Desperate to escape the unwanted advances of a cruel master, chambermaid Annie Morgan runs miles through stormy weather to find sanctuary at the home of Reverend and Mrs. Davies. Without family and tainted by scandal, she's in dire need of a new identity and an occupation to match. Equally bleak is the future of Evan Powell, a miner who harbors dreams of escaping the black mines that are slowly killing him and finding refuge under the promised blue skies of America. But recently, the wife who Evan adored died, leaving the devoted father struggling to care for his young daughter, Jane.
To benefit both Annie and Evan, the kindly reverend arranges a marriage of convenience, one that is quietly contracted in a hasty ceremony - an event that sparks pointed gossip among those in the small Welsh town and outright rejection from Evan's family. Annie must tread carefully lest she let slip anything about her past - particularly when she learns that her former master has been afoot, inquiring about a missing maid. More importantly, she feels she must avoid any emotional entanglements with Evan, who remains devoted to his beloved deceased wife. But as Evan works with Annie to care for Jane, Evan knows their relationship is growing into something more and must face the torments of a divided heart. And in the midst of Mormon missionaries preaching a strange new religion, disaster strikes the town and Annie's troubled history can no longer be hidden.
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Used availability for Sian Ann Bessey's Within the Dark Hills
May 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition