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Back in Williamsburg to continue her education, Sarah Moore discovers there is much more to learn in Virginia’s capital city than reading, writing, arithmetic, and the social graces taught by their mousy new tutor.

For instance, why are there lights that come and go in the little brown house on Waller Street where their former tutor ran a millinery shop? Hasn’t the house has been empty since Gabrielle Gordon was expelled from the colonies for spying for the British? And why on earth did her Uncle Ethan, who hates slavery, buy three slaves at the slave auction on the steps of the Raleigh Tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street? And what do Governor Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and her best friend Marcus, the governor’s gardener, have to do with it? Most puzzling of all, what is the meaning of the mysterious code “John 3:19” she keeps hearing and its whispered response: “Darkness to light”?

“Why can’t you be content to embroider pillowcases, Sarah?” her exasperated uncle asks wearily when he has caught her, once again, prying into his private affairs. But something in her has to know the answers to all these questions. Even the excitement of dance lessons with the intriguing Señor Alfredo Alvarez and new gowns in preparation for attending the Governor’s Christmas Ball cannot dampen her curiosity.

Then, Uncle Ethan is captured and imprisoned by the British for his involvement with the Patriot cause. And Marcus’s wife, Dulcie, while entertaining the governor’s guests with her beautiful voice, is recognized and reclaimed by her former owner, the evil Basil Burwick. To whom can Sarah turn for help? She doesn’t know. She only knows she must do whatever it takes to bring Dulcie and Uncle Ethan home again.

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