"In her fourteen years of life Cora Lesley hasn't met with much that she'd call adventure. Beyond The Accident, there hasn't even been anything worth writing down as her "life story". That is until the stock-market crashes on October 29, 1929 and Cora and her sister's family lose everything. They are forced to leave their cozy home in the Mid-West to move to a shabby seaside town. Does Puddleby Lane hold a promise of adventure? It seems so. The discovery of the Secret Place, the budding friendship with Captain Boniface and his queer home, The Bonny Addie, and even the change of scenery all point to new experiences for Cora. But when calamity touches the family and a shadow falls across Puddleby Lane, the question arises: Will Cora, Maggie, and the children be force to go through yet another storm, or will this new set of adventures teach them to lean more than ever on the Everlasting Arms?"
And to capture (hopefully) your attention further, I have provided an excerpt. As always, my work is copyrighted, and therefore cannot be stolen. Please acknowledge this and know that the law is on my side. *shakes fist at the thieves flocking this blog* ;) Oh! And please also realize that this is rough-cut with not a scrap of editing done yet, so don't judge me. ;)
Without further ado, an excerpt from Puddleby Lane, Chapter Four: Blackest of Days
Cora ran into the kitchen and tied an apron around her waist stepping across Mildred, the fat gray tabby cat. “Say, Maggie? Can we turn on the radio?”
Maggie’s hands were covered in soap bubbles. She brushed a strand of hair away from her forehead with her wrist. “Let’s sing together instead, k' ?”
“Perfect!” A little fountain of happiness burbled in Cora’s heart and sent a spring to her step. She and Maggie hadn’t sung together in ages. Cora poured some more soap flakes into the sink for Maggie and swished the water vigorously until the suds piled high. Then she took a stack of wet plates from the counter and gently wiped them with a linen towel.
“What’ll it be first, Cora? Sweet Adeline?”
Cora giggled. “Or Captain Jinks.”
“Or Yankee Doodle!”
“Or Believe Me If All Those Those Endearing Young Charms.” Cora’s cheekbones ached from smiling so much.
Maggie lowered her voice until it was as growly as Frank’s when he first woke up in the mornings. “Believe me if all those endearing young charms were to change by tomorrow and fade—” She broke off suddenly with a peal of laughter and leaned against the sink. “Oh, it’s useless, Cora. Frank sang that song when he was courting me—you remember the day when he and I took Daddy’s boat out on the river? Frank insisted on serenading me, and standing up to do it, but when he reached out to pick one of the water-lilies, the whole boat tipped over. I can’t sing it anymore without remembering the face he made as he fell!”
Cora joined in Maggie’s laughter. The picture Maggie’s words conjured was too funny—Frank was generally so dignified. To think of him falling with a great splash into the river and coming up again, perhaps with a bit of duck-weed clinging to his nose, was absurd.
“Perhaps you’re right. We’d better let the radio do our singing for us this morning.” Maggie dried her hands on her pretty print apron and walked to the cabinet radio in the living room. A crackling strain of music floated into the kitchen where Cora stood. She hummed along with the words as she washed the dishes, swishing the wash-rag in time to the beat. Maggie returned to the kitchen and took a bottle of milk from the icebox, setting it on the counter beside a plate of cookies. She reached into the cupboard for a glass.
They had just arrived at the bridge of the song when the music cut off suddenly. A voice, loud and harsh, broke in upon their senses, jarring Cora’s mind. “This just in from our correspondents. After an unprecedented rise in value, the stock markets on Wall Street have crashed.”
More than the stock-market crashed. Cora winced as she heard a shattering sound. She turned to see her sister, pale as death, standing in a puddle of milk and broken glass.
But Maggie hushed Cora and flew toward the radio. Cora followed and grabbed Dot in her arms to keep her away from the broken glass and clapped a hand over her mouth just in case the baby tried to talk.
“The damage is total,” the sonorous voice went on. “Many people have lost everything and all investors are in danger of damage to their fortunes. The public is in an uproar, and the police have had to be summoned to banks for the prevention of a rush. As always, we will keep you updated…”
Cora heard no more. She only saw Maggie sink into the armchair and cover her eyes with one hand. Underneath her fingers, still red from the dishwater, Maggie’s face was as white as the lace on her collar.
“Maggie, Maggie, what’s wrong? Don’t look like that!” Cora put Dot down on the carpet and shook Maggie’s shoulders gently.
Her sister laughed and sobbed hysterically. “Cora—oh Cora! Frank just invested every penny we owe in the stock markets last week. We’re ruined. Absolutely ruined.”
Ruined. The word tolled in Cora’s swirling mind like a death knell. Ruined. Ruined. Cora crumpled to the floor beside Maggie and took her sister’s free hand in both of her own. “Shhh…There, there, Maggie. It can’t be as bad as it sounds.”
Could it? Cora tried to steady her thoughts. Tried to grab a straw of reality in the garish nightmare around her. Something normal and tangible. She fingered the hem of Maggie’s apron and averted her eyes, unable to look at Maggie’s frightened face. But neither could she bear to be ignorant of the worst. Cora forced herself to smile and stroke Maggie’s cheek, keeping her eyes on Maggie’s. She must be strong—it was frightening to see her sister falling to pieces like this. “It’ll be all right, Maggie. Somehow we’ll be okay.”
Maggie composed herself with visible effort and wiped her eyes. Her breath came in straggling gulps, like a tattered butterfly trying to fly. “You’re right, Cora. I’m being a silly woman. We must be strong.”
“Mum-ma.” Dot picked herself up and clasped her chubby arms around Maggie’s neck.
Maggie laughed, but the usual music in its tones was drowned in tears. “Mama’s all right, dearest. I just had a bit of a fright, that’s all.”