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Cherry Tree Lane(2010)
(The first book in the Wiltshire Girls series)
A novel by Anna Jacobs
It is 1910 and life in Wiltshire is far from pleasant for Mattie Willitt and her sisters. Bullied by her stepfather, who attempts to force her into an unwelcome marriage, Mattie decides her only hope for happiness is to run away. With no destination in mind and neither food nor shelter, Mattie soon finds herself lost on a country lane, and drenched by the ceaseless rain, she collapses. She is discovered and nurtured back to health by Jacob, a widower living with his two young children. With nowhere else to go, Mattie stays with Jacob and the two of them grow close, finding consolation in each other's troubled marital histories. Their relationship is complicated by Emily Newington, the elderly landowner, who wishes to protect her property from her greedy cousin. Emily offers Jacob a job as her rental agent on condition that he marries Mattie, but although the marriage seems convenient for all concerned, Mattie has reservations about committing to a man who only wants her for the sake of a career. Nevertheless, life with Jacob is preferable to the arranged marriage thrust upon her by her stepfather, who is determined to track her down. When Mattie's whereabouts are revealed and Emily falls ill, leaving her no-good relative poised to inherit her property, they must all face their fears and stand up to those who threaten their future happiness. In this touching tale of love against the odds, Anna Jacobs delivers her most riveting romance yet, which will be sure to delight her legions of fans.
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