In Nell Lillington's small Midwestern town of the 1870s, marriage is the obvious fate of a young woman of some social standing. Yet Nell is determined to elude the duties and restrictions of matrimony. So when she finds herself pregnant at the age of 17, she refuses to divulge the name of the father and even her childhood friend Martin is kept in the dark. Nell's stepfather Hiram sends Nell to live at the Poor Farm of which he is a governor, to await the day when her baby can be discreetly adopted.
"A pleasing surprise!"
Nell Lillington is a spoiled, headstrong 16-year-old when she finds herself pregnant after letting a flirtation with handsome Cousin Jack get out of hand. More willing to bear the consequences of an illegitimate pregnancy than marry, she refuses to name the father and agrees to give birth in a Poor Farm and give the baby up for adoption. At the Poor Farm she meets Tess O'Dugan, a woman the world calls an imbecile but who soon becomes the sister Nell never had.
"Murder, Mystery, Intrigue, Romance (Yet Clean)."
Kansas, 1872. Unwed mother Nell Lillington hopes to support her daughter Sarah and friend Tess by working as a seamstress in an isolated seminary. When her only ally among the seminary's leaders dies, she must choose between returning to her old life in Chicago and remaining in charge of her destiny.
"Great story with great characters"
For unwed mother Nell Lillington, 1876 Chicago - and her new wealth - offer the promise of longed-for independence. She dreams of a place in society for her daughter Sarah and contentment for her friend Tess. Yet how can she settle in a town where she's far too likely to run into Martin Rutherford and his glittering, faithless wife, Lucetta? Can she resist her love for Martin for Sarah's sake?
"The Shadow Palace"