Saturday, 7 August 2010

High Drama Blogfest!

Well, here it is, the awaited blogfest kindly hosted by D.L. Hammons.

Due to three sword fights in the last Blogfest I abandoned original snippet destined for this page -as taken from historical novel set period of English Civil War 1642-1649.

Instead I've selected a rather more emotional and dramatic scene in which item of clothing implies betrayal and intrigue afoot, the heroine (bride to be) in dire trouble . . .

Please note the family has been torn apart by the Civil War. Lord William is a Cavalier (Royalist)officer, his son a Parliamentarian officer. His lordship's ward and betrothed is a lady of rank albeit orphaned when a child and no relative of his lordship - she at one time madly in love with his lordship's son! 

As Anna returned to Axebury Hall she felt spots of rain on face and set Megan to a fair trot along the driveway; her thoughts hanging heavy upon breakfast taken in her room. The unruly behaviour heard below stairs throughout wholly indicative of men playing card games and laying bets upon the outcome.

Fed up with their raucous laughter and drunken giggles she’d taken to horse and countryside, and now nearing the end of her ride she rounded the corner of the mews to see horses saddled ready to leave.

A groom stepped forward to take Megan's reins, and Anna slid from saddle to mounting block and asked, ‘Who pray will be taking leave of the house?’

‘The prince ‘n’ all,’ replied the groom.

Anna rushed into the hallway, quite wondering why the gentlemen were leaving when the wedding was on the morrow. As she made her way to the library Prince Rupert stepped forth, his face rigid unsmiling, his tone matter of fact.

‘I bid you farewell.’ With that he brushed past her, the men assembled around the table at breakfast following in his path, until one of their number paused and most formal declared, ‘Lord William awaits your presence in the library.’

She walked into the library suspecting something amiss, but when her eyes fell upon her blooded gown on the floor she feared the worst. His lordship was sitting in a chair near vast mirror smoking pipe in hand. Something in his look as he spied her enter caused her to turn and attempt to flee, but he was on his feet in an instant the pipe cast to the floor.

Lord William caught her arm, her flight halted mid-step. ‘I’ll have you a Royalist whore before I’ll have you a Parliamentarian’s piece.’

His timbre of voice most threatening, Anna winced, his grip on her arm painful yet nothing compared to the evil glint in his eyes.

‘I’ve done nothing wrong,’ she said, defiant as ever, ‘and Morton’s your son.’

‘Son,’ railed William Gantry, dragging her across the room, ‘son? He’s no son of mine.’

‘If not yours, whose?’ she challenged, not for one minute believing Arabella, his late wife, would have had another man. ‘He has his mother’s eyes, and your hair, your body, your looks.’

Oh god, Lord Gantry was Morton as he would be in years to come. Why had she not seen that before?

‘Morton was wounded and needed help, that’s all.’

Her benefactor ignored her, swinging the door wide and bundling her through and into the grand hall. Its panelled walls seemed as though closing in about her, his lordship’s grip upon her unrelenting and painful. She very nearly tripped, her midnight blue velvet and brocade gown catching beneath her feet.

‘You don’t have to haul me around like an animal, I’ll do your bidding, whatever that may be,’ she said, trying to keep abreast of him.

‘Do my bidding eh?’ He chuckled, a look on his face the like she’d never seen before. It was distasteful touching treacherous intent. ‘I’ve loved you, provided for you, and you whore yourself to Morton.’

‘That’s not true. I’ve loved you always, and respected you for taking me in and providing me with a caring and loving home. I am your betrothed, why would I betray you?’

She seriously feared his intentions, and his sudden desire to drag her up the staircase. How he’d found out about her gown in the trunk was mortifying, and he was right about one thing, she did love Morton, had always loved him as she loved his lordship but had never told anyone not even Morton himself. If Morton had declared the same interest in her as his father she would have run away to the Lady Georgina’s and stayed there, waiting on Morton’s return.

Anna sensed danger in Lord Gantry’s anger. Dreadful thoughts came to mind and caused her to lash out at her lord. She pummelled his arm trying to force him to let go his fearsome grip.

He resisted her every strike whilst ascending the staircase, his superior strength keeping her firmly within his grasp. At the top she again attempted to break free: to no avail.

Dragged to the late Lady Arabella’s room, a sumptuous four-poster bed before them, he threw her at it, onto it, and still keeping hold of her arm he pinned her wrists together and held her down.

‘You fancy yourself a Parliamentarian whore,’ he said, as the sound of horses leaving the mews echoed through the window, ‘then I’ll show you what a Parliamentarian whore does for a Cavalier.’

Anna writhed with every intention of escaping his clutches, but he held her fast and straddled her thighs, her skirts undisturbed.

Helpless and unable to escape, she realised his intention, and said, ‘But my lord. I swear, swear Morton was injured, needing attention to his wound. That is all.’

It was as though his rage was all consuming, her words falling upon deaf ears as he fumbled in the crotch of his silk breeches.

‘My lord, I will not be treated like a whore.’ she said, fearing the worst. ‘I love you, and want you, and I have not betrayed you.’ Tears welled, flowed, and she felt it imperative to defend her honour. ‘I have not bedded down with Morton.’

He released his grip upon her wrists. ‘Prove me wrong in my assumptions of your betraying me as Arabella did before you.’

‘I would not, could not betray you my lord.’

Even now despite his anger and her fear of consequences unknown she felt compelled to prove her love for him. Strange as it was to feel pressured into proving herself, lips quivering and mind in state of flux, she could not bring herself to do his bidding. She was not a Parliamentarian’s piece, would not be treated as a whore and would have him apologise or she would leave Axebury Hall and go to Morton at Knoll House as soon as able.

Ps: For those of you that I haven't gotten to yet, (half) I'll be with you tomorrow. Promise!


Will Burke said...

Can't say as I've ever read anything like this before. It's always good to expand my horizons!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Your historical voice was perfectly executed in this excerpt. The language and descriptions transported me back in time, and I loved every minute of the journey!

DL Hammons said...

I feel like I'm repeating myself, and technically I am (although not to you), but I absolutely love the "taste" of different genre's I'm getting to experience today through this blogfest. I enjoyed your piece and was totally caught up in it. Your voice is an excellent fit for the genre. Very well done!!

Thank you for taking part today! :)

Elaine AM Smith said...

This is dramatic. The images were so well selected too. All period elements were accurate and helped to keep the tension high. Loved this :)

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

nice atmosphere! I love period pieces and this one was great!!

Wonderful entry!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Charles Forgues said...

This is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed it.

And it is certainly dramatic.

Summer Ross said...

I really enjoyed reading this piece. You have a great voice for storytelling. a line I'd like to point out "and caused to her to lash out at her lord." I think one of the "to" should be taken out here to make this sentence flow better. Thanks for posting.

Elle Strauss said...

--Oh god, Lord Gantry was Morton as he would be in years to come. Why had she not seen that before?-- Love this line, says a lot about her confusion. You did a great job with mood and setting and I already don't like Lord Bully!

Lola Sharp said...

Well, you certainly have the voice of historical romance genre down. I enjoyed this period piece..and the pictures you chose to use. :)

Thanks for sharing.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

It's funny, but Elle's favorite line was my favorite line also. This is a wonderful period piece, Francine. Love the tension and characterization! :-)

Justin W. Parente said...

Hello Francine,

Thanks for dropping by my entry and offering that advice. As is with your other pieces I have read, I am always pulled in by the narrative voice you use. I would think it'd be more difficult to pull of the voice of the time in historical pieces, but I suppose if the proper research is done, you come out with something like this. Your excerpt grabbed me.

Thanks for sharing and see you around.!

Anonymous said...

I liked this very much. I rarely read historical pieces, but usually enjoy them when I do. This rang with authenticity and anxiety. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The voice you conveyed with this historical piece was perfect. I very much enjoyed reading it! I especially loved "You fancy yourself a Parliamentarian whore...." I felt as if I was standing right there.

February Grace said...

I have to echo Lola's remarks- you have the genre down cold! I love your voice (unlike the historicals I've picked up in stores, read a passage from, and summarily abandoned there!)

Excellent stuff. Thanks for posting it!


Roland D. Yeomans said...

You truly do have the genre voice down cold. And hot is the blood of Morton's father. You truly have me wondering what will happen next.

Erin Kane Spock said...

Francine, I'm glad to have found your blog. I love the dialogue -- Morton really is despicable, isn't he?

I'm also glad you didn't post a sword fight. lol

Susan Fields said...

Great scene - I really felt the tension! I, too, am glad you chose this over the sword fight. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Nice scene - your voice is great. I don't read much of this time period, but to me, your tone/wording fits really well. Great job :)

Portia said...

I loved this scene. I was completely transported, and I was really bummed that there wasn't more. Gosh, I have to know what happens now! Does she really love Morton? Who's the hero?!

Great stuff, leaves a lot of interesting questions and I'd definitely read on.


Donna Hole said...

Drama indeed. Idon't think I've ever read this genre. Very unique voice.


Angela M. said...

I do read this genre, and I agree you kept consistent with the historical feel, and I love how the story isn't bogged down by the setting (as often happens in historicals). I felt like I was right there with the characters. I'd guess that Lord Gantry's reaction wouldn't be unexpected for that time period, either. Better get this published soon because I really want to read the rest.

Falen (Sarah) said...

ooh, loved the historical voice and atmosphere. It's a nice break. thanks for sharing!

Francine said...

Hi all fellow High Drama Blogfesting Pals, and a big thank you to D.L. Hammons for hosting the blogfest!

I really enjoyed the ride because so many great pieces were entered and loads of diverse reading material.

I'm pretty sure I've managed to get round to everyone who posted in the blogfest before midday Sunday.

If anyone has posted after that let me know I'll get over to your blog as soon as.

Tessa Conte said...

Hi there,

A great scene you've shared with us here! I love historical romance and I've read a lot of it, and you can definately keep up with the best of them.


ps. I only just noticed I hijacked your blog title for this week's meet &greet for romance writers I'M SO SORRY!!!!!! If you want me to change it, let me know.

Talli Roland said...

Loved this! Along with the photos and the very atmospheric writing I could really believe I was there!

Miss Rosemary said...

Oh my goodness. Such drama! Which I do believe is the point, lol. Well accomplished. Intricate plot twists and jilted lovers and jealous men ... sounds like a good romance to me. I'd buy this :)

And thanks for dropping by my site. You are officially added to the blogroll.

Francine said...

Thanks Tessa, Talli and Miss Rosemary.

Like I said above, it was great getting around and reading other writers' works.

pseudonymous said...

Whoa. This is cool writing, hot words!

I like

Francine said...

Hi Pseudonymous,

Thanks for that! It's great to get male perspective on what is essentially a romantic novel.

Margaret James said...

I loved this! The characters are great, they come off the page and I believed in them. You get straight into the story, which is perfect - I hate novels which spend AGES setting up and making the point that the author has done loads of research. You've obviously done your research, but you don't labour the point.

It's good to have the hero's and the heroine's viewpoints, so we can identify with both of them. There's comparatively little historical and romantic fiction set during this period, and I for one would like to read more.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Margaret,

So glad you liked it! ;)