Character Sketch and Background
From Waif to Gentleman's Wife
Sir Edward Austin Greaves, 6’3”, brown hair, brown eyes “Harrison Ford.”
A self-proclaimed “simple country gentleman,” Ned prizes honor, loyalty and his long-time friendship with Nicky (Nicholas Stanhope, Marquess of Englemere, hero of THE WEDDING GAMBLE) and Hal (Hal Waterman, hero of A MOST UNCONVENTIONAL MATCH.) He derives great satisfaction from seeing his lands well-tended and feels a strong responsibility for the tenants and small farmers who work it. A quiet man who listens and observes rather than simply giving orders, he earns the respect and cooperation of the men who work for him.
Rather shy with the ladies, he’s avoided London’s scheming Marriage Mart beauties and only fallen in love once—with the lady his best friend Nicky was courting. His suspicion that he’s too countrified to attract a fashionable lady is strengthened when he’s rebuffed by the first woman who’s piqued his interest since he watched Sarah marry his best friend, a country-bred girl whom he thought at first might make him a good match.
Heart-bruised and a bit lonely with Nicky busy with his family and Hal gone north to oversee his investment schemes, Ned is looking for some new challenge when he’s given the opportunity to purchase a failing estate. Bringing the land back into productivity is just the task to invigorate him and distract him from brooding over his failed suit. So, putting thoughts of matrimony behind him, Ned sets off for Blenhem Hill.
Joanna Anders Merrill: 5’7”, auburn hair, green eyes
As a girl, Joanna moved with her family to India, where her father would serve as an army chaplain. Outgoing, energetic and curious, she was fascinated by the strange foreign land. Mesmerized by the folk tales and stories related by her ayah, she observed with great interest the clothing, cooking and culture of this ancient country. Upon the death of her mother, she took over running the household and supervising the upbringing of her younger sisters, tasks for which she discovered she had a real talent. Her joy in life seemed complete when she met and married a handsome young soldier.
But her husband’s exalted family did not approve the marriage, casting a pall over their happiness. A year later, she was devastated when she miscarried their first child. Concerned for her health, her husband and father insisted she return to England to recover. Living isolated in London—for her in-laws soon made it plain that they had no wish to associate with her--she was further devastated when she learned that her beloved husband had died of a fever.
Lacking the funds to rejoin her family in India and determined not to be a burden upon her one remaining relative—her brother Greville, recently back from Waterloo and beginning a new job as estate agent for their distant cousin Lord Englemere--she found work as a governess. But when she is unfairly discharged from that position, nearly destitute and out of alternatives, she is forced to use her few remaining coins to journey to Blenhem Hill and seek out Greville.