Today I’ve decided to post a brief excerpt from The Dressmaker’s Secret. 🙂
It’s a small portion of Chapter Three which I recently polished to further *sarcastic voice* “perfection.” 😉 I’m rather proud of it, actually, since I spent a good hour trying to improve it.
I hope you enjoy it (if you haven’t already).
The next evening Miss Chattoway and Nettie entered Alice and Ivy’s bedroom. Miss Christina was closing a storybook and the girls were begging for ‘just one more story.’
“I suppose there’s time,” Miss Christina considered, glancing at the small gold watch pinned to her bodice.
“Yes, there is,” Miss Chattoway firmly agreed, “But I’ll tell the last story. Would that suit?”
The girls immediately agreed.
“Christy, Nettie, would you leave us?” she asked as she pulled Ivy up onto her lap. After the two had departed, Alice curled up with her chin resting on her mother’s knee and passed the storybook to her.
“No, not these stories,” Miss Chattoway murmured. “Instead I am going to tell you a true story. Would you like that?”
“Yes,” said Alice and Ivy, neither at all surprised as their mother occasionally told them exploits from her childhood.
“Alice, Ivy … would you like me to tell you a little about your father?”
Both girls froze; Alice from shock, Ivy from wonderment. They were silent for a moment, then Alice whispered, “Yes!” in an excited, urgent way.
“Then I will tell you something about him,” Miss Chattoway said quietly, then after a pause, “What would you like most to know?”
“Does he love us?” Ivy asked promptly. Being loved was Ivy’s highest priority at all times.
Miss Chattoway hesitated, but at last murmured, “Yes, I think if things had been different, he would have loved you very dearly. He … he loved little children; he liked playing with them and talking to them. He would have thought you were both very beautiful and been very proud. What else would you like to know?”
“What did he look and act like?” Alice questioned, beginning to twist her hair about her finger.
Miss Chattoway’s voice became soft and her eyes faraway. “He was tall, a few inches over six feet perhaps. He had kind eyes and a bright, cheery smile. He was a gentleman; always ready to lend a helping hand where needed.”
“Where is he now?” Alice asked in the following silence.
Miss Chattoway hesitated. “I don’t know. The boy I once knew is gone forever; that much, I’m sure of.”
“Was it love at first sight?” Alice whispered, eyes on her mother’s wistful face.
“No, not at all. I had to get to know him before I could care for him. Besides, there were some serious objections to be overcome. I knew my parents wouldn’t approve.” Miss Chattoway sighed. “Time for bed, girls.”
“One more question?” Alice begged.
“Very well,” Miss Chattoway conceded.
“Do you still love our father?”
“No, not at all. He killed that in me long ago.” She replied, standing and leading her daughters to their beds. “But you spoke as if you do still love him,” Alice protested.
“I cared for him once, but that was a long time ago,” Miss Chattoway replied. “Now say your prayers quickly and get into bed.”
After giving her children a kiss and seeing them tucked warmly under their covers, Miss Chattoway went away. She tried desperately not to think about him, but her unruly mind kept wondering back to the man she loved – or had loved, as was her claim.
She was very quiet for the rest of the evening, barely touching her food at dinnertime and then sitting languidly in a corner of the parlor while her brother and sister chatted. She was even quieter when Nettie came up for their accustomed talk.
When she went to bed that night, she managed to fall asleep despite her whirling brain, and when she rose the following morning, she was happier than usual.
This was her life, her little world inside the real one. She would find a way to be content.
Well, what did you think? 🙂
p.s. For those of you who have read The Dressmaker’s Secret, it would be amazing if you posted an review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy … just a couple sentences giving your honest opinion. 🙂 Thank you so much! ~K.