This week’s excerpt is from Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, the first book in “The Serpent’s Tooth” trilogy of historical novels. Here you will meet Julia, the mother of the heroine, Anne. I hope you enjoy.
“Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter is an accessible, fast-paced historical romance with elements of suspense and danger. I liked the heroine immediately…”–Cora Seton Reviews
Julia Fairfield loved the smell of earth. Warm and damp under her bare feet, it gave off an aroma filled with promise. The spring season always brought a sense of hope, best seen in the renewal of life with all its delicate scent and color, best felt in the touch of sun on her uncovered head, best nurtured in the little sprouts that appeared almost magically overnight in her little patch of garden.
Under the gentle warmth of the May sun, amid sweetly scented breezes, Julia hitched her skirts up over her knees, fixing the hem securely in her waistband. Armed with a trowel and a pair of sturdy leather gloves, she wended her way into the plot of young flax.
She knelt, taking care not to trample the fragile grasses, and dug up weeds, one by one, shaking off the clumps of damp red soil clinging to the roots. After so many years, she marveled at how skillful she had become, how quickly she worked. She’d grown strong of limb, her body lean and agile.
Yet there was a time—so long ago—in this selfsame plot of earth on a spring day much like this, when the vastness of the project overwhelmed her. She’d been unprepared. Nothing in her upbringing or experience had provided her with the disposition to endure such a provincial existence. She had found the strength deep inside, where it lay untapped during those years of growing soft and complacent in a world that now seemed little more than a dream.
The same as Joseph. Nothing but a dream. Not even the assurances of spring could resurrect the hope she had sustained during those first hard years at Melbridge. Those years spent waiting. That hope had died long ago. She had let it fade away. But still he remained a part of her, would always be a part of her, just as Anne was a part of them both. And, yes, in her heart she still loved him. She would always love him.