This book I wanted to like it so badly. It started off so well. Or, rather, the plot sounded so good to begin with. When a audience is this eager to like a novel, what are the chances the book could possibly go wrong? The man was So.
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Outside, the cavorting wind gleefully whipped large, splashing raindrops and stinging shards of sleet against the leaded windowpanes to mock with its carefree abandon the bondage she felt in her spirit. Once the symbol of a girlhood dream, of late it had become more a synonym for foolery. It was not that she opposed the institution. Oh, no!
Under the careful guidance of her mother, she had prepared herself to be a fitting spouse for any man. It was only that her father, that self-same mayor of Mawbry, was bent on matching her to any wealthy purse, regardless of what foppish, obese, or bone-thin caricature of a man bore it to her door.
All other desirable traits, including manners, seemed unimportant to him. Indeed, not even to be considered. If the man be rich and willing to wed, then he was a likely candidate for her hand. She was quickly losing the blissful fantasies of youth and beginning to look upon the state of wedlock as something less than pleasant. Restlessly Erienne strode to the window and stared pensively through a diamond-shaped pane toward the cobbled road that meandered through the village.
The trees that bordered the hamlet were little more than dark, skeletal shapes in the slashing rain. Her gaze drifted down the empty lane, and a dull ache, not unlike a mild dyspepsia, was born in her at the thought that barely an hour separated her from a meeting with an unwelcome suitor. She had not the smallest desire to put on a gracious smile for another simpering buffoon, and she dearly hoped, yea, even prayed, that the road would remain devoid of travelers.
Indeed, should a rain-weakened bridge collapse beneath the conveyance bearing the man, and the whole lot fall into the foaming water never to be seen again, she would not grieve overmuch. The man was a stranger to her, a faceless entity identifiable only by a name she had very recently been given. Silas Chambers! What kind of man would he prove to be? Erienne glanced about the modest parlor and wondered how he would view her home and if his disdain would be apparent.
Though the cottage was as fine as any in the town, the spartan furnishings readily conveyed a lack of wealth. Had it not been for the fact that the dwelling was offered with the position, her father would have been hard pressed to provide such lodging. Self-consciously she smoothed the worn velvet of her plum-hued gown, hoping its outdated style would not be noticed.
Her pride had been stung too often beneath the haughty arrogance of mincing fops who saw themselves well above her and felt no compulsion to keep the fact a secret. Her lack of dowry weighed poorly against their heavy purses. She longed to demonstrate to those opinionated oafs that she was as well schooled and certainly better mannered than they, but such an attempt would have brought harsh disapproval from her father.
Avery Fleming thought it unnecessary and imprudent for any member of the fairer sex to be tutored beyond the basics of womanly duties and certainly not in ciphering and the written word.
Angela Fleming had carefully held back a part of her own wealth to see the matter done, and Avery could say naught, considering he had himself, during the course of their marriage, appropriated the major part of it to support his own widely varied indulgences.
The critical juncture in this process came after the wounding of her brother in a viciously one-sided duel that left his right arm hanging at his side with the elbow fused at an odd angle and the hand beneath it weak and nearly useless. From then on Avery appeared beset by a fever to find her a rich husband.
Indeed, a few titles that dwelt upon his lineage flitted through her mind, and she savored the taste of them. A wart at the point of a receding chin completed her creation. The vision was sweet as she finished and set it atop a thin and bony frame. Oh, if she could just meet that one! Though she might not best him in a brawl, she could certainly flay his composure to her satisfaction. He would smart for a fortnight from the tongue-lashing she would lay upon him, then perhaps he would think twice before wreaking his vengeance on a less than wise and unwary lad, or causing havoc to rain upon an elder.
Delicately she wiped the phantom blade and restored it to an equally airy scabbard. Woe to the one this lass unleashed her ire upon. A drunken bellow from outside the house broke into her musings. His clothes were badly mussed and spotted, his tan hair like so much tangled straw beneath his tricorn.
It was obvious from a mere glance that he had been drinking and carousing the whole night long and, since the hour was near the eleventh before noon, most of the morning as well. Stumbling back a pace, he managed to reverse direction and lurched into the hall, flinging wide a spray of icy water from his sodden cloak as he passed his sister. Erienne glanced anxiously up and down the road to see who might have witnessed this debacle and was relieved that on this miserable morn no one was about except a lone rider some distance off.
By the time he came over the bridge and passed the cottage, he would see nothing out of the ordinary. Erienne closed the door and leaned against it as she frowned at Farrell. He had caught his good arm about the balustrade and was trying to steady himself while he tugged feebly at the ties of his cloak. His efforts caused him to lose his precarious balance, and he began to totter backward.
Erienne quickly caught a handful of coat and wedged a shoulder beneath his arm to steady him, then wrinkled her nose in distaste as the stench of stale whiskey and tobacco smoke filled her nostrils.
Have you no better pastime? You can blame it on that Seton devil, you can. He did this to me. A good thing Father has it in mind to marry ye off afore too long. Catching a firmer grip on his arm, she tried to direct him into the parlor but staggered as he leaned heavily against her. Marry me off to any rich man who comes along so you can carouse your lives away. A fine pair you are! When he regained his footing on the treacherously heaving floor, he faced his sister and timed his sway like any seasoned salt to the slowing motion of the room.
The task proved beyond his present capability, and he yielded to let his unruly gaze roam where it would. Setting arms akimbo, she regarded her brother with something between tolerance and pity. Much to her disappointment, she saw the bridge was still intact, evidenced by the passing of the lone rider over its cobbled surface. The man appeared in no special hurry, but came steadily on, as if undaunted by the drizzle and assured of all the time in the world.
Erienne wished it could be so with her. Heaving a sigh, she faced Farrell and immediately stamped a slender foot in vexation.
He had set out a glass and was trying to work the stopper from the decanter with his good left hand. His hand was shaking as he slopped the glass full. Memory of the duel haunted him. The sight was permanently impressed on his mind, yet at the time he had felt a strange mixture of horror and a blossoming glee when his opponent stumbled back clutching his shoulder. Instead, the man steadied himself, and the surge of relief Farrell had briefly known was abruptly washed away in a tide of cold sweat.
A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E.
[PDF] A Rose in Winter Book by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss Free Download (567 pages)
Kigashakar But the proud and beautiful Erienne will have none of them. She pulled a Twilight, really. Sherry Thomas tugs on my heartstrings almost every book. It was hard to tell if he really lived with resentment for his actual injuries rather than for the harm done to his family as a whole because he lived a life with dignity and always assured Erienne that he was no different from anybody else.
A Rose in Winter