Heloise Morland does not know how to reach her husband James. He is mourning the sudden and untimely death of his daughter Fanny. He is morbid in his obsession with her room and the belongings she left behind. He doesn't seem to care that Heloise is the new mistress of Morland place after Fanny, according to the will left by matriarch Jemima Morland.
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Heloise is concerned with the couple's other children, even if James isn't. Their daughter Sophie is 16 and really should have a coming out ball to declare her ready for marriage. It wouldn't be proper to have it in England so soon after Fanny's death. James's sister Lucy also has a daughter named Rosamund, also of coming out age. Heloise and Lucy decide to spend the winter of 1815 in Flanders. The Allied army is stationed there preparing to battle Napolean. They will join other London fashionables there, and will have a coming out ball for both girls without offending or shocking those who were close to Fanny.
Once in Flanders, Heloise meets up with a former suitor, the ever gentlemanly Duc de Vesine-d”Etienne. Heloise struggles not to unburden herself about the difficulties in her marriage, and to remain loyal to James. She and Lucy watch over their daughters as they come out, court, and develop relationships with soldiers. Both women want to impress on their daughters that they must consider wealth and station in life before love and romance.
Heloise is concerned when Sophie becomes increasingly involved with Rene Larosse. Larosse fought for Napolean before joining the Allied forces. While it is agreed it was the right thing to do, he is a little suspect as a soldier because he traded loyalties. It is true he is hiding something important about his past.
Tension is at its highest when the army makes it's final preparations for battle. The mothers and daughters all have someone fighting that they are particularly worried about. As the battle begins and rages, the women set up a makeshift clinic directed by Lucy. As they tend the wounded and sick, they worry and wonder about who will survive the Battle of Waterloo, and how life will go on when it's all over.
The review of this Book prepared by Susan Coffey