the sittingroom

It was 6:30 in the morning when Maggie came to wake Seamus and his
new wife with breakfast. That would give Seamus plenty of time to pack
any last minute items and say goodbye to everyone. She’d been up since
3:00, making sure everything was packed, getting everyone in order, and
saying her own goodbyes.

It felt a little like her world was falling in. She’d been the housekeeper for
House O’Neill since her early twenties, and Maggie didn’t know what she’d
do with herself once they reached Ceres. Her entire life was here. 

Echo would manage well enough, she supposed. She was a good choice.
Maggie had done her best to prepare her and make sure she and Eldarin
Hugh Sr. were on good terms before she left. 

She and Seamus had both agreed to remain distant until they determined 
what kind of woman he’d married. Neither of them wanted to give her the 
opportunity to use their relationship against Seamus. 

The sun was streaming in through the white, gauzy curtains. She’d gotten
over to the embassy early enough to make sure that the slaves there made
breakfast just the way Seamus liked it. By the time she breezed into their suite,
a breakfast of poached eggs, various fruit, pickled vegetables, cheeses, meats,
and other sides had been laid out for them next to the coffee and tea and 
pressed juice.

She was both surprised and relieved to find Seamus asleep on the opposite
end of the bed from his wife, both of them fully clothed. Perhaps this marriage
wouldn’t be as awful as she’d feared.

His wife– she wasn’t sure what to refer to her by, she seemed to have no title–
didn’t seem to have an attendant nearby. It wasn’t her problem. Instead, she 
crossed to the bathroom to begin heating the bath for Seamus, and set out his

After that, she finally knocked on the doorframe from the bedroom to the sitting

“The ship’s scheduled to leave the dock at noon,” she said, “There’s breakfast,
and the bath is hot.” 


Author and Vogue contributing writer Plum Sykes designed her own brand new ‘old Cotswold farmhouse’ complete with all the traditional cottage features, in the Cotswolds, England.


Amour (2012) takes place entirely in an apartment based in Paris. Production designer Jean-Vincent Puzos had the apartment built on a sound stage where the parquet flooring had to be reinstalled so that it would creak ‘just right’. The books on the shelves are organised alphabetically, according to theme.