Even though she is thrilled to begin her career as a pharmacist, Esther is well aware that not everyone is willing to accept a woman in a man's field. But she is no stranger to adversity. As an orphan, she knows it well. She just did not count on falling for Andrew Radcliff, a man whose opinions are entirely opposed to her own.
Andrew, a young doctor struggling to establish his own practice and reputation apart from his father, believes it is God's will that he help those who cannot afford proper medical care. But he is not so generous when he learns Esther Melrose's professional goals. Her place is in the home and in his heart. But marriage seems the furthest thing from Esther's mind.
They are from two different places in society. Do acceptance and love have a chance?
About the Author
Janet Lee Barton loves researching and writing heartwarming stories about faith, family, friends and love. She and her husband live in Oklahoma and recently downsized to a condo. They've been busy redoing the kitchen and planting their small gardens. Right now it is trial and error to see what will grow, but it's fun! When Janet isn't writing or reading, she loves to cook, work in the garden, travel and sew. You can visit Janet at: www.janetleebarton.com.
Read an Excerpt
New York City, 1898
Esther's heart flooded with joy as the hack she'd hired at Grand Central Station drove through the streets of the city. Philadelphia was wonderful, but New York City was home. She loved the hustle and bustle of it all. Watching people cross Broadway, dodging all manner of traffic, seeing new skyscrapers going up and wondering what it would be like to be that high up in the sky, energized her in a way no other place could.
As the hack pulled up in front of Mrs. Holloway's house, she could hardly believe she was finally back home to stay. Oh, she'd been back for visits at college breaks over the past two years, but those hadn't come nearly often enough, nor lasted long enough, for her. She'd been thankful that her studies kept her busy. Now that she was through with her schooling at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, she was excited and ready to begin her apprenticeship.
She paid the hack driver and hurried up the front steps, but before she could touch the door knocker, Mrs. Holloway herself opened the door wide.
"Esther, you're home at last! I've missed you, my dear." She opened her arms wide, and Esther quickly stepped into her motherly embrace.
"I've missed you, too, Mrs. Holloway. I am so glad to be back." It was wonderful to see the woman who'd taken her under her wing and put her through school. She was probably in her late forties or early fifties, with bright blue eyes and silvery blond hair pulled up into a Gibson girl-style updo.
The older woman quickly motioned for the driver to set Esther's bags in the foyer. Her butler, Jones, seemed to appear from nowhere to pay the driver and take Esther's bags upstairs.
He smiled in Esther's direction. "Welcome back, Miss Melrose. We've all been looking forward to your arrival."
"Why thank you, Mer, Jones." She gave a quick shrug and smiled. Esther wasn't sure she'd ever get used to addressing the butler without wanting to add Mister to his name. He was so portly and gentlemanly, and he treated her as if she were of the same class as Mrs. Hollo-way and not the orphan the woman had taken under her wing. The Lord had surely blessed her when He brought Mrs. Miriam Holloway into her life several years earlier.
"Come, have some tea with me and relax a bit before you get settled in, Esther. Go on to the parlor, and I'll have Marie bring us something light to eat. I imagine you skipped lunch, and it's still awhile until dinner."
"You know me well, Mrs. Holloway." Esther headed toward the parlor while the older woman turned to go to the kitchen. Pulling off her gloves, Esther looked around the room and was glad to find that nothing had really changed since her last visit. It was full of light from the front and side windows, and it was decorated in a way that made one feel immediately at home.
For some reason, she'd been surprised that she did feel so comfortable in this grand house after living in the orphanage, but she did. It must be her benefactor's loving nature that filled the home. She'd felt safe and cared for from the moment Mrs. Holloway took her in. Of course, she hadn't lived there very long before she went to school in Philadelphia. But in the last two years Mrs. Holloway had welcomed her to stay until she married or moved into an apartment of her ownneither of which the older woman had ever encouraged.
She looked around at the now familiar furnishingsthe sofas covered in a rose-and-yellow-patterned upholstery and chairs covered in solid rose. Rose drapes hung at the windows, and the soft yellow walls created a warm welcome to all who entered.
Fresh-cut yellow and pink roses sat on the side tables. Esther couldn't resist taking a sniff before settling in the corner of her favorite sofa. The realization that she truly was home in New York City for good began to sink in, and she sighed with joy.
"Here we go." Mrs. Holloway breezed into the room. Marie followed her with a tray filled with tea cakes and biscuits.
The maid was about the same age as Esther, but shorter. She had reddish brown hair and hazel eyes.
"Marie, it's good to see you. How have you been?" Esther asked.
"I'm fine, miss. We're glad to have you back." Marie set the tray on the table in front of Esther then turned to Mrs. Holloway. "Will that be all, ma'am?"
"Yes, thank you, Marie. I'll ring if we need anything else." She took a seat beside Esther as Marie left the room. "I'll pour. Go ahead and help yourself to a cake, dear."
Esther took several sweets from the tray and her cup from Mrs. Holloway. She'd never imagined she'd be taking tea with such a lady.
"Well now, did you hear from John Collins about when you start work?" Mrs. Holloway looked over the rim of her teacup with caring eyes.
"Yes, ma'am. I'm to begin work this coming Monday morning."
The older woman smiled and nodded. "That's good. He's a dear family friend, and I know he'll guide you with care and watch out for you. However, I am glad you'll have the weekend to get settled in."
"So am I. I'd like to go see Emma and Grace, too."
"Of course. I'm sure they're looking forward to seeing you as much as you are to seeing them."
"I've missed them so. Why, Emma is nearly the age I was when I left for college, and Grace is fourteen now." She chuckled. "It seems time has passed much faster here than while I was in Philadelphia. I can't wait to see them."
"Well, now that you are back to stay, you'll be able to see your cousins whenever you want to." She reached over and patted Esther's hand. "I know it hasn't been easy to be away from them."
Esther squeezed the older woman's hand. "Mrs. Holloway, I don't think I can ever thank you enough for your help with my schoolingeven finding a pharmacist willing to train me. When I decided on this career, I didn't realize there would be such strong opposition to a woman going into the pharmaceutical field."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved the book. Great characters. I really felt like I could identify with them. And they are so great... I really regretted when the story ended. They felt like dear friends. I hope the author will continue to write about Esrher's cousins. I want to know how everything works out for them now that they are no longer in the orphanage.