In 1967, a confidence artist named Henry Francis and his wife Rachel kidnapped a young heiress named Grace Fontaine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Henry had used Grace to blackmail the Fontaine family out of exorbitant sums of money. When police detective Paul Caine began investigating Henry’s background, the two took Grace and fled for Collinsport, Maine.
Henry kept Grace perpetually insensate with sedatives and he disguised her with a blonde wig and dark glasses so that others would fail to recognize her. In June of that same year, Henry, Rachel and Grace arrived at Collinwood. Henry had once been college sweethearts with matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and relied on her fondness for him to secure a safe haven for them. He introduced Grace as his invalid daughter Dorothy and told the Collins family that she was recuperating from post-operative brain surgery. He also told the Collins’ that Rachel was his second daughter (not his wife). Elizabeth agreed to let Henry’s family stay at Collinwood so that Dorothy could get some rest and relaxation.
During the course of several weeks however, Collinwood’s governess, Victoria Winters had several interactions with Henry Francis. Henry feared that Vickie would uncover their scheme and so, Rachel and he began to terrorize her. Several attempts were made on Vickie’s life and the Francises played it up as the result of a ghostly haunting (see Stella Hastings for more details).
Before long though, Vickie found a newspaper clipping featuring Grace Fontaine’s photo. She began to realize that Grace Fontaine and Dorothy Francis were one and the same. Vickie exposed Henry’s scam, and the older man tried to kill her. Detective Paul Caine arrived and killed Francis, saving Vickie. Shortly thereafter, Grace Fontaine was returned to her family.
- The character of Grace Fontaine is exclusive to the Paperback Library novels. She has never appeared on the original Dark Shadows television series.