Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rocking and Rolling, Naval Style

As many of you know, I have quite a yen to write a Regency with a Naval hero or three. Must be all those Hornblower books that I keep reading -- saying nothing about the TV series, natch -- and maybe those fabulous uniforms. 

Royal Clipper under Full Sail
But I had never been on a sailing ship. Well, now I have and it is amazing.

This is the ship I was on. I'm told she's the largest fully rigged sailing ship in commercial use. She is certainly very large, with five masts. She's also much, much more automated than anything Nelson's navy could have dreamed of.

I think she's absolutely stunning. When she's whizzing along under sail, it is supremely peaceful and the feeling is wonderful.

Provided she's just whizzing along, that is. We had a couple of sectors on the trip when she wasn't whizzing peacefully along at all. She was rolling (from side to side). A lot. Now that's actually OK, I found. If you're in bed, you just go with the flow and try not to fall out. If you're walking about, you always have one had free to hold on (with the drink in the other one).

Mind you, in the dining room, rolling was a bit problematic. There was one night when we were sitting at a table of 6. The 3 women were sitting on the banquette along the ship's side. The 3 men were sitting opposite on rather spindly gilt chairs. The ship was rolling so that the portholes along the dining soom were disappearing under water every now and then. And every now and then, said men were grabbing at the table in order not to go over backwards which would have been very undignified (and, for the wives, very funny). I can now say I have definitely seen fear in a man's eye.

Seriously, when the ship was rolling AND pitching as well (prow down into the water and then back up again), it was not at all comfortable and I shall have much more sympathy with my Naval heroes when I write then. Especially as their sailors had to go up the masts, in all weathers, to set and trim the sails. Have a look at this set of sails and just imagine how it would have been. Scary, I'd say.


Royal Clipper: Just Count How Many Sails She Has!

And in spite of the rolling, the waiters could still serve soup -- slowly -- without spilling a drop. No doubt Nelson's sailors could serve him soup as well.

Joanna

and at last on Twitter too @JoannaMaitland

Monday, April 14, 2014

Titanic Affair

It’s over a hundred years since the sinking of Titanic, but the disaster still resonates with us today. The ship struck the iceberg on the night of April 14th, 2012 at 11.40 pm and sank in the early hours of April 15th at 2.20 am. I’m going to be posting two blogs, one today (the 14th) and one tomorrow (the 15th), about my historical romance set on board the ill-fated ship.

Today I’m concentrating on the first half of my book, which is set against the splendours of Titanic, and tomorrow I’ll be posting about the second half, which is set against a background of the disaster. I believe it’s important to keep the story of Titanic alive because, to quote Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it”.

Writing Titanic Affair was a new experience for me. Although I’d written a lot of historical romances by the time I wrote Titanic Affair, they were not based around any specific event, so the research process was very different. It was very important to me that the book was factually accurate and so I turned to survivors’ accounts and newspaper reports from the time, as well as the findings of the official investigation. I knew that my book would cover the entire voyage and so I didn’t just research the disaster, I also researched accounts of life on board before disaster struck.

My heroine, Emilia, is leaving England to live with her godmother in Ireland. She is poor, but her godmother has given her a first-class ticket and so she is able to enjoy everything the first-class passengers have at their disposal. One of her friends on board uses the gym, with its cycling and rowing machines as well as its more exotic pieces of apparatus such as an electric horse and an electric camel. She visits the Turkish Baths, with their lavish Moorish-style decorations, but stops short at using the swimming pool. She eats in many of the cafés and restaurants including the Café Parisien, with its beautiful trellis work and wicker furniture. She also dines in the dining saloon as well as the à la carte restaurant, which was run by Monsieur Gatti, who had previously managed the restaurant of the Ritz.

But her plan to stay with her godmother is destroyed when she runs into an old adversary. By the time she escapes, Ireland has been left behind and she is forced to remain on board as the ship heads out to America. Which brings her into an increasingly close relationship with  the wealthy Carl Latimer . . .

You will find a lot more about life on board, as well as the love story between Emilia and Carl, in Titanic Affair. It’s in a special promotion at the moment on the Kindle. You can buy the book at Amazon UK
Amazon US

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Weather Conditions – natural or man-made?


 The weather this year has been extraordinary – no doubt caused by global warming. More flooding, more rain and less frost than previously recorded. Then most of March was extraordinarily warm.  I was married on March 7th 50 years ago and it snowed. This year it was warm and sunny and people wore summer clothes to our party. Last year the weather was mild in February and snowed heavily in March.
I thought I would look in my "Seed Time & Harvest", the diary of an Essex Farmer – William Barnard of Harlowbury by Joyce Jones – to see what the weather was like in April.
April 13 (1811)
The weather this day very ungenial ...the severe frost have checked vegetation  very much which the previous mild weather had caused to be forwarder than had been known for many years.I should have tried to sow Grassy piece with barley this day had I not been at malt carting; it has now been plowed about a month & having once got dry it was useless to attempt to sow it without rain, but if we do not have more showers I am not sure I can do it next week. I never remember so long a time this season in the year without rain.

So unseasonable and unusual weather can be caused by things other than man-made pollution. April 1811 was obviously unusual. The severe frosts William Barnard mentions in his diary were causing him problems and then the long period of dry weather, also unexpected in April – there wouldn't be the saying "April showers" if the month is not usually wet – prevented him from planting his barley.
The long-range weather forecast for 2014 is for the hottest summer ever – May to August the temperatures are expected to be in the 30s. Is this expected heat wave a product of deforestation and carbon emissions or just part of the world's natural cycle? Even the Americans now believe there is something called "global warming" but I'm not sure they accept this is damaging our world and changing weather patterns.
What do you think?

Fenella J Miller

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dick Turpin and Highwayman Heroes

On this day in 1739 Dick Turpin, one of the most famous highwaymen in England, was hanged at York for stealing a horse. The historical Dick Turpin was, of course, very different from the romanticised image of the highwayman that sometimes appears in historical fiction. Turpin was a thief and a murderer. In his own times he was not the most famous of highwaymen and after his death he was forgotten for a hundred years.

It’s interesting how outlaws can become heroes, both in historical fiction and in the heritage industry. Some of my favourite fictional heroes are pirates or smugglers or highwaymen. In Georgette Heyer’s books I have a particular fondness for Nick Beauvallet, the pirate hero of Beauvallet, and for Ludovic Lavenham in The Talisman Ring. Jane Aiken Hodge's book Watch the Wall, My Darling was one of the first historical romances I read and I loved the free trading hero. My very first book had a highwayman as hero. It was never published but I have retained a fondness for highwaymen and have written pirates and smugglers as well.

So how and why did outlaws, from Robin Hood to Dick Turpin, become heroes? Why is the highwayman sometimes a romantic and glamorous figure? He is usually portrayed as a dashing miscreant or likeable rogue.  He is a hero in the public imagination whereas in reality, he (or she) is a criminal. There is a suggestion that the outlaw personifies some of the aspirations that lie deep in many of us to be a devil-may-care individualist and go our own way. In addition, it takes courage and confidence to hold up carriages; it requires strength of personality as well as force of arms, superb horsemanship, stamina and patience. The highwayman of myth embodies gallantry and courtesy, and faces death with a swagger. Horses were expensive and were therefore usually ridden by a “gentleman” unless, of course, the highwayman was also a horse thief.

Highway robbery flourished at a time when the hold of government and of law and order was incomplete or when forces of government were unpopular or illegitimate. There is usually the implication that the outlaw is a wronged character, either personally or by powerful and corrupt government forces.

It was the Victorian novelist W Harrison Ainsworth who started Dick Turpin’s cult of celebrity when he
made him a character in his first novel, Rookwood. Ainsworth invented Turpin’s famous horse, Black Bess, and attributed to him the famous ride from London to York, which was actually made by a completely different highwayman. Turpin’s fame and hold on the popular imagination grew from there. I vividly remember the 1970s TV series Dick Turpin which was one of the many costume dramas I loved as a child. It did a great deal to instill a romantic love of history in me!

Do you enjoy books with outlaw heroes, whether they are highwaymen, pirates or free traders? Do you have any favourites? And why do you think they are popular?

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion




On Wednesday, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the preview of their new exhibition: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014, from 5th April – 27th July 2014,  sponsored by the Italian jewellers, Bulgari, with added support from Nespresso.


                                                              Prada 2012 Flame shoes

I arrived feeling frazzled by the London rush hour and desperate for a cup of coffee. Fortunately, outside the exhibition, Nespresso was offering us some. I know it’s not cool, but I don’t like my coffee strong so I asked, diffidently, for a mild cappuccino. He looked at me through narrowed eyes for a moment and then said, ‘Brazilian coffee. It’s very smooth. You’ll like it.’

I did. It was delicious! I made a mental note that, in future, Brazilian coffee will be my coffee of choice.


                                                              André Lang coat 1960s

Rejuvenated, I went into the exhibition. My first thought was that I was in heaven; the clothes, shoes, handbags etc. were wonderful and, what’s more, they were raised up and properly spaced out so that you could see them properly. The lighting was just right, the signage was excellent and, on the walls above the exhibits, film clips and fashion photos added to the dolce vita ambience. The credit for all this must go to the curator, Sonnet Stanfill, who, in my view, has done a brilliant job.


                                                    Sorelle Fontana evening dress 1950s

The models photographed, particularly from the 50s and 60s, look like real young women with proper curves. They obviously enjoy life. You suspect that, for two pins, they’d hitch up their skirts, hop on the back of a Vespa driven by a sexy Italian wearing an impeccably-tailored suit, and zoom off. They are refreshingly different from our sulky, stick-thin 21st century models.


                                                                   Vespa 125, 1949

I particularly enjoyed the 50s and 60s rooms. The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the fabulous Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace set that Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth Taylor. It’s rarely exhibited, so it is great to have a chance to see it. 


                                           Bulgari emerald, diamond and platinum necklace

This was the era when Hollywood came to Rome and Cinecitta to shoot films like Roman Holiday and all the big names are here. I loved Audrey Hepburn’s Empire-line ball dress by Gattinoni (1955) from War and Peace, now, alas, rather faded. And there are superb examples, like Gianfranco Ferré’s elegant evening dress, or André Lang’s superbly-tailored coat, both from the 1960s, which demonstrate Italian technical expertise and flair.


                                                  Gianfranco Ferré Evening dress 1960s

The exhibition also has plenty examples from modern designers. You can admire Dolce and Gabbana’s dramatic, glittery 2001 ankle boots, or Prada’s 2008 flower-heeled shoes, for example. The last room is devoted to up and coming designers who have something new and exciting to offer.


                                                  Glittery boots, Dolce & Gabbana 2001

Above all, I just loved the elegant design and attention to detail of all the items on display; shoes and handbags as well as the clothes. There’s something immensely satisfying about seeing clothes by designers who are absolutely at the top of their game. The Italians can do anything, I decided; be it with leather, wool, silk, beads or embroidery.

  
                                                      Prada flower-heeled shoes 2008

Often, after spending several hours in an exhibition, I reel out in a state of cultural exhaustion. This time, I left feeling energized. This exhibition is a real tonic. If you feel in want of a little glamour in your life – and who doesn’t? – get to the V & A. You won’t be disappointed.

Elizabeth Hawksley

Photos taken by Elizabeth Hawksley by kind permission of the Victoria & Albert Museum.




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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Stage Mega Stars of the Eighteenth Century


My recent book for Harlequin Historical – AT THE HIGHWAYMAN'S PLEASURE,  had the working title The Actress and the Highwayman, for obvious reasons! When I was researching for it, I read about the real life actresses of the eighteenth century, and what fascinating characters I discovered.  They were the mega stars of their day. 


Anne Oldfield
Anne Oldfield, for example (1683 – 1730). She was a soldier's daughter who started work as a seamstress's apprentice, but one day when she was reciting some lines from a play (as you do!) the  dramatist George Farquhar overheard her and she was taken on as an actress as Drury Lane.

 It was not overnight stardom, though, it was ten years later when she was acclaimed as the best actress of her day. By the time she died she had amassed a considerable fortune, some of it from a gentleman who left half his fortune to her and their son (born out of wedlock). She had another natural son by Lieutenant General Charles Churchill. She is buried in Westminster Abbey, beneath the monument to Congreve.







Lavinia Fenton
Another great actress of her day was Lavinia Fenton. She is thought to be the daughter of a naval officer but took the name of her mother's husband (relationships were just as complicated in the 18th century as they are in today's celebrity world). 

It is also thought she was a child prostitute before she became an actress. She made her name as Polly Peachum in the Beggar's Opera.  Portraits of her were in great demand, books were written about her and verses published. In 1728 she ran away with the 3rd Duke of Bolton, who was much older than herself.  They had three sons together and when his wife died in 1751 he married her.  She outlived her husband and died in 1760.









Finally, there is the actress whose name is still well known today – Sarah Siddons. She was born in Wales in 1755 and was famous for her tragic roles. Here she is painted by Reynolds "in tragic pose" as Lady Macbeth.  She came from an acting family, the Kembles, but acting was still not quite "respectable" and her parents did not want her to go on the stage. She began her working life as a lady's maid but acting was in her blood and in 1773 she married an actor, William Siddons. Her first appearance at Drury Lane was not a success and they told her she was no longer required.  In 1777 she went to the provinces and worked  "on the circuit" for the next six years. Then in 1782 she returned to Drury Lane and this time was hugely successful. 


She was described as tall and striking with brilliant beauty and expressive eyes. She had a solemn dignity in her tragic roles. In 1802 she went into semi-retirement, appearing occasionally at Covent Garden where she gave a farewell performance in 1812. After that she made a few special appearances, the last in 1819.  Sarah died in 1831, having borne seven children and outliving five of them. She is buried in St Mary's Cemetery at Paddington Green.


My actress, Charity Weston, is not as successful or famous as any of the above, but it was fun to give her some of their characteristics – she is very beautiful, for example, and when she meets the fascinating Ross Durden she needs all her acting skills to bring their story to a successful conclusion.



Sarah Mallory - AT THE HIGHWAYMAN'S PLEASURE pub Harlequin March 2014



 

As Melinda Hammond: the award-winning   DANCE FOR A DIAMOND now available on Amazon.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Enjoy a Regency Rogue for free.




Back in 1976 -- yes, I was a mere child!::cough:: -- I wrote the first draft of a novel I titled A Regency Rape. A different time, a different place, and a writer without a clue about her market. Perhaps it wouldn't have been such a bad fit in Britain, which we'd recently left. I don't know.

We'd emigrated to Canada and I didn't have a job, so my husband suggested that I write that book I'd always been meaning to. So I did, in longhand, it a big lined book. In time I typed some of it, on foolscap in purple ink and italic font. Here it is. I'd forgotten that back then Nicholas was Nicholas Moreton!

But I wrote it, and in it I created Nicholas and his group of friends from Harrow called The Company of Rogues. Well, they originally called themselves The Harrow Band, but I persuaded them it sounded too musical. As there were twelve of them they tried for something along the lines of the Knights of the Round Table, but Nicholas squashed that. They weren't noble heroes; they were formed as a mutual protection gang.

You can read more about how the Rogues ended up in print fifteen years later by clicking here.

More suitably titled An Arranged Marriage (but because of a rape -- you have been warned) the first Company of Rogues book was published in 1991 with a lovely cover that portrayed Nicholas and Eleanor very well. It was marketed as a traditional Regency romance, but was more of a Regency historical, with sex scenes and some strong elements.

Even so, it was a finalist for the RWA RITA award for Regency Romance, and won Romantic Times's Best Historical Novel of the year.

It's now available in print and e-book, but in my opinion the covers don't match that first one. I had control of the e-book cover and I'm not satisfied with it, but I couldn't find any male cover models that looked like Nicholas.


The new print edition below, by the original publisher, is pretty but doesn't fit the book at all.

Any opinions?



The cool news of the day, however, is that I don't have to try to sell you on my Regency Rogues, because right now UK readers can get the e-book of An Arranged Marriage free for Nook or Kindle. Click on the link and grab it quickly, for this won't last long. Of course I hope you're hooked.

In addition, the Kindle edition of a later Rogues book, The Dragon's Bride, which is published by my New York publisher, is supposed to reduce to $2.99 US$ today. That price should ripple around the world, but the ways of Zon are sometimes mysterious. I don't see the reduction yet, but if you'd like a copy, watch for it.

The Dragon's Bride, set on the smuggling coast of Devon, is the direct precursor to my new book, A Shocking Delight, which will be out in three days -- my first new Rogues book in seven years. With this publication I believe my Company of Rogues is the longest running, still live, Regency series, so I raise a glass of fine white port to them.

You can read a free sample here.

If you miss this special price, I recommend buying the e-edition of an omnibus called Three Heroes, which contains a novella, The Demon's Mistress, plus The Dragon's Bride and The Devil's Heiress for a really good price.

There's a short video about the first five Rogues books here.

For a complete list of the Company of Rogues in order, click here.
For a menu of all my books and novellas in e-editions, click here.

Are you a Rogues fan already? Which is your favourite book?

If not, will you get your free copy of An Arranged Marriage and see?

Do you like romance series based on a group of friends?

Jo

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Vikings are Here!


The Vikings are here again, or at least, it seems they’re everywhere at the moment!  And although I admit to being biased as I’m half Swedish, I’ve always been fascinated by them and their culture, so this is something I’m very happy about.

The Vikings and the Norse Sagas written about them and their mythology have served as inspiration for countless modern books, films and even opera (Wagner’s Ring Cycle).  There are the light-hearted takes on them such as the recent Thor films and Marvel comics of the same name, Terry Jones’ (of Monty Python fame) Erik the Viking, and many more.  Historical romances featuring Vikings abound, such as those of Sandra Hill for example (where her protagonists sometimes time-travel to or from Viking times, which creates some wonderful situations!).  There are YA books based on the Norse myths (like Loki’s Wolves by K L Armstrong and Melissa Marr), testosterone-fuelled “swords and longships” books like those of Robert Low (the Oathsworn series) and Giles Kristian, and now even Joanne M Harris has penned a story based on Loki, the mischievous god who seems to attract more attention than all the good ones (bad boy syndrome?) – The Gospel of Loki.

We are surrounded!

Now the British Museum here in London has joined in with a superb exhibition entitled Vikings: Life and Legend.  I went to see it last week and can highly recommend it – just make sure you have at least two hours to spare!  Not only is it very popular and therefore crowded, but you just won’t want to leave because there is so much to see and absorb.

At the entrance, I almost had goose-pimples because the first thing you hear are a man and a woman reading something out in Old Norse.  Artefacts and books can only tell you so much, but to actually hear these people speaking to you – seemingly across time – made it all seem much more real somehow.  Despite being fluent in Swedish, I couldn’t understand more than the odd word here and there, but it sounded very familiar even so.

The Vikings have had a bad press, being portrayed as vicious killing, raping and plundering berserkers, but that was only a small fraction of the Norse population.  For the most part they were farmers or traders, living peaceful, if sometimes adventurous, lives.  They travelled far and wide in search of trade goods and markets, making the most amazing journeys all over the known world and beyond.  Looking at a map which shows their far-flung destinations, you can’t but feel awe at their achievements.  They may have been ruthless, but they had enormous courage and determination too.  And their boat-building skills were second to none.

Their own culture was extremely rich, with almost every main household having a skald (bard) to tell stories and keep the myths alive.  The craftsmanship shown in even everyday items, with carving and inlay of various kinds, is breathtaking.  As I made my way round the exhibition, I couldn’t take my eyes off the beautiful sword hilts, wooden objects and jewellery, everything covered in swirling motifs of outlandish fantasy creatures twisting this way and that.  But the Vikings were practical too - one particular necklace made of pure gold had originally weighed 2 kg (4.4 lbs) and although it was gorgeous, the owner mostly used it to twist bits off to give as gifts to loyal retainers – what a waste!

The pièce de résistance though is undoubtedly the enormous ship that is displayed (having been transported over from Denmark) – over 37 metres in length, with space for 40 pairs of rowers, it’s the biggest Viking ship ever found.  As I stood next to it and underneath it, I could really imagine crossing the North Sea in such a ship, and it was no wonder the sight of them scared the poor Anglo-Saxon monks.  It is quite simply awesome!

I came away, determined to write a Viking story next – watch this space!

Christina x
www.christinacourtenay.com 


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Monday, March 17, 2014



Bonded Heart is my latest title to be released by Accent Press as an ebook and paperback and comes out on 20th of this month. 

Before the formation of police forces in the 1830s the law was administered by local Justices. Though some were men of integrity, others used the law for their own ends.  Bonded Heart is set in the early 1800s when the war with France, sky-high food prices, and poor harvests meant that smuggling was the only way of avoiding starvation.  
Branoc Casvellan became a Justice to try and wipe out the stain on the family name caused by his father's behaviour. An honourable man who tempers justice with mercy, he's appalled by his attraction to Roz Trevaskis, the illegitimate daughter of a drunken whore. 
When Casvellan's brother catches smallpox, it falls to Roz to nurse him – bringing her into close contact with her handsome employer. But how will Branoc – and his family – react when the truth about Roz's past, and her involvement with the local smuggling trade comes out?  

I hope you enjoy this short extract:

The constable withdrew, closing the door quietly.  Roz felt a moment’s relief that no one else would hear whatever the Justice had to say. Surely he would criticise.  She could not blame him. Less than a month ago her mother had agreed to be bound over. But as the constable had explained on the walk from Porthinnis, far from being of good behaviour, Mary-Blanche had been found down at the harbour, drunk and raging at one of the masons.
“I would have took her home, miss,” the constable said. “But the foreman wasn’t having it. He complained she’d been distracting the men. Said if I didn’t arrest her, he’d go hisself and fetch the Justice.”
Shame for her mother had made Roz’s face burn as she nodded. “I understand, Mr Colenso. You had no choice.” 
“Sit down, Miss Trevaskis.”  Casvellan’s voice broke into her thoughts.
Doing as she was told, Roz sat straight-backed on the wooden chair placed at an angle to his desk. Tucking her feet to one side, she stared at her hands folded tightly in her lap.
“You are aware your mother is downstairs in one of the cells?”
“Yes.” Roz’s throat was so dry that the word emerged in a hoarse whisper. She cleared her throat. “Yes, sir.”
“Be so good as to look at me when I am addressing you.” 
She knew she had been guilty of discourtesy, but it was so hard to meet his gaze.  She had made promises on her mother’s behalf, and they had not been kept. By helping Will Prowse with the contraband she had broken the law, and must do so again.  Like the constable, she too had no choice. How else could she pay her mother’s fines and still put food on the table?
She raised her head. His eyes were the dark blue of storm clouds, heavy-lidded and fringed with black lashes. He had a way of narrowing them that made him appear sleepy. But it was misleading for his glittering gaze was as sharp as an unsheathed blade. He linked his fingers on the desk in front of him, his expression bleak. 
“Miss Trevaskis, this cannot continue.”
Roz screwed up her courage. “Sir, please, I beg you, not gaol.  Bodmin is almost a day’s ride away. How am I to keep my job and still find the time to visit?” Driven by fear, the words tumbled out. “Sir, if she is confined in a small dank cell with hardly any light and no proper food, her mind will break as surely as her health. I’ve heard the place is rife with fever.”  She stopped and chewed her lip, gripping her hands so tightly the knuckles ached.
Leaning back, he tapped his fingers lightly on the polished wood table where several neat piles of documents rested alongside a number of thick volumes.  “I am running out of patience and alternatives, Miss Trevaskis.  I understand your mother has now been barred from the Three Mackerel, the Bell, and the Red Lion.”
Roz’s breath hitched and as her head snapped up she tried to hide her shock. But she had forgotten how observant he was, how shrewd. 
“You didn’t know.”
“No.”  No one had told her.  Like him, they probably assumed she knew. But if the three main inns in the village were refusing to serve her mother, where was she getting the brandy?  There were a number of small ale-houses in the back streets by the harbour where no doubt a keg or two of cognac was kept under the counter. One day, unable to find her mother, she had asked Annie if Mary-Blanche might be in one of them. Annie had shaken her head. 
“No, my bird. She wouldn’t be let over the step. ‘Tis men only.”
“Miss Trevaskis,” Casvellan’s cool tone pierced the clamour in her head.  “You are clearly not suited to your current circumstances.“
Before she realised it, Roz was on her feet.  “No, I’m not. But I’m doing my best,” she cried. “If anyone had complained about me I would have been told. Nell - Mrs Hicks – is very – “
“Sit down.”  Though he didn’t raise his voice it was an order nonetheless. 
She sat, her heart pounding.  Heat scalded her cheeks as a lump formed in her throat. If she lost her job what would she do? How would they manage? 

Jane Jackson
www.janejackson.net


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