The Mulberry Tree
For nearly twenty years, those three words dictated the life of Lillian Manville. Quiet, unassuming, and overweight, Lillian did anything and everything to please her husband, the illustrious self-made billionaire James Manville. Since the tender age of seventeen, she had obeyed this powerful older man's every command and in return she received a life beyond her wildest dreams. Elaborate mansions. Trips around the world. The finest jewels and the most luxurious fashions.
Whatever I wanted,
he gave me long before I knew I wanted it.
But when Jimmie dies suddenly in a plane crash, Lillian's pampered life comes to an abrupt halt. She learns that Jimmie has bequeathed all of his riches to his devious siblings, Atlanta and Ray. All, that is, except an old farmhouse in small-town Calburn, Virginia. Although Lillian is devastated by Jimmie's death and apparent betrayal, she soon discovers a well of secrets connected to Jimmie's past that originate in Calburn and to a long-ago tragedy concerning a group of boys hailed as the "Golden Six." Uncovering those secrets, Lillian thinks, will help her to better understand the man she loved and mysteriously lost.
What Lillian doesn't foresee is how her unexpected circumstances quickly transform her. She loses weight, changes her name to avoid further harassment from the press, and, with the help of Matthew Longacre, a kind, handsome local man, begins to renovate the farmhouse and establish friendships with Calburn's quirky townspeople. In time she develops her own thriving business and an inner strength she never knew existed. But, though Lillian's new life seems as strong as the mulberry tree firmly planted outside her farmhouse, there remain secrets and lies that threaten to uproot the past she cherished and the future she will fight to protect.
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He needed me.
Whenever anyone -- usually a reporter -- asked me how I coped with a man like Jimmie, I smiled and said nothing. I'd learned that whatever I said would be misquoted, so I simply kept quiet. Once, I made the mistake of telling the truth to a female reporter. She'd looked so young and so in need herself that for a moment I let my guard down. I said, "He needs me." That's all. Just those three words.
Who would have thought that a second of unguarded honesty could cause so much turmoil? The girl -- she had certainly not attained the maturity of womanhood -- parlayed my small sentence into... see more
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