As a boy, Kingsley Merrick is taunted by his social betters at the Waterford Academy. As a young man, he is ostracized by the establishment of the small Cape Cod village, home of deep water captains. When he makes a fortune in Australia by running Concord Coaches to the gold fields, Kingsley returns, seeking retribution for the humiliations he has endured. Part of his plan includes marriage to his cousin.
Julia Merrick is imprisoned by her middle-class upbringing, and looks to Brahmin Boston for relief. Gradually insinuating herself into Beacon Hill society, her dream founders on the shoals of snobbery, and her virgin purity is besmirched by an alluring scion of wealth — just as her family is threatened with financial ruin in the panic of 1857. Julia can save them all by marrying Kingsley, just then on his way home, but at what a price! There will be no escape, for now she knows that the obligatory marital relation will break her spirit.
As indeed it does, until she brings her husband to heel with a scheme that will free her to create an elite, Brahmin-like society right there in Waterford and at the same time keep him out of her bedroom.
After completing This is the House, 35 years ago, the author turned to the next ancestor of interest who, in fact, did make a fortune in Australia and tried again in South Africa, with the diamond strike there. Now releasing a new edition, Hill again realizes a dream come true with this, the second of the Kingsland Series.
“This is not just another romance, set in Massachusetts during the Civil War era. The story of the Merrick’s troubled marriage is played against the mores of New England in the 1860’s and the North’s economy [and] sends the reader searching for the author’s first book.”
“Dynastic tangles blaze at the heart of this splendid new saga set against the gradual decline of Cape Cod’s maritime trade.”
—Compass Rose Bookshop
“The thousands of readers who delighted in Deborah Hill’s deft mingling of New England history with the dreams and drama of her brilliantly realized characters will find The House of Kingsley Merrick a surpassingly evocative take that amply fulfills the author’s promise as a born storyteller.”
“What is most special is watching the evolution of the country but even more so the town, as well as the family over the generations. The values and choices of the ancestors impacting their descendants is something that can only be accomplished in a series of novels like this. There are timeless themes present in both books – class, ambition, loyalty – and the characters in this book deal with the themes in ways that were influenced by the earlier generations and times but with their current environment as well.”