#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Search For The House of Dreams – Alison Burke

– ‘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 ‘Search For The House of Dreams’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.

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Synopsis :

It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears. Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there. Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover. To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris. Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?

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Excerpt :

What happens here leads to the heroine, Genevre, going to London instead of her sister Barbara and meeting the enemy who will become her lover. Here, left alone by her selfish parents to look after Barbara, dangerously ill with a fever, she has sent for a doctor.

He came into the room, a tired, heavy old man in a shabby greatcoat.
‘Miss Stratton,’ he greeted me and explained that he had been delayed by a difficult confinement. He went to the other side of the bed to hold Barbara’s wrist and I didn’t know if the tremor in his hand was due to exhaustion or some other reason. I saw him bite his lip as he felt her racing pulse.
‘Her hair’s keeping the heat in her scalp,’ he said gruffly. ‘It’ll have to come off.’
I stared at him, shocked. Barbara’s hair was a tangled mess now, but when she was well it fell over her shoulders like a golden cloak.
‘Her hair has never been cut. My parents wouldn’t accept that it was necessary.’
He interrupted sharply, ‘They’ll likely have to accept the loss of a daughter if something isn’t done to break the fever. You have scissors, do you?’
Terrified, I turned to the nearby sewing box and snatched up the dressmaking shears, gathered up a handful of her hair, then hesitated.
I felt tears come to my eyes and he said, more kindly, ‘Give the scissors to me. Your parents can’t blame you then,’ but I could not trust Barbara to his unsteady hand and set about cutting off her hair as near to the scalp as I could manage.
When the job was done, he came to my side of the bed, took off his greatcoat, rolled up his shirt sleeves, took the sponge, sodden with cold water, and slopped it over Barbara’s head, ignoring her moans of protest. Water ran everywhere, the pillow was soaked, and he set about drenching the rest of her through her cotton shift. ‘I’ll trouble you for more cold water, Miss Stratton and then you’d best take a rest while you have the chance,’ he told me, and I hurried down to the kitchen, where pails of water from the pump in the yard were lined up on the draining board ready for the morning. I filled two large enamel jugs to the brim and took them up by the back stairs, struggling under the weight. Relieved when the doctor said that would be sufficient, I lay down on the other bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
It was almost an hour later when I heard Barbara calling my name and was by her bed in time to see her blue eyes flutter open. Her forehead was cool to the touch, the doctor smiling with relief.
‘We will never know if it was the medicine, the water or the hand of God that’s pulled her through, but you can close the window and we’ll get her bed changed.’
We pulled the wet sheets and pillow from beneath her and replaced them with the dry ones from the other bed, put her into a fresh nightdress and tucked in the bedclothes.
‘You do not have the appearance of sisters,’ he remarked as he was putting on his greatcoat to leave.
I was used to people remarking on the difference between us. Barbara was small, fair and prettily curved. I was tall for a girl, skinny and with a darker complexion, my hair and eyes very dark.
‘Barbara and the rest of the family are like my father. My mother is from the south of France. I believe I have taken after her side.’
‘And very nice too, if I may say so. How old are you, Miss Stratton? Seventeen? Eighteen. I thought so. A lovely young woman on the threshold of life!’ he remarked with an unexpected touch of gallantry. I felt my colour rise and I glanced away, unused to compliments.
After he had gone, I was too nervous to close my eyes again and sat on the upright wooden chair beside Barbara’s bed, watching in case the fever came back. She slept peacefully, but only when the night faded to early morning light and I heard the clock strike five did I feel it was safe to lie down on the bare mattress of the other bed, pull the blanket over myself and fall asleep.
There was a sudden cry, almost a scream, and I started up, wide-awake. Our mother was standing beside Barbara’s bed, her eyes wild, her beautiful face distorted by a look of horror. For a dreadful moment, I thought the worst had happened, that the fever had returned and taken Barbara while I slept. Then, as I reached the bedside, I saw she was awake, starting to cry as her small, pale hand reached up to feel her cropped hair. Relief swept over me even as our mother turned on me.
‘What have you done? Her beautiful hair gone. Ruined, spoiled forever. You wicked girl. Why did you do such a thing? Why? Why are you so stupid?’
She was likely to shout anything in a temper. I was used to that, used to placating her when she was in the wrong. Now, after the night of anguish I had endured, this was too much. I lost control just as our father came into the room. His anxious glance flickered over Barbara, then he hurried to our mother’s side and put a protective arm around her.
‘She was ill, Mama,’ I cried. ‘The fever was so bad that the doctor said it was the only way to cool her down. To save her! I had tried everything else. What was supposed to do?’
My mother flung herself against my father’s shoulder.
Her French accent, barely perceptible at other times, was pronounced as she sobbed, ‘Charles, what are we to do? Barbara was to go to London with dear Gertrude Oliphant in less than a week’s time. Gertrude has been so good to us and she has asked just this one little thing, that Barbara accompany her. And now she will not be able to go. Not like this with her pretty looks ruined by a jealous sister.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : The Last Shadow Knight #TheLastShadowKnight – Michael Webb #MichaelWebb

– ‘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 ‘The Last Shadow Knight’ blogtour, organized by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Michael Webb lives in Dallas, GA in the United States. He works full time as a purchasing manager for a wholesale distribution company. Recently, he took up writing and fell in love with it. The Last Shadow Knight is his debut work and will soon be joined by books 2 and 3 of the planned trilogy.
Michael has been married for 18 amazing years. His wife is working on her master’s degree in clinical and mental health counseling. He has one son in middle school.
In addition to writing, Michael enjoys exercising, hiking, watching movies, drinking coffee, and traveling.

Synopsis :

On the unforgiving streets of Karad, Veron grows up hungry, inexperienced, and stealing just to survive. After tragedy strikes, he is forced to decide what path his life will take.
Opportunity arises when he discovers the last survivor of a secret organization called the Shadow Knights. Apprenticed to learn their ways, Veron begins to develop abilities he never dreamed he could have.
Meanwhile, an enemy from across the mountains comes to destroy their kingdom’s way of life, and the Shadow Knights are the only ones able to stop him. As Veron fights to survive the city, he prepares to face his destiny.he Shadow Knights are the only ones able to stop him. As Veron fights to survive the city, he prepares to face his destiny.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Moonlight bounced off the rooftops and spires, creating a glowing veil over the city. Merrick Ryd paced the balcony, waiting. By the end of the night, the King of Feldor would be dead, and he would be the one to kill him.
Merrick appreciated his perch from atop his tower of stone. Lanterns illuminated the stone streets of Felting, and the Felavorre River shimmered in the distance. The bustle of the day had settled to a trickle of people making their way through the city at night. He stood tall, like a ruler surveying his domain, untouchable in his walled fortress.
He looked across the city to the castle. Soon, the king would receive an urgent message. After reading it, the man with more compassion than brains would get in his carriage and ride through the streets to his cousin, the one who would desperately need his help. Merrick and his men would be waiting.
What a fool, he thought with a smirk. He felt at his hip to make sure his sword was there—it always was. Time to begin.
Merrick walked through the open doorway, and a blanket of silence fell over the men inside. A lone candle burned on a table, but the light from the moon outside illuminated the room where eleven men waited. Some worked for him at the Ryd Shipyard. Others had similar business interests. All would willingly give their lives for him. He looked through the crowd, taking his time to lock eyes with each of them.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #Excerpt : The Shadow Man #TheShadowMan – Mark Brownless @markbrownless @SpellboundBks #SpellboundBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Shadow Man blog tour poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Shadow Man’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mark Brownless Author PhotoMark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales, UK. He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for THE HAND OF AN ANGEL came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.
Mark’s new novel, The Shadow Man is a terrifying horror thriller imagining what would happen if you found out the memories of your childhood were untrue, and that something sinister was lurking behind the facade of your life. Could you face what had happened back then? Could you face The Shadow Man.
Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story.

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Synopsis :

The Shadow ManWhat if the memories of your childhood were a lie?
One Dream was all it took and all the memories of thirty years before started to flood back.
Not the idyllic coming of age summer down by the lake that they remembered.
But dreams of death and of fear and of the burnings.
Dreams of the Shadow Man.
Will they finally face what had happened to them that summer?
Can they finally confront him once and for all?

The Shadow Man is the terrifying and utterly spine tingling new horror from the author of The Hand of Angel , perfect for fans of Alex North , CJ Tudor and Stephen Chbosky.

Amazon

Excerpt :

The lounge was twilight dark as the dirty blinds stayed permanently closed. It was stuffy and damp-smelling, and almost… something else. Like the smell of despair. On the table in the corner was an old chunky laptop and a pile of books – mainly horror fiction. I excused myself to go and use the bathroom.
I walked down the hallway, shocked at the memories it brought back from thirty years before, with the brown wood veneer cladding, the fake wood skirting boards and faded tatty pictures on the walls. I glanced into Janey’s parents’ room and it looked like it hadn’t been touched – as if the bed had been made by her mum on the day she died and had been left alone since. Janey hadn’t moved rooms. Her door was open, too, and I paused, looking in. I could hear the others talking in the sitting room. Janey’s bedroom was chaotic, with clothes and sheets of paper scattered around the floor, the curtains drawn creating shadows everywhere. She had a battered Star Wars mobile above her chest of drawers and a globe lamp that had clearly had an accident at one point because most of Europe was missing, the bulb shining out harshly through the Northern Hemisphere. Hundreds of overlapping newspaper cut-outs and pictures were pinned like a collage to a large noticeboard on the back wall, like some seventies police investigation. A black trilby hung on the corner of the cork board, a black scarf draped over it. The globe lamp did little to cut through the gloom, but I could see a small table in front, on it was a papier-mâché model of a landscape, which I couldn’t quite place. I glanced over my shoulder and saw no one in the hall. The others were still talking in the lounge. I walked into the room to get a closer look, stepping over Janey’s underwear and dinner dishes, the shiny disc in the centre was suddenly the lake and there were the trees around it and the grassy banks, exactly as I remembered them, exactly as they’d been in the dream. It was a poor, childish model but it hit me like a punch in the face. I was transported there, standing on the bank looking out across the water, the warm wind in my hair and the happy shouts and screams of my friends forming the soundtrack. Then the screams and shouts sounded less content, and more like they were afraid.
There were dolls in the basin of the lake.
She’s nearly fifty and she’s playing with dolls?
Janey had made a doll for each of us. There was her own of course, with her burns and her leg – that must’ve taken some adapting. There was Katie with her freckles and her wild auburn hair – the freckles looked drawn on, with eyeliner, maybe. This was too weird. Clara’s avatar was there with Sal’s and so was mine. Fuck it was creepy. I left the room quickly before I was caught snooping around, and re-joined the others after doing what I needed to do.
‘So what’s going on, Janey?’ I said. ‘Why’d you start dreaming again? Why now?’
‘Yeah, has anything happened round here?’ Katie asked.
‘Nothing ever happens around here.’ Janey smiled slightly for the first time since we’d arrived. She could almost look pretty when she did, almost lost the haunted expression she always seemed to carry. The smile lifted her face. It lifted half of her face, that is. The whorled discoloured scarring on the other side barely shifted. So her almost-pretty smile was a sneer.
‘Yeah, but does it, though?’ I knew I had to push her to get anywhere, always had to. With a delicate touch you could actually have an open conversation.
‘I don’t think so. I don’t hear anything. I… I don’t go out,’ the right side of her face flushed. ‘Or see anyone.’ She looked like a frightened little girl now.
‘But don’t you get any gossip?’
Janey shook her head. ‘The only direct interaction I have is with the Tesco delivery driver each week. And the Amazon guy, of course.’
‘Christ.’ I looked across at the table. ‘You got wi-fi?’
‘Yes of course, I’m a recluse, not Amish. There’s my laptop.’ Janey went across to her small desk in the corner of the room and opened her computer. She booted up Google and looked at me for direction. Nothing changes. I asked her to call up the local paper, The Enquirer.
‘Someone’s burned to death. There’s your answer, kiddo, right there.’ I read from the article. ‘Louise Jordan was found in her bedroom, burned beyond recognition, leaving only her foot, forearms and half her head intact, the rest burnt to ash. There was no sign of an intruder, or of arson, so initial conclusions are that Ms Jordan died accidentally. The forensic fire team concluded that there was no evidence of an accelerant, no trigger in the form of a cigarette or spark, so they have listed the cause as unknown’.’
‘Spontaneous human combustion?’ asked Katie, quietly.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Guardians at the Wall – Tim Walker @timwalker1666 #HistoricalFiction #HadriansWall

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Guardians at the Wall’ 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 :

Tim WalkerTim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. He grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After studying for a degree in Communication studies he moved to London where he worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO, he set up his own marketing and publishing business. He returned to the UK in 2009.
His creative writing journey began in earnest in 2013, as a therapeutic activity whilst recovering from cancer treatment. He began writing an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages, in 2014, inspired by a visit to the part-excavated site of a former Roman town. The series connects the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend and is inspired by historical source material, presenting an imagined history of Britain in the fifth and early sixth centuries.
The last book in the series, Arthur, Rex Brittonum, was published in June 2020. This is a re-imagining of the story of King Arthur and follows on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum. Both titles are Coffee Pot Book Club recommended reads. The series starts with Abandoned (second edition, 2018); followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017); and book three, Uther’s Destiny (2018). Series book covers are designed by Canadian graphic artist, Cathy Walker.
Tim has also written three books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (2015), Postcards from London (2017) and Perverse (2020); a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn (2016); and three children’s books, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2017), Charly & the Superheroes (2018) and Charly in Space (2020).

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Guardians at the Wall
Author: Tim Walker
Publication Date: 1st June 2021
Publisher: Independently published
Page Length: 310 Pages
Genre: Historical dual timeline (Contemporary/Roman)

Guardians at the Wall CoverArchaeology student Noah scrapes the soil near Hadrian’s Wall, once a barrier that divided Roman Britannia from wild Caledonian tribes, in the hope of uncovering an ancient artefact around which he can build a project-defining story.
He makes an intriguing find, but hasn’t anticipated the distraction of becoming the object of desire in a developing love triangle in the isolated academic community at Vindolanda. He’s living his best life, but must learn to prioritise in a race against time to solve an astounding 2,000-year-old riddle, and an artefact theft, as he comes to realise his future career prospects depend on it.
In the same place, almost 2,000 years earlier, Centurion Gaius Atticianus, hungover and unaware of the bloody conflicts that will soon challenge him, is rattled by the hoot of an owl, a bad omen.
These are the protagonists whose lives will brush together in the alternating strands of this dual timeline historical novel, one commencing his journey and trying to get noticed, the other trying to stay intact as he approaches retirement.
How will the breathless battles fought by a Roman officer influence the fortunes of a twenty-first century archaeology mud rat? Can naive Noah, distracted by the attentions of two very different women, navigate his way to a winning presentation?
Find out in Tim Walker’s thrilling historical dual timeline novel, Guardians at the Wall.

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Excerpt :

Student and Tutor Meeting

[archaeology student, Noah, visits the Head of Archaeology for her opinion on his find]
I skirted around the two-storey sandstone building and ducked through a doorway into a well-lit reception area and stood before Mavis, the marketing assistant.
“Hi Mavis, is Maggie in?” I chirped, picking up the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine. Professor Maggie Wilde was pictured on the cover, standing on the battlements of the reconstructed section of wall, gazing northwards towards the unconquered barbarians. She was already a celebrity archaeologist and would have made the perfect foil for Harrison Ford’s movie character, Indiana Jones, with her wild, windswept strawberry blonde hair framing a striking face with cute freckles across her nose, and twinkling pale blue eyes. Her glossy lips suggested she knew the value of a warm smile or pout in a room full of men. ‘It’s like fancying your mum’s friend’, Dave had once remarked.
“She’s on a conference call to the States. Wait if you like, she’ll be finished soon,” Mavis replied, in a cultured Edinburgh accent. Posh Scottish.
“She’s the pin-up girl of British archaeology,” I quipped, flashing the magazine cover.
“I don’t know what she uses to keep her skin so flawless,” Mavis sighed.
“Perhaps she discovered an ancient potion?” I offered, flicking through the pages to the article. I had been hovering around when the photographer had taken her photos that day – maybe I was in the background of one of the pictures? I sat and read. ‘Hadrian’s Wall Gives Up Its Secrets’, the headline declared. The Vindolanda reading tablets were described as, ‘the find of the century.’ My broad idea for my dissertation was for it to be based on translations from some of the tablets – those that related to the lives and living conditions of the soldiers garrisoned at Vindolanda and other forts in the early years of Hadrian’s Wall. I had been cropped out of the photos.
“They couldn’t have been more excited if they’d discovered Moses’s tablets,” I quipped.
“You can go in now,” Mavis said, her voice dragging me away from the article. I had read half of it, and resolved to return to it when I came out.
Professor Maggie Wilde’s room was bigger than the reception area, with two walls given over to floor-to-ceiling book shelves – one with books and the other with boxes of academic reports and maps. No doubt Mavis had labelled and sorted them, as Maggie gave the air of being disorganised. She was an anomaly – a successful career academic who reputedly hated being tied down to boring tasks, like report-writing, collating documents, copying and filing; a creative free-thinker who was skilled at persuading others to unburden her of boring or repetitive tasks. She held two positions – Head of Archaeology at the Trust, and part-time Archaeology Professor at Newcastle University.
“Ah, Noah, come in. Just move those over there and sit,” she said, pointing to a couch piled high with maps and printouts. I moved the items and sat, twiddling my thumbs, watching the crown of her ginger head, waiting until she looked up. I had literally bumped into her at the student placement reception a few days earlier, and she had welcomed me with a firm handshake. I had blurted that I’d seen her Hadrian’s Wall documentary on television, feeling like a needy fan as soon as I’d said it. She had smiled and asked me what I hoped to achieve during my placement and listened intently, planting her stylish heels as if she had nowhere else to go, a strange thing in a room where people were mingling in groups. I was grateful for her full attention and pleased when she invited me to call on her expertise any time.
“If it’s a bad time I can come back?” I offered.
“There never seems to be a good time, so now will do,” she said, removing her reading glasses and fixing me with a warm and welcoming smile. “I’ve just had a two-hour conference call with members of the US Archaeological Society, so I could do with a distraction.” She leaned forward and picked up the marble figure Mike had brought to her hours earlier. He must have thoroughly cleaned and polished it before presenting it to her.
“I just wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that little lady,” I said. “Do you think she’s a female deity?”
She turned it over in her slender fingers and her shoulders twitched. “Ooh, I felt a slight shock, like static on a jumper,” she said, placing it gently on her blotter. “Yes, most likely female, judging by the full-length robe. The slight tummy bump suggests she might be pregnant, so perhaps a fertility symbol. I’ll send it to the curator at the Hancock Museum for her opinion. She’ll give me a better idea of where it fits into the Brigantes’ belief system. Some of their gods were twinned with Roman deities as the polytheistic Romans were keen to encourage local worship in their temples. Once we know roughly how old it is, we can look for other carvings or figures from that period and make a guess as to which deity it is. I agree with Mike; it could be a goddess whom the household would supplicate for good fortune, fertility or protection from evil spirits. Come and sit in the chair.”

*****

[At the same location in the year 180 CE, Roman centurion, Gaius Atticianus returns home after a fractious meeting to be confronted by his wife, Aria]
He entered his courtyard in a state of shock to be met by Aria, legs apart in her combative stance, holding the Brigantia effigy in one hand, a look of anger in her eyes.
“What do you mean by sending Paulinus to give me this carving of the local goddess, Brigantia? You know full well that we have a shrine to the water goddess of my people, Sulis, who is twinned with your goddess Minerva, and is the deity who watches over this house and our family! Have you forgotten the time our prayers and the healing waters of Sulis restored our little Brutus when he had the sweating fever?”
“Sulis be praised. But my love, it was a gift from the wife of my scout whom we saved from despoilment and murder,” Gaius replied in his well-practised conciliatory tone. She had resurrected the unhappy memory of his fears that his little son would succumb to the same fever that had robbed him of his first family.
“Then you have kept your promise and delivered it to me. But it cannot remain here, or our own goddess will desert us. You shall not see it again and do not ask me about it.” Gaius knew not to argue further when her temper was raised. She looked both magnificent and terrifying when her red mane was raised and her crystal eyes turned icy with rage. But like the storms of Britannia, it would soon blow out and she would be his sweet Aria again.
“You are wise, as always, my love,” he whispered, now more eager than ever to soak his weary bones and clear his troubled mind. He would withhold his bad news from her and mull it over. Gaius skirted around her and went to the kitchen to seek out Longinus to make preparations for his bath. He would be up at dawn to prepare once again for battle with the Caledonii, or to lead a guard to Coria with their wives, cohort valuables, and the report blaming him for the attack. But that was tomorrow. Tonight, he would eat with his family and sleep in the arms of his beloved Aria.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : Elladur – The Awakening – Angie Delazi @AngieDelazi

– ‘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 ‘Elladur – The Awakening’ blogtour, organized by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Writing has always been my passion. As a child, I loved the world of myths and legends and soon I became a fantasy and romance lover. But also the world of philosophy and great secrets have done it to me. I started writing my first stories when I was 13 and returned 8 years ago. I am also a booklover, with reading between 70-100 books yearly.

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Synopsis :

Magic – a legacy of the ancient era, created by genetic manipulation. For as long as Liya can remember, her magic has been a curse. Something to hide, something to despise. As king’s spy, she ventures out to uncover more about the political marriage of the hostile kingdom. Her nerves intensify when she realizes that her former lover, Haydn, is to be the future king of Dar’Angaar. With a war between the kingdom hanging in the balance, she and her best friend Ewan discover an ancient scroll from the long-lost kingdom of Elladur. It reveals a mysterious portal to another world, where eternal darkness and a king await his revenge.
Yet, at such a risk, who would do such a thing? The answer might be closer than she realizes.
This fantasy novel is the 1st book of the Elladur trilogy.

Amazon

Excerpt :

The Book of the Heavens, a work filled with all the knowledge in the world, full of hidden clues and warnings. If they survived that night, their world would be a very different one, one without the technology on which it was all based. Only this book would still exist—and the gifted children, as well as the children of the present rulers. They were all safe in a device, deep under the ground.
Alron flipped the book open and placed his thumb on the jade stone with the dragon engraving. He felt a sharp sting before the droplet of red blood was absorbed in the side. The stone lit up briefly: the signal of successful transmission. However, this process was only a ritual that the rulers performed at every meeting. At the very first ritual the key for decoding the magical protective covers of the book had been stored in the memory of the rulers. Through a similar tradition, this knowledge had been passed on to their children immediately after birth. Only the descendants of the rulers present in the room would be able to access it. For everyone else, it would just be a book with empty pages.
He passed the book to Laron and waited patiently, picking at the wood grain of the table. He shifted in his chair as guilt overcame him. He probably wouldn’t leave this room alive. The candlelight flickered, sharing his sentiment. He’d consulted with Kalden and the scientists, but nothing had changed. They had no choice. If only mankind had never found this rock! A new age had been ushered in, but at what price? He still remembered exactly that day ten years ago, when the ethics council was dismissed. There were riots at his university and massive demonstrations everywhere, but the development could no longer be stopped. Laron returned the book. His face was fiery red, and Alron suspected his condition was a mixture of fear and anger.
“We can’t erase all progress,” Laron hissed.
“That is clear. However, it doesn’t change the decision,” he replied, taking the book and handing it to his faithful friend. “Take it to the secret place! Hurry!”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Innocently Guilty #InnocentlyGuilty – Ashling Bourke #AshlingBourke @TheConradPress

– ‘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 ‘Innocently Guilty’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ashling Bourke spent most of her childhood growing up in Malawi which is a central source of inspiration for her debut novel ‘Innocently Guilty’.
She now lives in Scotland and is studying at university whilst developing her debut novel into a series.

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Synopsis :

• Publisher : The Conrad Press (15 Feb. 2021)
• Language : English
• Paperback : 176 pages
• ISBN-10 : 1913567540
• ISBN-13 : 978-1913567545

‘Innocently Guilty’ is a highly engaging and extremely entertaining first novel full of intriguing characters, international adventure, love and passion, secrets and a chilling mystery at its core. Lottie and Emily are best friends, who want more than anything to have the perfect boyfriend but when a boy is found dead and all eyes are on Lottie, an African adventure awaits that unexpectedly reveals the answers she seeks. This was so not part of the plan.

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Excerpt :

Party invites

It was a Sunday night, and we had some major party planning to do for Nicole’s Sweet Sixteenth which was less than two weeks away.
‘How about a Black and White theme?’ Nicole suggested.
‘Ohhh that sounds classy,’ I replied.
‘Check out this template I found for the invitations, it’ll look even better with the Black and White theme too!’ Emily said excitedly.
Nicole and I gathered around her iMac to see Emily’s template of a black rectangle which looked like white fairy dust falling towards the invitation details.
‘Hhmm… It needs something more… Can I have the mouse for a second, Emily?’ I asked.
‘Sure, go ahead.’
I brought out the colour toolbox feature and played around until I found a golden bronze colour.
‘What do you think?’
‘That looks so cool, Lottie! Thank you, people will definitely want to come now!’ Nicole squealed with excitement.
‘Aw what are best friends for!’
I hugged her whilst Emily pressed command s to save the file.
‘Nicole, did you talk to your parents?’ I asked.
‘Yeah, it took some convincing, but they said they trust me. So, they’ve rented a cottage for the weekend and they’ll take my little brother with them too. So, no parents allowed,’ Nicole explained.
‘You’re so lucky, Nicole! There’s no way my parents would let me do that,’ Emily sulked.
‘Don’t get me started! Mine would go and “boogie” on the dance-floor, no matter how many times I tell them no one calls it that anymore,’ I replied in disgust.
‘Well, this is our chance to prove them all wrong! I mean what could possibly go wrong?’ Nicole asked.
‘Nothing! Cause you have the two best friends that everyone needs during a party crisis. Isn’t that right, Emily?’ I asked.
‘Definitely! Right, how many of these invitations should I print out then?’
‘Hhmm let’s say a hundred?’ I suggested.
‘What? I told my parents I would just invite our year group around!’ Nicole sounded like she was going to panic.
‘Oh c’mon, Nicole, everyone knows you should always invite triple in case others can’t make it,’ I reassured her.
‘Ok, I just hope they don’t steal or break anything.’ ‘Nah, they won’t. We’ll make sure of it.’
‘Oh, I almost forgot! I got all three of us makeup and hair appointments at Glitter Chic’s straight after school, just before the party starts,’ Nicole said.
‘Oh My Socks! It takes ages to secure an appointment there!’
‘Well, it was my parents’ birthday present for me and how could I possibly say no to that?’ Nicole asked.
‘There’s no way you could,’ Emily added with a smile.
She handed us each a pile of invitations to hand out at school the next day during our free period at 11:00. I was standing outside the school library, waiting for those who were willing to actually study, to hand them an invitation. Several groups of students strolled by until I locked eyes with the one, I was really waiting for… Robbie Wilson. He was in the year above and was so dreamy with his curly “I don’t care” bushy chocolate brown hair and hazel brown eyes. He was super fit too as he was on the swim team. I quickly fixed my hair and struck a pose as I held the party invitations in my hand for them to grab. His friends walked past, most of them ignoring me until Robbie took the invitation out of my hand and said:
‘Thanks.’
‘You’re welcome.’
My first words to Robbie. Once he was out of my sight, I immediately texted the girls.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : Remnants of Magic – Alicia R. Chapin @ChapinAlicia

– ‘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 ‘Remnants of Magic’ blogtour, organized by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

I enjoy the outdoors, reading, spending time with my family (that includes pets!), hanging out with horses, and archery. I graduated from Michigan State University in Equine Management and love to incorporate my love of horses into my stories. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (original trilogy), Lord of the Rings fan, Harry Potter fan….and Jane Austen fan. A couple of nerdy facts, I love John Wayne movies and collect the vintage My Little Ponies from the 80s.

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Synopsis :

The Master Sword Bryan is an elite warrior on the Prince of Shelkite’s council. When Shelkite is threatened by Ret, a wizard-king, the Master Sword is ready to fight. However, his plans are spoiled when he discovers his assignment is as the personal guard to the young half-blood witch sent to their aid—Alexandra.
Alexandra is determined to prove herself to the skeptical Master Sword. Though her powers haven’t fully manifested, she’s ready for anything, as long as she has her faithful mount, Zhan, and her trusty bow. As the quest deepens, she knows she must press on. For whether she does or not, she’s the key—for either good or evil.

Amazon

Excerpt :

A dark lock of hair fell across Bryan’s damp forehead. He swiped it away impatiently and rubbed his brow with restless fingertips. The young warrior bit his bottom lip and felt for the hilt of his sword. His hand found it right where it should be, at his side in its sheath. He exhaled, letting his broad body relax.
The light laughter of a woman escaped from behind the closed door where he stood guard. Bryan’s uncommonly bright azure eyes shifted around the corridor, seeking anything abnormal. There was nothing. He started to pace, his black riding boots tapping quietly across the scuffed floorboards. When is he going to be done?
Bryan rolled his eyes.
Being Prince Alkin’s personal guard did have its advantages, but waiting around for him to make social calls was ridiculous.
Bryan wanted action, battles, even blood, anything but to tag along with the Prince to visit pretty lady friends of Fordorn.
He let out an annoyed breath and paced the hall quicker.
Women! All they ever did was get their skirts in the way. Sure, he had had his fair share of feminine company, but that was all done and over with. No more trouble for him, thanks. Sure, he liked Alkin. He was one of his closest friends, but it was becoming increasingly aggravating that he met with Lady Evelyn every week. She was a beauty known around the city as the Chaos Goddess. And, in Bryan’s opinion, she was kind of silly.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : The Murderess #TheMurderess – Ivan Jenson @IvanJenson @darkedgepress

– ‘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 ‘The Murderess’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Artist/writer/poet Ivan Jenson was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in a family steeped in the arts. A child prodigy, he earned acclaim when, at age nine, he produced his first sculpture that was ultimately featured in the poster for the National Museum of Costa Rica.
At the age of twenty Ivan was drawn to the epicenter of the national art scene, NYC, where he began successfully creating and selling his bold-colored paintings on the streets of Times Square and SOHO.
This precocious artist earned immediate praise and recognition from art critics and was featured on several New York City network news broadcasts as well as on the Nippon News in Japan. One night spotted sketching portraits on cocktail napkins by the late founder/Publisher Malcolm Forbes of Forbes Magazine, he was invited to draw portraits of Forbes’ corporate guests aboard the famous “Forbes Highlander” yacht. They became such close friends that Ivan was commissioned to paint what was to be the last portrait of Malcolm Forbes, who would pass away soon thereafter. Absolut Vodka commissioned Ivan to paint an original “Absolut Jenson” for its national advertising campaign and these works were featured full page in Art News, Art in America and Interview magazine. Philip Morris purchased Ivan’s “Marlboro Man” for its corporate collection. Ivan Jenson’s paintings have sold at auction at Christie’s New York.
Ivan is now also a published novelist and a widely published poet who is enjoying burgeoning critical, commercial, and literary success. His debut novel, Dead Artist, which “delves into the world of New York City and explores issues of art and soul,” is published by Hen House Press New York as an eBook for the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook and as a paperback on Amazon. His second novel, Seeing Soriah, “a riveting story of thrills, revenge, obsession, and redemption” is a psychological thriller that is a fast-paced, “thoughtful novel about art, artists, and the world they occupy.” Ivan Jenson’s new book of poems, “Media Child and Other Poems” will be published by Hen House Press, New York in 2014. Go to the links to learn more about Ivan Jenson: pop artist icon, published novelist, prolific and widely published poet and screenwriter. And enjoy!

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Synopsis :

• ASIN : B08Z475FVG
• Publisher : Dark Edge Press (1 Jun. 2021)
• Language : English
• File size : 938 KB

30% of murders in the US go unsolved.
Becca Garner hopes her lover’s is one of them.
Because she found him.
He bequeathed her a million dollars.
She’s married.
And so is he.

Amazon

 

Excerpt :

CHAPTER ONE

Though you’d have to take my word for it, sleeping with my husband’s best friend was the wickedest thing that I’d done up to this point. But as the saying goes: what you don’t know can’t hurt you. And Jerry’s best friend did not disappoint in the love-making department. He had the stamina of a young stallion and was very attentive to my pleasure. The problem was that he wanted to make our liaison a “thing” and I only wanted him for one night. So I had to break it to him that heck, all that had really happened was that we both had far too many tequila shots and we kind of just let things get out of hand. That was all. He took it pretty well, though I could see his pouty, disappointed expression as he faced the fact that he had to stick to his own doting, perky little housewife.
My husband’s best friend’s wife was a homemaker with extraordinary powers. She managed to make having three boys seem like a piece of birthday cake. Her boys were hyperactive and perpetually filthy from sliding in for home runs. She was always sending them to the shower to get cleaned up. I knew for a fact, because her husband confided in me, that she baked cookies and loaves of sourdough bread and loved the music of Harry Connick Jr.
They were a real white bread family.
Chances were I was losing my mind. I was restless and struggled to sleep, like Gena Rolands in A Woman Under the Influence. And I had begun to hate the town that I lived in so very much. This town of young mothers and churches and zero night life. I missed my clubbing days in New York City where I would often make love to men I barely knew in posh, mirrored, unisex bathrooms after a nice line of cocaine.
How my husband ever chose me and why he stayed with me I would never know, because I was nothing at all like him. I was impulsive and manic, whereas he was calm and patient. And yet he got such a visceral kick out of me.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : Return to Harlech – Ruth Torjussen @RTorjussen

– ‘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 ‘Return to Harlech’ blogtour, organized by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Ruth Torjussen grew up in Stoke but now lives and works in Brighton as a Shared Lives Carer.
She is a passionate advocate of eating local food grown through regenerative farming as the answer to climate change.

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Synopsis :

When Tess arranges a weekend love trip back to husband Steve’s hometown, her secret plan to make a baby is not the only trap that he is walking into…
Tess and Steve are a dysfunctional couple in a rocky marriage. Despite this Tess yearns for a baby more than a divorce and plans a secret conception during a trip to her husband’s hometown of Harlech. But when they get there Steve rejects her advances as a panic attack causes him to remember his supposed halcyon days of childhood with horrible clarity. He wasn’t the popular sports hero he thought he was, and strangely, he has no memory of the enthusiastic locals who greet him.
A young girl comes to Tess in her dreams, is this her child trying to warn her? Or the child of the mysterious Anwen who lent them the cottage? With her hopes for pregnancy fading, she longs for a different future without her domineering husband, but can she survive without him? And can Steve survive his return to Harlech as the locals demand retribution for the crimes of his past.

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Excerpt :

The room was fittingly grand and important and when the gynaecologist appeared with a smile on her face, Tess felt a warm glow of hope begin to spread through her body.
Her first thought was of her younger self on the day her periods began. She was outside playing swing-ball in the hot August sun when blood came running out of her shorts and down her thigh. As panic kicked in her foster mum grabbed a tea towel from the washing line and ran across the lawn towards her.
‘Don’t worry, Tess,’ her foster mum said, as she wedged the towel between her legs and hugged her tight. ‘It’s just your period starting. It means one day you’ll be able to have a baby. Won’t that be nice?’
That was when she first felt it, the knowing that she would one day have a child and the bond between them would be unlike any other, it would stretch to the stars and back. She had carried that excitement with her ever since.
‘Everything appears to be in good working order, Tess. The blood tests and x-rays are all perfectly normal.’ said the gynaecologist.
Perfectly normal. And this doctor was a Harley Street top dog so she must know what she was talking about. It seemed there was no permanent damage from the eating disorders which had haunted her twenties and often left her for months on end without a period. Wow, this was amazing.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : The Poison Keeper – Deborah Swift @swiftstory #HistoricalFiction #Renaissance #Italian

– ‘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 ‘The Poison Keeper’ 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 :

Deborah Swift lives in the north of England and is a USA Today bestselling author who has written fourteen historical novels to date. Her first novel, The Lady’s Slipper, set in 17th Century England, was shortlisted for the Impress Prize, and her WW2 novel Past Encounters was a BookViral Millennium Award winner.
Deborah enjoys writing about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and most of her novels have been published in reading group editions. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is a mentor with The History Quill.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: The Poison Keeper
Author: Deborah Swift
Publication Date: 18th May 2021
Publisher: Quire Books
Page Length: 394 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Naples 1633
Aqua Tofana – One drop to heal. Three drops to kill.
Giulia Tofana longs for more responsibility in her mother’s apothecary business, but Mamma has always been secretive and refuses to tell Giulia the hidden keys to her success. When Mamma is arrested for the poisoning of the powerful Duke de Verdi, Giulia is shocked to uncover the darker side of her trade.
Giulia must run for her life, and escapes to Naples, under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, to the home of her Aunt Isabetta, a famous courtesan. But when Giulia hears that her mother has been executed, and the cruel manner of her death, she swears she will wreak revenge on the Duke de Verdi.
The trouble is, Naples is in the grip of Domenico, the Duke’s brother, who controls the city with the ‘Camorra’, the mafia. Worse, her Aunt Isabetta, under Domenico’s thrall, insists that she should be consort to him – the brother of the man she has vowed to kill.
Based on the legendary life of Giulia Tofana, this is a story of hidden family secrets, and how even the darkest desires can be vanquished by courage and love.

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Universal Link

Excerpt :

From Chapter 2

The ship berthed in Naples early, so when they arrived it was just after dawn, the sun still a pinkish blur, hanging low in an egg-blue sky. Giulia was awed by Mount Vesuvius, which was almost purple in this light. It stood motionless and benign, as if no fiery breath could spurt from its jaws, even though it had erupted less than eighteen months ago, raining torment on everything below. Today, Naples was bustling with traders, despite the fact the whole city could be buried tomorrow under red-hot lava if the fire god willed it.
Giulia drank it all in, her head turning from side to side so as not to miss any detail. Cats strolled from the alleys to stretch out on the warm flagstones, horses and carts trundled lazily by with workers on their way to the wheatfields.
Sister Simona marched them through the narrow streets with their tall shuttered houses, with a ‘Keep up. Keep up!’ to her gaggle of followers. Sister Teresa and Sister Marthe were painfully slow walkers. ‘It’s near Il Mercato,’ Sister Simona said, after a quarter hour of walking, her cheeks flushed with exertion. ‘An area of wealthy merchants. There are many beautiful palazzi close to the market. Your aunt must be a wealthy woman.’
‘I don’t know,’ Giulia said. ‘I’ve never met her.’
Sister Simona glanced at her two companions, and frowned. ‘Then we will come and meet this aunt of yours,’ she said.
After a little more walking, and pleas from Sister Marthe, ‘Please, slow down!’ they came to a stop outside a long avenue of houses fronting the square, where traders were already beginning to set up for market.
‘Is this the one?’ Giulia asked, surprised. They were standing before a lofty white stone villa, with high arched windows and a balcony with an ornate ‘goose-breast’ balustrade. A sign in curvaceous script read, ‘Villa Bianca’.
‘Imp…imposing.’ Sister Marthe was so breathless it was the only word she could manage.
Up two stone steps to a vast double door, with a cartouche above carved with twining leaves, and urns of overblown flowers and fruit. It seemed so strange to arrive anywhere without Mamma. Giulia was intensely aware of her lack of proper luggage; that no-one had dressed her hair, and that despite her rich gown, now somewhat crumpled, she was to all intents a beggar on the doorstep. It was intimidating. She took a breath, took hold of the heavy brass ring and knocked on the door.
No answer. The house remained shuttered. Sister Simona pushed past her to knock again, harder, but when there was no answer, she tried the door. It was open. ‘Come along.’
The nuns escorted Giulia inside, into a dark hallway. Marble underfoot, and gilded paneling. It was shuttered, but a heavy scent of perfume, like the pungent scent of lilies, hung in the air. Giulia breathed it in. So different from the sharp smell of physic at home.
‘Excuse me,’ called Sister Simona into the echoing hall. ‘Is anyone there?’
‘Buongiorno?’ Giulia called, louder.
Suddenly they were surrounded. Servants, obviously come straight from their beds, appeared bearing candles and lanterns.
‘What do you want?’ A tight-faced serving woman wearing a plain cambric nightshift, her hair in a long braid under a cap, stood barring their way, her hand curled around a candle. She was obviously the housekeeper in charge.
‘Beg pardon, but we are seeking Isabetta Boveri,’ Giulia said, smiling hopefully. ‘She’s my aunt.’
The servants looked at her askance. ‘Too early. She sees no-one before noon,’ the housekeeper said.
‘Then we’ll wait.’ Sister Marthe, glad of the excuse, plumped down on the only chair in the hall.
‘All of you?’ The housekeeper looked down her nose at the nuns.
Giulia turned to Sister Simona. ‘There’s really no need for you to wait. You’ve been more than kind.’
At that moment a door clicked open upstairs, and a woman’s imperious voice came down. ‘Can’t a woman get any sleep? What’s all that noise? Alessa! What in the devil’s going on?’
‘Your niece, mistress. She’s here in the hall.’
‘Niece?’ the voice said. ‘Don’t talk nonsense. I have no niece. My family disowned me, twenty-five years since.’
A stab of alarm. Would she be turned away? The nuns looked to each other, frowning.
A moment later a woman rushed down the stairs in a flurry of yellow silk, causing the candles to waver in the draught. Sister Simona gaped and the other nuns took a step back.
‘Where is this niece?’ The woman, a taller, thinner version of her mother, looked from Giulia to the sisters. ‘And who on earth thought it a clever idea to admit these nuns?’
‘Pardon us,’ Sister Simona said. She stood up calmly, her shoulders braced. Anyone else would have wilted under the flashing eyes of the new arrival. ‘Are you Signora Boveri?’
‘Of course I’m Isabetta Boveri. How dare you wake me at this hour?’
‘My apologies for the intrusion,’ Sister Simona said, ‘We are leaving, as soon as we make sure Giulia is safe. Her mother left her to travel alone.’
‘So like Theofania,’ Aunt Isabetta said. ‘No consideration for anyone else.’
Giulia stepped forward. ‘I’m Theofania’s daughter, Giulia. I’m glad to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you.’ A lie, but she was anxious to make a good impression.
Aunt Isabetta’s face froze. She looked her up and down, her voice came out in a whisper, ‘But that’s impossible. You can’t be Giulia. Giulia’s a child.’
‘Not any more, Aunt Isabetta. I’m twenty three.’
‘No. Let me look at you.’ She stared at her face as if she might see through it. ‘Yes, yes, you have our look,’ she said, as if to reassure herself. ‘The same widow’s peak in the hair, the same pointed chin.’
‘Aunt Isabetta, I’m sorry we could not give you more notice of my arrival in Naples, but Mamma said you’d be glad to give me a place to stay.’
‘She sent you here?’ She shook her head. Then she turned and paced, a frown on her face. ‘But she never wanted us to meet, she said… oh, never mind what she said.’
She was slimmer than Mamma, and her face was painted in the style of a woman much younger, though the wrinkles round her eyes showed her age to be past forty. Her opulent dressing-robe was made up of swathes of yellow-dyed silk, the sleeves trimmed with gold point, and the neck tied in an elaborate bow. Beneath, she caught a glimpse of a lawn nightgown, and a garter but no stocking. Giulia stared. Aunt Isabetta was wearing jewellery to bed.
‘Why?’ Isabetta asked. ‘Why would she send you to me after all this time?’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds