THE CARETAKER WIFE by Barbara Whitehead


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Caroline is a maiden lady, kindly and efficiently caring for her aging Pa in Regency England, when recently-widowed Lt. Richard Welby comes to call--and promptly proposes, needing a mother for his five kids and someone to put his estate in order while he's off fighting Boney. She accepts, he's gone, and she is left with a ramshackle but lovely Georgian home, three oddly frightened children (plus twins out at nurse), and an enormous pile of gambling debts run up by Richard's late wife (the Rebecca in the woodpile). Without much ado, Caroline disposes of malevolent Cass, nursemaid turned witch (Hand of Glory amidst the nappies and all), and the children perk up in no time. She spends the next three years gardening, getting a crush on an Italian footman-turned-thief, and putting things in order for the return of Lt. Welby. He has fallen in love with her from her letters, so everything is happy endings and she is caretaker no more--her pregnancy proves that. A peaceful, bucolic interlude, full of plants and husbandry, in which to rest from the exertions of more strenuous romances.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday