Eleven Beautiful Moments from Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine

It's only logical that I would begin my month of celebration in preparation for the release of Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart with one of my smartest and cleverest critique partners...Saundra Mitchell. I'm thrilled to turn the blog over to  Saundra who, aside from being a wonderful friend, also happens to write historical YA better than anyone out there. Saundra's most recent book, The Vespertine, is a beautiful gothic novel that is lyric and lovely. I cannot recommend this book--and it's mind-blowing sequel, The Springsweet--enough.

Take it away, Saundra!

Sarah's taught me a lot about writing romance since we first met, and she did most of it without laughing at me. Like HEA- I had no idea what that meant, only that I had to have it. But she also taught me that romance is about moments. I kept that in mind when I wrote THE VESPERTINE, a historical romance set in Baltimore, 1889.

It's about a young woman who goes to the city to find a husband, but discovers she can see the future in the fires of sunset. Add one completely inappropriate suitor in the shape of a bohemian painter, with a dash of a city consumed by the spiritualism fad, and you get THE VESPERTINE. I'd like to share 11 moments from that summer; I hope you enjoy them!

11. "There are good men who won't care that the package is dented, should its contents delight them."

10.  All my life, I'd lived on our cliff, looking down on a fishing village so small I could raise my thumb to cover it. A summer in town had been beyond my imagination. This great chaos and cry, smelling of sea and smoke and open ground- this was a city.

9.  He slipped his hand into mine, and I forgot how shocking and awfully mannered that made him. I forgot everything but the mystery of his touch. He wore no gloves, and mine were only lace, so I felt his touch skin to skin.

8. I probably should have been sweet on him, and his fine manners. But, I admit, it thrilled me when Nathaniel gripped my hand too long, then reached inside the cab to settle my hems. "Do forgive me," he said, eyes meeting mine as he brushed gloved fingers over my boot. "I've no reputation of my own, and I forget they matter."

7. Plucking two arrows from the quiver, Zora handed one to me, and nocked the other against the bowstring. "Like so," she said. She expected me to take in the details as she drew the string back. It hummed, the echo of a carillon when she released it, and the arrow gasped as it flew.

6. They seemed like multitudes, hundreds of eyes, a symphony of laughter, but I looked for only one. He was there; he burned like a tattoo, I only had to find him. I cut between bodies, thoughtlessly wicked as I skimmed past the backs of stranger gentlemen.

5. It would be quite rude to say outright that I should hurry off now to find a respectable man to keep me- ruder still for Miss Burnside to point out that she thought that as likely as my learning to fly. But she had to graduate me in some way, so she lit her fingers on my shoulder and said, "Good luck to you in all your endeavors, Miss van den Broek."

4. Though now he stood behind me, I could make out his shape as keenly as if I saw it. Each step he took vibrated through me. Though he stopped at a charitable distance, his murmurs slipped into my ear, intimate as if he pressed his lips to my skin. "I hear glorious things about you."

3. Zora rested her head against mine. "For that, I'm running away with an actor."

"Good luck finding an actor who could keep you in tea," Mrs. Stewart muttered. Satisfied that we would lose neither our bags nor our virtue on the road, she stepped down. A plume of dust rose at her hems, earth pounded tender by the constant fall of boots and horseshoes.

2. "Mock if you will, but it's true. If Mr. Witherspoon finds himself otherwise diverted tonight, then I'm his fool. There's nothing I can do about it. We're the only ones who know he was obligated to me at all."

1. He turned his face up to me. I could have knighted or executed him in that moment, with him bended at my knee. Instead, I sank into his gaze. A distant rhythm of thunder swept through his voice when he asked, "Are you mine now?"

So those are eleven moments from THE VESPERTINE; I hope you enjoyed them! Sarah may have taught me some tricks, but she's the master. I just know you're going to flip over ELEVEN SCANDALS TO START on April 26th. It's a deliriously delicious denouement to her series, and you're going to fall in love with Simon and Juliana the way I did.

Awww...thank you, love!

Uhm...can we talk about "I hear glorious things about you." and how much I LOVE that line? What Saundra has mastered in The Vespertine is the unbearable *anticipation* of young love...the sensation, the hesitation, the constant edge-of-your-seat-ness...I promise you, romance readers, you won't be disappointed by this one. It's gorgeous.

And one of you is going to win it, you lucky ducks!

Share your favorite beautiful line from any book in comments below...and we'll choose a random winner on Friday to win a copy of The Vespertine!

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