Hiding inside the hollow pedestal of the statue standing just outside the castle walls, sixteen-year-olds Lavinia and her visiting-for-the-summer cousin, Beatrice, develop a crush on one of the night sentries patrolling the perimeter. When, by chance, they learn of the debilitating illness of the sentry's ten-year-old son, Benjy, they resolve to bring secret medical help to the family after the Duke, Lavinia's father, refuses their pleas. At the same time, it is summer in the Midlands and the two young ladies begin to flirt with two lads their own age that they meet in the forest. The working class lads, who serve as apprentice milliners – hat-makers – in town, do not suspect at first anything more than romance is involved with these privileged daughters of English nobility. But they both soon become swept up in something more, an ill-fated scheme to kidnap a sick lad from his home while a doctor is deceived by the disguised-as-servants cousins into treating the boy on a moonlit forest trail. The plan takes an unpredictable, tragic turn when the mother of the boy is awakened in the middle of the night to find her son missing. She takes the news directly to her husband walking his rounds at the castle, and, still bearing the sentry's sword upon his hip, he flies on horseback after the two milliners responsible. Set in Elizabethan England around 1600, the book mixes adventure and romance in equal measure with the text in the form of a Hollywood script.
- Historical Fiction
- 12 and up