To Unlock Her Heart is a Regency Romance by Rosie Chapel
Relief seemed at hand when, after suffering a year of abuse at the hands of the Duke of Aldwych, Grace Aldeburgh was caught with him in an extremely compromising situation. Instead of rescue, Grace was shunned by her family, ignored by her friends and ostracised by Society. Now, rarely leaving her home Grace has accepted that it will be years, if ever, before she is free of the stigma attached to her name by the duke’s heinous actions. To shield herself from further pain, Grace locked away her heart, burying it so deeply that she wasn’t sure it could ever be found.
Out of the blue, Grace is granted a boon. She inherits a house in the tiny village of Oak Stanton, a place where nobody knows her and, Grace wonders, whether this is her chance to start afresh; a new life far away from her tormentor, and the malicious whispers of the ton.
Arriving in Oak Stanton, Grace becomes acquainted with Giles and Billie Trevallier, the Earl and Countess of Winchester, and Theo Elliott ~ the doctor for this little hamlet ~ their warm welcome, a balm to her aching soul.
Theo knows of Grace and is intrigued to meet the woman whom Society treated so harshly. A budding friendship between the two soon blossoms into something far more enduring but, for them to have any chance at happiness, Grace knows she must share her darkest secret with Theo, expecting that once it is revealed, he too will condemn her. Theo, however, is no fair-weather suitor and, already irrevocably in love with Grace, is resolved to be the man to unlock her heart.
Unfortunately, just as a fairy tale ending seems within reach, a chance encounter precipitates a chain of events that will have tragic consequences. Determined to reclaim what he considers his prize, the duke has one of his henchmen follow Grace, tracing her to her new home and jeopardising her longed-for happiness. After a failed kidnap attempt, the duke’s quest culminates in an acrimonious confrontation with Grace and suddenly the reason for his venal pursuit of her becomes agonisingly clear.
A Word from the Author
After a scandal, a year in the making and two years in the suffering, Lady Grace Aldeburgh is ignored by her family, and doubts that she will ever be welcomed back into her once large circle of friends. All remain unwilling to be tarnished by even the briefest association with one who has been shunned, abandoning Grace to a lonely existence and one that seems to have no respite.
Suddenly there is a light at the end of a long and very dark tunnel, in the form of a bequest. A house in the small village of Oak Stanton, far from London and the wagging tongues of Society.
With no idea what prompted her Great Aunt to bless her with such a gift and wholly incapable of looking after herself, Grace wonders whether this might be her salvation, a refuge where no one knows her or the gossip that surrounds her — a place where she can start anew.
On her arrival in Oak Stanton, Billie and Giles — the Earl and Countess of Winchester — as well as Dr Theodore Elliott, befriend Grace, their warm reception soothing her troubled mind and slowly bringing her back to life.
Theo Elliot knows all about Grace and has long wanted to get to know this woman whom Society ostracised. As they become closer, Grace realises that she will have to bare her soul to Theo fearing he too will turn away. Theo, however, has no such intentions, having fallen deeply in love with Grace and is resolved to be the man to unlock her heart.
Unfortunately, just as Grace dreams that her happily ever after might somehow be possible, an unexpected meeting triggers a series of regrettable events that will have deadly repercussions.
(Rosie Chapel, January 2017)