The Nightingale Legacy by Catherine CoulterThe Nightingale Legacy by Catherine Coulter

The Nightingale Legacy

byCatherine Coulter

Mass Market Paperback | April 3, 2000

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An exhilarating Regency romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

The second novel in Catherine Coulter's acclaimed Legacy trilogy.
Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FBI Thrillers featuring husband and wife team Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. She is also the author—with J. T. Ellison—of the Brit in the FBI series. She lives in Sausalito, California.
Title:The Nightingale LegacyFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 6.75 × 4.2 × 1.25 inPublished:April 3, 2000Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515116246

ISBN - 13:9780515116243


Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it second time to read this book. loved it then. loved it now. the character of caroline is unforgettable.
Date published: 2013-02-04

Read from the Book

ST. AGNES HEAD, CORNWALLAUGUST 1814FREDERIC NORTH NIGHTINGALE looked down at the huddledwoman at his feet. She was bowed in on herself, her kneesdrawn nearly to her chest, her arms over her head, as if she’dtried to protect herself as she fell from the cliff above. Heronce stylish pale blue muslin gown was ripped violentlybeneath her arms, the bodice and skirt stained and filthy.One blue slipper dangled by twisted and torn ribbons fromher right foot.He came down to his knees beside her and gently pulledher stiff arms away from her head. She’d been dead forsome time, at least eighteen hours, for her muscles werebeginning to slacken again, the rigor lessening. He lightlypressed his fingers to her dirty neck, where the collar of hergown was ripped away. He didn’t know why he was feelingfor a pulse, perhaps he was hoping for a miracle, but ofcourse, there was no beat, just cold flesh and death.Her pale blue eyes stared up at him, not calm with acceptance,but bulging with the terror, with the knowledgethat death was here and this was her last instant of life. Eventhough he’d seen too many men die in battle or after battlefrom infection, this touched him differently. She wasn’t asoldier wielding a sword or a musket. She was a woman,thus frail by a man’s standards, helpless in the face of a fallas violent as this one. He closed her eyes then pressedagainst her jaw to close her mouth, open wide on a lastscream. It wouldn’t close, and her terror was there to see ifnot to hear. It would remain there until she was no morethan stripped white bone.He rose slowly and stepped back, not too far back or elsehe’d go careening off the narrow ledge into the Irish Seasome forty feet below. The smell of the salt water wasstrong, the sound of the waves striking against the agelesstumbled black rocks was loud, but the rhythmic tumult wasstill curiously soothing to him. It had been since he’d beena boy, bent on escape.She was no stranger to him. It had taken him a momentto recognize her, but he’d soon realized it was Eleanor Penrose,the widow of the now long-dead Squire Josiah Penroseof Scrilady Hall, just three miles or so north, very near theTrevaunance Cove. He’d known her since she’d arrived inthe area from somewhere in Dorset and married the squirewhen North had been a boy of ten years or so. He rememberedher as a laughing young woman with big breasts anda bigger smile, her soft brown hair falling in ringlets aroundher face that bounced about when she jested and poked thestaid squire in his ribs, drawing a tortured smile even fromthat pinched mouth. And now she was dead, drawn in likea baby on a narrow ledge. He told himself she must havefallen. It was a tragic accident, surely that was all that itwas, but he knew in his belly that it wasn’t possible. EleanorPenrose knew this land as well as he did. She wouldn’t havebeen strolling out here by herself, far from home, and simplyslip and fall over the cliff. How had it happened?He made his way slowly back up the cliff, some thirtyfeet to the top, his fingers fitting into the familiar handholds,his feet slipping only twice. He pulled himself over the toponto the barren jagged edge of St. Agnes Head, rose andlooked down as he dusted off his breeches. From this heightshe again became the patch of bright blue that had caughthis attention and drawn him down in the first place.Suddenly a clod of loose earth crumbled beneath hisbooted feet. He jerked back, arms flailing. His heart thuddedmadly until he was back a good three feet from the cliffedge. Perhaps that was what had happened to Eleanor Penrose.She’d walked too close to the edge and the ground hadsimply given beneath her and she’d not fallen all the wayto the spuming waves below but onto that protruding ledgeinstead. And it had been enough to kill her. He dropped tohis knees and examined the ground. Only the chunk he’djust dislodged seemed to have broken off. He just looked atthe ground, then down at the ledge, barely visible from hisvantage point. He rose and dusted off his hands.North strode to his bay gelding, Treetop, a horse thatstood over seventeen hands high and thus his name, whowas standing motionless, watching his master’s approach.Treetop didn’t even look up at the flock of lapwings thatwheeled low over them. A dragonfly lighted on his rumpand he gently waved his tail. North would have to ride tosee the magistrate. Then he realized he was the magistrate.This wasn’t the army, no sergeants to do what he told themto do, no rules or protocols. ‘‘Well,’’ he said as he swungeasily onto Tree’s broad back, ‘‘let’s ride to get Dr. Treath.He should look at her before we move her. Do you thinkshe fell?’’Tree didn’t snort but he did fling his mighty head fromside to side.North said slowly as he looked back at the cliff whereshe’d gone over, shading the brilliant noontime sun from hiseyes with his hand, ‘‘I don’t think she did either. I thinksome son of a bitch killed her.’’* * * ‘‘Lord Chilton! Good God, my boy, when did you return?It’s been over a year since you’ve come home. Just here foryour father’s funeral, then back again to the interminablewar that’s finally over, thank God. Now all our fine Englishlads can come home again. Come in, come in. You alwaysdid knock at my surgery entrance, eh?’’Dr. Treath, tall and straight as a sapling under a brightsun, and slender as a boy of eighteen, and as smart a manas North had ever known, pumped his hand and usheredhim through his small surgery replete with its shining metalinstruments and cabinets filled with carefully labeled bottles.There was a mortar and pestle on the scrubbed table justbeneath the cabinets. He led North into the drawing roomof Perth Cottage, a cozy, warm room with a fireplace at oneend, too much furniture throughout and messy with strewnnewspapers and journals and now-empty cups on every surfacethat, North remembered, had held tea liberally lacedwith smuggled French brandy.North smiled, remembering that when he was a boy Dr.Treath had seemed a giant of a man. The doctor was verytall, but now that North was a man full grown, Treath’sheight no longer seemed so extraordinary. Of course, Northwas bred from a line of tall men, of a height to intimidateif they were of a mind to do so.Dr. Treath’s smile was warm and welcoming.‘‘It has been a long time, sir. But now I’m home again,to stay this time.’’‘‘Sit down, North. Tea? A brandy?’’‘‘No, sir. Actually I’m here as the magistrate to tell youthat I just found Eleanor Penrose on that outcropping ledgebeneath St. Agnes Head. She’s dead, and has been for sometime, at least a day, for her limbs were still rigid but wererelaxing again.’’Dr. Benjamin Treath became rigid as Lot’s wife, becomTHEing pale and paler still until his face was as white as hismodest white cravat. He suddenly looked immeasurablyolder, all the vitality sucked out of him in that single instant,then, just as quickly, he was shaking his head. ‘‘No,’’ hesaid, ‘‘no, that can’t be right. You’ve forgotten what Eleanorlooked like. No, not Eleanor. It’s some other woman whoresembles her. I’m sorry for the other woman but it isn’tEleanor, it can’t be Eleanor. Tell me you’ve made a mistake,North.’’‘‘I’m sorry, sir, but it was Eleanor Penrose.’’But Dr. Treath was still shaking his head, violently now,his eyes darkening, his pallor more marked. ‘‘Dead, yousay? No, North, you’re mistaken. I just dined with her twoevenings ago. She was in fine fettle, laughing as she alwaysdoes, you remember that, don’t you? We ate oysters at ScriladyHall and the candlelight was very soft and she laughedat my stories about the Navy, particularly the one about howwe stole that bag of lemons from a Dutch ship in the Caribbeannear St. Thomas because our men had scurvy. No,no, North, you’re wrong, you must be wrong. I can’t letEleanor be dead.’’Damnation, North thought. ‘‘I’m sorry, sir, truly. Yes,she’s dead.’’Benjamin Treath turned away and walked slowly to theFrench doors at the back of the sitting room that gave ontoa small enclosed garden, flowering wildly now in middleAugust, roses interlaced with bougainvillea and hydrangeas,the colors vivid reds and pinks and yellows. One old sessileoak tree was so thick, its heavy leafed branches covered oneentire corner of the garden, and its trunk was wrapped roundand round with ivy. Blue agrion damselflies hovered overthe ivy, making it appear to shimmer and shift in the lazysunlight. North heard the croak of a bush cricket.Dr. Treath just stood there, his shoulders rising and fallingCatherine Coulter 6quickly, and North realized he was fighting down tears.‘‘I’m very sorry, sir. I didn’t know you and Mrs. Penrosewere close. You must come with me, sir. Also, there’ssomething more you must know.’’Dr. Treath turned slowly to face him. ‘‘She’s dead, yousay. What else is there? Come, North, what is it?’’‘‘I don’t think she just fell from the cliff. I think someonepushed her. I didn’t examine her or touch her except to feelfor her pulse. You should do that.’’‘‘Yes,’’ Dr. Treath said at last. ‘‘Yes, I’ll come. Wait,what did you say? Someone pushed her? No, that’s not possible.Everyone liked Eleanor, everyone. Oh Jesus. Yes, I’llcome.’’ He called out, ‘‘Bess! Come down, please. I mustgo out. Jack Marley is coming soon. Bess? Hurry, woman.’’Bess Treath appeared suddenly in the doorway of the sittingroom, out of breath, her hand clutched to her chest. Shewas a tall woman, slender, with hair darker even thanNorth’s. There was a great resemblance between brother andsister. She saw North, quickly curtsied, and said with pleasure,‘‘My lord, you’re home. How like your papa you look,but then all Nightingale men resemble each other from fatherto son and so it’s always been, at least that’s what Mrs.Freely says and what her mother before her said. Oh dear,something’s wrong, isn’t it? Why are you going out, Benjie?What has happened? Someone at Mount Hawke is ill?’’Dr. Treath just looked at her, actually beyond her, gonefrom Perth Cottage, from his sister and North, who stood athis side. He shook his head, as if to give himself direction.‘‘Jack Marley has a boil on his neck. See to it if you wantto, if not, then tell him to come back. Be sure to use thecarbolic liberally to clean him up first. He never washes hisneck, you know.’’‘‘Yes, I know, Benjie. I’ll deal with him.’’North said only, ‘‘There’s been an accident, Miss Treath.We must go now.’’‘‘An accident? What happened? What’s wrong, Benjie?’’Dr. Treath just kept shaking his head. He pushed past hissister, head down, North following.

From Our Editors

Best-selling author Catherine Coulter offers this exquisite second entry in the remarkable trilogy that includes The Wyndham Legacy and The Valentine Legacy. The night before her 19th birthday, Caroline Derwent-Jones longs to be free of her smothering guardian. In her eyes, freedom is not only her birthday wish; it is her right. When she finally escapes, Caroline finds more than simply freedom — she finds Frederick North Nightingale — and falls desperately in love with him. The Nightingale Legacy is a rich, irresistible fairytale. 

Editorial Reviews

"Brimming with drama [and] sex." (Publishers Weekly)