The Vanishing Point
The Vanishing Point
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Bright and inquisitive, Hannah Powers was raised by a father who treated her as if she were his son. While her beautiful and reckless sister, May, pushes the limits of propriety in their small English town, Hannah harbors her own secret: their father has given her an education forbidden to women. But Hannah’s secret serves her well when she journeys to colonial Maryland to reunite with May, who has been married off to a distant cousin after her sexual misadventures ruined her marriage prospects in England.
As Hannah searches for May, who has disappeared, she finds herself falling in love with her brother-in-law. Alone in a wild, uncultivated land where the old rules no longer apply, Hannah is freed from the constraints of the society that judged both her and May as dangerous—too smart, too fearless, and too hungry for life. But Hannah is also plagued by doubt, as her quest for answers to May’s fate grows ever more disturbing and tangled.
of skin and rotted cloth held May's bones together. It was doubtful that they could lift her out in one piece. Hannah's knees gave way. She found herself on the ground beside Gabriel, whose eyes were red and whose hands trembled, as hers did. Yards away, Daniel cried feebly. "Hush-a-bye," Hannah tried to call, but she choked on the words. Taking the shroud, she ripped loose her careful seams. She shook out the sheet, then spread it on the bottom of the coffin. She thought of the graveyard in her
was ignorant. If Father were here, he would send her out to study their properties. Lucy had spoken of powerful physick herbs that were native to this country. Hannah spun in a circle. She felt a sense of lightness, her sister's presence. The garden was May's handiwork, to be sure, planted from the seeds Hannah had sent along with her. Here were the stalks of foxglove. Its season had passed, but in spring it would rise again. In a sunny sheltered corner, she found a few heartsease flowers still
him intently. When they tried to edge closer, he scolded them. Deep in concentration, he did not seem to know she was there. Even the dogs ignored her. Before she could announce her presence, she saw the knife in his hand. He was skinning a rabbit, slowly working the hide off the body. He had already gutted and beheaded the animal. Where its legs had been were only stumps. Blood seeped from the open belly, falling in the weeds at Gabriel's feet. The dogs strained, as though longing to lick up
from the pleasure of it. His face was in shadow as he approached. *** With the majesty of a queen, his bride perched on the bed. Her loose hair shone in the light of the single candle. The thin stuff of her nightgown revealed the shape of her breasts. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, yet there was something intimidating about her that reminded him uncomfortably of his father. "Can you not bring another candle?" she directed, like a mistress to a servant. Never mind that
That is why we have come on horseback." Hannah could think of nothing to say. "But I fear, Mistress Powers, I have come here for graver concerns than any outstanding accounts Mr. Washbrook might have." Richard Banham had the wide-open eyes of a man with nothing to hide. "I do not wish to alarm a woman in your condition, but I fear you may be in danger. The rumors have traveled slowly northward from Port Tobacco. They are allegations, as yet unproven in a court of law, but if there is even the