Archive | May 2022

Unlike Any Other

Book Title: Unlike Any Other

Author: Edward Londergan

Publication Date: 1st March, 2022

Publisher: White River Press

Page Length: 270 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @edlondergan @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @edlonderganauthor @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/04/blog-tour-unlike-any-other-by-edward.html

Book Title and Author Name:

Unlike Any Other

By Edward Londergan

(Blurb)

The Story of An 18th Century Woman from A Prominent New England Family Who Went from A Life of Privilege to The Gallows

Bathsheba Spooner was the daughter of Timothy Ruggles, a general in the French and Indian War, president of the Stamp Act Congress, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and a leading loyalist in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War; the epitome of upper class.

Like her father, Bathsheba was smart, strong-willed, and a staunch British loyalist. Forced to marry a man she did not love, Bathsheba withstood her husband’s abuse for years until a young Continental soldier entered her life. But when this well-heeled mother of three small children discovered she was pregnant with the soldier’s child, her thoughts quickly turned to murder.

Based on a true story, the events that follow Bathsheba’s life, her decisions, and her ultimate demise will show readers that Bathsheba Spooner was, in fact, Unlike Any Other . . .

Excerpt:

The next morning, after everyone else was seated, the four of us were led in. The room smelled less of the human odor unavoidable in large gatherings of people sitting for an extended time. And it was filled again. Justice Cushing did not order the bailiff to close the doors; people streamed outside, down the steps, and into the street where hundreds more had gathered.

The jury deliberated for forty minutes. We stood at the railing, watching and waiting, as the justices talked amongst themselves. Mr. Paine and Mr. Lincoln sat at the attorneys table, each scribbling notes and talking to the clerk now and then. I tried to catch Mr. Lincolns eye but he didnt look my way.

Finally, the bailiff came into the room and spoke in a low tone to Justice Cushing. The justices sat imposingly in the chairs, their full authority on display. When the jury was brought into the room and seated, Cushing looked at them.

Have you determined a verdict?”

We have, chief justice.”

Give the verdict to the bailiff.”

My heart was hammering in my chest as the piece of paper that would determine my future was handed by the foreman to the bailiff who delivered it to Cushing. The room was silent, the air eager with anticipation. I could feel the intense excitement flowing through the crowd.

Cushing read the verdict to himself, and then motioned for the other justices to move to a separate room to decide our sentence. They returned in less than ten minutes. Cushing looked at the bailiff, who motioned to the four of us.

Defendants all rise,” the bailiff said.

We stood at the bar facing the justices.

Cushing sat magisterially, the paper folded in his hands.

James Buchanan, William Brooks, and Ezra Ross, you are hereby found guilty of the murder of Joshua Spooner. Bathsheba Spooner, you are hereby found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of Joshua Spooner. The four of you are hereby sentenced to be hanged by the neck until your bodies are dead. Your execution date will be determined by the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay. This trial is concluded.”

I hung my head, and my shoulders quivered as I began to cry, but it was only a moment before I regained my composure.

Brooks pounded on the bar, presumably angry at the judgment; Ezra stared blankly, as if in disbelief; Buchanan showed no emotion whatsoever.

Justice is done!” someone yelled to the crowd outside.

A loud cheer went up from the people assembled in front of the courthouse.

If I could only undo all that I have done,” I whispered.

When the sheriff and his men took us outside, the crowd went silent. They watched us with an unnerving intensity. Ezra was in the lead followed by Buchanan and Brooks. I was last. The air was still; the only sound was a single loud Caw!” from a large raven sitting on the meetinghouse roof.    

Buy Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unlike-Any-Other-Ed-Londergan-ebook/dp/B09VCGWH22

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Unlike-Any-Other-Ed-Londergan-ebook/dp/B09VCGWH22

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Unlike-Any-Other-Ed-Londergan-ebook/dp/B09VCGWH22

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Unlike-Any-Other-Ed-Londergan-ebook/dp/B09VCGWH22

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unlike-any-other-edward-londergan/1140197760

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/unlike-any-other/edward-londergan/9781935052746

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/unlike-any-other-2

Hudson Booksellers: https://www.hudsonbooksellers.com/book/9781935052746

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781935052746

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/search?filter=&id=8338934483810&query=Unlike+Any+Other+Edward+Londergan

Author Bio:

Ed Londergan is the author of the award-winning books The DevilsElbow and The Long Journey Home. Having researched American history for many years, he is a frequent speaker with a focus on colonial Massachusetts. A graduate of Holy Cross, he lives in Warren, Massachusetts.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.edlondergan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdLondergan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdLonderganAuthor

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edlondergan/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edlonderganauthor/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ed-Londergan/e/B008LCGOK4%253

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60678836-unlike-any-other

This entry was posted on May 20, 2022. 2 Comments

#Trinidad!

So I did a thing over early spring of 2022. I donated three full boxes of books for children in Trinidad! The kids were still masking and Covid-19 has yet to become endemic, but I helped to brighten the kids’ lives and help with literacy. Honestly – knowing I made a difference is my personal satisfaction.

The Complexities of Love #LGBTQ

From Amazon: Mark Cooney grows up aware that there is something different about him and hopes that his parents will never find out. Mark’s best friend Dave disappeared when he was thirteen and returned ten years later. Mark became more and more vulnerable as they got closer. It came with a price. Tormented by his inner demons and refusing to be controlled by anyone, Dave reveals a secret that he has kept since childhood, which leads to a terrible misunderstanding that will have grave consequences for Mark and his family. The Complexities of Love is a coming-of-age story about Mark as he confronts the truth about his family and his identity. All he yearns for is for Dave to return his love, but will that happen, or will he find someone else?

My Review: This is a must read book for those inclined to read about events and social/personal situations of the LGBT community. I related with the main characters homelife as mine was abusive. As a teenager, he had normal fears and anxiety that teens do compounded by not being a heterosexual person. Kids can be and are cruel. No one knows anything about another person, no matter how close a sibling or friend, because if you haven’t LIVED it, you will NOT know it. Free. Perfect ending.

The Mesilla

Book Title: The Mesilla

Series: The Two Valleys Saga, Book 1

Author: Mary Armstrong

Publication Date: 22nd April 2021

Publisher: Enchanted Writing Company

Page Length: 391 Pages

Genre: Western Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @authornotarthur @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @contrarymaryauthor @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #WildWest #WesternHistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog-tour-mesilla-two-valleys-saga-book.html

The Mesilla

(The Two Valleys Saga, Book 1)

By Mary Armstrong

(Blurb)

At 14 years old, Jesus ‘ChuyPerez Contreras Verazzi Messi is too small and frail to work the land on the family farm near the Rio Bravo in Mexico. The local padres tutoring reveals Jesuss unending curiosity and fertile mind. Noted Las Cruces, New Mexico attorney, and politician Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain, agrees to take his nephew under his wing. Jesus reads lawwith his uncle and shares adventures and adversity with the Fountain family and other historic Mesilla and Tularosa Valley citizens. His coming-of-age story will take you into the wild southwest, a brewing range war, a territory struggling toward statehood, courtroom dramas, and the adventures and adversities of a boys quest for manhood.

*A fictional memoir by Jesus about the ten years leading to the notorious and unsolved Fountain murders.

Buy Links:

Universal Links for the series:

When the Doves Coo (A Prequel to The Two Valleys Saga): https://books2read.com/u/mKpegv

The Mesilla (The Two Valleys Saga, Book 1): https://books2read.com/u/3yKn8J

The San Augustin (The Two Valleys Saga, Book 2): https://books2read.com/u/menJWR

The Mesilla Buy Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mesilla-Two-Valleys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B093CPZ71B

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mesilla-Two-Valleys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B093CPZ71B

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Mesilla-Two-Valleys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B093CPZ71B

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Mesilla-Two-Valleys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B093CPZ71B

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mesilla-mary-armstrong/1140770711?ean=9781737154549

COAS Books: https://bookshop.org/books/the-mesilla/9781737154501

Author Bio:

Mary lives in the heart of one of the Two Valleysin Las Cruces New Mexico, with her husband Norman ‘SkipBailey, Jr. and their Cavachon child-dog, Java. In 2017 she wrote the one-act play, It is Blood,which was selected for a performance by the Las Cruces Community Theatre. Whereas the Two Valleys series is a prequel to the notorious and unsolved murders of Albert J. Fountain and his eight-year-old son, It is Blood,is a sequel to those events.

After winning an award for her debut historic fiction novel The Mesilla,” Mary has decided to focus on that genre — at least for the foreseeable future. Her writing is fast-moving, thought-provoking and with just enough wordsmithing to satisfy your artistic hankerings. While her writing has literary merit, she strives to capture the moment — the time and the place — and help you live in that moment.

Before releasing her debut novel, Mary dabbled in creative writing, including a weekly column in the Las Cruces Sun News. Since retiring from a diverse career in various planning and design fields, she has devoted herself more fully to her writing, being a good spouse, serving her dog Java, and slipping away to the golf course when left unchained to the desk.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://maryarmstrongauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authornotarthur

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryarmstrongauthor

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-armstrong-590ab9211/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/contrarymaryauthor/?hl=en

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mary-armstrong

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B093CZQNZS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21456893.Mary_Armstrong

This entry was posted on May 18, 2022. 4 Comments

Broken by Ivy Logan #supernatural

From Amazon: Book I of The Breach Chronicles BROKEN BUT NOT LOST
The dark shadow cast by an ancient prophecy shatters an innocent family, but all that is broken is not lost and will rise again. Half-blood sorceress, Talia, had a unique childhood. Instructed in combat skills and trained to escape detection, she was schooled to face an unknown menace. Yet, when her family’s worst nightmare comes to pass, Talia finds her protected life spinning out of control. Everything she believes in, and everyone she loves, is cruelly snatched away. Talia is forced to flee the attentions of a mad king and denied her supernatural legacy. She chooses the path of retribution, devoid of love and friendship, but learns that sometimes love is received even if not sought. Broken is a tale about Talia’s coming of age, reuniting with her family and seeking vengeance. Most of all it chronicles Talia’s rise from the ashes and her journey into finding herself again. Read Talia’s epic saga of love, sacrifice, friendship, and discovering the hero within set against a background of time travel and supernatural forces.

My Review: Wow! What a book! Never have I read any book like this one. Love conquers but it’s not without pain and strife, endurance and perseverance. Add to this mix a place with other fantasy realms and creatures and those who think a woman belongs to him as a crazed king, and the men who love their women, the women who love their men and children, tons of torn sacrifices, magical and real life, dragons and swords, daggers and more, this story is for anyone age 14 up. Despite what I wrote above, this book is a clean story suitable for age 14 and up. I write age 14 but if a 12 year-old has a strong vocabulary, then this story is for them as well. Five gold stars.

Why Picture Books Are So Important For Children — Nicholas C. Rossis

I have been quietly working on a pet project, a picture book for toddlers, in collaboration with the very talented Thanasis Psaros. Here is a sneak preview: My experience with the wee one has shown me just how essential picture books are for young readers. They are building blocks that facilitate vocabulary skills, literacy, story […]

Why Picture Books Are So Important For Children — Nicholas C. Rossis
This entry was posted on May 10, 2022. 2 Comments

Hag of the Hills #Celtic #Druids

From Amazon: “Nothing is unconquerable; even our gods can die.” Brennus is destined from birth to become a warrior, despite his farmer’s life. But when the Hillmen kill his family and annihilate his clan, he now has the opportunity to avenge those who he loved. Brennus must survive endless hordes of invading Hillmen and magic-wielding sidhe, aided by only a band of shifty mercenaries, and an ancient bronze sword. Failure means his family and clan go unavenged. Victory will bring glory to Brennus and his ancestors. Hag of the Hills is a heroic fantasy novel set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.

My Review: I found this book to be an awesome tale of a time in the past before history was recorded. If you like sword battles, Celts, Druids, Hillman, sworn oaths, and such this novel is for you. Celtic mythology at its best. The story as old as can be, the life hard lived, honor was honored as best can be, lives forever changed and evolving. This is not my normal read, but I was attracted to this story first due to my Irish ancestry and thus I read it. Obviously, once you read it, things don’t end how one may wish, but things do inevitably end one way or another. Five stars.

Out With the Old, In With the Choux #mystery

From Amazon: Flora and Reggie are back in this fifth instalment of the Baker’s Rise Mysteries series, with more shocks and surprises, and of course more of the community spirit and charm that make these books so popular! Turning her attention to the manor house, Flora has some big decisions to make concerning The Rise, though not before she hosts the annual pastry competition. The onset of spring encourages her to hire a new gardener to bring the grounds back to their former glory. Unfortunately for Reggie, the new arrival also enjoys being the centre of attention, particularly where the village ladies are concerned, and ruffles more than a few feathers! With a wedding to organise, and the bookshop and tearoom keeping her busy, Flora feels pulled in too many directions. Everything is going well for a change though – so why is she waiting for the other choux to drop? Packed with twists and turns, colourful characters and more than a sprinkle of romance, this new mystery will certainly leave you hungry for more! Note from the author: Since the same quirky cast of characters feature in each instalment of the Baker’s Rise Mysteries, the books are best enjoyed when read in order!

My Review: This is a nice murder mystery story that will have you trying to figure out who did the worst deed as you read about the villagers of Baker’s Rise. I was able to figure out the culprit this time, and love abounded along with one person rather seriously ill for a time. The story makes you laugh out loud with Reggie’s antics and his knew phrases he has learned. Five stars.

The Missionary

Book Title: The Missionary

Author: Rowena Kinread

Publication Date: 28th April 2021

Publisher: Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers

Page Length: 357 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @RowenaKinread @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @rowenakinread @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog-tour-missionary-by-rowena-kinread.html

Book Title and Author Name:

The Missionary

By Rowena Kinread

(Blurb)

Patricius, a young man of Britannia, is taken from his home and family when Gaelic pirates attack his village. On his arrival in Ireland, he is sold as a slave to the cruel underking of the Dalriada tribe in the north. Six years later, Patricius manages to escape. His journey takes him through France to Ravenna in Italy. His subsequent plans to return to Britannia are side-tracked when he finds himself accompanying several monks to the island monastery on Lerinus. His devotion to his faith, honed during his captivity, grows as he studies with the monks. Haunted by visions of the Gaels begging him to return to Ireland and share the word of God with them, Patricius gains support from Rome and his friends to return to the land of his captivity. His arrival is bitterly opposed by the druids, who have held power over the Irish kings for many years, and he and his companions must combat the druids to succeed in their God-given mission.

Trigger Warnings:

Sex, violence, swearing

Buy Links:

Available on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bwKZLZ

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Missionary-Rowena-Kinread-ebook/dp/B094C7HNJG

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Missionary-Rowena-Kinread-ebook/dp/B094C7HNJG

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Missionary-Rowena-Kinread-ebook/dp/B094C7HNJG

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Missionary-Rowena-Kinread-ebook/dp/B094C7HNJG

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-missionary/rowena-kinread/9781800160262

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Missionary-Rowena-Kinread/9781800160262

Excerpt 4 from “The Missionary” by Rowena Kinread

 “How much further is it?” Patricius asked. Huge black clouds of mosquitos were swarming low around his head. He swept them away with his arm, but they were persistent, and returned immediately, trying to suck his blood. His companions were irritable, squabbling over meaningless things. Angelo walked on ahead, clapping his hands continually in front of his face to disperse the mosquitos. A fallen tree lay next to the road.

“I cannot go one step further,” Patricius declared, plumping down on the stem.

“Me neither.” Fabio collapsed next to him.

“Me neither.” Salvatore flopped down. The stem cracked and Salvatore fell backwards into a dark pond of murky water surrounded by reeds. Patricius, startled by the cracking noise, screamed. Fabio, startled by Patricius’ scream, screamed also. Aldo, seeing Salvatore floundering with his arms and feet, put his hands on his thighs and doubled up laughing. Angelo alone stayed calm. He grabbed a fallen branch and pushed it towards Salvatore to help him out. Salvatore snatched the branch and emerged from the pond with effort.

“That wasn’t funny.” He went straight to Aldo, fists raised.

“Whoa, slow down!” The companions, engrossed in the interlude had failed to notice a farmer, on a horse- drawn cart, approaching. The horse’s hooves clattered to a stop.

“Hello there, are you all right? You look soaking. No surprise in this weather. Where are you going?”

“Ravenna.”

“Ravenna, that’s nearly a hundred miles away! My farm is just two miles down the road. If you like I can give you a lift there, and you can rest in my barn overnight. It’s not a palace, but it’s dry.”

“That’s very kind of you. We could do with a rest, and to get dry.”

“Not at all, it’s Christmas soon; time to spread some goodwill.”

The companions clambered onto the farmer’s cart and the hounds ran alongside. They soon arrived at the farm and were shown into the barn.

“I don’t suppose you have anything to eat or drink for us?” Salvatore asked.

The farmer eyed them up shrewdly and said, “Well, if you have a few coppers, I might be able to persuade my Missus to rustle something up for you.”

“Of course.” Salvatore withdrew his money pouch from his tunic and gave the farmer some coppers. His hands were so cold that some silver coins clattered to the stone floor. He picked them up quickly and put them back into his pouch. The farmer turned the coppers over in his hand and left, saying he’d be back shortly.

Patricius made himself comfortable in the straw and took his shoes off to rub his feet. His companions also sat down, and the dogs lay down and licked their paws. Half an hour later the farmer returned with bread, ham and a flask of wine. The men ate and all but Patricius drank the wine.

“Don’t you want any?”

“No thanks, I’ll stick to water. I’ve got a headache.”

“Well, you’re not missing anything. It tastes like vinegar.”

Soon they all fell into a deep slumber. One of the hounds rested its snout on Patricius’ thigh. He awoke to it giving a deep, rumbling growl. Immediately on alert, Patricius opened his eyes, but it was dark and hard to recognise anything. He whispered “hush” to the dog and held its snout closed whilst he tried to determine shapes. There! Someone was searching their belongings. Patricius let the dog go and ordered “Wolf!” The dog, normally good-natured but trained to attack wolves, leapt onto the person, barking. It grabbed the person’s lower arm in its snout and dug its fangs deep into the skin.

“Aargh, let go!” The man hit the dog with his free hand and tried to kick it. The dog let the bloody arm go and bit into the man’s leg. “Aargh, get this crazy beast off me!”

Patricius recognised the farmer’s voice. “Let go of everything in your hands first!”

The farmer dropped a bag to the floor and coins rattled out.

“That’s your Christmas goodwill, is it? Get out of here!”

The farmer raised his arm, dripping with blood and looked at the vicious bite in his leg. “You’ll regret this!” he threatened, limping hurriedly from the barn. Patricius ran over to his companions, still sleeping soundly. He shook them.

“Quick, get up! We must go as soon as possible before the farmer returns with more people.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Oh, never mind, I’ll explain later, just do as I tell you. Hurry up!”

Head over heels they all ran outside, out of the farmyard and onto the road. There was thick fog everywhere, swallowing them up in obscurity. They hurried along the road as Patricius explained to them what had happened.

“That scoundrel,” Salvatore swore, withdrawing his sword. “Just let him come, I’ll show him what I think of him!”

“No, no violence please! If he comes, he won’t be alone. But look! Our Lord has sent us fog. If we hear them coming, we just need to depart from the road. We’ll be invisible in this.” Patricius tried to calm Salvatore.

“Humph.” Salvatore returned his sword to its sheath and held his head in both hands. “My head is turning like a cartwheel; I thought that wine tasted strange.”

They plodded on in silence. After a while Aldo said, “Wait a minute.” He went to one side and vomited. “That’s better now.” Soon Angelo too had to throw up. Salvatore and Fabio were groaning.

“Let us walk away from the road and rest a little.”

They sat down behind some bushes and drank some water. They were completely engulfed in fog. A few minutes later Angelo put his finger to his lips. They leant forward and strained to listen. In the distance the muffled sounds of horses’ hooves on the road reached them. Patricius trembled and held onto a dog. The others all held the dogs’ snouts closed. They held their breath as the sound of hooves came nearer and then passed them and continued down the road.

Author Bio:

Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire. After leaving school she started working for Lufthansa in Stuttgart. There she met her future husband whom she married in Ripon. After raising 3 children, she began working as a secretary in a private physiotherapy practice. At the same time, she started writing non-fiction books and magazine articles. Retirement finally brought the financial security to start writing full length fiction. A keen interest in history and her own family ancestry inspired her debut novel “The Missionary”, the dramatic story about the life of St. Patrick.  A second book “The Scots of Dalriada” will be published this year. Ms. Kinread says that she welcomed retirement and all its wonderful opportunities to launch a third career.

Social Media Links:

Website: rowena-kinread.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RowenaKinread

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rowena.strittmatter

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rowena-kinread-6b054b228/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rowenakinread/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rowena-kinread

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rowena-Kinread/e/B09JXTK626

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21379391.Rowena_Kinread

This entry was posted on May 6, 2022. 2 Comments

Strung

Book Title: Strung

Author: R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ (Roske)

Publication Date: 22nd February 2022

Publisher: Conceptual Chronicler of Time

Page Length: 422 Pages

Genre: Literary, Historical Science-Fantasy Romance

Twitter Handles: @RoskeChronicler @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @RoskeChronicler @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFantasy #roskechronicler #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/03/blog-tour-strung-by-roske.html

Book Title and Author Name

Strung

By R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫

(Blurb)

Few in the world of Iodesh believe the Faye are more than legend—until an unwanted suitor captures one as Lady Lysbeth Haywood’s bride price.

Presented with the Faye, Lysbeth is torn between her excitement to learn more about the legendary people, her dread at the possibility of a forced engagement, and her battle of attrition with Avon society.

It’s worth the struggle, for as layers of the Faye’s extraordinary mysteries are peeled away, their revelations—and Lysbeth’s own role in them—reach farther than she ever thought possible.

Trigger Warnings:

Mild self-harm, off-screen abuse, and brief on-screen violence.

OVERTURE: Adagio

(aka Chapter 1 | Waiting for the Faye’s Arrival)

Lysbeth pretends to admire the prospect of her morning room’s corner view. Before her, Lindenholt’s stately drive empties into an imposing stone court from the north—framed by a handsome stable block to the east and an identical kitchen block to the west. It’s a grand sight, and she’d be enjoying it, were her mind not previously engaged.

Four others litter the room behind her, conversing intermittently as the minutes stream long. Elane reads on a couch. Gina and Marium, bored Ladies from surrounding Houses, needlepoint on the couch opposite. Lysbeth’s brother, Isaac, leans against a corner table, radiating scorn over the potential imposition of a Faye.

The last fortnight had been an exercise in speculation. Lysbeth agreed with her brother and cousin that Dorsit’s claims were unlikely, but she couldn’t help leaving a crack in the door. The Faye had been the centerpiece of her childhood daydreams, and now the shade of the girl she’d once been won’t allow her the comfort of hopelessness.

She runs her fingers along the lace curtain as her eyes glaze. The agony of waiting increases the closer she draws to waiting’s end. Her thoughts meander, entertaining fanciful outcomes for the day, until movement far along Lindenholt’s drive pulls them forward and into focus. Two triangles of fog appear on the pane under her nose as she leans in. Forthcoming forms clear: a rider’s progress on the path is continually thwarted by the fierce opposition of the horse he strings behind.

“Someone’s come with a bit of trouble,” she says, misting words on the glass.

The Ladies rise and join her.

Gina sways. “Surely that’s not the Faye?”

“An interesting ponderance, Gina.” Elane flicks cagey, hazel eyes to her cousin. “Horse? Or Faye?”

“Finnigarian Faye are said to shapeshift into horses, you know,” Marium offers as the rider drags the horse to the stable block.

Lysbeth grins. “The Finnigar refer to Faye as Nykur[1], but unless Nykur prefer the stable, I believe we’ve just acquired a horse.” Spying a stable boy’s sprint towards Lindenholt’s servant’s entrance, she stays at the window as the Ladies trundle back to their seats. Soon there’s a knock at her door. “Come!”

Ani enters and walks briskly across the room. “Message for you, My Lady.”

“Thank you.” Lysbeth takes the folded parchment from her maid’s outstretched hand. Dorsit’s seal sits on the reverse. Her thumb breaks the wax—the rest of her fingers wait for Ani’s exit to unfold the note. She reads aloud:

Dearest Lady Lysbeth,

I write to assure you my efforts have been fruitful, indeed, and to warn youmost seriouslyof the being’s shocking attire. Whatever qualities these creatures possess, modesty is not among them. Please accept the fine horse accompanying this letter as an additional token of my esteem on this historic day. You are unlikely to find its equal in power or beauty.

You may expect us before sunset,

Dorsit

The room absorbs the Earl’s words—further confirmation of his claims.

Lysbeth takes a deep breath to quell the gnawing in her chest. “He sounds earnest, but it simply doesn’t seem real,” she says, turning to place the letter on her writing desk. “He’s correct, though. The occasion would be historic. Are we expected to inform Sovereign Henri and the peerage? Few could call with the Kingswa—

“Being saddled with its living expenses is enough,” Isaac interrupts. “I won’t risk its introduction to royalty until it’s proven itself civil company. Nor will I abide the expense of hosting gawking nobles until I’m certain it will be of some use to us.” He tugs his jacket sharply. “And it had better be of some use since it’s to be lain on our doorstep.”

Women on the couches exchange a meaningful glance; the woman at the desk eyes her brother. There’s an Avon adage concerning the worldviews of people: Some cats see only laps, some see only dogs, some see only water, and some see only mice. Isaac belongs to a fifth worldview: one that sees four ways to skin cats—pointless creatures whose lives might finally find meaning in his amusement as he collects a new coat. Having learned long ago to curate her battles with the Marquess, Lysbeth nods in his direction.

Buy Links:

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Universal Link: http://getbook.at/Strung

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Author Bio:

R̫o̮s̫k͚e̫ is Strung’s diegetic author and illustrator. Its real-world counterpart began building the world of Strung at age 12 to disassociate from budding bisexuality and physical disabilities—and eventually traded adversity’s escapism for inspiration.

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[1] Shapeshifting water spirits often taking the form of horses or dragons.

This entry was posted on May 3, 2022. 2 Comments