Benedict Hall (Benedict Hall, Book 1)
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In this richly layered debut novel, Cate Campbell introduces the wealthy Benedict family and takes us behind the grand doors of their mansion, Benedict Hall. There, family and servants alike must face the challenges wrought by World War I and the dawn of a new age brimming with scandal, intrigue, and social change. Seattle in 1920 is a city in flux. Horse-drawn carriages share the cobblestone streets with newfangled motor cars. Modern girls bob their hair and show their ankles, caf s defy Prohibition by serving dainty teacups of whisky to returning vets and the wartime boom is giving way to a depression. Even within the Benedicts' majestic Queen Anne home, life is changing above and below stairs. Margot, the Benedicts' free-spirited daughter, struggles to succeed as a physician despite gender bias and personal turmoil. The household staff, especially longtime butler Abraham Blake, have always tried to protect Margot from her brother Preston's cruel streak. Yet war has altered Preston too not for the better. And when a chance encounter brings a fellow army officer into the Benedict fold, Preston's ruthlessness is triggered to new heights. An engineer at the fledgling Boeing company, Frank Parrish has been wounded body and soul, and in Margot, he senses a kindred spirit. But their burgeoning friendship and Preston's growing wickedness will have explosive repercussions for everyone at Benedict Hall rich and poor, black and white as Margot dares to follow her own path, no matter the consequences.
invite him out of the room. When the door of the ward was closed behind them, she said, “Did anything happen?” He leaned against the wall, gazing down at her with a grave expression. “Preston showed up about four this morning.” “Oh, my God.” “Wasn’t a bit pleased to find me here, either.” Margot released a long, slow breath. “What did he do?” Frank’s mouth tightened, and he gazed past Margot at the blank wall. She could see he was choosing his words deliberately, as if he was still trying to
the garage, and managed, barely, to lock the door before he could follow her inside. He still made no noise, but he hovered outside the garage, demanding she give in to him. There was something he wanted. Something he believed she had. The whole thing was irrational. Preston was gone. He couldn’t hurt her anymore. The dream was no more than a remnant of the years of conflict and misery. But somehow, still, she knew he wanted the sapphire. Margot lay down again, and pulled the blankets up to
says.” Preston repressed a flare of irritation. He made himself lay down his fork, though the griddle cakes were cooling on his plate. “I thought she was going to be all better, once she got to the hospital. Margot—” “Miss Margot sat with her almost all day, Leona says. Then she got a nurse to sit with her all night.” Hattie stepped back from the table, and flapped a hand at him. “Eat, Mr. Preston. Have all you want. Hardly anybody here for breakfast.” “Mother?” “I took Mrs. Edith a tray, and
the drive, turning left on Fourteenth Avenue, then right down Aloha. Preston was just emerging from the Times building, chatting with an older man, when Blake pulled up to the curb. Blake didn’t get out of the car, but waited while Preston, looking pleased to have the car come for him, said good-bye to his companion and opened the door to let himself into the backseat. As he settled himself, he said, “Blake? Where’s your cap?” “I left it home.” Blake heard the soft slur of his Carolina accent,
scotch in his hand. Edith jumped up from her chair when she saw Preston. “Oh, Preston, dear,” she said, hurrying across the room. “Your tie! Let me help you!” He wanted to slap her hands away, but he did need the help. He stood still as she worked the knot, looking down at her fair head, and made himself say sweetly, “No dinner yet, Mater?” “Your father asked Major Parrish to go to the hospital to fetch Margot, so I put dinner back. They’ve just arrived. Margot ran up to change her frock.” She