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This novel was made into a major film by Twentieth Century Fox starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson. It is the story of young Sara, who would do anything—even fake her own death—to escape the most dangerous man she’s ever known: her husband.
One night Sara drowns—or so her husband Martin thinks. But she has become “Laura,” and lives in a college town in Iowa until she has no money and no food but some apples from a neighbor’s backyard. She finds a job at last, caring for a college professor who has lost her will to live and will not say one word.
“Laura’s” blind mother is in a nursing home, and thinks her daughter has drowned. “Laura” can’t call her. She must risk her life to go to her. If her husband has found out she’s alive, he’ll know she will go to her mother.
And Martin has discovered his wife is not dead. Her escape from him drives Martin into headlong insanity. His possessiveness, his expectation that he can make use of a wife as he pleases, is mirrored in Ben, the young college professor living next door to Laura. Ben hopes she will marry him and keep his house while he writes books. He, too, mistrusts women and believes their life’s work should be to stand behind a man.
Ben helps “Laura” disguise herself as a bearded man; she is going to find her mother. She barely escapes her husband at the nursing home—now he is on her track. She returns to Iowa to find the towels meticulously straightened in her bathroom, and all canned goods facing front on her kitchen shelves. Her husband is a martinet for neatness—he has been in the new home she thought was safe.
Martin is out there.
“I wrote this book to embody a feeling I had—a horror,” Nancy Price says. “What if you were stalked by the person who knows you best of all: your marriage partner, the one you loved?”
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY will soon appear in a new edition. Watch for its publication date here
Miranda is bright, funny and pretty. Two men want her. The rich man says she lights up the world for him. But will she marry him when she knows his heart-breaking secret, a secret he must tell her?
America’s entry into World War II sends the handsome man to war. He comes home to Miranda’s love and pity. He says he will kill his rich rival if Miranda won’t be his.
Miranda loves both men as much as they hate each other. The story follows the war against Germany, Japan and Italy as it changes all three: Miranda, Robert and Con.
Only a few people know Miranda’s secret. One by one, they grow old and die, except for the one she cannot find.
Miranda has a long, happy life. When she is old, why would she weep over bits of paper in dead leaves?
No one remembers. No one knows.
“If you enjoy a love story, a mystery and the world of another wartime—if you like to laugh and you don’t mind crying,” Nancy Price says, “I wrote this book for you.”
NO ONE KNOWS appeared in French translation from Presses de la Cite in Paris, France, 2001, titled UN ECART DE JEUNESSE. The original English edition was published by Malmarie Press in 2004 and can be ordered from the publisher by touching below.
Then Randal dies in a car crash on an icy Nebraska road. Mary buys her beautiful home and is free of money worries—if she continues to write new books “by Randal Eliot, found after his death.” No one will pay her more than a pittance to write under her own name. What else can she do?
But she is wooed and won by a younger man, Paul, whose specialty is the work of Randal Eliot. Mary finds fulfilling love in their marriage, but slowly she discovers a secret violence in her new husband’s past, and is repelled by his overriding ambition. Paul can see nothing but Randal Eliot, and traces Randal's mental illness throughout his writing--but the books are Mary's!
They begin to live together like enemies. Mary won’t help Paul make a fool of himself, and Paul can’t see the truth before him: that Randal’s writings were only scrawls on the back of envelopes.
Mary finds her writer’s freedom with Justine, her new agent. Justine gives Mary her new name as a celebrity: “The Writer Who Lied for Love.” Mary’s books will at last be hers.
Mary is threatening Paul’s lifework, his professorship, and Randal’s fame. What is Mary expecting of him? “Be a gigolo? A crazy old lady’s escort? A sort of …decoration?” He’ll save Randal’s repution, and his own. He has killed before. He’ll kill again.
Mary and Paul are invited to the Italian Villa Christa on Lake Como. On a lonely road in dawn mist Mary tells Paul the truth: “You’re here because you’re my husband. Your biography of Randal will never be published. Every word of his novels is mine.”
They face each other on a cliff at a ruined fortress. The rocks of Lake Como are hundreds of feet below.
Catherine Buckingham’s uncle and guardian loved her mother. They had often planned how this baby could be made a free, wise, unafraid woman. So when Catherine’s parents are killed, Thorn Wade raises the orphan where she cannot live with, or resemble, American women after World War I.
When Catherine has become an adult who is not like the men—or women—of the world around her, she becomes one thing more: a sexual creature we seldom encounter. She is a woman who will explore her amorous feelings for the man who has raised her—explore them in absolute joy, fascination and freedom. He will never by word, look or action take a step toward her; the steps are hers to take, and only hers. They keep the memory of that summer like a promise they will someday fulfill.
But Thorn must leave to fight in World War II, and Catherine must go to college and learn, painfully, how to please and be coy, wear pretty clothes and makeup, let men be the ones who decide, court and choose.
Catherine is smart. She learns to play the games in a society that allows nothing more. When Thorn is reported dead in battle, she marries a man who adores her and indulges her as his very own accomplished woman. But Thorn has not been killed. He comes back to find her. How can he bear to find a woman who has become like all the others? How can she face the man who formed her for another life?
AN ACCOMPLISHED WOMAN will soon appear in a new edition. Watch for its publication date here.
Amzi King finds two black slave children in his South Carolina cornfield. Both have been mutiliated: Will’s ear is missing; Joan’s face is whip-cut. Amzi won’t give them back to their masters; he leaves with the children to hide at his dead father’s cabin in North Carolina. Will and Joan become free blacks, taught to carpenter, farm, weave and read, and when they are grown, Amzi prays over them to make them man and wife. But Amzi, their protector, dies. His brother sells them into slavery.
Will and Joan are sold to neighboring South Carolina rice plantations on the Pee Dee River. The master of one is Weston Algrew, who runs a “model plantation” under his rich Aunt Byrd’s watchful eye. He brings a bride home: Rose Buchanan Langley, nicknamed “Buck.” She, like Will and Joan, has been raised remote from slave plantations. She has grown up at her mother’s school where rich Charleston girls are “finished.”
The subtle, ancient, paternal corruption of these plantations appalls the three young people, two black, one white. Buck, Will and Joan are horrified by servile slaves who tattle on their own kind and pander to their masters to survive. (There are ways to create such slaves--ways so effective that they were visible in the prisoners in Nazi prison camps, and their results were given the name: “the Sambo Mentality.”)
Do Joan and Will fight such a system, or run away, or die? No. They do as most of us would do, caught in such a world, though Eldridge Cleaver in Soul On Ice believes that they should not. “No slave should die a natural death,” Cleaver says. “Why is there dancing and singing in the Slave Quarters?”
Why, indeed. If Joan becomes Buck’s favored house slave (she is clean, willing and educated), she has triumphed, hasn’t she? If Will becomes a black slave driver, feared and obeyed, isn’t he a victor? If Buck becomes the charming plantation mistress, intent on making her Abbotsford gardens famous, what is wrong with that? Not a thing, Aunt Byrd says, satisfied. All is as it should be in South Carolina in the 1850’s.
When Anne Bonner was seven years old, she was responsible--she always believed--for her mother's death. Anne had climbed too high in a tree, and her mother, pregnant with the son her husband wanted, tried to rescue Anne and fell.
Daniel Bonner lost a loved wife and son. He wished his daughter had fallen to her death instead, and—most cruelly--told the child so.
Anne grows up wealthy and unloved. Rich Daniel had been a street gang leader in Waterloo, Iowa. After World War II he fought another war to win his rich life, and burned down his competition to earn his nickname: Bonfire Bonner. When handsome and poor Tom Lovell courts Bonner’s daughter, he’s warned: “Keep your eye on Daniel. He isn’t called ‘Bonfire’ for nothing.”
Anne Bonner adores her handsome new lover, Tom. But Tom has adored someone else: Raina Weigel. Raina comes on the eve of his wedding to try to steal him for herself.
But Anne marries Tom. Anne is only pretty--it is Raina men admire. Daniel Bonner would like such a woman for himself. He can give Raina everything she has always wanted—everything but Tom.
Tom’s Aunt Emily is horrified at the thought of this marriage of Daniel's; she is the confidante of both Raina and Tom. “Raina and Tom together day after day—still lovers? Impossible!”
“Bonfire” sends the newlyweds on a honeymoon abroad, and when they return he has built them a house as magnificent as his own. Tom will work for him. But Emily can’t keep Raina from marrying Tom’s father-in-law. Daniel is rich---and Tom will live next door.
Daniel Bonner is fifty-four, Raina is twenty-nine. Anne can’t have children, but Raina bears the son “Bonfire” has always wanted. Does anyone suppose that Bonner’s second son is Tom’s?
Little by little, “Bonfire” learns the truth. He has friends in town who will kill Tom for money, but he intends to settle with his unfaithful wife himself.
Raina is so beautiful…beautiful enough to run away and live?
Mary Bryant’s stepmother makes Mary a servant in their shack of a house in Nebraska. Mary has only two friends: Sophia, a neighbor, and Mary’s youngest half-sister, Rhody. Rhody clings to Mary, but Mary must run away after high school—she runs to Chicago, sleeps under bushes in a backyard, and finds a job as a waitress.
Gunther Meyer, a university graduate student from Mexico, asks Mary out. “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he tells her. He tells her, too, that his parents are dead. His father hadn’t cared for him—he wouldn’t give Gunther a cent for his studies in microbiology, but sent Manuel Rey, a friend of Gunther’s, through medical school. “I wasn’t the son he wanted, the doctor he wanted,” Gunther says.
What Gunther wants is a wife: Mary. They fly to Mexico to be married there with Manuel Rey as best man. Manuel and Gunther are friends, yet they are edgy and contentious. Mary sees Manuel’s family home high above Acapulco, and marries Gunther there in a family chapel.
How happy Mary is, and happier still with her first real home: an apartment in Chicago. Gunther will pay for her college classes.
Mary's happiness ends when she finds she is pregnant, careful though she has been. Gunther is overjoyed. He brings home books for her to study so she can make up her classes later.
Their daughter, Maria, is born, and is a month old when a young woman appears at Mary’s door: Neola Rand. She flings a newspaper at Mary’s feet: a newspaper with a wedding picture of Gunther and wealthy Neola. They had been married while Mary was in labor.
Mary rips her wedding dress to shreds, packs and leaves with Maria. She has only one relative she can run to: a grandmother in Florida. But when she arrives, her grandmother is dead. Mary crawls with her baby into a car to sleep, a car owned by Colette and Jack. They befriend her and give her a job in their old-time photo studio in a mall.
Mary’s new life seems safe, but suddenly she finds that three people are pursuing her: Gunther, his wife Neola, and Manuel. She tries to hide, but they catch her at Walt Disney’s Epcot and take her and the baby to Mexico. She is Manuel’s prisoner there.
Manuel begs Mary to be his wife. Nothing makes sense. At last Manuel will have to tell her who she and Maria are, why she was never a bride, and why two men have lied to her.
"How are you, my dear?" she asked.
"Cold. But I ought to thank heaven for this storm. The French have given up the chase, I think, and the men are kept busy saving the ship."
She kissed him and said nothing.
"Sophia," be said. "I can hardly bear it."
"Yes," she said.
"It's that obvious?" he asked in a fierce whisper.
"Yes. For days past. You're suffering."
"Do you know-you can't know-what it means to me to have you here. Oh, God." His bitter voice was muffled in her soft hair. "Every man on my ship is cal1ing me a
When she fell asleep, Fortune lay awake as the ship labored around them. The slow drip of water from the quarterdeck above streaked the fragile barrier of oiled silk above their bed. His authority on Persuasion was as flimsy as silk, and as easily cut. He was one man alone on the sea, outnumbered by more than a hundred to one.
In an hour he startled awake. "The wind," he mumbled, and sat up, kissed her, climbed out to stagger across the bed place for his clothes on a hook, and shut the door behind him.
The great march of the waves was losing its rhythm, as if the wind were a spoon, stirring them as it blew. Clinging to lifelines strung on deck, Fortune nearly cried out as Persuasion staggered under a vast rogue wave breaking over her stem. But the frigate rallied and righted while the sea streamed below decks, though her hatches were laid and her hawseholes bagged. He turned to look aft and swore.
The Mordes-les was close on Persuasion's track.
"We saw her put her water overboard, sir," Lieutenant Bolt said when Fortune reached the quarterdeck. "Later she threw what looked like stores over the side, and then some of her guns. She's sailing faster, sir." Dawn had broken, but the two frigates were lifted and dropped in veils of water torn from the tops of the waves, so that daylight was no brighter than dusk.
Too heavy a swell. To great a danger. Descending in the troughs of the waves, Persuasion almost stopped dead, like a horse refusing a fence. Lifted to the summit of those vast waves, she was battered by a wind so fierce that Fortune waited for a mast to topple, or her sails to split.
"She's losing way in the troughs, sir," Bolt shouted to Fortune, who could only read Bolt's lips in the windblast. Persuasion must keep ahead of the following seas or they would smother her, slew her around, and the next wave would broadside and drown her.
"At least we'll have no gunnery in seas like this, sir," Bolt shouted. As if in answer, the Mordes-les, high on a following wave, fired her chasers that were trained sharp forward at her bows.
It was a freak shot, a lucky shot. Persuasion's foretopsail was hit at such an angle that it split.
Now all the crew's training day after day in the Channel showed itself: the captain of the foretop was already at the mast followed by the bosun's mates to secure the topsail.
The mainsail was close-reefed, but they were losing speed. Fortune yelled,
"Number two foretopsail." The ship fell down the long slope of a wave and rose to the blast of the wind on another as the men fought to bring the split sail down and bend the new one. It was tight and trim when they came down, but as they stepped to the deck some of them fell, too exhausted to go below.
"Tell the purser that you're each to have a tot of rum," Fortune told them. Not one answered or looked at him as they passed.
Grabbing a backstay, Fortune steadied himself on the violently canting deck and stared through his long-glass at the French captain. The little man with the long whiskers--was he mad? This was no fleet action, where your aim was to save your ship while you damaged or destroyed the enemy. Both Frigates were racing toward death.
The captain of the Mordes-les stood under his streaming French tricolor. He was not wearing his uniform, but a black coat, as if he were in mourning. He was not going to wait out the storm, or be satisfied with a battle to board and capture. He meant to kill.
Fortune called for a midshipman. No use to clear for action yet, but another lucky shot from the Mordes-les might come aboard. "Give my compliments to Mrs. Croft," he said to the sea-soaked young man, "and escort her to the orlop."
Sophia sat in the great cabin with no light but the swinging lantern. Just as the
midshipman entered, Sophia screamed: an enemy ball smashed through the wood and glass of the stern windows, knocked the dining room door to splinters, and vanished somewhere in the pantry beyond.
Waves struck through the shattered windows. Sophia fled to her swinging cot and leaped on its featherbeds while water flooded the floor.
The midshipman saw she was safe, and ran to the quarterdeck. "Is my wife hurt?"
"No, sir," the midshipman shouted back. "She's on the cot, sir."
"Send the carpenter and his mates to board those windows," Fortune said, "and you
must carry Mrs. Croft safely down to the orlop."
"Aye aye, sir," the young midshipman said. He ran for the carpenter, then struggled back to the great cabin. The door was open. Seawater poured from inside, soaking the Marine guard to his knees.
"Ma'am," said the midshipman to Sophia, "Captain says to carry you to the orlop,
"It's wet, ma'am."
"Yes," Sophia said. The midshipman had waded to her.
"I beg your pardon, ma'am, but if you'll put your arms around my neck from behind, I can carry you on my back."
He was a strong young fellow. His face had been slightly blue around the lips as he waded icy water in a soaked coat and breeches. Now his face was turning from blue to pink as he backed up to the featherbedded, lavender-scented cot and felt Sophia's arms around his neck. She could do nothing but jump for him as the cot swung, and fell so low against his back that he had to lift her from behind, and grew redder still with his hands under her rear. Her breasts were against him now, and her breath was on his cheek.
There he was with his red-haired burden when the carpenter and his mates appeared the great cabin. Sophia could" hardly hang from a midshipman’s shoulders like a long unwieldy sack, so she had hugged his hips with her petticoated knees, and her small feet in their wood-soled boots traveled before him.
The carpenters stood away from the door to let the midshipman and his burden pass,
water rushing about their legs. He carried Sophia through the dining room door past the sentry, along the narrow hall, waited for the deck to rise and shed the sea, then made for the nearest ladder that led below. "He'll be bragging on that for the rest of this here storm," said the carpenter.
Fortune stared aloft from the quarterdeck at the taut, complaining sails. "Put a team of men on the wheel," he told Bolt. "Four prime seamen, Two glasses to a trick." In a sea like this, alone at sea, he would have had the frigate under nothing but a close-reefed foretopsail, but in this mysterious, frantic pursuit he had to keep ahead. Soon he would have to pump away their fresh water-tons and tons of it-to lighten the ship.
"Now pass word for Benbow and Winsly with their crews," Fortune said to Bolt, and
gave them his orders for the carronades.
The ship's main guns were no use in those seas. Persuasion's two best gun crews cast loose the carronades at the stem while a towering wave advanced, topped with yellow foam. It raced toward them, a black wall blurred with c1ouds of spray. Persuasion's stem lifted to meet it, lifted and lifted until tons of sea slid under her counter, and there was the Mordes-les plummeting down the slope of the following wave.
In a few minutes Persuasion's larboard carronade roared, and then the starboard.
They were stubby little "smashers" that fired heavy shot at short range. The crews and Fortune peered through spray and rain, but could see no damage done before the Mordes-les sank out of sight in the wave trough. She fired as she descended: they saw the flashes before the swell of the new wave hid the frigates from each other.
Calder, waiting by his gun, rode with Persuasion up a wave's dark mountain. As she poised a second on that summit, he saw the Frenchman hull-deep in foam at the top of his wave. Then both frigates disappeared in their own gun smoke as they slid down the oncoming troughs.
A toothless old sailor at Calder's elbow shouted above the wind: "Ain't never seen such a dance," and swept the rain from his face with a calloused, bleeding hand. Every man's hands left thin streaks of blood and rain on their handspikes and rammers: they spent hours at the pumps, but the sea came in as they pumped it out.
"Devil's dance," Calder shouted back. "One ship's going to die."
"Aye," the old sailor shouted. "First one what's bad hit."
"He wants to give us a broadside," yelled one gun captain. "Turning and aiming for our rudder."
"Tell Lieutenant Bolt to start half of our water," Fortune said to the midshipman at his elbow.
Fortune sensed when the water was gone, for Persuasion drew ahead enough to put a foaming mountain of the sea between them and the Mordes-les more often. The
increased speed wasn’t, enough. He would have to order cannons jettisoned.
He opened his mouth to scream the command. A double blast from his carronades drowned his scream. Through the rain and smoke he saw that one of Persuasion's guns had found a mark.
Every man on Persuasion's deck froze and held his breath.
Slowly, slowly, as if the wind, rain, sea and ships had all paused, the foremast of the Mordes-les, cut in two, parted from its stays and began...so indolently, so gradually...to descend. Little by little the mast and sail carried away across her bows.
Unhurried, fifty feet high, an immence wave cradled the French ship as she lay broadside on its curl, broached-to.
The Mordes-les slid down that mountain on the leisurely, huge thrust of the sea. Slowly, slowly she rode whole for a last moment: a ship on her side, her captain careening down his quarterdeck, her crew dangling, sliding, clinging, falling, mouths open in their white faces.
Then she was no ship at all-nothing in the howling wind but a tumult of water, foam, sails, and spars.
The massive swell of the sea closed over her, smooth and black, and traveled on.
"Gone," murmured a staring gunner.
His mate couldn't hear him, but he read his lips, and put his mouth close to the gunner's ear. "Gone? Thousands of pounds--that's what's gone, mate. Captain could have had that frigate a dozen times. Us'd be rich. Rich."