Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours Presents…
The Girl from Oto
By Amy Maroney
A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…
The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.
1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?
2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?
Praise for The Girl from Oto
“An absorbing debut novel. I couldn’t put it down.”
Deborah Swift, author of The Gilded Lily
“A powerful story and an intriguing mystery. A Red Ribbon winner and highly recommended.”
The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, U.K.
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 10 eBooks of The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney! Enter
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is open to the US only.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Like the breath of an angry god, the wind streamed over the mountains from the north and slammed into the castle. The balcony shutters bucked and heaved, straining against the iron latches that held them in place. To Elena’s ears, the sound was the hollow clacking of bones.
Wind goes where it wants, she thought, finding the source of a draft with her fingertips. She closed her eyes and imagined herself in the forest, where brittle leaves swirled in unruly flocks and golden-eyed owls blinked in the high branches of oaks.
A faint moan rose from across the room.
Elena straightened up, squared her shoulders. The sooner they got on with it, the sooner she could escape these walls. She rolled up a small woolen rug and wedged it against the base of the shutters, muffling the rattle. Then she padded across the thick Moorish rugs to the great bed and pulled aside the drapes.
The young woman lay curled on her side. In the candlelight, it was difficult to pick out details, but Elena had dressed and undressed this body so many times that she did not need the aid of the sun to understand the predicament. The woman—still a girl, really—was built like a snow finch. Her belly was far too large for her bony frame. For months, Elena had traced its bulbous arc with her fingertips, measuring the swell of it, prodding the taut skin. The likely explanation was not a giant, but twins, and for a first birth that often meant catastrophe.
She dipped a cloth into a copper pot of water that sat on the floor by the bed. With practiced movements she bathed the woman’s pale limbs, smoothed back her tangled hair, massaged lavender oil into her skin.
“My lady, the baby can’t wait any longer.”
She raised her voice. “Lady Marguerite! There’s more yet to do. Rouse yourself!”
“Why do you shout at me so? Will you not let me sleep?” Marguerite turned her head toward Elena, her eyelids half open.
Elena felt uneasy, looking into those eyes. They were silvery green, like the hide of a tree frog, and the black lashes that framed them were spindly as spiders’ legs. Perhaps it was this contrast of light and dark that made them so unsettling. Or the long, slanting sweep of them. Or their size, for they seemed much too large for the woman’s angular face. Whatever it was, there was something more feline than human about them, and Elena had never been fond of cats. She looked away and put a hand on the distended belly.
“If you wish your baby to die, by all means sleep.” Something hard—a knee? A foot?—pressed against her palm with urgent, fluttery movements. “If you wish your baby to live, then push. Now make your choice.”
The glowing eyes found hers. A pale slender hand slipped into her strong brown one. The young woman on the bed took a deep breath, set her jaw and bore down.
The night was half gone when the baby was born. She squirmed and flailed her limbs, gulping air into her lungs and pumping it out again with wild shrieks. Elena cleaned her, swaddled her and thrust her into her mother’s arms.
Marguerite bent her head over the baby. “A girl. God help me.”
The newborn quieted and stared unblinking at her mother. After a few moments of utter stillness, she opened her tiny red mouth and began rooting for a breast.
“She will be called Miramonde,” Marguerite said softly. “One who sees the world.”
“How much can a girl see from behind a wall?” Elena asked.
Marguerite shook her head. “She will not be caged. When she is old enough, she will learn the ways of the mountain people.”
Elena stared. “Who will teach her?”
Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira’s Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.
For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx