The History Girls: Don’t you Dare Forget About Me By L.J. Trafford

Reading the Res Gestae for the first time is an interesting experience, the boastful tone is at odds with our modern sensibilities where achievements must be downplayed, and we must act humble and grateful when rightfully rewarded. Or at least you do when you’re British. Probably the nearest analogy I can find to the Res Gestae is a job application and that box that asks you to, ‘explain why we should appoint you to the position of xxxx using examples.’ Which you fill in with an account of how you have made a glorious success of every job you’ve ever held and how much everyone loved you for that, even if you didn’t and they didn’t. But nobody ever got offered a job interview by downplaying their successes or referencing the time they completely cocked up a project.

The History Girls: Don’t you Dare Forget About Me By L.J. Trafford

Sample Saturday: “Rose in Bloom”

Hi, everyone. Rose in Bloom is with a beta reader; I’m sure there will be some tweaks to come, but I hope to release the novella soon. As always, this snippet is from a draft that may well change. Enjoy!

Rose in BloomI poured the lemonade, a little surprised that I didn’t spill any. My hands trembled, which was utterly ridiculous.

He was just the gardener, for crying out loud … and I’d be gone in, what was it now, five months? Dimples … and a gorgeous mouth … and six-pack abs … shouldn’t make me so weak in the knees.

“I’ll fix us some sandwiches,” I said, trying to break the tension.

“Do you need help,” Gareth asked.

“No, you finish up out here; I’ll bring the lunch when it’s ready.” The idea of being in close quarters with him was more than I was ready to handle.

I came back outside with a stack of sandwiches and a more calm demeanor. We sat down to eat, and things seemed normal again.

Gareth asked about my book, and I talked about the romance novel I was writing … and the lay-off that had put me in a position to take this time away to live in Wisteria Cottage while I worked on it. I felt as though I were talking with a dear old friend, and the questions he asked when he found out I was writing a romance were intelligent and far from the condescension I’d come to expect from dates who called my hobby “Mommy porn.”

Weekend Reads: “Death and Hard Cider”

Death and Hard Cider (Benjamin January, #19)Death and Hard Cider by Barbara Hambly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s election time (Van Buren v. William H. Harrison), and Henry Clay has come to town to campaign. Benjamin January and his little orchestra have been engaged to play at parties for both sides, which means they see a good deal of scandal. Clay’s son, James, has set his cap for the beautiful Marie-Joyeuse Maginot who, in turn, is in love with Daniel Aubin — who is married, but has a plaçée named Zandrine. Zandrine’s mother, Catherine, was Benjamin’s first love as a boy. So, there are all kinds of entanglements.

When Marie-Joyeuse is killed, Catherine is the number one suspect — because Daniel has put her daughter aside at Mademoiselle Maginot’s request. No one cares about exonerating a woman of color except Benjamin and his friends, and their unlikely white compatriot, Sheriff Abishag Shaw. So, they set about solving the mystery.

The book is populated with historical persons and events, along with a first-rate “whodunnit.” The eventual reveal took me completely by surprise (which is hard to do). I love this series (although there have been a couple I liked a little less) and it never ceases to delight. Benjamin, his friends and family, and the people around them feel like well-rounded, real people rather than characters on a page. Highly recommended.

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On the Power and Purpose of Historical Fiction ‹ Literary Hub

History, like our memories, gets rewritten with each retelling, gets reshaped by the consciousness of each generation. We bend and frame historical facts to justify wars, exploitation, revenge. Or to evoke patriotic resistance, heroism, and the will to survive.

Writers and poets, too, have done it for centuries.

I pick and choose the stories I tell, which in itself is an act of bending. I choose stories that reveal something fundamental to me, a 21st-century woman of my experience and sensitivity. I have no illusion that mine is the ultimate truth. Others will come up with a different story.

On the Power and Purpose of Historical Fiction ‹ Literary Hub