Friday, July 1, 2011

A Mother for the Seasonings: A description and an excerpt

For some time I have been meaning to satisfy my readers' curiosity and give you a back-of-the-book blurb about A Mother for the Seasonings. For what good is a post about The Seasonings if you poor people don't give a hoot over who they are or why in tarnation we care about them! ;)
So without further ado, I give you an introduction.

Basil, Rosemary, Angelica, Dill, and Fennel, the children of a widowed British officer, love their life. With a doting father, plenty of money, vivid imaginations, and the run of Cape Farsight, what more could they want? It would seem they need nothing else. Until the children decide to find a wife for their father and a mother for themselves. But how to go about it? They can't tell their papa their scheme--that would ruin it. And they can't ask for help from the OLAF. (Old Ladies Against Fun) But faint heart never won fair lady, so to speak, and the children will not be daunted. They'll simply do the courting on their own.
Thus begins a hysterical, touching, adventurous, bitter-sweet, whirl-wind summer of visiting prospective mothers. But things do not go quite as planned. Something always seems to get in the way of complete success. It could be Miss Lorraine Simms who, to the children's shock, is old enough to be their grandmother and bitter to boot. It could be the beautiful Ana Vasselieve who has taken her vows a moment too soon and exits the abbey, a nun, just as the Seasonings arrive.
Whatever the reason, none of the women are the right fit for such a family.
Will they ever find a mother? Will this ache ever go away? And will they get through the summer without ruining the Seasoning reputation?
Written from the oldest son, Basil's perspective, and set against the vivid backdrop of British East India during the Victorian Era, A Mother for the Seasonings is sure to make you laugh, cry, and hope for a happily ever after.

There you go! :D What do you think? Would you read such a book? Let me know! :) Oh yes. And here is an excerpt to tempt you further. :)

"By the following morning I had had sufficient time for my anger to rise against Dill. Wounded pride fed the flame of irritation in my heart. I sulked in the icehouse, fanning the flame until it roared into a wildfire of indignation.
If Dill had not opened his mouth and proposed to Sister Ana, we would never have been humiliated.
Since when had I given the authority for anyone else to do the proposing? True, Angie had helped me along now and then, but what did that matter? Dill had gone too far and made fools of us in front of a whole abbey full of nuns.
What would be the best way to punish this mutinous behavior? After all, I was the oldest child, and since I couldn't quite bring the issue before Papa, I had to deal with it myself...Inspiration struck at that moment. Dill's pudding! I jumped up from the sawdust floor and ran into the house. I skidded to a stop outside the parlor door. I peeped through a crack and beheld Dill putting together a jigsaw puzzle on the floor.
I cleared my throat and stepped through the door. "Dill, I need to talk to you."
'Oh? What about?' He squinted at a piece and placed it in the center of the puzzle. His coolness irked me.
"About your behavior yesterday afternoon. You humiliated us, you know. A real man would never have proposed to a nun." I crossed my arms and tapped my foot on the floor, waiting to see how Dill would take my words.
"I suppose I did," he said in even tones.
"I've decided to take away your pudding and treacle."
Dill gave no sign that he had heard me. He turned the puzzle pieces over with a studied air. My anger swelled.
"I'm taking it away," I said, "for a solid week."
Dill sat up and stretched. "I suppose I did cause a fuss. Very well, Basil, you know best."
I stared at him, incredulous. I had expected a fight, or at the very least a frantic protest. But here Dill sat agreeing with the cruel and unusual punishment as if I had merely remarked on the fineness of the weather.
Was he feeling quite well? I peered at his rosy face, wondering what malady possessed him.
Dill met my gaze, his eyes searching mine. "Well, isn't it about time we got on with the visiting? I'll call the girls."
Dill exited the room, leaving me silent and not a little bewildered. I shrugged. There was no use trying to fathom what his submission meant. It only worried me...
'Miss Piccalo will be right with you." The maid dropped another curtsey and left us to the mercies of the slippery chairs.
I thought a word of caution in order. "Remember, we aren't proposing unless we really think we want Miss Piccalo for a mother. And this time I'll do the asking."
I shot a glance at Dill, but his face was turned toward the walls of the regally decorated room.
Chocolate brown and gold-striped paper met walnut wainscoting halfway down the walls. The trim of the doors and ceiling was gilded, and even the drapes in the deeply set windows were a rich sugary color. Tall curio cabinets filled with beautiful shells and figurines stood on either side of the ornate doors. A large plush rug bedecked with brown and red roses occupied the very center of the room. My feet sank into its velvety depths.
'Isn't this a wonderful way to live?" Angie gave a delighted little bounce that sent her sliding to the floor. "Oh mercy." She scrambled back upon her chair as the sound of light footsteps approached.
A moment later Miss Lily Piccalo appeared, looking cool as cream in her white gown. Her light brown hair was coaxed back from her face and she smiled at us warmly before sitting down.
"How are you children doing?" She perched herself like a dainty bird on a horsehair chair and folded her hands in her lap.
"We are quite well. Thank you," Rosemary answered.
"The weather is quite warm today, isn't it?" Miss Piccalo fanned herself gently with a paper fan.
I nodded and fidgeted with my tie. "Yes ma'am."
At this point I discovered that visiting a person alone was much different that visiting with a grown-up. I couldn't for the life of me think of what to say next.
Rosemary smoothed the ribbons on her hat and bit her lip.
"Did you enjoy your trip to Europe?" Angie asked.
Miss Lily leaned forward in her chair. "Oh yes, ever so much. I filled dozens of notebooks with sketches. It was absolutely lovely."...
Shortly, the maid appeared with a large stack of sketchbooks.
"You may each take one and look through it." Miss Piccalo took Fennel upon her lap. "If you want ot hear about any of the places, just ask me. There were so many interesting things to see and do. To tell you the truth, I was just thinking that I'd like to tell my adventures to someone who was truly interested in hearing them."
We all laughed at the funny little confession, and Miss Piccalo's easy manner soon put us at ease.
For the next hour she showed us her sketches and told us wondrous stories of lands where real kings and queens ruled, where the native people were as fair as ourselves, and where the climate was so cold that snow stayed on the mountain peaks till the middle of July.\
At last, when the conversation was drawing to a close, I telegraphed 'the question' to Rosemary. She nodded ever so slightly.
I cleared my throat. "Miss Piccalo, I have an important question to ask you."
She smiled. "Yes?"
"You see, Miss Piccalo, we haven't had a mother for years. Our own mother died, you know. Papa has seemed very lonely ever since then, and we've all gone a bit wild without a woman in the house. In short, we would like to ask you if you will marry Papa and become our mother. I know you'd be happy."
"Children, I...cannot agree to your proposal without knowing much more. Would your father be a kind husband? Is he a Christian? Would I be comfortable? Is he financially stable?" Miss Piccalo seemed to be talking to herself, her eyes fixed on some place distant. Her cheeks flushed with excitement.
Rosemary touched her hand with an appealing expression. "Papa is a wonderful father--I'm sure he'd be a kind husband."
Dill popped the last half of a tart into his mouth. "Yes, he is a good least when he remembers to give us supper."
"Your father forgets to feed you?" Miss Piccalo looked quizzically at Dill's round face.
"Yes. And then Angie and Fenny have to dance in the market for money so that we can buy food." Dill smiled. "And if you come, you'd better bring all your clothes. You're lucky yesterday was laundry day. We might have had to visit in our underclothes because we only have one set of clothes each." Dill paused for a moment, leaving us dumb and in a great state of shock. I could not believe my ears.
After taking a sip or two of lemonade, he continued. "As for being a Christian, I suppose he is, but most Sundays he stuffs bits of cotton in his ears so he can't hear the sermon and spends the collection dime on whiskey."
Angie found her voice at last. "Dill Vervain Octavius Seasoning!"
She took a breath after delivering the long name, but Dill used this pause to continue his string of absurdities.
"As for being comfortable, I'm sure you would be fine if you didn't mind a mattress as thin as an old man's hair. We all have to use our mattresses for ten years, because Papa says he can't afford a housekeeper, much less new mattresses."
I wanted to protest at the top of my voice and defend papa, but the lies were so absurd that I could only sit there gaping like a fool as Dill's falsehoods grew into a new and horrible reputation for the Seasoning name..."

Hope you enjoyed that! Let me know what you think! Should I do any more excerpts? Oh yes! and stay tuned for the first of hopefully many author interviews, coming soon! ~Rachel


Hannah Grace said...

Haha! Dill reminds me of my own brother. ;D Great story!!!

Carilyn said...

That was a great excerpt! Now I need to get on with reading the rest of it... =) It will be interesting to see the author interviews!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic, Rachel! You did a fabulous job. I'd love to read the whole thing... let me know when it's published! ;)

Anonymous said...

Love this!