Author: Joy Ross Davis
Title: The Devereaux Jewel
Released: November 9, 2017
Recently married Anna Devereaux has everything she could ever want--a beautiful home and a wonderful husband. But as Anna begins to settle into her new life, she discovers something sinister and downright terrifying. And when ghosts begin to speak to her, she questions her own sanity.
Unwilling to give into her fears, Anna delves into the history of the Devereaux Estate and discovers she alone has the power to set things right. But who will believe Anna when she is finding it hard to believe herself?
September 1, 1882
Highland Rim, Tennessee
Dearest Aunt Violet,
I am Anna, newly married for these six months to your nephew, Henry Devereaux, who in his most kind and gentle manner, suggested that I might write to you concerning certain household responsibilities of which I have little knowledge, being turned seventeen only two weeks ago. Henry would have written himself; however, at present, he is away with his business partners. His ventures with the railway system have proven beneficial. As a wedding gift, he presented me with the most beautiful gold necklace, stationed with pearls, rubies, sapphires, and a large emerald in the center. He calls it the Devereaux Jewel and tells me that it is a family heirloom and must be protected at all costs. I can assure you that I will guard it faithfully.
In his generosity, Henry has built quite a large home here in Highland Rim, on the Cumberland Plateau, of more than twenty rooms. He has furnished it lavishly and with such acumen that I marvel at his exquisite taste. On the far grounds, he has planted hundreds of apple, pear, fig, and plum trees for future harvest and business opportunities. He proves over and over what a brilliant man he is.
Again, it is at Henry’s suggestion that I write to you and ask for your help and guidance while he is away. You are his favorite aunt, and I understand that he is, as well, your favorite nephew. Please consider this letter a formal invitation to join me in Highland Rim. Having been raised in an orphanage, I fear that I lack the necessary skills to maintain this glorious home and to allow boarders to take rooms, as Henry has encouraged me to do. After all, he says, what could we possibly need with ten bedrooms?
It is my deepest hope that you will consider a lengthy Yuletide visit. Henry has named our home the Devereaux Estate since we have one hundred acres of property. And though the rim itself, Henry explained, is but a series of steep cliffs, he situated the house at such a distance away that the cliffs are no threat to safety.
Having never learned the fine arts of decorating, cookery and gardening, at which I understand you are quite skilled, I would be forever beholding to you should you agree to travel by railway from your home in Knoxville to ours in Highland Rim and to reside with me for as long as you wish.
Anna (Mrs. Henry W.) Devereaux
Post script: It is not that I am afraid, you see. Henry has clarified that the noises in the home at night are a result of the settling of the foundation and that it is only my youthful imagination that causes me to see and hear strange people conversing—sometimes arguing—on the back veranda. My Henry is a man of age and wisdom, experienced in all manner of the daily goings-on in a large house such as this one. He has expertly explained my frequent dalliances into the vivid and frightening world of my imagination. Still, your company would perhaps help to disincline me from such folly.
Joy Ross Davis is a student of the lore and magic of the hills of Tennessee. She writes imaginative fiction featuring unusual angels as main characters. Her novel, Countenance, won a Silver Medal in an international reader's contest. She has lived and worked in Alabama for most of her life.