Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge The time has come... How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life...
Sir Antony Templestowe, Sir Antony, Tony,: First cousin of the Earl of Salt Hendon and younger brother of Diana, Lady St. John. A diplomat, Sir Antony was Envoy-Extraordinary to the Russian Imperial Court at St. Petersburg but returns to London upon learning his sister Diana has escaped her castle prison. After four years away, he arrives home a changed man, physically and emotionally, aware of his demons and how to control them. He is deeply in love with Lady Caroline Aldershot and hopes she will forgive him his past reprehensible conduct.
Diana, Lady St. John: Widowed sister of Sir Antony Templestowe and first cousin of the Earl of Salt Hendon. Mother of twins Ron and Merry. Of unsound mind, yet cunning enough to hide her evil intentions, she is obsessed with the Earl of Salt Hendon to the point of mania. She greatly underestimates her younger brother Antony’s intellect, and his determination to thwart her plans to harm the Salt Hendon family.
Jane, Jane Despard, Countess of Salt Hendon, Lady Salt: Quiet and unflappable, Jane is a devoted wife to the Earl and mother to their three young children, Ned, Beth and Sam, the youngest a newborn. She is the glue that binds the Salt Hendon family. Instrumental in the return from exile of Alice, Lady Reanay, the Earl’s elderly aunt and grandmother of Ron and Merry. She presides over an extended family that includes Lady Reanay, twins Ron and Merry, the Earl’s sister Lady Caroline, and Kitty Aldershot. Her secret wish is to see Salt reconciled with his cousin Sir Antony, and Caroline and Antony married. When she learns of Diana’s escape from her Castle prison she rightly fears for the safety of her children
Salt, Earl of Salt Hendon, Lord Salt: Since marrying Jane Despard four years ago, Salt’s life has been perfect. He adores his wife and three children and is on the cusp of returning to the forefront of political life in London. Yet, the specter of his deranged cousin Diana St. John haunts his dreams. Nor has he forgiven his former best friend and cousin Sir Antony for his deplorable conduct four years ago and blames him for his sister Caroline’s misfortunes. In all matters of the heart and family, he is happy to defer to Jane’s common sense and understanding.
Lady Caroline Helena Aldershot: Salt’s much younger, widowed sister. Her husband, Stephen Aldershot died over a year ago after less than two years of marriage. Caroline is still very much in love with her girlhood crush Sir Antony Templestowe. A passionate animal lover, she keeps a menagerie of pets. She spends her time with Aunt Alice and her sister-in-law Kitty Aldershot. No one is more surprised when Sir Antony returns to London.
Semper, Ralph Semper: Sir Antony’s devoted valet and major domo; placid and unruffled. He has been in Sir Antony’s service for seven years. He falls in love with and marries a Russian needlewoman, Nina. He has the running of Sir Antony’s household and the management of his master’s contingent of Russian servants.
Aunt Alice, Lady Reanay: In her 60s, she is grandmother to twins Ron and Merry. When her son Aubrey (the twins' father) was very young she ran off with Sir Tobias Reanay, marrying Sir Tobias upon her husband’s death. For her conduct, her son was removed from her care and raised by his uncle, the previous Earl of Salt Hendon. After spending years living as an exile on the Continent estranged from her family, she returns to live with the Salt Hendon family upon Jane invitation.
Ned, Edward Aubrey Sinclair, Viscount Lacey: Eldest son and heir to the Earldom of Salt Hendon. Turning four in the Autumn. He is a precocious little boy advanced for his years. Ned greatly resembles his papa with golden ringlets and a cheeky smile. His constant companion is a cloth monkey made for him by his Aunt Caroline called Mr. Monkey Mischievous, known by all as Monkey.
Ron, Aubrey Vernon Sinclair St. John: Only son of Lord St. John (deceased) and Diana, Lady St. John. Twin to Merry. Turning thirteen years old, he is keen to be off to Eton, to be amongst boys his own age. He loves his cousin the Earl like a father, whom he calls Uncle Salt. Lady Reanay is his grandmother.
Merry, Magna Diana Sinclair St. John: Ron’s twin and the more outgoing of the pair. Only daughter of Lord St. John (deceased) and Diana, Lady St. John. She loves clothes and dreams one day of being married in a creation of her own devising. She is a gifted drawer and amateur watercolorist, and is an animal lover. Sir Antony is her favorite uncle, though she would never voice this for fear of upsetting her Uncle Salt, whom she loves, too. She adores her Aunt Jane and Cousin Caroline. Lady Reanay is her grandmother.
Kitty, Miss Katherine Aldershot: Lady Caroline’s sister-in-law. Her brother Stephen was married to Lady Caroline. Orphaned and left destitute upon her brother’s death, she lives with the Salt Hendon family at the Earl’s largesse. A good friend to Caroline, she is young and a very pretty blonde. She dreams of one day marrying, and has her heart set on Tom Allenby, though she has not told a soul of her wishes.
Rufus Willis, Mr. Willis: Steward of Salt Hendon. Loyal and devoted. Willis is apprised of Diana St. John’s wickedness and shares the Earl’s burden regarding Diana’s secret incarceration at Harlech Castle.
Betsy Smith: Newly employed nursery maid in the Salt Hendon household. Still in her teens, Betsy comes from a Birmingham family of fourteen brothers and sisters. With her mother always pregnant and then dying in childbirth, Betsy has spent her life rearing children. She becomes Sam’s nurse and grows attached to the infant and his family.
Mrs. Smith: Diana St. John’s “companion”. Under Diana St’ John’s spell, Mrs. Smith believes every lie she is told and is only too willing to be part of Diana’s diabolical plans. Immoral and dull. Despite having the same surname she is not related to Betsy Smith, but a family friend of long standing.
Tom, Mr. Tom Allenby: Jane’s younger stepbrother and favored uncle to Ned, Beth and Sam. Wealthy landowner and merchant. He is one of only seven people who know the truth about Diana St. John. He is half in love with Kitty Aldershot. Corresponded with Sir Antony while the diplomat was stationed in Russia.
Dacre, The Honorable Mr. Dacre Wraxton, Mr. Wraxton: Rakish gentleman Member of Parliament for Hendon. He shares a secret past with Lady Caroline Aldershot. Diana St. John knows about this, and Dacre’s other secrets. Elder brother of Hilary Wraxton the poet, whom he despises.
Hilary Wraxton, Mr. Wraxton, Hilary: Eccentric gentleman poet. Given to wearing absurd and often outlandish wigs, and for writing poems about the mundane. He will often declaim at the oddest and most inappropriate moments. Friend of Sir Antony Templestowe and tolerably welcome by the Salt Hendon family.
Lady Dalrymple: Friend of Diana St. John and cast off mistress of Dacre Wraxton. Taken in by Diana St. John, she is a sad figure and pines for her lover.
Lady Porter: Long time friend of Diana St. John. Loves to gather gossip from her peers and servants alike.
Nikolas and the Russian contingent: Serfs and now freed servants in the employ of Sir Antony gifted to him by the Princess Ekaterina whilst in St. Petersburg. Five speak fluent French. All wear beards. Nikolas trains to be Sir Antony’s valet.
Stephen Aldershot: Deceased husband of Lady Caroline Aldershot. Elder brother of Katherine (Kitty) Aldershot. Died in a riding accident.
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