A Lie Universally Hidden

By: Anngela Schroeder

Acknowledgments





This book began as a small kernel and grew into something I could never have imagined, with so many people who helped it along the way. It has been a tumultuous year, with our son’s cancer diagnosis and treatment forcing us to reevaluate the focus of our lives. Writing became my escape; from something that I once enjoyed, to something I now needed to emotionally survive. A simple thanks cannot express the gratitude I have felt and still feel for the doctors and nurses who not only have taken care of our sweet son, but us as well, as we spent countless days and nights at the hospital. From late night candy pilfering, extra pairs of warm socks and the offer of warm hoodies, to encouraging me to get some rest mom, this book would not be possible without you: Laura (my Scottish Latina), Tiff, Rachel, Robyn (my boy’s rock), Neil the Ninja, Luke Yoda (whose patience with multiple light saber battles helped us get through Christmas on the 4th floor), Carolyn (bat girl), Chris, Kris, Tina, Paul (the man!), Blanca, Consuelo, Tammy and Trish, Lisa, Renee, Johnna, Kelly, Shurpreet, and all those who I’ve forgotten to mention, as well as all our doctors Drs. K.J., S.L., A.R., S.A., and Dr. Annie. Thank you.

To those who have supported and encouraged me throughout this process, friends and strangers alike: the readers at fanfiction.net (your suggestions were appreciated and helpful), Patty (my other mother), Diana (who always gives such valuable advice), Kristin (my writing buddy), Kori (next time it’ll make sense), Teresa (my kindred spirit), Sandra (she who has an estate now named for her), Becca (my other half), Kellie (my Fishy), Neany and Neuby (my unofficial mentors), Calamity Jane and Vanilla (who taught me to work harder for what I want), and all my students throughout the years, most recently my AP and Creative Writing classes (let’s have a potluck to celebrate). My greatest appreciation to you all.

To my peers in this Regency world of writing: my gifted editor, Christina Boyd, who made my words sound more brilliant than I could have imagined, thank you is not enough. Your patience with my endless emails, messages, and questions have kept me afloat and encouraged my excitement at low moments; author Joy King, without whose confidence I wouldn’t have taken the plunge on some of the most important steps in the writing world, or known some of the quirky ins and outs of publishing; Claudine from Just Jane 1813 whose kindness and willingness to help me will assist my book in reaching so many more readers; my cover designer, Shari Ryan, whose patience with all my questions and suggestions would surpass my own, and whose last minute formatting skills saved my sanity and my Christmas turkey. Thank you all.

To my family who has believed in me and never imagined I couldn’t fulfill my goals: my Sissy, MJ, without whom, I would not be able to function sometimes; my dear mother-in-law Mama Meg, who gifted me with her brilliance and more importantly, her #1 son; Beck-Beck and Lala, who cheered with me as MJ lost Mr. Darcy-victory was ours; my pesky brothers (Li Wilhelm, Gabeo, and Munchito) and their wonderful wives who support my most fantastical whims; my nieces and nephews who bring me such joy; my cousin Lisa Ann (my partner in crime, the Thelma to my Louise and the sister I never had); my sweet Daddy whose love and pride in me knows no boundaries ana-bahabek, Bayi-all my love, all my kisses; my dearest Mommy, the woman I was blessed with for 32 years to look towards as an example of all that was good (…if there is anything lovely of good report or praiseworthy…it was you!), my sweet sons, Mims, Little Fat Dumpling, and Chub-o-love, YOU ARE MY JOY! And finally, to my sweet Schro... as I sit here on the pink writing chair you bought me, typing away to my heart’s content while you make breakfast for our brood, I am once again reminded how grateful I am that I turned my car around on a cold, March afternoon 17 years ago. You are my greatest blessing. I love you.






Prologue





Pemberley,

Derbyshire, 1794



“I would speak to you on an urgent matter. If you continue to persist with this charade, we must establish the future for Fitzwilliam and Anne.”

“My niece?”

“Yes, your niece. I want your assurance that Fitzwilliam will marry Anne when they come of age.”

Lady Anne sighed with both the exhaustion of her illness and the weight of her sister’s demands. Her light blue eyes flitted around the room endeavoring to memorize everything that mattered to her in the world: the picture of Fitzwilliam hanging above the fireplace; the miniature of her dear husband on her bedside table; the silver rattle for Georgiana on the dresser; the view of the grounds of Pemberley through the window. All this she absorbed as she listened to her sister’s prattling.

“I want you to promise you will speak to him about his responsibility to the family, to Pemberley, and to Anne.”