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Due to the tragic loss of the Lord’s nephew and heir (the lad was swept overboard last month during a yacht race and is presumed drowned), the 7th Earl of Gotsum has assembled the family to acknowledge the new heir, Mr. Archibald Smythe, a distant cousin from Scotland.
Though Smythe finds himself in a new position within the family hierarchy, he is not previously unknown to the family nor Downturn. Many childhood summers were spent at the Abbey in the company of his cousins – though he does not recall them as happy occasions.
Old wounds will surface and new jealousies emerge as the family and staff form new alliances and attempt to restore the delicate balance of power within the estate.
If the family is to survive into the twentieth century, the past must be protected as much as the future. Does young Mr. Smythe understand Noblesse Oblige or will fate take yet another twist at the meeting of the clan?
Bateman: Valet to Lord Hunter. Served in the Boar Wars with Lord Hunter and is credited with saving his life during a surprise attack. His act of bravery has left him with a permanent limp.
Mrs. Cordelia Smythe: Mother of Archibald Smythe, new heir to Gotsum. Society believed she married “above” her station, however she was once told by a carnival fortune teller that she is descended from an ancient queen. How appropriate that her son should now be elevated to the status of “Earl.”
Duke (and/or Duchess) of New Bedford: Child of the late Duke of New Bedford who was a close political ally and friend of Lord Gotsum. He arrived unexpectedly on the doorstep of Gotsum Abbey, however his lord and ladyship would never dream of turning away the offspring of such a dear friend.
Emer Tabak: Son of the Turkish Ambassador to England and former school chum of the Duke of New Bedford. He is in attendance as a special guest of the Duke.
Evelyn: Newest housemaid at Downturn Abbey and much too friendly with the family and guests for Mrs. Howard’s liking.
Mrs. Howard: Head Housekeeper at Downturn Abbey, she orchestrates the functions of the interior of the Abbey and is the authority over all female servants, save the kitchen staff. She is a strict, but fair, task master and is liked and respected by all.
Lady Marigold: Grand-niece to the Dowager Countess. Sent to live with Violet when it was discovered she was having an affair with a married man while in London.
Lord Stalwort: Long on family prestige, however short on assets, he has a title to peddle and has recently become engaged to Lady Van der Slüty.
O’Mallay: Devoted Lady’s maid to Lady Gotsum. She has been in service to her ladyship since her first days at Gotsum and is her closest confidant.