Thursday, 26 July 2012

RFW Challenge/Blogfest.

Romantic Friday Writers hold a fortnightly writing challenge: themes set by RFW. Why not pop along and join in the fun!

GUIDELINES: 400 words of prose or poetry. Must contain a romantic element, small or significent.

This is snatched from my Regency Romance *Scandalous Whisper*.  In days gone by letters were commonplace and the art of writing such was something to be proud of. Anyhoo, the letter below and the heroine's anguish says it all! There is an underlying message in the letter but Christina has yet to fathom that aspect of the message. Can you grasp what Robert Lord Devonish is telling her? If you would like to read the first chapter of this novel you'll find it here.

Butterfly girl,

It is with deep regret I have to inform you the door to the tower folly will be padlocked and remain inaccessible for the foreseeable future. I cannot in all honesty bear the thought of another man trespassing in what has now become a precious place to me. Recall to my regiment arrived a day past, and I know not when we shall return. We are bound for India soon after Yuletide.  The painting you so admired will be put into storage on Wednesday morning.  However, I have a miniature you might like to consider in fair exchange for my having full possession of the portrait. Should you wish to accept my gift and cannot oblige in person. Look for a moss covered stone close to the hinge side of the door. It is loose and will prise free.

God bless, and should you see a Purple Emperor come summer, remember me. 
Yours ever,
Robert Devonish.

  Tears spilled forth. The letter was so formal her heart sank to the depths of despair.  He could have, should have expressed the love shared between them but had not. She could not see it if it was there.
  What did his words mean beyond imminent embarkation for India and some miniature gifted to her? What a cruel trick after . . .
  She dared not dwell on her recklessness in throwing herself at him. What a foolish thing to have incited lust within him. For that is what it was. Nothing more. She glanced at the letter again. Yet it was signed yours ever, something no gentleman should impart to a lady of no consequence.
  Confusion befell her, for her heart screamed to see only good in his letter while her head saw clear evidence of his backing away. Why would he do that? Was it then true, that he was to be wed to Lady Emily Roach?  If that was so why had he wanted to approach her parents and ask for her own hand in marriage? Had their liaisons at the folly meant nothing more than a pleasant distraction, and mention of marriage mere overture to seduction? How foolish she had been and a terrible lesson learned.
  She reread and reread his words again and again, sobs catching in her throat, tears spilling onto the letter-headed paper.  She cast it aside tempted to put it to flames in the hearth for her heart felt torn apart; a terrible hurting never experienced before. She glanced at the very window where once roses in a vase had stood, and she recalled the incident of his looking up and his catching her spying on him.
  What had she done wrong? 

To see entries by other participants go here.


Heather Murphy said...

My heart breaks for her! This is so sad!

Donna Hole said...

Such heartbreaking angst. These lovers have a lot to work out.


Denise Covey said...

I've read Scandalous Whispers Francine, and I loved it. It races along at a nice fast trot from go to whoah! Great little extract for the challenge.

Yes, people did like to write, receive letters once. There is a new generation that will never know, or rarely know, the absolute delight in receiving a beautiful, handwritten letter on gorgeous stationary, where you can smooth out the pages, cry on the pages, and store it wrapped with a little ribbon. Oh, a bygone age!


Sue Millard said...

Letters are important in my current historical novel, Coachman. I have some original early Victorian letters (1839 or so) that are amazingly modern in tone and don't sound at all archaic. The main difference from today's writing seems to be the use of quite long sentences, and very few of our common contractions like "can't" for "cannot".

Madeleine Maddocks said...

YOur poor heroine. I feel for her. I like the use of the letter and the estrangement between them it creates great action and emotion.

Scheherazade said...

I like your use of the letter in this piece. Very effective. It's interesting to see how much our communications have changed over the years. You probably would not get this much mileage out of a tweet.

radwa pony said...

what had she done wrong?
that question will be haunting her for a while till her heart and head meet at one point but until this happens,she will keep asking herself that question,onetime blaming herself for being fool that she believed him and another telling herself may be one moment he meant what he said,
she was trying to find any excuse for him so as not to see herself being this blind,she simply forgot that to care is not only to say but to act in a way that make her feel safe and well appreciated and make every wonder inside her take her slowly to a safe shore not rough winds pulling her madly on her face ,that she cant find her balance and she felt shes drifted away that she can no longer sway

well i dont know how can i thank you as you wrote something that touched me deeply and made my words started coming over and over that i couldnt help and commented in here till i have it on my blog and complete it and all thanks goes to your wonderful inspiring story,

thanks alot

Andy David said...

My dear Francine,
Who wouldn't feel sorry for her? Poor woman!! I would have comforted her from the start (smile). So many lovers have this experience today. Thanks for sharing my dear.

Adura Ojo said...

Hi Francine,

I think the letter shows a classic 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' type scenario. If one reads between the lines of the letter, here is a man who is trying to remain restrained in his emotions, regardless of the depth of love he feels for her. He seems to be struggling with not asking the impossible of her - to wait for him until he gets back. It's the conflicting emotions of a man called to duty - unsure if he'll be back or not. Pity she cannot see this, which is typical of course - reason clouded by emotions. Hopefully it all turns out right in the end?

This snippet is integral to the plot and nicely done, Francine. 'Love it.

Anna said...

Dear Francine,
I love letters. Letter-writing is also an important part of the birth of the novel as a literary form. (I'm thinking of Richardson here.) I can well understand why you would want to write historical novels where letters are a natural form of communication for anyone who could write. (Then there were many people who could not read and write. But they don't make very interesting romantic heroes!)

I really feel for your heroine. A rejection is hard in any century. People are people in all times. They just wear different clothes and work at different occupations. But I think it was socially more important for a woman to protect her virtue and reputation in older times, because women were legally so dependent upon men. (Must stop here. you are giving me too many ideas!)

Your text has an 'airy' quality, that is, it leaves some things left to the reader's imagination. You leave us with unanswered questions!

Thank you for your kind comments about my post. You are right about my story having the seeds of a happy end. This is why I had to change the time that Jenny was away from seven to only four years. I will post an end to this story whether or not it fits in with the given challenge theme.

If I had set this story in, for example, the 1940's, I could have used letters to tell part of the story. But in a modern/contemporary text, such as this story, you almost need an excuse to get your characters to write a real letter. I may have made a mistake by not sneaking a notebook and pencil in Jenny's, my heroine's, backpack. Jenny is supposed to be a journalist. She should be better at writing that most people. I could feasibly let her write a journal about her hardships on the island. But the focus of my story is what will happen to her marriage and children, now that she has miraculously been restored to them.

Thank you for your interest.

Best wishes,
For the benefit of other readers:

Three things I could have done better

Anna said...

Oh, Adura said something interesting here: 'Men are from Mars and women are from Venus'! Yes. I think she has a point here. Your poor heroine!

Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thanks for stopping by, Heather. There is a happpy conclusion! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Donna, yep, quite a bit to sort out and the hero sorts it in good Knightly fashion. ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

I have letters from my father to my mother: precious indeed as I never knew him. Beautiful words, too.


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Sue,

Thank you for visiting my blog. The language aspect is indeed interesting re periods through history. Not a lot changed from the Elizabethan era through the English Civil War period and early Regency. Yet, during the Napoleonic era, I guess anti-French feeling, French words were dropped and speech shifted dimensions from formal to a more relaxed tone, and as you say less archaic but not Enid Blytonesque. ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Madeleine,

Thanks for dropping in. Believe it, there's action to come when the hero does his knight honour bit! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Linda,

Thank you for stopping by.

All the instant techno media begs the question how in the devil will kids manage in the future when technology fails as it will eventually: post oil = no manufacturing as we know it. Will the art of spoken communication be now't more than grunts, whoops and squealing! Planet of the Apes. ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Radwa,

Thank you for your kind words. I feel honoured in having inspired your muse! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for stopping by. Hee hee, no doubt your soothing poetic prose would lighten her heart a little but the hero is a true knight and he does something so unexpected she cannot doubt him, ever. ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Adura,

Astute as ever you've picked up on the inner strife the hero faced in writing the letter, which seemingly sets Christina free. But, the hero then does something that leaves Christina in no doubt she is his everything. What he does takes great courage, and ends with a touch of humour! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for your kind comments. I do so feel at home writing historical novels and yes, I do tend to toward cliffhanger chapter endings!

Re your Jenny story. In the same way letters can tell a story, so too dialogue can keep a story moving along whilst revealing the past as well as present tense happenings. She could audio record her thoughts or maybe someone can become her confidante! ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Adura has it to a tee! ;)

Elen Lackner said...

Dear Francine: Something I didn´t understand but I consulted with 2 traductors. I know it isn´t perfect but I can feel the esence what you want to say.
I saw your magnifique books ans really you´re great. It´s nice to learn of writers as you and others I knew. Thank you very much for your kidness. Kiss Elen