(From the publisher):
There were not many people in the small West Country town of Torquay who knew who the chaplain of Torre Abbey really was. He was known among the townsfolk as the Abbé de Colbert. Long before he had come to this English town, however, he had been Charles Sebastian Michel de Colbert, the Comte de Colbert. The French Revolution deprived him of home, family, and country. That he was alive at all was the result of his miraculous escape effected by the village curé, and the devoted nursing of Thérèse, the lovely young novice who became his wife.
Emigrating to England, Charles de Colbert then knew a brief period of happiness. A daughter was born to him, and the offer of a good position in Ireland promised some measure of security in the future. He sailed and, after establishing himself in his new surroundings, sent for Thérèse and the child. But once more Fate dealt him a cruel blow. Thérèse's ship went down in a storm, and as far as Charles knew she and the child were lost.
For many months the Comte endured life while he prayed earnestly for death. Then chance brought him to Torquay, and his tortured soul began to revive. True, England was at war and under constant threat of invasion by Napoleon. But in the town of Torquay, life continued to pursue its even and peaceful course. This small corner of the land was a curious, enchanted mixture of the old and the new. At the Sprigg farm the plowing was done to the tune of a pagan song by Old Sol, and ancient ploughman. The Chapel of St. Michael, built in the 13th century, still inspired faithful Catholics and still wove its own peculiar spell over the Protestant inhabitants of the village. There was birth and death, friendships and loyalties, the miracle of spring, and — Stella —the foster daughter of Farmer Sprigg.
From the moment he met Stella in the Chapel of St. Michael, praying for the safety of her lover who is with Lord Nelson's fleet, the Abbé knew that life once more will have meaning and purpose for him.
Original title: Gentian Hill
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ European→ 18th Century
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ 19th Century