Marianne Dora Rose presents two love stories entwined, one-hundred twenty-five years apart, yet linked by one thread, Love’s Timeless Secret. Presently available at Smashwords.com as an ebook. Shortly to be released on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and as a paperback via Amazon. Following on The Driscoll Saga novellas, we’ve heard Driscoll’s Lady (Leatrice), Driscoll’s Daughter (Lexie), Driscoll’s younger son, Calvin, and now his elder son, Thomas, a young Montana History professor. His story is a double treat (two romances entwined) as he reads a diary scripted during the 1890s by a mail order bride in Butte, Montana, a mining town that grew around Silver Bow Creek Valley, a natural concave that sat high in the Rockies straddling the Continental Divide. The small town was often referred to as “the Richest Hill on Earth.” Gold, silver and copper were mined in the caves and open pits, above and below the ground, surrounding the small town.
In the present, Thomas Driscoll, elder son of Leatrice and Seth Driscoll, teaches Montana History at his local college, along with an Adult Ed course. When he suggests an optional paper on memoirs garnered from his students’ own past relatives. Janice Miller, the plainest student in his Adult Education class, prim and proper, every facial feature in its place, but no spice, bland, brings him a diary she discovered in an old trunk in her attic, scripted by her great grandmother, several times removed, Elspeth Gillian. Elspeth is a lonely young woman, living in the 1890s, not beautiful or alluring, passed over for prettier and docile, younger ladies. Her only recourse is escape or a forced marriage of last resort, even if her escape should lead her to yet another uncertain future. She needs to be loved, not used. At a time in history when women had few rights, and even less say in their futures, Elspeth has the courage to create her own future.
As Tom reads the diary, he can’t help visualizing Janice as Elspeth as he discovers Love’s Timeless Secret.
EXCERPTS: It was difficult not to notice her. She was the plainest girl in the Adult Ed class he taught in the evening. Most of his students were past their forties, well dressed, even in casual wear, and interested in the history of the Montana country, USA. They had passed and left behind the garment fads of their youth. He doubted that Janice Ellison, who was only a few weeks younger than him, had ever succumbed to any fad. There was something about her that cried, prim and proper always. No makeup. Each facial feature in its proper place, but bland, no spice. She was intelligent, though, despite she’d left college after only one year. He could read the earnest interest in her eyes as she listened to him lecture on the subject closest to his heart, the history of Montana.
Elspeth’s Diary (circa 1890s):
When my father told me he had accepted Mr. Grady’s proposal to marry me, I reasoned with myself that at my age and unattractiveness, any proposal was worth a second look. But the moment I met Mr. Grady, my heart plummeted. He was a grey-haired, dried up, stiff-nosed, and boney old man, unpalatable qualities I might have overlooked, for a kinder soul than my father’s, until he began to speak about his estate, his money, his need to sire an heir. He spoke coldly, logically, his pin nose wrinkling with distaste when I asked him a question important to me.
“How do you feel about our good Lord and his command to be kind and charitable?” His reply sent chills up my spine.
“Young woman, the reason I’ve retained my wealth and my position in life, is that I see through these attempts to control my emotions, my actions and my purse strings.”
I glanced at my father. He nodded with approval. A man after his own heart. “Is that what you intend teaching your offspring?” I asked Mr. Grady.
“I will teach my son the value of monetary possessions and how to protect the estate I intend passing on to him; prepare him to avoid emotional entanglements and always use logic and reason, not transitory feelings when making decisions.”
My impassioned refusal right to his face, shocked him. My father quickly told him, “You see my dilemma. She needs a firm hand to relieve her of impractical notions. With her looks she has nothing to offer, except her womanly duties and procreative capabilities. If you will have her, I will see to it that she accepts your proposal, willingly.”
I gasped at the threat in his voice, understanding at last my deceased mother’s sadness during her married life. My sweet mother, warm, tenderhearted, giving. Luckily, because I was a girl and not entitled by law to inherit, my raising had been left to my mother. But the angels spirited her soul to heaven too soon, leaving a grieving daughter to the care of an insensitive, cold, hardened father, without other children, especially a longed-for son….