– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Forsaking All Other’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways are like us today. These are people with the same hopes and longings as we have to find both love and their own place in a troubled world.
Catherine grew up in regional Victoria, but has lived all her adult life in Melbourne, Australia. Until recently she worked as a customer service librarian at her local library. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also an obsessive genealogist. When not writing, reading and researching, Catherine enjoys gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country and western and, not least of all, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.
Book Title: Forsaking All Other
Author: Catherine Meyrick
Publication Date: 16th March 2018
Publisher: Courante Publishing
Page Length: 308 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.
Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.
Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes.
With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.
Love is no game for women. The price is far too high.
Bess felt a prickling along her spine and turned to find an elderly man standing close.
Askew beckoned to him. ‘Bess, you will remember Master Litchfield.’
The old man simpered as he bowed and took her hand. Bess did remember him. He had been one of those too friendly men who always had an apple or a sweetmeat ready for any child. Her father, like so many others, had seen him as a kindly man yet she and Ann had not warmed to him. Bess supposed he was approaching the allotted span of three score and ten. Time had not been gentle. He stepped forward and kissed her. His breath was rank and his lips moist. Bess resisted the urge to wipe her hand across her mouth.
His smile was unnerving. ‘Mistress… Ahhh…’
‘Stoughton,’ Bess finished for him.
‘No need for formality, Dick,’ Askew beamed. ‘You have known Bess since she was a baby.’
‘Bess,’ he said, still holding her hand, ‘you have grown indeed.’ When his eyes finally settled on her face, he said, ‘I was sorry to hear of your loss.’
‘Thank you, Master Litchfield.’ She wriggled her fingers free.
‘And you still serve Lady Allingbourne?’
‘Yes.’ Bess was surprised he knew so much of her life.
‘A lively household, no doubt.’ His eyes once more travelled over her body. ‘No doubt you have many young men dancing after you. You’ll be married again in no time.’
Bess opened her mouth to speak but, in face of his unwavering lascivious gaze, could think of nothing to say. All her training had deserted her—the ability to make light conversation, to lead it away from uncomfortable or unpleasant subjects without making the other party feel reproof.
‘Your…, your family, Master Litchfield,’ she stuttered, ‘how…, how are they?’
‘Ah Bess, I am quite deserted.’ His eyes moistened. ‘Both my daughters know nothing of their duty. Once married, they have never visited me. It has been nigh on fifteen years since I have seen either. I know only of their fortunes through others.’ His pale face was narrow, his sparse hair combed across his balding pate. He had made Bess uneasy as a child and nothing had changed. Her mother had no liking for him, declining all invitations for Bess and Ann to stay when his wife had been alive.
‘I visited my Joan once,’ he said. ‘Her husband was away. She barred the door against me, would not let me enter under her roof.’ He smiled his oily smile again. ‘But you are a dutiful daughter, Bess, you come at your father’s bidding. You follow his direction, do you not?’
‘I suppose I do,’ Bess said. She looked for a way of escape. Her father had disappeared, but she caught the eye of Maggie Drayton.
‘And you have no children, do you?’ Litchfield asked.
‘So sad. A young woman in her prime, so ripe…’
‘Dick,’ Maggie broke in, ‘you will have to excuse me, there is someone Bess must meet.’
‘’Till tomorrow,’ he smirked.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds