Tuesday, November 11, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Sofia Diana Gabel "Charity's Heart"

1888, London- Charity Llewellyn, 19, looks forward to marrying one day, but upon learning that her intended groom is Mathias Baptiste, the immoral son of a wealthy banker, she runs away from home to avoid the betrothal. Angry at her attempt, her father appoints a handsome and mysterious man, Alexander Sutton, as her constant chaperone. Furious, Charity plots an escape with help from her friend Lillian, although that leads to involvement in an unsolved 20-year old murder and a shallow burial of human bones. As she tries to unravel the secrets of the old murder, she meets a frightening man who could be Jack the Ripper. But that’s not her only obstacle. As she and Alexander grow closer and fall in love, she learns a dark secret he’s been keeping and when Mathias finds them together, he is overcome with rage and will stop at nothing to get her back, not even murder.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Ms. Gabel now lives in the United States with her family. She has dabbled in several careers, including archaeology and wildlife biology, but writing is her true passion. She is a multi-genre writer and has obtained two Bachelor degrees and will get a Masters in archaeology soon. Like writing, learning is a part of her life. Her favorite quote paraphrased from Sir Francis Bacon: Knowledge is Power.
Now available on
Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords
Chapter One
London, 1888
Charity’s bedroom windowpane was chilled and wet from the cold evening air, yet she could still see her faint, almost ghost-like reflection in the glass. With a twist of her long, tawny hair, she made an elegant chignon and secured it with an ivory hairpin. She sighed and wiped the water from the window with her bare hand. She’d rather be outside where the fresh air would fill her lungs and she could run free through the damp grass, but instead, she was locked inside the house like a prisoner.
Her position was to marry well and provide an heir to the Llewellyns. It was her only task: to have children. She was nineteen now and knew her father would soon insist she marry. He’d been hinting, so the day was nearing when he’d bring up the subject. But she’d never been allowed out on her own to meet potential suitors, which meant her father would find her a husband to his liking, not hers. And his idea of a husband certainly wouldn’t be the same as hers. She wanted a man who was strong, intelligent, kind, generous, and most of all, not bogged down with following social convention. The exact opposite of who would be chosen for her.
Her whole life she’d been sheltered and kept safe like a bird in a cage. She’d never experienced life, never had the opportunity to travel or even learn an occupation. Marrying a man she didn’t love would be like having her heart locked away where it could never be free.
She turned from the window and slipped on her soft-soled house shoes, the worn ones her mother had thrown out several times and Charity had retrieved from the rubbish bin every time. Just because they were worn didn’t mean they were unusable. She found them to be comfortable and would undoubtedly last for some time longer. So many people in London didn’t have shoes at all, or so she’d heard. Of course she’d never gone into London without an escort, and then it was only to the dressmaker’s or to some other well-to-do section of the city.
She looked back at her reflection again. It was a façade. It didn’t show what was in her heart. It was a cold portrayal of what everyone wanted to see. She plucked out the hairpin, gave her head a shake, and let her hair tumble loosely over her shoulders. That’s how she preferred to wear her hair, free and untamed. Now the young woman reflected in the window pane was smiling.
When the dinner bell rang, Charity dashed from her bedroom on the third floor and hurried down the stairs, purposely holding her skirt above her ankles so her shoes were visible, and walked along the hand-woven Persian carpet leading to the dining room. As expected, her mother was waiting at the doorway of the dining room.
“Oh, heavens, Charity. Not those ugly old shoes again. How many times have I had Flora put them out with the rubbish?” Her mother folded her arms across her chest. “You do these things to annoy me.”
Charity dropped her skirt. “I like these shoes. If you throw them out again, I shall go around in stocking feet. These shoes are perfectly good.” Charity passed into the dining room without giving her mother the required kiss on the cheek, the kiss that said she was a dutiful daughter who would obey her mother no matter what.
“Incorrigible,” her mother muttered, stepping into the dining room herself.
Charity took her seat next to her father, who was already sitting stiffly at the head of the table, open newspaper in hand. He didn’t look up. His throne-like Indian rosewood chair had a procession of small elephants carved along the top of the backrest. When she was young, she used to dream of where the elephants were going, each one holding the other’s tail in its trunk, forming a chain of beasts heading off the edge of the backrest. She’d wonder if they were going into the hot and sticky jungles of the Indian continent or perhaps to a river where they’d drink the sweet, cool water. Imagining their adventures captivated her at the time. But now she saw those elephants for what they were: wooden, immovable prisoners trapped on the back of a chair, unable to escape to freedom. She was just like them, stuck in one place with no chance of getting away.

No comments:

Post a Comment