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Read Chapter 1: The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen the beginning of Chapter 1 of...

The Tutor's Daughter by: Julie Klassen

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Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Read Chapter 1 now!

Chapter 1
April 1817

Twenty-one-year-old Emma Smallwood carefully dusted the collection of favorite books atop her dressing chest. It was the one bit of housekeeping she insisted on doing herself, despite Mrs. Malloy’s protestations. She then carefully wiped her cherished teacup against any dust particle daring to lodge there. The cup and saucer were a gift from her mother—fine porcelain rimmed with real gold.

Emma set the cup and saucer back atop the leather-bound volume of Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. She angled the cup to best display the image on its side—a lovely painting of a graceful gondola in Venice.

Emma had never sipped from the gold-rimmed cup. But she did like to look at it. To remember her mother, gone these two years. To remember a young man who had once left roses inside it. And to imagine visiting Italy someday herself.

Morning ritual finished, Emma stowed her cleaning supplies and checked the chatelaine watch hooked to her bodice. She closed the cover with a satisfying snap. Precisely as she’d thought. Time to go down and send off their last remaining pupil.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she saw Edward Sims standing in the hall, fidgeting with his valise. He wore a smart frock coat and top hat, and looked the picture of a young man ready to take on the world.

“All set, Mr. Sims?”

He turned. “Yes, Miss Smallwood.”

Though she was only four years his senior, Emma felt a fondness bordering on the maternal when she looked at the young man who had lived with them for most of the last three years. She glanced around the empty hall. “Has my father bid you farewell?”

Mr. Sims shifted and shook his head. “I have not seen him this morning.”

Emma forced a smile. “What a pity. He shall be so sorry to have missed you. I know he wanted to be here to see you off.”

Her father ought to have been there. But no doubt he had gone to the churchyard to visit her grave. Again.

Mr. Sims gave an awkward smile. “Tell him good-bye for me, and thank him for everything.”

“I shall.”

“And I thank you especially, Miss Smallwood. I learned a great deal from you.”

“You are very welcome, Mr. Sims. I wish you every success at university.”

From the front window, she watched the young man walk past the Smallwood Academy sign, and down the cobbled lane, feeling the wistful letdown she often felt when a pupil left them. This time all the more, since there were no new students to replace him.

The house seemed suddenly quiet and empty. She wished Mr. Sims had a younger brother. Six younger brothers. She sighed. Perhaps even amiable Mr. Sims would hesitate to recommend Mr. Smallwood as tutor, considering how little her father had actually been involved in his education. But how would they pay their cook-housekeeper and maid, not to mention the languishing pile of bills, without more pupils?

Emma walked to the desk in the family sitting room, pulled out the bound notebook she kept there, and flipped past previous lists:

Books read this year.

Books to read next.

Improvements needed to boys’ chambers.

Economizing measures.

Places to visit someday.

New texts and primers to order for next term: None.

Diversions to improve Papa’s moods/Improvement noted: None.

Pupils by year.

Her pupil lists, which had grown shorter with each passing year, included notes on each young man’s character and his plans for the future.

She turned to the list from three years before, running her finger over the few names, lingering on one in particular.

Phillip Weston. Kind and amiable. Second son. Plans to follow his brother to Oxford and read the law.

The brief note hardly did him justice. Phillip Weston had been her only true friend among her father’s pupils over the years.

Seeing his name caused her to turn to another page. Another list.

Prospective pupils for the future: Rowan and Julian Weston?

Emma thought again of the letter she had sent a fortnight before. She knew perfectly well Henry and Phillip Weston had two younger half brothers. Phillip had mentioned them often enough. Julian and Rowan were at least fifteen by now—older than Phillip when he’d been sent to the academy.

But they had not come.

She had broached the subject with her father several times in the past, suggesting he write to the boys’ father. But he had hemmed, hawed, and sighed, saying he was sure, if Sir Giles meant to send his younger sons to them, he would have done so already. No, more likely, Sir Giles and his second wife had eschewed their humble establishment in favor of prestigious Winchester, Harrow, or Eton.

“Well, it would not hurt to ask,” Emma had urged.

But her father had grimaced and said maybe another day.