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Roberta Olsen Major/Sara Olds
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In 1745, two close cousins must separate. Fraser accepts a position in Scotland as a governess, where she is caught up in events of the Jacobite rebellion.
Pampered Lady Catherine is to be bargained off in marriage to the highest bidder. Whisked away by her sympathetic grandfather, she stumbles into intrigue and adventure.
The cousins' letters to one another are their anchor--letters that span a remarkable year of change for both of them and for the world in which they live.
“Half the servants will look more festive than you.” The blue-eyed beauty looked her cousin over with exasperated affection. “Why did you not let Letty affix even one patch, Fraser? Our guests will find you a figure of fun.”
The look Fraser turned on her cousin was full of a genuine affection and tolerance, fostered by life--long acquaintance. “You, however, look lovely, Catherine.”
Catherine’s glossy black curls were powdered to a perfect whiteness, her white bosom rising from a froth of white lace, her slim legs and tiny waist encased in sweeping white brocade, and the diamond buckles on her dancing shoes sparkling no less than the vivid blue of her eyes. Only her flushed cheeks and one strategically placed patch--called The Kiss for its nearness to her pink lips--interrupted the dazzling whiteness of her ensemble.
Catherine preened at the compliment, and then chuckled. “You naughty thing! You mean to distract me from my tirade! It won’t work you know. I intend to give you the dressing down you deserve.”
“Better for you to dress me down than dress me up,” Fraser replied, smiling. “I truly would look a figure of fun had you and Letty done as you wanted to with me.”
“No, Cousin, I am no sweet young miss, bedecked in white, with form and figure to entice a gentleman into making improper advances--”
“You might at least have powdered your hair,” Catherine said with a pout. “It is so very red, Cousin.”
“Powder itches.” Fraser’s smile was calm, though a twinkle lurked in her green eyes.
“Of course it itches,” Catherine said with an impatient tap of her fan. “Did your mother never tell you that you must suffer to be beautiful?”
Fraser chuckled at this. “It would take a prodigious amount of suffering on my part.” And then, for a moment, melancholy touched the round, freckled face. “And Mother died too soon to give me such important advice.” Deliberately, she sighed the melancholy away. “So you must take me as I am, Cousin, for, at four-and-twenty, I am not like to change.”
Catherine linked her arm with Fraser’s. “I am happy to take you as you are, Fraser. And though your dress is plain and old--”
“Like me,” Fraser interjected.”
“Like you,” Catherine agreed, mock-seriously, “its hue does compliment your eyes.”
“That is like to be the only compliment I receive tonight, so I shall enjoy it.”
“Uncle Bertram looks fine in his evening dress,” Catherine said as she espied Fraser’s father across the room.
There was tenderness in Fraser’s smile. “He looks like a partridge done up in glossy raven feathers. Never mind. Papa and I shall not shame you on your last night before leaving Oxfordshire. All your guests shall find us terribly mindful of the honour you do us in including us in your festivities.”
Catherine shook her head. “Pshaw.” She skipped a few feet away and, reaching back, grabbed Fraser by one green silk clad elbow and pulled her forward. Her blue eyes twinkled with new life. “You ought to go with us to London, Fraser. Think of the fun we could have together!”
Fraser assumed an expression of mock-horror. “London? Never! Did I go with you to London I might be forced to endure Jamie’s merciless teasing, John’s supercilious ill humours, and Nigel’s overwhelming piety. No, Cousin, I leave London--and all of your brothers--to you.”
At the reference to her older siblings, Catherine glanced across the room. She nodded, directing Fraser to notice her eldest brother John, who stood leaning against the far wall, arms crossed, fair eyebrows furrowed in a contemptuous knot.
Catherine sighed. “It is too bad his face cannot match the fine tailoring of his clothes. One look from him would fair freeze any of these maidens in her spot. Fie! I wish Papa could see him now. I should think his cross words would be sent in John’s direction for once.” A wicked grin slipped across her lips. “A welcome change, eh, Cousin?”
Sara Olds and Roberta Major met in college, but their partnership didn’t begin until a few years later and several states away. With a mutual background in theater, they collaborated as puppeteers and storytellers, while Sara pursued her Masters degree in British history and Roberta worked as a children’s librarian.
They began the first Letters From the Attic project, YOURS IN HASTE, as a writing exercise to keep them connected when Sara and her husband moved. It wasn’t until they were halfway through the second Letters project, LATELY OF ENGLAND, that they realized they had something more.
Though they’ve only lived in the same town for one year out of the past dozen, they meet often in cyberspace--and once in awhile in person, thanking God for the wonders of technology--and the blessing of frequent flyer miles.
About YOURS IN HASTE:
Authors Roberta Major and Sara V. Olds draw from the eighteenth century convention of epistolary novels to present YOURS IN HASTE. The letters cousins Fraser and Catherine exchange span a year of change in both their personal lives and the world in which they live.
When her father passes away, rather than accepting charity from an ill-tempered cousin, Fraser chooses to accept a position as governess to the children of an English officer posted to Scotland. Fraser looks forward to the opportunity to become acquainted with the place of her mother's childhood. Soon Fraser finds her loyalties painfully divided.
Catherine's father plans to align himself with the visiting Prince by allowing his daughter to meet the prince's needs, berating his daughter and stating that she should be grateful for his attentions. Longing for more power over her circumstances, Catherine's wish is granted when her sympathetic grandfather whisks her away. She then meets with exceptional intrigue and adventure.
YOURS IN HASTE began as a writing exercise designed to keep authors Roberta Major and Sara V. Olds connected when Sara and her husband moved. Their remarkable voices create a novel that gracefully captures the flavor of the eighteenth century with its dangers and political intrigues. In the days when arranged marriages create a woman's fortune, and she must only speak his language and bear his children, these authors provide a tantalizing glimpse into the rebelliousness that frequently characterizes the fiction of the era. While remaining within the social mores of the time, they also provide powerful female characters that will delight the modern reader.” -- Word Weaving reviewer Cindy Penn
“This story, told in the guise of correspondence, kept me reading late into the night. Setting description and dialogue were well done.... -- Romance on AOL
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 346
Paper Weight (lb): 14.6
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