‘Papa? Will you marry again?’

285px-overtureEphraim hesitated. He was aware that he was a focus of female speculation. Yes, the time was ripe. But though he had met some fine, educated women in Cincinnati, none had spoken to his heart. And he had wondered how his daughter would feel.

‘I was wondering — you don’t mind my saying?’ Sadie continued after a nod of his head encouraged her, ‘I was thinking you could make Miss Pettifer happy.’

‘Out of the question,’ Ephraim said abruptly. Good heavens, what a thought. The woman was nearly forty. He had felt his daughter flinch at the vehemence of his denial, so he pretended to consider. ‘I have never thought of her that way.’

It is 1870 and Ephraim himself is forty-one. In Chapter 23, Sadie, he is enjoying an established family, community and professional life. But daughter Sarah — who insists on calling herself Sadie, her new American name — reveals she has a will equal to his own. 

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