Authors: Antoinette Stockenberg
Tags: #gilded age, #boats, #newport rhode island, #masterpiece, #yachts, #americas cup, #downton abbey, #upstairs downstairs, #masterpiece theatre, #20s roaring 20s 1920s flappers gangsters prohibition thegreatgatsby
"A riveting saga/mystery."
In the tradition of Upstairs, Downstairs and
Downton Abbey, BY THE SEA is a four-book series that sweeps from
the Gilded Age through the Gatsby Era's Roaring Twenties and then
on to the Great Depression, culminating nearly a century later in
Newport, Rhode Island, wealthy and alluring "City by the Sea." Set
against a backdrop of mansions, the glorious America's Cup Yacht
Races, and new money, the series traces the passions and adventures
of three families from three different classes.
From the wild
decadence of late nineteenth-century Newport comes the tale of Tess
Moran, a beautiful Irish housemaid in one of the grand summer
"cottages," who makes a dark bargain with a man of commanding
wealth — and falls in love in the bargain.
American money to an English title is a tradition of its own; but
Amanda Fain, a brash heiress with money to burn, has a fondness for
Bolsheviks and bootleg liquor that makes her an unlikely match for
the reluctant, ironic, and impoverished English aristocrat Geoffrey
Seton, who has been ordered to America to find someone who can pay
the bills for the family estate back home.
Great Depression grinds relentlessly on, Laura Andersson, a
Midwestern farm girl with an improbable love of the sea, embarks on
a bold adventure that promises riches but delivers passion, one
that threatens all she holds dear.
dramatic conclusion to the four-book series BY THE SEA.
Economic hard times are a distant memory in high-flying, recent-day
Newport, home of the oldest and most prestigious trophy in the
world, the Holy Grail of sport--the America's Cup. Here, the
descendants of Tess, Amanda and Laura play out their destinies,
their paths crossing in unforeseen ways: Mavis Moran, Neil
Powers, his daughter Quinta, and America's Cup skipper Alan Seton
all find themselves caught in a web of mystery, sabotage, and
"A quality novel [that]
contains many of those little epiphanies, those moments of
recognition. [Part 1, TESS,] is what makes Stockenberg's book
stand out from the rash of novels on class conflicts between Irish
servants and their Yankee masters."
"This was my first Antoinette Stockenberg novel. I read it
not long after it was published ages ago, but her writing is so
vivid I can still picture some of the scenes from the novel. This
[was written] before the ghost or mystery plots were woven into her
novels: it is purely a story of life and relationships. I have been
a huge fan ever since."
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Newly revised and edited, 2013
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.
In the northeast corner of the English
county of Hampshire, a quietly elegant country house lies tucked
away from the view of all but the most intrepid trespasser. Built
in 1761 for a wealthy sheep farmer, Seton Place is a nearly perfect
blend of form and function: free from the rigid symmetry of the
houses that preceded it, free from the extravagant sillinesses of
houses built after it. It is not so big as to be wasteful, not so
small as to be without influence. Its main rooms are arranged
around a central staircase; the visitor can nibble from a buffet in
the dining room, dance in the drawing room, take a peek at a game
of cards being played in the library, and slip out through the
vestibule on his way to another entertainment, all without
retracing his steps. Nine generations of eldest male Setons—each,
unfortunately, with less land than the last—entertained in this
house. Nine generations doted on it, determined to pass it on.
Sir Walter Seton was as determined as all
the other eldest males, but two obstacles lay between him and his
hope that Seton Place would pass quietly to the tenth generation:
he was broke; and
eldest son didn't give a damn, about
the house or anything else.
"Damn it, Julia, we need an infusion of
money fast," Sir Walter fumed as he shoved his account sheets away
in disgust. "But if we let go of the last parcel of land, it's all
up for Seton Place. No land means no tenants and no income. It's as
simple as that."
Lady Seton, not so gray as her husband,
turned the pages of the latest issue of
said absently, "Look at the bright side, dear. No income means no
beastly income tax. You do hate taxes so."
"A reassuring thought. Here's another, then:
when I starve to death and Geoffrey inherits Seton Place, he won't
be able to pay the death duty."
"You're not going to die, dear."
"I can't afford to!" Sir Walter said
"Well, eventually, perhaps. If Geoffrey gets
over his postwar
He does seem to be taking his time
about it. After all, other young men are getting on with their
lives. Look at his younger brother. Henry seems quite happy with
the bank. And of course with Marjorie. She's so very pretty, don't
"She's so very rich. That's all that
"It's one thing, certainly. I'm sure after
they're married Henry will be able to pour mountains of money into
Sir Walter gazed at his wife with sadness,
but without surprise. After more than thirty years, he understood
her thought processes pretty well. It was not that she wasn't
intelligent or perceptive. It was just that she considered logic to
be one of the lower faculties, like a baby's urge to spit up after
Still, he couldn't resist. "Julia. Why would
Henry pay for a house he doesn't stand to inherit?"
Without looking up from her magazine Lady
Seton answered, "He's a Seton, dear."
"I see. Blood before greed, hey?"
Lady Seton looked up then. "Of course."
Lady Julia Seton believed infinitely in the
power of blood; she came from very good people. Her husband had
married her for that: for the aristocratic bend of her nose and the
way she said "Of course." Still, her serenity annoyed him at times,
and this was one of them.
"Perhaps you've not noticed," he said, "but
Henry isn't the same wide-eyed lad who once hung on every word of
his older brother. The war's changed him, too, thank God for the
better. He understands the value of a passing day now, and of a
pound. Henry, at least, is on his way. Gad. Only eighteen months
between them. Why couldn't we have switched them in their
Lady Seton thought about it and smiled. "It
would have worked, you know. Henry has always looked so much more
robust. I suppose it's too late now? One can have all sorts of
documents forged nowadays ...." She trailed off with a wistfully
It was her fanciful humor, after all, that
had enabled their thirty years of marriage to pass with relative
ease. Sir Walter nodded affectionately and fell in with her whimsy.
"Their nanny is dead, and with the chambermaids long gone—"
"Oh darling, which reminds me. Old Preston
about the garden nowadays. I'm afraid he's
going to fall nose first into a bramble-patch—there are so many
now—and hurt himself. Couldn't we have just the tiniest
under-gardener to help him along?"
Sir Walter's bubble of humor burst. "Have
you heard anything I said, dear lady? We cannot afford another
servant. We cannot afford the three we
He was interrupted by the arrival of the son
who, as his mother so succinctly put it, had taken lately to hiding
all his light under a basket: Geoffrey Seton, thirty-one,
ex-officer of the Hampshire Regiment of the British Army, spare,
gray-eyed, withdrawn; using up what little energy he had to get out
of bed and drag on his trousers, usually no earlier than noon. It
was now half past the hour.
"Hullo, Mum, Pop. Has Sancha cleared
"We're about to go in to luncheon, darling,"
said his mother, accepting a kiss on her cheek.
"You sleep a lot," Sir Walter said by way of
Geoff dropped into the nearest chair. "The
bard said it best: 'Some must watch, while some must sleep: So runs
the world away.' Right now Henry's watching, and I'm sleeping."
Sir Walter grunted. While his elder son took
up the morning paper he went back to his spreadsheets. His eye fell
on the dismal totals for the month of May, which suddenly
infuriated him. Filled with a sense of grievance, he turned to
Geoffrey and said, "See here, Geoff, you could look over these
accounts if you had half a mind."
"But half a mind is all I've got, Pop, and I
need it to read the society page."
"Don't torture your father, dear. He wants
you to worry along with him over the fate of Seton Place. He'd feel
so much more relieved if you did."
"It's not a laughing matter, Julia," said
Sir Walter testily. "Please don't encourage him."
"I'm not laughing, Pop, but really: Seton
Place has stood around forever, filled with Setons. They go
together like bangers and mash. No one will split 'em up."
"Have you looked at a tax schedule lately?"
He waved one in front of his son's face.
"No time. Look, I think I'll catch lunch in
town. Don't have Sancha set a place for me."
"Where are you off to this time?"
Geoff shrugged. "I may scare up Teddy for a
game of tennis."
"Tennis. That tears it! You'll not go
anywhere until you've put in an hour at this desk. For God's sake,
man, you've passed the thirty-year mark. When I was your age—and
don't tell me I never fought in a war! Every young man in England
fought in this war, and the ones that survived are back to running
trams and hotels and the stock exchange. Your wounds are healed and
your arm's as good as new, if you can play tennis. So don't tell me
I never fought in the bloody trenches!"
"What your father is trying to say
Geoffrey, is that perhaps you need a change of scene to lift your
spirits. I think—we think—it would be just the thing if you sailed
to the States for the America's Cup Races next month."
Sir Walter, heart still thundering in his
breast, gaped at his wife. This was all news to him.
"After all, you've met Sir Thomas Lipton
once or twice, and if we still had the yacht you'd be certain to
bump into him even more. I understand that New York Society is
ignoring him now, as it always has. Grocer or not, he
Englishman. In any case, after mounting and paying for three
different Cup challenges, he's entitled to their respect, if not
their affection. If he's good enough to sail with the King of
England, he's good enough for the American Four Hundred. Perhaps
you can teach them some manners."