Emerald

This is the story - fictional though based on actual events -  of the illegitimate daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. An inconvenient little addition to the most publicised runaway lovers of the 20th century, the affair between King Edward VIII and double-divorcée Wallis Simpson nearly brought down the monarchy - an evert that still haunts the British royal family to this day.

           

Protected by the palace from the reality of her birth - ostensibly for her own good though in reality for fear of political repercussions -  this story of wartime intrigue, conflict, protected by the palace from the reality of her birth - ostensibly for her own good though in reality for fear of political repercussions -  this story of wartime intrigue, conflict, glamour and romance follows the fortunes of  Emerald Alexandra Mary Fitzwallace - a tacit acknowledgement the child’s birthright, since the prefix Fitz has long been an indication of royal bastardy.

           

In the context of a well-publicised royal romance, there was a need to spirit the child away as soon as she as born.  From a lonely childhood hidden away on a Scottish island with her protected by the Palace amid the confusion of WW2, Emerald grows into an independent, feisty young woman who finds love in the raffish society of post-war Mexico City, seeks fame and fortune among the socialites of New York, takes employment as a house-model  in the fashion houses of Paris - until the moment comes when the opportunity arises that would allow her to prove her real identity, and she’s obliged to make a choice.

           

The world in which Emerald moves is well-known to the author, whose grandmother was also a belle from Baltimore with similar tastes to her friend Wallis in dressmakers and jewellers, and whose family were friends of the Windsors to the last.  First published in 1968 in the UK and US with Transworld, and in print with the Acadine Press in the US throu the 1990’s , Emerald was a Sunday Times bestseller and recipient of a W.H.Smith's Thumping Good Read Award.

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Marguerite

In the uphills of Provence stands an ancient retreat, the Hermitage , a private refuge for the Roman Catholic Church's most powerful miscreants which is also home to a few of the consequences, including Marguerite Dieudonne Leblanc.  Marguerite knows the secrets of this hidden world - secrets she is prepared to use in order to restore the Hermitage to its rightful role in the community.  All that stands in her way is the Warden, Monsignor Charles Melton, a corrupt priest, who, although haunted by his own past, seeks high office as his rightful place in the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

           

As Marguerite embarks on her campaign, she meets Monsignor’s Melton’s godson, Ben Catesby.  Handsome and sophisticated, he seems to offer her the love and  support she so desperately craves. Melton, sensing that Marguerite is getting dangerously close to uncovering his own personal secrets, he calls upon friends in high places to put a stop to this unwanted intrusion.  While Marguerite, convinced of the rightness of her cause and in love with Ben, struggles against the Establishment, the fate of the Hermitage and that of Marguerite, already in danger of her life, reaches its violent conclusion.

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