Following Sally Minx’s novel launch idea, Dear Julia launches with a ‘Mexican wave’ starting right here. By clicking on the links below each excerpt, you’ll be able to follow the wave across 8 blogs to read the entire first chapter - or you can click on the buy links at the bottom of this post to get your own copy!
You can also follow the wave’s progress on Twitter, using the hashtag #DearJulia. If you enjoy the story, feel free to tweet your comments and chat to other wave surfers.
I’m also running a contest on my Rae Summers blog. Answer one simple question about this story, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Dear Julia. Entries close Sunday night, and the winner will be announced on Monday.
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The discovery of a long-lost love letter in a house she’s redecorating sends Rosalie Stanton on a quest to find its rightful owner.
Since his return from the Great War, William Cavendish has lived as a recluse. His peaceful existence is shattered by the return of the letter that once held all his hopes — and by its bearer, the irrepressible Rosalie, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love.
As Rosalie sets out to lure William back into society, she realises that in him she might just have met her match.
Dust swirled out in a thick, choking cloud as plaster and debris crashed to the floor. The cloud cleared, and Rosalie lowered her handkerchief from her face and coughed. In the yawning hole where the monstrous Victorian mantelpiece had been, a pile of broken bricks now lay in their own ashes. Something pale caught her eye amongst the rubble.
“What is that?”
One of the workmen bent to pick it up. “It’s a letter, miss.”
He handed her the envelope, and she wiped her handkerchief across its grimy face to reveal paper yellowed with age and a name printed in a neat, square script, a man’s handwriting: Julia.
Not just a letter. In one corner she felt the distinctive weight of something else. Curiosity growing, she turned the envelope over. No name or return address. She frowned. “It must have fallen behind the mantelpiece.”
The man shrugged, disinterested, and she forced her attention back to the room. “Clear the bricks, and tomorrow you can install the new mantel.”
They began the clean-up, and Rosalie moved to the window, holding the letter up to the light.
Against the sharp autumn sunlight she could see a shape silhouetted within the envelope. A ring. Even through the paper she could tell it was very old, delicate and ornately filigreed. And undoubtedly valuable.
That settled it. Whoever the letter had been intended for, it had to be delivered.
Anna sat at the kitchen table, shelling peas. She shook her head as Rosalie entered. “I hope you haven’t ruined that pretty dress.”
Rosalie looked down at herself. She was covered head to toe in a film of grey dust. She shrugged. “It’s just a dress. Look what we found.”
She held out the envelope to Anna. “Do you have any idea who Julia is?”
Anna shook her head and took the letter. “No idea. But Mrs. Wallace in the post office is sure to know. She knows everything about everyone around here.”
“Excellent idea. It’s the perfect afternoon for a walk into town.”
“Not in that dress, you won’t.”
Rosalie grinned. “I guess not. And I’ll have to wash my hair, too, before I go.”
“I’ll put some water to warm by the fire. Why your father couldn’t have got the plumbers in before we moved in, I’ll never know.”
It was a familiar grumble, and Rosalie laughed. “We’ve lived in worse places. And I’ll have this place
shipshape in no time.”
Anna rolled her eyes. “I have no doubt of that, Miss Rosalie. And the rest of the village too, I’m sure. Heaven help them.”
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For the next instalment, click here to go to fellow Minx Sally Clements’ blog. Don’t forget to tweet your feedback using the hashtag #DearJulia.
Here is the full list of participating blogs:
Stop 1 – you are here!
Stop 2 - Sally Clements
Stop 3 - Rachel Bailey
Stop 4 - Scarlet Wilson
Stop 5 - Olivia Miles
Stop 6 - Jennifer Shirk
Stop 7 - Suzanne Jones
Stop 8 – the last stop, at my blog.
Thank you to all these lovely ladies for hosting me today!
Dear Julia is on sale through Amazon, Amazon UK, AllRomance eBooks and The Wild Rose Press. You can find out more about this novella here.