Good morning! Happy first official day of spring. Is the weather spring-like where you are? Here, the sun’s shining, but it’s still too cold to melt last week’s snow.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales, the blog where books are born. Last week, I shared the beginning of my new book, The Price of Courage with you. This is book two in my Canadiana Series, and I’m more than 2/3 through the revisions to Book One, The Price of Honor. This morning, I’m going to reveal it’s new cover to you. I’ve tightened the plot, added details to make
things clearer and I’m excited about releasing it by the end of the month. I love the sepia tones that give it an antique feeling. Kudos to Melinda De Ross for creating it.
This morning, I bring you more from The Price of Courage. Izzy and Guy are the main characters in The Price of Honor, so their story will continue here, but Sophie, her cousin from book one is now the heroine. I’m keeping the hero under wraps for now. LOL
This week’s word is PALE. Enjoy!
“Sophie,” Izzy called from the kitchen door. “Do you want a tisane? Maman made a potful to help with my heartburn before we move everything out to the summer kitchen. I’ll be grateful when the little lordling deems to make his arrival.” She chuckled. “I’m not sure I can wait another week, let alone another month.”
Sophie smiled. She’d missed having Izzy around and looked forward to the weeks they would spend together during her cousin’s confinement. Tante Aline was excited about the upcoming birth of her first grandchild, too.
“It isn’t as if you have much say in the matter,” she called back and laughed. “But are you sure it’ll be a boy?”
Sophie surveyed the veranda she’d just swept, leaned the new corn broom against the wall, pleased by how well it worked, and removed her sabots before entering the house.
Marcel, one of Guy’s engagés who had spent three years in Italy where he’d apprenticed as a broom maker, had given it to her as a gift for her birthday last month. Currently, he cared for the animals and did the heavy work around the auberge. With her permission, he’d planted broom-corn from the seed he’d brought with him. The stalks would grow much taller than the maize and had been planted along the back wall. Being able to make quality brooms and whisks that worked much better than the twig ones most women used would be an advantage. As well, the seeds could be used in place of oats to feed the animals. When his indenture was over, the man hoped to open his own shop.
She admired his determination. If only he were older. At seventeen, with another year to go on his contract, he was far too young for her to marry, and she was quickly running out of time. Her year would be up at the end of June.
She could ask the new intendant, Claude de Boutroue D’Aubigny, to grant her an extension since she’d arrived in the colony as a widow, but there was no guarantee he would agree. The rule was simple. Every woman of childbearing age in the colony was expected to marry within the year of her arrival. Since she couldn’t return to France, she was quickly running out of options.
Izzy stood next to the table, pouring the brew into two cups. In the eighth month of her pregnancy, despite the heartburn, she glowed with happiness, and Sophie envied her.
Over the winter months, Izzy’s skin had faded until it was as pale as it had been before she’d used the walnut stain to disguise herself. Similarly, her hair had lightened, but hadn’t returned to its natural ginger color. Would it remain dark? It might be for the best if it did. There was no guarantee the Chevalier d’Angrignon would accept that Isabelle de Caen was dead, and until Guy returned from Quebec where he’d gone to await the first ship of the season, they wouldn’t know if their ruse had worked.
“Maman says it’s a boy,” Izzy said, chuckling. “I know better than to argue with her. It seems the fact I crave salt and the way I gobbled up that raw rhubarb yesterday is an indicator.” She shook her head. “One of the Mohawk women at the estate claims it’s a girl because of my gracefulness, but I feel anything but graceful.”
“I wouldn’t discount that woman. Last January when the croup epidemic was at its worse, one of the Mohawk who helps at the hospital made a syrup from white pine bark and mint that may have tasted terrible, but worked. Lucille Giroux swears by it. Poor little Daniel probably wouldn’t have survived without it.”
Izzy nodded. “The Mohawk know more about this land and the wonders it holds than we do. As far as this child goes, boy or girl makes no difference to me as long as it’s strong and healthy. How is Lucille?”
“Doing well. The soldier who took over the shop proposed to her at Easter and they were married last month. Just a quiet ceremony, but the woman glows.”
“And when are you going to settle down?” Izzy asked.
Sophie huffed out a heavy breath and raised her mint tea to her mouth.
“I don’t know, Izzy. I keep hoping I’ll meet someone who’ll sweep me off my feet, but so far, no one has made my heart tumble. Where’s Tante Aline?” she asked, wanting to change the subject.
“She’s getting her bonnet. She and Henri are going down to the market.” Izzy chuckled. “I have a craving for fish this morning, and they’re going to see what they can find. Bernard and Marcel have gone for rabbits but should be back shortly to move the tables and unblock the outside fireplace. On the estate, the summer kitchen requires far less work to prepare. Maybe you should consider adding some of those modifications here.”
“Perhaps. The men will bring my planters up to the house as well,” Sophie said, grateful for the new topic.
“Planters?” Izzy asked. “What are planters?”
“Bernard made them for me during the winter. Marie Lenneau from Les Trois Moines gave me the idea. She uses old beer barrels. My wooden boxes will line the edge of the summer kitchen. He filled them with earth last month, and I planted them with herbs specifically designed to keep the insects away. Do you remember the governor-general explaining that some were better than others when we were in Quebec last summer?”
Izzy nodded. “Yes. Which ones did you choose?”
“I have lavender, basil Marie gave me, penny royal, thyme, mint, catmint, and lemon grass. Tante Aline’s all excited about trying new combinations of the herbs in some of her favorite recipes. For color, I’ve added des soucis, whose orange and yellow flowers can be cut for use indoors, too.”
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.