Thursday, October 20, 2011

Susan Page Davis' The Lady's Maid

Susan Page Davis is the author of thirty-seven published novels. Prairie Dreams is her new series from Barbour Publishing. In January, 2011, she was named Favorite Author of the Year among readers of Heartsong Presents books. She’s a member of Women Writing the West and American Christian Fiction Writers and a past winner of the Carol Award (ACFW’s Book of the Year) and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award.

Susan has six children and eight grandchildren and loves to spend time with them. She loves animals, puzzles, reading, and genealogy. A Maine native, Susan now lives in Kentucky with her husband, Jim.

You can find Susan online at
www.susanpagedavis.com,
www.texastrailfiction.com,
www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Page-Davis.



The Lady's Maid

Elise Finster accompanies her young British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, on a voyage to America in 1855. Lady Anne’s father has died, and her Uncle David is the new Earl of Stoneford—if he steps forward and claims the title. But David disappeared into the American West when Anne was a baby. Now it’s up to her and Elise to find him. They join a wagon train in Independence, Missouri, not realizing they’re leading a killer straight to David.



Here's an excerpt of The Lady's Maid:

Chapter one

January, 1855

Stoneford, near London


“Come with me, Elise. I can’t face him alone.”

Lady Anne gripped her hand so hard that Elise Finster winced. She would do anything to make this day easier for her young mistress.

“Of course, my lady, if they’ll let me.”

The two walked down the sweeping staircase together, their silk skirts swishing and the hems of their crinolines nudging each other. Lady Anne kept her hold on Elise’s hand until they reached the high-ceilinged hall below.

Elise paused at the doorway to the morning room and looked at her mistress. Lady Anne said nothing, but straightened her shoulders. A pang of sympathy lanced Elise’s heart, but she couldn’t bear this burden in the young woman’s place. Anne Stone had to face the future herself.

“Good day, ladies.” Andrew Conrad, the Stone family’s aging solicitor, leaped to his feet from the velvet-upholstered sofa and bowed. “Lady Anne, you look charming. Miss Finster.”

Elise murmured, “Hello, sir,” while Lady Anne allowed Conrad to take her hand and bow over it.

From near the window, a tall, angular man walked forward—Anne’s second cousin, Randolph Stone. Ten years older than Anne, the studious man lived in a modest country home with his wife and two young children and eked out a living on the interest of his father’s meager fortune. Elise gritted her teeth, a reaction he always induced in her. With great effort, she had managed to keep Lady Anne from guessing how much she loathed Randolph.

“Anne.” Stone took his cousin’s hand and kissed it perfunctorily. He nodded in Elise’s direction but didn’t greet her.

“Randolph. I didn’t expect to see you here.” Lady Anne arched her delicate eyebrows at the solicitor.

“Mr. Stone had some questions, and I thought that if he came with me today, I could explain the situation to both of you at once.”

Lady Anne said nothing for a long moment, then nodded.

“Er, if it pleases you, my lady, this is confidential business.” Conrad shot a meaningful glance Elise’s way.

Elise felt her face flush, but held her ground. She wouldn’t leave until Lady Anne told her plainly to do so. Besides, he’d brought along an extra person. Why shouldn’t Lady Anne have that right as well?

“I would like Elise to stay.” The lady smiled, but with a firmness to her jaw befitting the daughter of an earl.

Conrad nodded. “As you wish. Shall we begin, then?”

Lady Anne sat on the upholstered Hepplewhite settee and signaled for Elise to sit beside her. Elise arranged her voluminous skirt and lowered herself, avoiding the direct gaze of Randolph Stone. He didn’t care for her, either, and Elise knew exactly why, but she didn’t believe in letting past discord interfere with the future.

“You must have news,” Lady Anne said. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t have come.”

“That is astute of you, my lady.” Conrad reached inside his coat and brought out an envelope. “I’ve had news that is not really news at all from America.”

“America?” Lady Anne’s tone changed, and she tensed. “Is it my uncle David?”

Conrad sighed and carefully extracted a sheet of coarse rag paper from the envelope. “You are aware, dear lady, that I sent letters the week after your father died, hoping to locate your uncle—that is, David Stone.”

“Earl of Stoneford,” Lady Anne said gently.

“Yes, well, that’s the point, isn’t it?” Conrad sounded tired and the tiniest bit cross, as though he hated being beaten by the Atlantic Ocean and the American postal system. “If your uncle were alive, and if he were here, he would inherit your father’s estate and be acknowledged as Earl of Stoneford, it’s true. But after three months of dilly-dallying, all we have is a letter from the postmaster in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. of A., declaring that while a Mr. David Stone did reside in the city some ten to fifteen years ago and apparently ran a business at that time, no one by the name of David Stone has been found living there now.”

Anne’s shoulders sagged. “Surely they’re mistaken. The last word we had from him came from there.”

Conrad shook his head. “I’m afraid we’ve reached the end of our resources, my lady. I had that letter a couple of weeks ago stating that the city had no death record for your uncle.”

“That was a relief,” Lady Anne said.

“Yes, but all it tells us is that he did not die in St. Louis. Now, the courts agree on the procedure. The trustees will continue managing your father’s estate, but the peerage will remain dormant until your uncle is either found or proven to be deceased.”

Lady Anne stirred. “And why is Randolph here?”

Conrad sighed. “You cousin is next in the line of succession, provided David Stone is proven dead and does not have a male heir. However, it is my duty to tell you both that those things may be impossible to prove.”

“And the title will stay dormant and the estate unclaimed for how long?”

“As long as it takes.” Conrad brought out a handkerchief and patted at his dewy brow. “There are titles that have been dormant for decades—one for more than a hundred years. It will probably never be claimed.”

“But the estate, the property—”

“The crown may decide to dispose of it in time.”

“Surely not, if Uncle David is still out there.”

“The trustees will not spend your father’s fortune in an attempt to find his heir. If you or Mr. Randolph Stone wants to spend your own money trying, that is your affair.”

Here's the book trailer for Lady's Maid:




You can purchase The Lady's Maid from Amazon.

Susan is giving away a copy of The Lady's Maid. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

26 comments:

Loree Huebner said...

Congratulations on your writing success, Susan.

The Lady's Maid sounds good.

marybelle said...

The book trailer and the excerpt for THE LADY'S MAID are just wonderful thank you.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Teela said...

Susan, your idea combining British royalty with the old west piqued my intereest and I look forward to reading your book and would love to win this giveway. teelayoung at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This book sounds good.

Sunny

CarlybirdK said...

I loved the trailer! This sounds like another wonderful book by Susan. Thank you!

Patsy said...

Love that cover! And love Susan's writing. I've read several of her books and have never been disappointed. Would love to this book too.

plhouston(at)bellsouth.net

Marianne said...

i would love to win Susan's novel The Lady's Maid. It sounds intriguing. Thanks for the chance.

mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

wfnren said...

Sounds like a great book, thank you for hosting the giveaway.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

Joy Hannabass said...

Sounds like a great book and I Love the cover!!
Blessings.....Joy
ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

ann said...

This sounds like a book that I would really enjoying reading - hope I win . Thanks

amhengst at verizon dot net

lgm52 said...

Could love to read this book...excerpt sounds great!
lgm52@hotmail.com

Charlotte Kay said...

Thanks for the chance to win this intriguing book!

Many Blessings and Smiles:)
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I enjoy reading books set on the Oregon Trail; this sounds like a really good one. I enjoyed the trailer and the excerpt. It would be fun to win a copy of The Lady's Maid.
Thanks.
pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

PriviesAndPrims said...

I would love to win this! Please enter me in the drawing.

Doreen
priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Thanks for the excerpt! I didn't realize Mrs. Davis had another book out already --I enjoyed her "Ladies Shooting Club" trilogy.

Margaret Metz said...

I'm a huge fan and this one sounds like a lot of fun. I like the element of mystery. :o)

margaretmetz_writer@yahoo.com

apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Courtney said...

Sounds like a great book, loved the video trailer!! Thanks for the chance to win!

kcmelone at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

Two English ladies on a wagon train would be quite an experience. I'd love a chance to win The Lady's Maid.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Judy said...

Can't wait to read, The Lady's Maid. Sounds like Lady Anne and Elise will have quite an adventure! I would love to win a copy of this book.

Blessings,
judyjohn2004{at}yahoo{dot}com

Carol N Wong said...

I love historical settings for books. Would love to go on this historical tour on the Oregon Trail. Please enter me in this giveaway.

Thank you for this giveaway.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Amy said...

Sounds great. Please enter me. Thanks.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Teresa Mathews said...

I can't wait to read this...the excerpt and trailer are absolutely marvelous! Thanks for the chance to win a copy. tsmathews61@gmail.com

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks for all your encouragement, ladies! I am now working on the third book in this series.

margie said...

So looking forward to reading The Lady's Maid. I'm sure it is going to be a great read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy! margie at mijares dot net

Katie McCurdy said...

Oh, do include me in the drawing for this. I've seen the book around and would very much like to read it. Thanks!

~ Katie
agirlslegacy(at)yahoo(dot)com

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