After years being online in social settings, many amazing people have come into my life. “Some are even librarians!” She shouted. But not Ms. Ruth Hull Chatlien who is an educational writer-turned-fiction author! So, it pleases me today to welcome Ruth Hull Chatlien with another contribution of 300 (or so) words from the first page of her latest novel, THE AMBITIOUS MADAME BONAPARTE. You will find this novel slotted in the historical fiction genre.
THE AMBITIOUS MADAME BONAPARTE
Taking the footman’s hand, eighty-five-year-old Betsy Bonaparte gingerly alighted from the carriage and readjusted her voluminous skirts. How she hated the current bustled fashions, so much more cumbersome than the slim empire gowns of her youth.
As Betsy labored up the marble steps of her son’s mansion, her daughter-in-law opened the door. Susan May’s round face was lined with worry, and her dark eyes were sorrowful. She stepped back to allow Betsy to enter and then bent to kiss the tiny older woman’s cheek. “Mother Bonaparte.” Her tone was respectful but cool, which was all that Betsy expected. Their mutual antipathy was too long established to be overcome by shared anxiety for the man who linked them.
“How is Bo?” Betsy asked, using the family nickname for her son.
“No better. The doctor is upstairs now, so I am afraid you will have to wait a bit to see him. Maisie can serve you tea in the parlor.”
“No, thank you. I will wait in the Bonaparte room.”
Irritation flashed across Susan May’s face, but her demeanor remained polite. “As you prefer. I am sorry to desert you, but I must return upstairs.”
Betsy slowly crossed the hall to the reception room that Bo had turned into a museum dedicated to his Bonaparte heritage. Around the room’s perimeter, damask-upholstered chairs alternated with pedestals displaying marble busts of Bo’s paternal grandparents, Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte, and his uncle Napoleon. Against the red brocade wallpaper hung family portraits, including three of a younger Betsy.
Gazing at her favorite portrait, painted when she was a nineteen-year-old newlywed, Betsy remembered how her husband held her hand the whole time she posed. How happy she had been just to sit with Jerome, a contentment that lit up her face and enabled the painter to capture a supremely joyful expression. In Betsy’s opinion, it was the only portrait that had ever done justice to the classic beauty that once made her famous on two continents.
ABOUT RUTH HULL CHATLIEN
Ruth Hull Chatlien has worked in educational publishing for twenty-five years, specializing in social studies and language arts. She is the author of the young adult book Modern American Indian Leaders. She has also published stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is her first novel.
Author Website: http://ruthhullchatlienbooks.com
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ruthhullchatlien?ref=hl
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/1myCJ0v
Ruth Hull Chatlien, historical fiction