The Earl is Dead

In Notorious Match, heroine Diana Wace is strangely conflicted over the tragedy that made her Countess of Northam. 

On the one hand, she rebels against the tremendous wealth and property that are now hers.  She has no lack for suitors, many of them penniless fortune hunters, all of them eager to become the next Earl of Northam.

Diana also suffers from a terrible guilt that arose from the death of her father, the late Earl Reynold.  While he was alive, she was kept hidden away on his northern estate, forgotten and unloved.  With his death came her release from the prison that was Northam Park.

Since then, Diana avoids the estate, fancying it rebukes her still for that secret joy she felt when she was freed from its isolation.  One of the places there that she will never look upon is the abandoned lane where her father died in a borrowed carriage.  No one ventures there anymore, even if they must take an alternate route that goes around the estate.

The lane is one of the most beautiful features of Northam Park.  It was designed and installed for a previous earl by that the great landscape architect, Capability Brown.  Note the picturesque bridge over a water feature the path follows.  If you drive your tillbury too fast along its shaded way, however, such beauty can be deadly.

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