Welcome back! I am so pleased to announce that The Partridge and the Peartree was released a day early at Astraea Press! You can find it at the Astraea Press website, or (by the time you read this) at your favorite ebook distributor.
Amelia Partridge is a very independent woman. Unfortunately, the regency period in London didn't encourage women to be independent. Amelia tries to escape the constraints placed on her by sneaking out, as described in this excerpt:
Amelia settled her bonnet over her curls and reached for her gloves. She didn't call for Jeanne. Getting herself dressed for an outing, especially when the weather outside was sunny and relatively warm, wasn't that difficult. It had always seemed a waste of time to wait for servants to assist her with tasks she was perfectly capable of doing on her own. Besides, if Jeanne knew she was going out, the rest of the household would find out, and she didn't want everyone knowing about her excursion.
She had almost reached the gate at the street when a dreaded voice from the house halted her.
She froze. Marks, the butler, was a stickler for convention. As a woman — especially an unmarried woman — she shouldn't leave the house unattended. But a companion would slow her down and make it more difficult to go and do as she wished.
"Lady Amelia, Giles is ready to accompany you. Kindly wait a moment." He didn't have to add a reprimand, though displeasure was evident in his voice. There would be a dressing down later on, from her brother.
Seconds later, the gangly young footman rounded the house from the servants' entrance, hastily adjusting his hat as he ran. He skidded to a stop a respectful three paces from Amelia and bowed respectfully.
"Apologies, my lady, for keeping you waiting."
Amelia suppressed a sigh and resumed her walk toward the street.
"Lady Amelia, please allow me to carry your satchel for you."
She paused. The satchel wasn't especially heavy, but it was large and awkward.
"Thank you, Giles," she said as she handed the bag to him. "But you must let me take it myself into the, er, establishment where we are going."
The young man frowned but nodded.
Amelia led the way, plotting as she went. Though she usually took time to observe the changing of the seasons, today her mind focused on one thing: how to get rid of Giles.
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