Friday, September 9, 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample

Here's another glimpse at my historical novel, set in 19th Century Japan:

"The Office of Finance has realized this farm has not been registered properly in the court records. You are thereby required to pay a fine, plus the taxes due for the past five years.”

He heard Hanako’s gasp of dismay, and gave her shoulder a squeeze before bowing to the man. “Ishikawa-san, I am afraid there has been a mistake. My name is Tanaka, and this is the widow of the land owner. I am sure that she was unaware of the registration requirement, as well as the taxes.”

Ishikawa was undeterred by Hiro’s pronouncement. “Nonetheless, as the widow, she is responsible for the debts incurred by her husband. She must pay the fines and taxes, or the prefecture of Hokkaido will take ownership of the land.”

“How is it that Hanako-san was not notified of her husband’s oversight?” Hiro persisted. “She cannot be held responsible for fines of which she was never made aware.”

“She was notified by courier last fall. The missive specifically told her she had one year to pay all debts.”

Hiro turned to Hanako, who seemed to have shrunk even smaller. “Do remember receiving this message?”

She turned sad eyes up to meet his. “I remember a courier came with a message, but I had no idea that it was a demand for money. It was… just after Kenji was killed in the raid and our crops were all destroyed.”

Indignation rose in Hiro, and he inhaled deeply to keep his composure.

“How dare you come here, demanding so much from a woman who has nothing? Has she not suffered enough?” His words whipped at Ishikawa like steel shards, and the courtier stepped back as if to avoid their sting.

Backing up to his waiting chair, Ishikawa delivered one last blow. “She can have four more months, but the debt must be paid.” He scrambled into his chair and squeaked a command to his lackeys to return him to the city. His head appeared through the window as he issued a parting threat. “I will return after the harvest.”


Thanks for stopping by! By the way, the character above says "samurai". Please leave a comment, and then enjoy more Sweet Saturday Samples by clicking here:


  1. So much going on here, great sample.

  2. A widow, a champion, a villainous hierarchy! Great makings for a fascinating story, Patty!

  3. I wonder if the harvest will be enough to pay the dept. If not, how will Hiro protect her? Very interesting story! Thanks for sharing it.

    Here's my sweet sample:

  4. I love how the lackey was so easily intimindaed but fear for the future and the harvest

  5. So many questions raised in this snippet -- why was the husband killed? what's the relationship between Hino and Hanako? what's going to happen next? I'd keep turning pages to find answers.

  6. Thanks for writing about a time/culture we don't see every day! What an interesting snippet!