Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spirit of the Past

By Anita Davison (Guest Blogger)

I was born in London, a city which has a unique atmosphere; a sense of time passed that I connected with, even when I was quite young. When the other children on the school trip coach were throwing the contents of their lunch boxes at each other, I was staring out of the window at the ancient buildings, imagining men in wigs and heeled shoes coming out of coffee houses to climb into sedan chairs on the cobbles outside St Pauls Cathedral.

Writing about the past may be more intricate than contemporary fiction because there are so many details to get right, and even more ways to get it wrong - but the truth is: historical fiction chose me.

Trencarrow Secret began with the character of the heroine's brother, David, and although he plays a minor part in the story, his relationship with Isabel is the backbone of the story. One restriction of modern writing, is you cannot simply write a story. It has to be categorised, put into a box so it is instantly recognised. Trencarrow Secret is more historical coming of age than historical romance, with a heroine who struggles through revelations, self doubt and danger before she discovers her soulmate.

I chose a Victorian setting for the novel mainly because the house I chose for the Hart's summer home is well known to me and I described some of it in the book - although I gave it's provenance as Queen Anne, which would make it historic in 1882. Also the village of Marazion and St Michael's Mount have changed little since the late 19th Century, which made them easier to portray realistically. I tend to write about places I know, as I feel it's important they come across as believeable.

Writing historical fiction is complicated and challenging, but my spirit lives in the past and I cannot imagine myself writing anything else.

Book Blurb: Trencarrow Secret

Isabel Hart is afraid of two things, the maze at Trencarrow where she got lost as a young child, and the lake where her brother David saved her from drowning in a boating accident.

With her twenty-first birthday and the announcement of her engagement imminent, Isabel decides it is time for her to face her demons and ventures into the maze. There she sees something which will alter her perceptions of herself and her family forever.

The house party gathers and as more secrets are revealed, Isabel doubts she has chosen the right man, although her future fiancé has more vested in this marriage than Isabel realizes and has no intention of letting her go easily.

Will Isabel be able to put her preconceptions of marriage behind her and take charge of her own life, or is she destined to be controlled by others and a past she cannot break away from?


Reciting the route she had worked out a hundred times from her bedroom window, a burst of confidence sent her through the next gap into a small clearing where white colonial roses covered a wrought iron ornamental arch, its ivory blooms exuding a sweet, cloying fragrance.

Their unexpected beauty stilled the moment and Isabel paused, entranced. Had she got this far on that long-ago birthday, how different her childhood might have been without the insidious fears the maze always engendered. Her foot raised to move forward, a movement caught her eye. She turned, and sucked in her breath.

The scene before her made no sense.

Tall and imposing in his ubiquitous charcoal grey tailcoat, his dark hair touched by silver wings at the temples, Father stood with his arms wrapped tightly around her mother’s nurse.

Amelia clung to him, her head tilted to receive his kiss; her long, white fingers entwined in his hair. Fingers that messed the pristine order in a way he would never have tolerated in a hug from Isabel.

Pressed close, he held his broad hand spread across Amelia’s back, while with the other...

Isabel backed away, pressing against the hedge where sharp privet scratched the base of her neck. Like a small child caught in a misdemeanour, she waited as the seconds passed, each loaded with anticipation of her father’s voice raised to summon her back.

Apart from a low rustle and a murmur of wind, the maze remained still and silent.

Isabel bounced onto her toes and ran. Her heart pounded in rhythm with each step as she pleaded with the fates she had chosen the right path. The statue of the boy flashed past and giddy with relief at the sight of the entrance looming ahead, she burst between the hedges into bright sunlight.

Her skirt threatened to wrap around her ankles, but she reached the far side of the lawn without mishap. The arched wooden gate in the wall at the bottom of the garden stood open and hurtling through, she shouldered it shut. The click of the latch sounded over loud and the old wood cut into her shoulder through the fabric of her blouse.

Her hand clutched her chest to massage away a sharp pain. Her eyes snapped open, and she gasped.

That’s where his hand lay, on Amelia’s...

Trencarrow Secret coming June 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing Book Blog: Anita's Blog:


Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Anita,

Welcome to Beyond Romance. Your excerpt has a real Victorian feel to it. I love a well-written historical novel, but I'm very picky. The book has to give me a sense of what life was like during the period, the values and belief systems of the people as well as the physical environment.

I've shied away from writing historical fiction myself (other than a few shorts and a subplot in one of my novels) because to be honest, I'm terrified of making a mistake.

Congratulations on the release. I wish you great success.

Miriam Newman said...

Anita, how well I know the feeling of historical fiction choosing you! Everything else seems easier in comparison (all that research!), but no, you HAVE to write it! :) With your love of history, I'm sure your book will be a winner. Best of luck with it.

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