Silent Melody, first published in 1997, is a sequel to Heartless. It is the story of Lady Emily Marlowe, the young sister of Anna, and of Lord Ashley Kendrick, younger brother of Luke, Duke of Harndon. At the end of Heartless, Ashley was on his way to work in India and Emily was left brokenhearted. But now, seven years later, Ashley is suddenly back in England, having come quite unexpectedly. Emily's heart had been broken all over again a few years before when word came that he had married and had a son. Now, however, she is about to be betrothed to Lord Powell and tries to resist her renewed and forbidden attraction to Ashley, who claims that he left his wife and son in London while he came to Bowden Abbey, where Emily lives with Anna and Luke.
This was a difficult, challenging book to write, for Emily is a deaf mute, and in the eighteenth century there was no way of communicating with the deaf. They were usually considered insane and confined to insane asylums. Emily is fortunate to have had a loving family to keep her and care for her, and she has always had a special connection to Ashley, who understands her facial expressions and gestures and has even created a sort of language with her. But Emily is not a victim. She is not handicapped. She lives a rich life within the silence of her world, and as a new relationship develops between her and a deeply troubled Ashley, she has as much to teach him about her world as he has to teach her about his. The difficult part of writing their love story was that the dialogue was necessarily limited—and I love writing dialogue!
Silent Melody has always been a reader favorite—and it has won the approval of a number of deaf people and of people closely related to a deaf person. I have been told that I got Emily right! I hope new readers will agree.
Signet Eclipse ISBN 978-0-451-46971-7