Monday 9 May 2022

Have a sneak-peek between the covers of Edward Londergan's fabulous novel — Unlike Any Other #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @edlondergan

Unlike Any Other
By Edward Londergan

Publication Date: 1st March, 2022
Publisher: White River Press
Page Length: 270 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

The Story of An 18th Century Woman from A Prominent New England Family Who Went from A Life of Privilege to The Gallows

Bathsheba Spooner was the daughter of Timothy Ruggles, a general in the French and Indian War, president of the Stamp Act Congress, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and a leading loyalist in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War; the epitome of upper class.

Like her father, Bathsheba was smart, strong-willed, and a staunch British loyalist. Forced to marry a man she did not love, Bathsheba withstood her husband’s abuse for years until a young Continental soldier entered her life. But when this well-heeled mother of three small children discovered she was pregnant with the soldier’s child, her thoughts quickly turned to murder.

Based on a true story, the events that follow Bathsheba’s life, her decisions, and her ultimate demise will show readers that Bathsheba Spooner was, in fact, Unlike Any Other . . .

Our wedding feast was splendid, with the most exceptional food and drink available. My father instructed Cooley, with his wife, son, and daughter, to pour cups of sack-posset, the creamy, thick concoction of boiled ale, eggs, and spices—a typical drink at New England weddings that everyone enjoyed. Madeira, spiced hard cider, small beer, and a punch made with hard cider combined with sugar, lemons, and limes were enjoyed as well. 

I made sure that the most expensive foods in the most considerable quantity were served—salted fish chowder, stewed oysters, roasted pig and venison from Father’s estate, duck, potatoes, several baked breads, Indian cornbread pudding, and pumpkin casserole. Trays of nutmeats and candy were also passed. 

My cake was a thick, rich, spiced cake made with rum, dried fruit, and nuts, baked with a nutmeg inside and was served with coffee and tankards of spiced hard cider. The person who received the slice with the nutmeg was supposed to be the next to marry. 

I saw pretty and amiable Abigail Foster, the twelve-year-old daughter of Jedediah Foster, a well-known lawyer who lived less than a mile from Joshua, looking around the room before seeing me chatting with a couple of other women. She ran over to us, a large piece of cake in her hand and the remnants of the first bite on her lips. 

“This is the most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten. Bathsheba,” she said before catching herself, “Mrs. Spooner, I mean. This cake is wonderful. I’ve never tasted anything as good.” 

I smiled at her as she put another small bite in her mouth. “I’m delighted you like it,” I told her. “If your mother will let you, you can have another piece.” 

She went off to plead with her mother to have another piece, explaining that she had my permission. Her mother looked at me for confirmation; I nodded, smiled, and gave her and Abigail a wave of my hand. 

I busied myself with giving the guests the traditional gift of wedding gloves that were gold-laced and fringed, and featured rich gauntlets, and were far from an inexpensive gift, something my father reminded me of several times. Although it was not a custom, several of the guests gave me gifts. 

Jedediah Foster approached me, smiling at my happiness. “You are a beautiful bride, Bathsheba. Joshua is a lucky man,” he said, glancing over her shoulder at Joshua, who sat at a table in the corner drinking a large mug of rum and talking boisterously with several men. “You look happy,” he said, handing me a small package wrapped in gold linen and tied with a scarlet ribbon. 

“Well, it is my wedding day, after all,” I said as I looked at the package. 

“You may open it.” 

I untied the ribbon and unfolded the linen to see a gold engraved, leather-covered Bay Psalm Book, in perfect condition, beautiful and exquisite, though it was quite old. 

“You can use it on the Sabbath,” he said. “Many of the Psalms are still sung, but you know that.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Foster. It’s beautiful. I love it.” I took a quick step forward and kissed him lightly on the cheek. 

He blushed a bit and squeezed my hand. “You are most welcome, my dear.” 

At my right, my father was standing with Silas Epworth, an affluent Boston merchant and friend whom I’d met before. “Timothy, you’ve outdone yourself,” I heard Epworth say. “The food and drink are up to, and possibly above, your usual high standards.” 

Father reached out and tapped on Epworth’s protruding belly. “Coming from someone who has certainly tasted too much of the finest foods and drinks, thank you.” 

I smiled at his jest and realized I would miss hearing him make his little jokes. 

“Bathsheba,” I heard Joshua say. “I want you to meet my mother and stepbrother.”

I nodded at both of them. “How do you do?” 

“I’ve often wondered,” Mrs. Avery said, “whom Joshua would marry.” She looked at me like I was her social unequal. “And it’s you.” She gave me a condescending smile. She was short and plump with a double chin and beady eyes. The ugly dress she wore, dark brown with blue flowers, was appropriate for afternoon tea, but not my wedding. I thought of telling her so but decided to hold my tongue.

The stepbrother, John, on the other hand, stepped forward and took both of my hands in his. He was tall and thin with a pinched face and dark eyes in which there was a bright cruelty. He reminded me of a ferret. 

“I want you to promise me something,” he said. 

“Of course. What is it?” I asked. 

“I want you to promise me that you’ll be the wife Joshua deserves. He’s a good man and needs a good wife. We have high expectations of you, my dear.” 

“I will do my best. That’s all I can promise.” I smiled, nodded, and turned back to my more interesting guests.

Ed Londergan is the author of the award-winning books The Devils’ Elbow and The Long Journey Home. Having researched American history for many years, he is a frequent speaker with a focus on colonial Massachusetts. A graduate of Holy Cross, he lives in Warren, Massachusetts. 

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1 comment:

  1. Great excerpt, it really makes you want to read on.


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