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six FREE with 

download

If you haven’t read books 1-5 yet, click on the banner below to catch up!

Amazon ASIN: B09DYYW2ZM

Paperback ISBN: 9798467528502

Buy A Cruel Mischief in paperback at

amazon  B&N  Book Depository  blackwells  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound  TRB  Bookshop.org

   

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

Dublin’s Pawn Shops

Pawnbroking has been practised for over 2,000 years. In China and Greece, it was practised long before Emperor Augustus set up the first pawn in Rome. Under Roman law, no man could pawn his furniture or farming tools. The interest rate was fixed at 3% per annum with up to three years allowed for goods to be redeemed.

Photo by William Murphy – Flickr – Streets Of Dublin – Brereton’s Pawn Shop, Capel Street. (CC BY-SA 2.0).

In 15th Century Italy, the popes established a system known as the ‘monte-de-piéte’ to help the poor with interest-free loans. In 1464, Pope Pius II changed the system to allow interest so the cost for overheads could be recovered. Moneylenders and goldsmiths from Genoa, Florence and Venice spread the system across Europe and introduced the familiar three balls outside their shops to advertise their premises. In Ireland, the first recorded mention of the pawn concerns Sir James Dillon’s waistcoat which was pawned for £10 in 1664.

Two men are standing behind the counter of a pawnbroker’s shop in London, examining some articles of clothing which have been brought in to pawn. Etching by George Cruikshank, 1836. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain.

Ten legally recognised pawnbrokers were operating in Dublin in 1786 and by 1830, the number had risen to almost 50. These numbers do not include the large numbers of illegal pawnbrokers which flourished in the back streets. There were 57 pawnbrokers by 1838, 48 in 1850 and 76 in 1870. Pawnshops were rarely put up for sale. They passed from generation to generation and were located in high-class areas with the pawnbroker and their family living on the premises.

Evening Telegraph 16 June 1904.

In 1872, the House of Commons passed the Pawnbrokers Act which was based on an earlier Irish law. Pledges for 10 shillings or less which were not redeemed in time became the pawnbroker’s property. Above 10 shillings, pledges could be redeemed up to the time of the sale to dispose of them, the sale being by means of a public auction. A new rate of interest was introduced at one halfpenny per month on two shillings or part of, on loans under £2. Above £2, the rate was one halfpenny per two shillings and sixpence or part of.

Shawled women waiting for the pawn shop to open in Dublin late 1800s or early 1900s. Pinterest.

In 1894, 17% of Dublin pawnbrokers were women. Margaret McNally guaranteed privacy and discretion at the First-Class Pawn Office located at 85 Marlborough Street where customers came for cash advances on a box of good cigars, a diamond necklace and share certificates. The luxury end of pawnbroking turned Margaret a tidy profit.

Winetavern Street in 1926 with P. Corvan Jewellers and Pawnbrokers shop on the left with a statue above holding the traditional balls symbol of the trade. Pinterest.

By the early 1900s, the pawn had become a way of life for Dublin’s poor as they struggled to survive. In an emergency, there was always the pawnbroker’s shop, where any portable item could be converted to cash with virtually no questions or paperwork. Almost anything could be pawned, including peoples’ Sunday best. Suits and dresses worn to mass on Sundays would be pawned on Mondays and redeemed on Fridays. Over time, many pawnshops stopped accepting clothing and almost all pawnbrokers’ business now comes from jewellery and other valuables.

The pawnbroker was an essential part of Dublin’s economy providing a vital service and preventing many people from falling into the hands of unscrupulous money lenders. Changes in social conditions, however, brought about their slow decline. Pawnbroker licences are issued by the National Consumer Agency. Currently, there are only three licensed brokers in the Republic of Ireland, all of them in Dublin: Kearns Pawnbrokers and Jewellers on Queen Street, Carthy Jewellers and Pawnbrokers on Marlborough Street and John Brereton Pawnbrokers on Capel Street.

Dublin, Ireland, September 1886. Will is reacquainted with his former fiancée when his father’s close friend Dr Ken Wilson dies suddenly. On finding they have received the only invitation to the Wilson residence after the funeral, the Fitzgeralds witness the tensions between Cecilia, her mother and her in-laws and discover her hidden motive for wanting them present.

When Isobel is reunited with an old friend from Ballybeg, his shame at what he has done to survive hampers her attempts to bring him and Alfie together again. With an empty life and low expectations, can Peter regain his self-respect or are he and Alfie destined to be alone?

Read an excerpt from Chapter Two…

Teresa was seated at the dining table and Isobel held up a hand as the maid went to get to her feet.

“Don’t get up,” she said, pulling out a chair and sitting beside her. “How long have you been lady’s maid to Mrs Ashlinn junior and Mrs Wilson?” she asked.

“I’ve been with Mrs Ashlinn six years. I was engaged when she and her late husband moved to number 46 shortly after their marriage. When Mr Ashlinn died, I went with Mrs Ashlinn to number 14 and a year later, I also became Mrs Wilson’s lady’s maid when her lady’s maid… left.”

Walked out, most likely, Isobel concluded.

“And are you also Master Clive’s nursery maid?” she continued and Teresa shook her head.

“No, I’ve never been Master Clive’s nursery maid, Mrs Fitzgerald. Mrs Ashlinn does everything for Master Clive and I help her whenever I can.”

“So a nursery maid has never been engaged for Master Clive at number 14?” Isobel clarified and the young woman shook her head again.

“No, never. Mrs Wilson refused to engage one because she hoped the hard work would make Mrs Ashlinn realise that Master Clive would be better off in an institution.”

Isobel fought to control her temper. “Teresa, Mrs Wilson has sent Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive’s belongings to my parents-in-law’s home – effectively disowning them. She also sent your belongings…”

“Dismissing me,” the young woman said quietly and Isobel nodded. “I’ve never been dismissed before.”

“You can either go to number 67 and remain with Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive or I can write you a character reference and you may stay here until you find a new position. Think it over while I help my husband put our children to bed.”

“Thank you, Mrs Fitzgerald, but I don’t need to think it over. I would like to remain with Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am. Being what he is, Master Clive is a handful but Mrs Ashlinn and I have been with him all his life and he trusts the two of us.”

“Very well. I must warn you that Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive’s future is rather uncertain at present but an acquaintance who is a barrister and my step-father who is a solicitor will be working on their behalf to attempt a resolution.”

“I hope they can because Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive deserve to be out of their clutches and—” Teresa broke off, flushed and stared down at her hands hoping she hadn’t said too much.

“‘Their’ being Mrs Wilson and Mr Alistair Ashlinn?” Isobel prompted gently.

“Yes. Did you like the dress, hat and veil Mrs Ashlinn junior wore today?”

Isobel frowned. The crepe dress, small hat and tulle veil were all stylish yet demure. “Yes, I did. Why do you ask?”

“Because they’re all hired,” Teresa replied and Isobel’s jaw dropped. “The morning Dr Wilson died, Mrs Wilson sent me out to hire mourning attire for Mrs Ashlinn after she heard Dr John Fitzgerald had called. I chose a tulle veil because I wanted the mourners to be able to see her face – to see what being in Mrs Wilson and Mr Alistair Ashlinn’s clutches has done to her.”

“Where does Mrs Ashlinn junior usually obtain clothes for herself and Master Clive?” Isobel asked quietly.

“Mrs Ashlinn hasn’t visited her dressmaker since her husband died because she hasn’t been allowed the funds to do so. Instead, I go to the clothes markets and pawn shops with what little she is given and then passes on to me. When she ‘stole’ and gave me an ornament to pawn, Mrs Wilson noticed it was gone – the old hag doesn’t miss anything – and she struck me, Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive – then made me retrieve it from the pawn shop. Mrs Ashlinn didn’t dare attempt it again. Now, I must go to number 67 and unpack her belongings.”

“Wait,” Isobel commanded as Teresa got up and the young woman sank back onto the chair. “I shall give you some clothes for Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive but compile a list of items they both need which can be purchased readymade – boys’ clothes – underclothing – nightshirts – nightdresses – boots – put them on the list and pass it to Mrs Fitzgerald senior or to me.”

“Yes, Mrs Fitzgerald. Mrs Ashlinn left the hired hat and veil behind at number 14 but what about the dress?”

“Who has the hire docket?”

“Mrs Wilson.”

“Then, keep the dress,” Isobel replied and Teresa grinned. “What I can’t understand is how Dr Wilson didn’t notice what was happening in his own home,” she added and the young woman’s grin faded.

“Mrs Wilson ruled the roost in the house, Mrs Fitzgerald. Mrs Wilson comes from a rich family and is good with money. Both Mrs Ashlinn and Master Clive are always dressed respectably – I see to that – I search for the best clothes. Yes, Dr Wilson knew Mrs Wilson and Mrs Ashlinn rowed but the rows were all about Master Clive. Everyone in the household knew from Dr Wilson that Master Clive would never get better but that for the present, Master Clive should be looked after at home. Poor Mrs Ashlinn dreaded the day her father would die.”

Because she knew Alistair Ashlinn would try to place the boy in an institution, Isobel finished silently.

“Thank you, Teresa. Please wait here while I put my children to bed and fetch some clothes. Gerald, our footman will then escort you to number 67.”

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

Buy A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six for

Kindle

Or read A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six FREE with 

download

If you haven’t read books 1-5 yet, click on the banner below to catch up!

Amazon ASIN: B09DYYW2ZM

Paperback ISBN: 9798467528502

Buy A Cruel Mischief in paperback at

amazon  B&N  Book Depository  blackwells  Booktopia  Fishpond AU  Fishpond NZ  BAM  Indie Bound  TRB  Bookshop.org

   

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

A Hidden Motive: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book Six

RELEASE DAY!

Can Will and Isobel help two old friends to overcome their fear and start afresh?

Dublin, Ireland, September 1886. Will is reacquainted with his former fiancée when his father’s close friend Dr Ken Wilson dies suddenly. On finding they have received the only invitation to the Wilson residence after the funeral, the Fitzgeralds witness the tensions between Cecilia, her mother and her in-laws and discover her hidden motive for wanting them present.

When Isobel is reunited with an old friend from Ballybeg, his shame at what he has done to survive hampers her attempts to bring him and Alfie together again. With an empty life and low expectations, can Peter regain his self-respect or are he and Alfie destined to be alone?

The Kindle edition is 99 cents or 99 pence at Amazon until Monday 6 September and is also available to read through Kindle Unlimited. The paperback edition is also out now.

I’ve created a map of the Dublin area which shows where all the characters live, work and visit. Tap/Click the box in the top right hand corner to open it.

Tap/Click the picture link below to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll hear about my latest releases, previous novels, sales and sneak peaks about what is to come in the future. 

Join my readers group on Facebook to chat about my books in a spoiler-free way and hear about my latest news and lots more!

    

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

The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series

The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series is a gritty family saga set in Victorian Ireland. The series brings to life the dark underbelly of Victorian Dublin society and gets to the heart of the social issues of the day. As I publish each book in the series 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. Tap/click the blue link to open the post in a new tab. All the posts contain an excerpt from the books. I’ve also created a map of the Dublin area with locations which feature in the series. You can follow my blog by tapping/clicking the Follow button in the sidebar on the right or tap/click the Follow button that appears in the bottom right-hand corner of this website so you won’t miss a post.

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?

Book Two: A Suitable Wife

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

Book Three: A Discarded Son

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

Book Four: A Forlorn Hope

Can Will and Isobel bury their differences with those estranged from them and unite in a time of crisis or are some rifts too deep to heal?

Book Five: A Cruel Mischief

Can Will and Isobel prevent events of the past from influencing the present and future?

Book Six: A Hidden Motive

Can Will and Isobel help two old friends to overcome their fear and start afresh?

Books One to Three: Box Set

Out Now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

Character Profiles

Meet Isobel Stevens

Meet Dr Will Fitzgerald

Meet Will’s mother – Sarah Fitzgerald

Meet Will’s father – Dr John Fitzgerald

Meet Will’s best friend – Dr Fred Simpson

Meet Fred’s wife – Margaret Simpson

Meet Isobel’s grandparents – Lewis and Tilda Greene

Meet Isobel’s brother – Alfie Stevens

Meet Isobel and Alfie’s mother – Martha Ellison

Meet Solicitor James Ellison

Meet Martha’s twin brother – Miles Greene

Meet Dr David Powell

Meet Gordon Higginson QC

Meet Dr Jacob Smythe

Meet Cecilia Ashlinn

Meet Peter Shawcross

Location Histories

A map of Dublin, Ireland – click/tap to open in a new tab

Merrion Square, Dublin, Ireland

The Liberties of Dublin, Ireland

Monto: Dublin’s Red Light District

Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, Ireland

St Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

The Westmoreland Lock Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Rutland Square, Dublin, Ireland

The Four Courts Marshalsea Debtors Prison

Dublin City Morgue and Coroner’s Court

History

The Great Snow of January 1881

Dublin’s Coal Holes and Coal Cellars

Laudanum: The Aspirin of the Nineteenth Century

The Dublin Artisans Dwellings Company

Dublin’s Pawnshops

I’ve created a map of the Dublin area with locations which feature in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series. As a few locations don’t exist anymore, some are approximate but I’ve been as accurate as I can. Tap/Click in the top right hand corner to open the map.

The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series is

Available-at-Amazon-logo-transparent-460x280

newsletter-295x300

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