The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang

By Maureen Lang

Time periods—Regency England and modern Chicago—are woven jointly while Talie Ingram reveals an previous magazine belonging to her great-great-great grandmother, Cosima Escott. via Cosima's entries, Talie learns that her relations used to be thought of cursed with feebleminded offspring, the results of a genetic ailment (Fragile-X) which could were handed all the way down to Talie and her sister. Unwilling to stand the results their discovery may have on her personal existence, Talie tucks the magazine again into secrecy, until eventually she starts off to work out symptoms of developmental hold up in her son.

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Cosima hadn’t meant to sound so cold. She looked out the window, seeing Royboy laughing and stumbling after one of the dogs. A curse. Her brother, whom she loved but sometimes resented, was the outward evidence of that curse. If she had children, it was virtually guaranteed, so said everyone who knew them, that she, too, would present a son with the mind of a permanent child. She’d seen what that had done to her father—the dashed hope, the weight of having no son fit to carry on the name or legacy.

She never married, and she died in a place called Engleside. Sounds like a rest home, but she would’ve been too young for that. She must have been sick. I don’t want Dana knowing she was named for some sick, lonely relative who never got married. You know how Dana is. She already thinks she’s an old maid and she’s not even thirty yet. ” Luke shook his head. Talie had seen that look on his face before, the one that said she was being overprotective again. She was willing to concede she wanted the best for her younger sister, but that’s how big sisters were supposed to be.

She’d expected a family so enamored of education and history that despite poverty they’d managed to leave a family legacy. Rather than a noble, resilient ancestral line that survived the ravages of a famine, the truth involved a murder-suicide and half-wits somehow related to her. This wasn’t the kind of call back her father would have wanted for her. She shook her head, pushing away the journal as if the pages themselves were an offense. It couldn’t be true. Glancing down, she noticed the words on the cover sheet again.

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