From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
Hello Dear Readers. Summer is finally here, and I am enjoying beautiful weather whilst gardening away, finally. I am conducting war with the weeds, but sadly, they are still winning! How are you doing?
I am incredibly happy to host a book blast for Jenetta James’ new historical romance, The Memory House. Many of you will recognize her name as a popular Austenesque author of novels and short stories. The Memory House has a dual timeline and revolves around a house in London over a one-hundred and sixty-year time span. Check out the book description and the exclusive excerpt that the author generously shared. The book is available for pre-order with an August release date.
Also, of interest, three of Jenetta’s previously published novels are being re-issued on June 30, 2020, with beautiful new covers by Quills & Quartos:
So, happy days! There is plenty of summer reading ahead for James’ fans.
A house in one of London’s most exclusive neighborhoods is home to secrets, mysteries, and two love stories spanning two centuries.
In 1859, independent-minded Kitty Cathcart dreams of escaping Veronica Gardens but her father’s determination to marry her off to a rich man of his choosing forces her to seek happiness and find her own voice by other means. And then the handsome but poor Alex Faraday walks through the front doors.
In 2019, Oxford-educated Josie Minton never dreamt of living in a house as grand as Veronica Gardens, but the nanny’s quarters are a perfect fit for a young woman in need of a job. Wealthy financier James Cavendish and his twin girls quickly find her indispensable to their happiness, but Josie is still searching for her future.
Then the great house reveals the first of its secrets, and the tragedy and romance of one era are brought into sharp relief with another.
Kitty swept into her father’s library and peered around. It was an enormous room, standing upon almost half of the ground floor of the house, yet it always felt crowded with objects. Unlike the fashionable libraries of many gentlemen, it was not arranged to showcase the owner’s education and scholastic achievements. There were books aplenty, but they were not there to impress others―nor would Sir Roland have invited outsiders to peruse them. The room was packed to bursting with files and records; bookcases stood floor to ceiling down each side. At one end of the room, an oval table, polished to a squeak, gleamed; all of its chairs tucked in, unoccupied. Kitty had seen it in action on other occasions: tall, frock-coated gentlemen sitting around smoking and talking of business. Now it was quite empty, as was Sir Roland’s desk, which stood in the centre of the room like a throne, his pen poised like a knife on its surface. At the opposite end of the room, stood the conservatory, separated from the library only by a wall of glass and an excess of foliage. For these reasons, the space within was dimmer than it should have been and tinged with a heavy green, which Kitty fancied stuck to those who entered. It had always made her laugh to think of the green-skinned men strutting about within. Presently, Mr Faraday, who had been seated at the viewless desk, which faced the east wall, reserved for secretaries and other underlings, stood and greeted her. A look of confusion crossed his face and was rapidly replaced with sternness.
“Good morning, miss.”
“How industrious you are. I was wondering whether you have everything you need?”
“Yes, thank you.”
His response was clipped, sharp even.
“Is there anything I can obtain for you?”
“No, Miss Cathcart, I don’t believe there is.” It was most disconcerting to see Mr Faraday exhale and stare down at his papers.
“In that case, I shall not bother you.”
And with that, she plumped down on the small chaise before the fire and opened her book, as though it were the most normal thing in the world for a young woman of society to keep company with a clerk in one of the least attractive rooms in the house. Mr Faraday sat at his desk with his back to her, his long legs only just accommodated beneath the table. They were like two bookends on a shelf, without any books in between.
“You shall not bother me, Miss Cathcart. But your presence here may bother your father. He may consider it to be…inappropriate.”
“He shall not consider it to be anything, because he shall not know.” She placed her book beside her on the chaise and leaned towards his back. “My father is away from the house for the day.” She smiled a satisfied smile at the back of his head. “In any case, if he is unhappy about where I spend my time, it is I who shall know of it, not you.”
He stiffened and took up his pen. Kitty considered him over the top of her book and regretted that he was not more forthcoming. A coldness appeared to exist between them, but she was adamant that it need not remain.
“You are discomforted, sir.”
“No, I assure you. I am perfectly contented.”
There followed an extended period of chilly silence in which the shuffling of paper, the turning of pages, and the occasional movement of Kitty’s skirts were the only sounds. Eventually, she gave up hope of him speaking.
“How did you enjoy meeting with my cousin again?”
He paused his pen over the paper but did not turn around.
“I enjoyed it very much. It has been some years.”
“Yes, it must have been. George came down from Cambridge three years ago. Were you and he exact contemporaries?”
“And do you miss your studies, Mr Faraday? I should love to have attended a university. My word. To have years in which there is nothing but reading and studying and thinking. What fortune!”
With that, he turned to face her, pen in hand.
“It was good fortune, miss, while it lasted. I cannot say that it prepared me for life though.”
He took in a breath, and his eyes quite flashed. Suddenly, the same heat and tension she felt when she saw him in the dining room the previous day returned, and an uncharacteristic nervousness crept over her.
“I cannot answer that question, Miss Cathcart, without taking up all of your day, and mine. And since I can see that you have many pages left to read”―he nodded to the book beside her―“and I have many hours of work to complete for your father, shall we”—he paused over the words—“postpone this discussion to another time?”
Chapter 3, Pages 35-36
Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego.
- The Memory House: A Love Story in Two Acts, by Jenetta James
- Quills and Quartos Publishing (August 10, 2020)
- Trade paperback & eBook (276) pages
- ISBN: 978-1951033996
- Genre: Historical Romance
Austenprose is and Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, and excerpt courtesy of Quills & Quartos © 2020; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2020, austenprose.com.