You’ve heard of The Woman in White and The Woman in Black now meet The Lady in Yellow.
When young Veronica Everly takes a position as governess to a pair of identical twins, she did not expect to join a family of werewolves, or to fall in love with her handsome employer, Rafe de Grimston. When Rafe makes her promise to redeem them all, she is faced with an agonizing choice. First she must uncover the mystery of the Lady in Yellow.
If you like Henry James’s “A Turn of the Screw”, Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”, or “Beauty and the Beast”, I’m sure you will enjoy this story.
<TThe original book cover by Angela Holmes shows Veronica out on the moor. I love the image but her lack of a yellow dress confused my beta readers.
Veronica Everly grows up in a Catholic orphanage called Saint Mary’s where she discovers she has a talent for teaching. In Victorian England there were not very many options for girls like Veronica outside of marriage. At age nineteen, in order to support herself, she begins a career as a governess.
When the story opens we see her interviewing for a job. She needs it badly, for her only other option would be to stay at Saint Mary’s and become a nun. This is the last thing she wants to do! Based on Veronica’s experience at Saint Mary’s with a “mad child”, the agent, Mr. Crowe offers her the position of her dreams: live- in as governess to the children of a wealthy Yorkshire family. A lot is to be expected of Veronica, for their father is often away, and their mother has mysteriously disappeared.
When she arrives at Belden House, a stately home at the edge of the known world, Veronica meets her charges, identical twins, in the garden. Jacques and Jacqueline, who together are called Jack, love to play strange, macbre games. Mrs. Twig, the secretive housekeeper, warns Veronica that they will disappear sometimes, but will discuss it no further.
The twins do disappear.
Wolves howl in the distance.
A strange woman appears in the garden wearing an ancient yellow gown… When she sees Veronica, her eyes turn red as blood.
Who is the lady in yellow?
There were many sources of inspiration for this story that are a sort of compendium of some of my favorite things.
Victorian England, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, A photos by Sir Simon Marsden, antique dolls, ancient grimoirs, ghosts, werewolves, tombs and ruins, walled gardens, twins, art, British folk ballads and lore, the symbolism in nature. There are shades of Charles Dickens, and the medieval Courts of Love as well.
All of these influences have built up an eerie atmosphere of mystery, curiosity and portent, designed to seize the reader, pull them and keep them chewing their nails until the end.
The Power of Intuition in Fiction Writing
I had no idea that the Turn of the Screw had been made into a film – again – in 2009. In looking for images for this page, I found a picture of Miles who looks the spit of how the twins in The Lady in Yellow. This kind of synchronicity never ceases to amaze me.