Shying away from painful thoughts, Nadia focused hard on the way White Rose Manor would always be remembered by her.
Like a visitor, she mentally approached it from afar, gliding in a car along the white-graveled road leading from the village straight up to the courtyard.
The access road branched out in looping bends that came together in a full circle in front of the manor house’s grand five steps. In the middle of the ring road bloomed neatly trimmed rose bushes laden with saucer-sized, white flowers. They were what gave the magnificent, three-storied building its name, and had been a constant joy to her grandmother. In the backyard, more rose bushes—ranging in color from deep crimson over fiery orange to pale yellow—mingled with perfectly-formed hedges and a lilac tree with a bench beneath it.
If you got out of the car, the grandeur of White Rose Manor took your breath away.
It dated from the 18th century and sat on 20 acres of land which included a pond with fish as well as a pavilion for high tea in the afternoon.
The main part of the building was shaped like a rectangle, its four lean, high columns, many white-grilled windows and embellished wall decorations making it look like a white wedding cake.
To the left and to the right, the manor’s hard lines were softened by two hexagonal additions, each two stories high and adorned with a roof-top terrace with an intricately designed balustrade. The same balustrade ran the length of the middle part, backed by the smaller third story with its gabled roof.
Part of the façade pulled your eyes to it because strikingly green ivy climbed and crept all over it, arching over the corners of the right hexagon and stretching toward the conservatory that squatted low and light-filled next to the house and was connected to a verandah with white wrought-iron garden furniture.
On the left, the house was framed by an ancient weeping willow bowing respectfully to its grandness.