As I mentioned – okay, SHOUTED – in my previous post, my new novel LUCINDA’S SOLUTION is finally available on Amazon.
Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature allows you to read the first several pages. But just in case that is not enticing enough, I thought I would share a scene from later in the story.
In this scene, Lucinda goes to her father’s lumberyard to tell her best friend Peter that she is going to be married – to the husband of her dead sister.
I went around to the back of the yard and waited for Peter to come back with the horses. The yard had been transitioning to delivery trucks for the last year – Father had been brought along to the 20th century with Malcolm’s encouragement – but Peter still drove the old wagon with the now-ancient team.
I sat on a bale of hay and shivered, although it was a warm day for the end of December. Forty minutes later I watched him drive in. He didn’t see me in the shadows, so I sat silently while Peter unhitched the horses. He put away the tack, and brushed Zeke and Carthage, cleaned their hooves and fed them two carrots each, all the while cooing to them about being the best creatures in existence.
“You two are the loveliest smartest animals in Springfield. You are the loveliest animals in Massachusetts. You are the loveliest in New England. The loveliest in the whole of the United States of America. In the world. In all the planets.”
“What comes after the Universe?” I asked, jumping up.
Peter laughed. He wasn’t the slightest bit surprised or embarrassed by his effusion.
“The Heavens!” he answered.
He led Zeke to his stall, and I took Carthage and led him to his.
“It’s so good to see you, Lucinda,” said Peter. “I didn’t even know that I missed you until you are in front of me and then I think to myself, “Now the world is straight!”
“I’m back, but it is only to say goodbye.”
“Are you off to school then?” he asked. “Off to write of injustices and dirty dealings? To save the universe?”
“No. I am off to save a family.”
“Catherine’s, I expect,” Peter said.
“Yes, Catherine’s. Mine now, soon. It has been decided that I will raise her children. I’m to be married to Martin.” I added, “Tomorrow.”
Peter spun around to face me. “Jesus, Lucy!”
“Don’t swear, Peter!”
“It’s so fast. And you’re so young… what are you now, fifteen?”
“Well, if I knew you were ancient I would have married you myself!”
“Very funny,” I said.
He turned and gave old Zeke another carrot. “Seriously, Lucinda I had a mind to marry you.”
“You did? Oh, Peter that’s so nice to know.” I sat down on an upturned bucket. “I would have made you miserable.”
“That’s likely,” he said. “How can you be married so soon? What about the Banns and all?”
“Monsignor got a dispensation from the Bishop. Martin needs to return to Connecticut right away.”
Peter sat down on the packed dirt of the barn floor facing me where I perched on my makeshift chair. He sat so near me that I could feel his breath against my leg. I thought for a moment he would put his head on my knee. I wouldn’t have stopped him.
“I saw Catherine once, he said. I was about ten. I think she must have been the age you were when you first came to the yard. She was so lovely it was a minute or more before I could get a breath.”
“Yes. She was beautiful for sure.”
“You look like her, you know.”
“Ha,” I said. “Only to someone with your poor eyesight.”
“I see well enough.”
I couldn’t think of anything to end this conversation. “Her children are as pretty. And they are smart and happy too. They have my heart already.”
“And Martin?” Peter asked. “Does he have your heart?”
I looked away. “He’s a good man.”
“I wish I had married you a year ago,” he said.
“Oh Petey, you would have made a fine husband. And you will. You will find a girl as beautiful as Catherine, who will see your good heart.”
“I will have a farm and seven children. All redheads. They will have so many freckles, the neighbors will call us the Spotted Farm.”
“When you find the girl, I would ask your brothers for advice. Ask Samuel if your girl is smart enough. But ask Richard if she’s beautiful enough.”
“Oh, I may be blind as a bat, Lucinda, but I know for a fact that smart and beautiful are the same thing.”
What happens next?