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Mad Barbara

Warwick Deeping

Book Overview: 

It is the last quarter of the eighteenth century and a young woman discovers the body of her murdered father. In her grief, she tries to make sense of why this sweet man, beloved by all, was struck down and, unlike her mother, is unable to put the incident behind her and return to society. Her lack of interest in romance, the theatre and parties convinces her mother and a family friend that Barbara is sinking into madness. But Barbara is determined to uncover her father's murderer at any cost. Could the perpetrator have been her childhood friend, a man for whom her feelings are confused? And is Barbara really mad, or does the madness belong to another? This book was also published under the title of These White Hands

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .here come the court innocents with all manner of nonsense in their noddles. Shall we stand a siege?”

“You will never keep fools out of heaven, madam,” said the Fellow of the Royal Society, with a cynical sniff; “have them in, and let us moralize on the wasted energies of youth.”

“And you—my vestals?”

The girls at the card-table betrayed no immoderate shyness.

“And my Lady Purcell?”

“Should a woman be afraid of a boy’s tongue? We can clip it with our wit.”

“They are in the court-yard already, the mad children! Let us see what power music may have over them.” And she sat down at the harpsichord and began to play with great unction a dolorous chant that was familiar to serious singers of psalms.

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