1929. 17-year-old Barbara Delahay was a beauty, a young and untouched English rose, enjoying the social whirl of the debutante season. It was inevitable she would attract male attention. However, Barbara caught the eye of someone charismatic but wholly unsuitable. Someone damaged. Drawn under his spell, she almost succumbed, but escaped just in time to marry the decent but dull Brigadier Govan, a man 25 years her senior.
Now in 1953, the day of the new Queen's coronation, in an empty house with the rain rushing down the windows, the widowed Barbara is cowering in fear. For she knows who's out there, calling her name, seeking her out ? Her past has returned to claim her, and this time it won't be so easy to deny.
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It’s Coronation Day, 1953. Young widow Barbara Govan has been followed home.
‘...She released her held breath with a sob, and sucked in another before rushing
across the room, looking neither right nor left, closing the door swiftly - softly! - behind her. The click of the latch was like a gunshot. Sweat crept in the roots of her hair.
She had never been shut in here before… There was a faint smell of overripe food. When she laid her hand on the edge of the marble shelf to steady herself it struck her dank palm like ice. The small transom window high on the back wall was slightly open, the aperture covered with a fine gauze to keep insects out. Barbara breathed again, her fists grinding a sob back into her squirming mouth. She should have gone upstairs! No-one could have looked in at her there. Instead she had shut herself in this tiny cell and was trapped.
The rattle of inconsequential thoughts ceased.
Her name - had she heard her name?...
There was no mistaking it this time. Somewhere between the dead silence of the house and the roar of the rain, someone had spoken her name, with the slight interrogative inflection that meant he knew she was here. Someone who had followed her back from the village and tapped once, softly, on the door with his knuckles.
...Scarcely tilting her head, not daring to show her face, she looked up.