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A Mind Released Paperback – June 26, 2020
by John M. Brewer (Author)
George Wycombe is an eleven year old boy in Regency England whose father abandons him after his mother and sister die. Fleeing the angry landlord, he walks mile after mile across southern England looking for a place to stay and work. Starving and exhausted, he finds a blacksmith in need of an apprentice to pump the bellows in a small village east of Mendip Hills. George's offer to do it for room and board is accepted by Mr. Potter. After hours of heavy effort George is invited to join the family meal in the house where he meets Mrs. Potter and Alice, their daughter. The girl is about George's age, but she was born with a disfigured mouth. She cannot speak. Other children taunt and harass her, and she often runs into the woods, going for miles sometimes, to escape this. George feels sorry for her and teaches her how to read and write so they can communicate. They grow close over the next few years as George learns the blacksmithing trade and becomes a journeyman. One evening Alice writes George about witnessing the murder of a wealthy man on the edge of an open mining pit in the Mendip Hills six years earlier. Unfortunately, the murderer saw her and is almost certainly looking for her. George marries Alice partly to protect her as a married woman is allowed to wear hat and (disfigurement concealing) veil outside the home. After two years pass, George foils a knife-wielding assassin attacking Alice in the family garden. Has a local person told the murderer about Alice? A tribe of gypsies camps near their village. George and Alice are curious and go to visit them. After all, what could go wrong?