Here is a Snippet from the Painted Heart towards the beginning of the book. They are about to go on their first outing together and Elspeth is bristling about the way she is being crimped and display.
What had Agatha said? ‘He’s most likely simply a self-made man eager to hide his humble or nefarious start in life.’ Which meant he was ruthless, manipulative and cunning. That he knew how to get people to do as he wanted.
Well, she was armed against that. And although she agreed with Agatha’s assessment, she added her own items to the list of Mr. Blackburn’s shortcomings.
All of that made what she was wearing unpalatable.
She was forced into one of the viewing corsets, it pressed her breasts up and out like a white dove’s chest; as if she would start cooing at the sight of him.
Then there was her hair which was twisted into some fashionable coiffure. Her face, in fact everything, had been scrubbed, rubbed, and preened for the last two hours!
The girls were gushing over the ‘romance’ of it all and no amount of counter-argument on her part was heard or believed.
It was ‘love at first sight’, ‘a passion to be written about’, a ‘Cathy and Heathcliff in real life’.
The man had no idea of the hell he had unleashed into her well-ordered, if somewhat constrained life.
She wanted to stretch, needed something more but not this.