Publication Date: 12/1/20
Publisher: Copperfield Press
Page Length: 121 pages
Genre: Victorian Historical Fiction
You are cordially invited to Christmas at Hembry Castle.
An unlikely earl struggles with his new place. A young couple’s love is tested. What is a meddling ghost to do at Christmas?
In the tradition of A Christmas Carol, travel back to Victorian England and enjoy a lighthearted, festive holiday celebration.
Peering through windows is never as much fun as one thinks it will be. The ghost wanted to be on the other side of the glass. He wanted to speak soothing words to his brother. The ghost guessed that his brother was thinking of his life before he had been left with the never-ending task of being earl, dreaming of his life in Connecticut with his American wife and American daughter, of a time when he was his own man and free to do his own bidding, which, as earl, he no longer was.
The ghost wanted to examine his brother more clearly but he didn’t dare risk being seen under any circumstances. He didn’t want his brother or his mother to collapse of a heart attack at the sight of him standing before their eyes, plain as day even in the darkness. These brief glimpses of his beloved family were all that were available to him. This would have to do. Forever, the ghost thought sadly. I cannot be with them. I cannot speak to them. I cannot help them when they need me.
I cannot help them when they need me.
The ghost pushed an inconvenient lock of chestnut hair under his hat. Despite his misgivings, he crept closer still, his eyes focused on his brother’s careworn brow.
I cannot help them when they need me.
And then he wondered.
Might I help them? When they need me?
He was nearly in his brother’s line of sight now. He watched Frederick, now seated again, his head languishing in his hands. What was causing Frederick such grief? Was there some problem that could be solved, or was it the weight of the mantle of the Earl of Staton? Yet Freddie is such a natural at this, the ghost thought. He handles everything with diligence and ease in a way I never did. It’s better that I’m on this side of the glass and he’s there. It’s better for the castle, the estate, the people who live and work here. Better for everyone.
Except, perhaps, for Frederick.
“How might I help?” the ghost asked the sky. Even from a distance there must be something I can do. But Freddie cannot know that I’m here, that I’m heartily sorry for what I did.
And then the ghost had a thought. He covered his mouth with his hand to stop the laughter from drawing Frederick’s attention his way. Of course! He had not done right by his family in life, but he would make up for it now. He would make amends for the havoc caused by his untimely demise. He would help them all.
A glimmer of pink glowed along the bottom of the sky, the rain easing its dart-like pelts with the coming light. The ghost knew it was time to disappear. But it was all right. He could wait. He would bide his time until he had a plan. It was the least he could do. It would be a challenge since he could only work under the cover of the shadows. After all, ghosts do their best work when no one else can see.
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Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her other books include Christmas at Hembry Castle; Down Salem Way, the prequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy; Victory Garden, set during the women’s suffrage movement; Woman of Stones, a novella of Biblical Jerusalem; That You Are Here, a contemporary sweet romance; The Window Dresser and Other Stories; and Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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