Hear an author reading from Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones @heatherosejones on this episode of Book Clips, the mini podcast where authors and narrators give you a taste of a book with a short snippet.
Listen to this episode here
The streets are a perilous place for a young laundry maid dismissed without a character for indecent acts. Roz knew the end of the path for a country girl alone in the city of Rotenek. A desperate escape in the night brings her to the doorstep of Dominique the dressmaker and the hope of a second chance beyond what she could have imagined. Roz’s apprenticeship with the needle, under the patronage of the royal thaumaturgist, wasn’t supposed to include learning magic, but Celeste, the dressmaker’s daughter, draws Roz into the mysterious world of the charm-wives. When floodwaters and fever sweep through the lower city, Celeste’s magical charms could bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor of Rotenek, but only if Roz can claim the help of some unlikely allies.
Set in the magical early 19th century world of Alpennia, Floodtide tells an independent tale that interweaves with the adventures.
A stand-alone book in the Alpennia series (Alpennia #4)
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Transcript for Today’s Show
Please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect.
You are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book hello I’m Heather Rose Jones and I’ll be reading from the opening of my new novel flood-tide although flood-tide is the fourth book in my opinion historic fantasy series it can be read as a standalone without any prior knowledge of the series or characters you know the scent of lavender and fresh sheets when you take them from the linen press you breathe it in remembering the long rows of purple flowers in the summer Sun you think of the smile on the mystras face when she settles in for the night with that scent still lingering that’s what I always imagined love would be like but loving nan was like stripping the lavender spikes and that guy too still room back in st. Paul the Chartres prison filled my head and the memory of it clung to my hands and my clothes I’d say the prayers to Saint Keller with my aunt as we distilled lavender water and mixed herbs to add to the soap sometimes I’d get a warm stretchy feeling at the base of my belly like the one I got during the mysteries at church when I was in the middle of the lavender harvest I’d forget about everything else I wouldn’t think about how lucky I was the dank guide to picked me from my brothers and sisters to learn a trade and teach me how to behave proper and service I’d forget about tending the boiler where the linens were soaking my mind would wander off and she’d box by ears and threatened to send me back home to mind the babies I knew she didn’t mean it but the scent was that strong it could drive everything else out of my head loving nan was like that never free of thinking of her I’d watch her from the laundry room door as she went up and down the stairs to the family rooms and find excuses to call her over to ask about some mending she brought down I’d lean close and breathe in how lovely she smelled that at night even when were so tired we could barely talk we’d kiss and cuddle in the narrow bed we shared nan was the one who taught me what to do with that feeling in my belly we’d never meant it to go further than the ordinary sort of keeping company most girls and service have a special friend you get lonely away in the city with no family about but it did go further I was so hungry for nan we’d be up late into the night trying not to make noise and wake Mari in the next bed and then stumbling bleary-eyed through the morning chores I don’t think Mari told on us why would she but someone did that morning Miffy Boland the housekeeper took nan back into her parlour and closed the door for a long time I watched the door until nan came out crying she ran upstairs without looking at me Mullin saw me standing there and took me by the arm without a word and dragged me out the door across the yard and out the back gate then threw me down onto the cobbles I was yelling and crying all the way begging to know what I’d done wrong Mullin looked down at me like I was a rat she’d found in the soup you little whore she’s fat don’t you play the innocent with me we’ll have none of your filthy ways here at first I didn’t know what she meant I never I began and then I thought about Nan’s face you think all sorts of silly things in a moment like that I thought about how ashamed mama would be if I came home and disgrace when they’d worked so hard to find me a good position I worried about not being able to say goodbye to nan I thought how the table linens were soaking in lye and would anyone think to take them out I remembered that my second dress and good bonnet the ones a ward at church were up in my room the silliest thing was that’s what I asked about my clothes Mullin laughed and slammed the gate in my face whistle for them she said went back into the house I stood there for ages shivering in the cold and stamping my feet in the snow I stared at the back steps with my hands on the bars of the gate like it was a jail except I was locked out not in up at the top of the house the curtain moved in the room I shared with nan and Mari but no one looked out what had Malin said to nan would she be dismissed – I’d wait there at the gate until I knew finally the back door opened but it wasn’t nan or even Mullin it was one of the footmen Yannick swaggering down the steps and over to where I’d stood I’d never had anything to do with the footman you get in trouble that way we’d always seemed friendly enough before now he sneered what are you still doing here getting on with you I was going to sass him back but my teeth were chattering too much so when he doubled up a fist reached for the latch of the gate I turned and ran stumbling down the lane I slowed down when I didn’t hear him following running like that’s how you end up slipping on the cobbles and falling into the wet and muck the part of my head that was starting to think knew that every mistake I made from now on would pull me further and farther down if I’d been born in Rota neck and knew the city better I would have known places where girls who’d lost their character could hole up and keep safe but I’d come straight from st. Paul to the Phillips house it had all been arranged with the agency before I arrived riding wedged in the driver’s seat of Papa’s delivery wagon and gaping at the crowded streets and tall houses I only stopped at the agency long enough to show them the letter promising me the position and to get directions thinking of Papa made me start crying what would I tell him when the next quarter Day came around and I didn’t have any pay to send what would they think if I disappeared and never even wrote to explain what they think I’d run off to get married I always figured I’d get married someday when I’d saved enough at least I always figured I’d get married someday before I met an and then I wasn’t sure I’d never met a boy that made me feel like she did it didn’t matter now I’d disappear and they’d think I’d gotten in trouble and been too ashamed to go home I had just not the kind of trouble they think it was maybe and I too would write to the agency and ask after me but they wouldn’t know a thing the agency my mind fixed on that the matron there had said people were always looking for strong country girls to hire they could find me a new place people didn’t hire in the middle of the quarter regular like but if someone needed help maybe they wouldn’t ask questions that idea gave me somewhat particular to go I hurried a bit as fast as I could without slipping I didn’t know if they’d be open it was all the way down toward the niccola plights I passed it by regular when nan and I had a half day off we went to gawk at the stranger’s market so I knew I could find it again I thought my luck had turned because I saw the door open and a girl came out followed by the matron you come back tomorrow for directions and don’t you lose her character she handed the girl a packet of paper that was when I knew how foolish I had been it didn’t have my letter of character from the priest back in st. Paul it was with my things up in the attic room and they’d want one from the fillers to the matron saw me standing there staring at her when I didn’t say anything she turned and shut the door again I’d lost my character in every way there was nothing for me here it was dark I’ve never been down near the niccola flights at night before I’d never been much of anywhere outside the house after dark I could smell the stink of the river even through the cold but it didn’t stop my stomach from nagging at me I’d been hungry before that was why I got sent to live with that guy too I knew it wouldn’t be too bad at first but if he stayed hungry too long and it was all you could think about and I needed to think about finding work there were market booths at the plights and I thought maybe if I helped someone pack up they’d give me a bike that wasn’t worth keeping over till tomorrow but others were there before me the ragged children I’d seen around the niccola plights had given me the idea after all I stopped counting how many times I heard know the whole plates was nearly empty by then and lit only by people carrying lanterns as they crossed the pavement between the church and the river thinking of their homes and Supper’s waiting a group of men huddled around a brazier with a fire going but when I wandered close one of them turned and said hey sweetheart you looking to get warm tonight I can help with that nan always teased me about being an innocent but I knew what he meant I shook my head and turned away trying to look like I had somewhere to go that night lasted forever and sometimes I still wake up thinking I’m walking through the darkness trying not to be seen by the City Watch or worse the next day was almost as bad I was hungry by then and stared at the beggars on the steps of the church I wasn’t a beggar I thought of what mama and aunt gaita would say if they saw me sitting there with my hand out to strangers asking for a bit of bread then I tried not to think about them because I didn’t want to start crying again I spent all day in the market asking for work but no one had any at least not for me when dusk came I slipped into st. Nicholas Church I only meant to stay a little while long enough to get out of the cold they have to let you come in if you want to pray and I was praying at first I had a lot to pray for I sat near the front by one of the side chapels where there was a brazier I worked through all the prayers they taught me at the Oracle school back in st. Paul they ended up just begging God to help me so I wouldn’t freeze to death it wasn’t a proper prayer at all but I didn’t want to go back outside I was tired and I thought I could pray as easily with my eyes closed so I leaned into the corner of the bench and kept saying my Ave and Potter because they were the ones I didn’t have to think hard to remember when I opened my eyes there was a bit of light shining through the colored windows and someone had put a blanket over me that made me sit up quick when I noticed it one of the priests was standing there watching me I scrambled to my feet and folded the blanket in a rush but still neatly like ant guy did it taught me I was too embarrassed to look up when I handed it to him and said thank you Father with a little curtsy as I tried to tuck my hair under my cap and make sure it was on straight which would like a bit of bread to break your fast he asked now I did look up I wasn’t going to refuse that not when he looked at me so kind like there wasn’t anything wrong with sleeping the night on a Pew because he had nowhere else to go the priest watched me while I ate not the sort of sharp eye that folks had given me in the plights last night but like he was trying to figure me out I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before yesterday he began I shook my head no we went to st. Chris up by the plait snuff he nodded as if that told him something it probably did the plate snuff was mostly big houses someone like me who lived there would be in service and you need work wasn’t a question really so I shrugged can you read and write that was an odd thing to ask but I nodded the Auris holes had a grammar school back in st. Paul and I can do sums not just tallies for the laundry but accounts and such he smiled a little at that would you like a more comfortable place to sleep there’s a place I know that helps girls like you before they get into trouble you aren’t I knew exactly what sort of trouble he meant and quickly shook my head thank you Father later that morning he led me to an old stone building maybe as old as the palace itself there were women and girls everywhere and that was what I first noticed it was all girls and I wondered if it was a convent they were all wearing gray uniforms with white pinafores and caps which made me think it as well but the older women didn’t look like nuns except for the colors the woman in the office where he took me was a stern as old Mullen and the office was much the same all bare and stiff she rose saying father Matsu I received your note what have you brought me today he pushed me forward and I made a little curtsy and said good morning by stress I wasn’t sure about the maestra part because she looked so important and she might have been a master instead maestra nantan priest said this is russell Pearman she’s very recently felling on hard times and I think the poor scholars might keep her from falling further maestra Naughton looked me over with the same hard look the matron at the agency had well-wrought sild if we take you in you’ll learn a good trade and make something of yourself the poor scholars aren’t a workhouse or a charity no one will force you to do the work if you don’t do your best you’re out the door and if you’re going to be troubled you aren’t in the door to begin with did you steal anything the question was like a slap no of course not don’t lie to me girl she said everyone in service steals something even if it’s the dinner leftovers that wasn’t fair because the dinner leftovers belonged to the cook so if she gave them out it wasn’t stealing I said I didn’t wait at table she gave a little harrumph are you pregnant girl I felt my face crow hot father Matsu hadn’t said it in as many words I shook my head and looked down at the floor we’re here to keep girls out of trouble not pull them up after they’ve fallen so tell me why were you dismissed if it had only been my Stern Antin I could have made up a story there are lots of reasons girls get turned off I could say that was lazy or that I’d been cheeky to the housekeeper my straw mountain might work me hard for it but I could make her believe it but you can’t lie to a priest I didn’t know if what nan and I did together would send me to hell but I knew that lying to a priest would even if wasn’t in confession and I couldn’t I just couldn’t say it my tongue stuck in my mouth because I didn’t even know what to say not in front of the two of them all the words I knew for it sounded rude and dirty the longer I stood there not saying anything the worse they thought of me and the more I started shaking until there was nothing left to do but turn and run out the door and back into the street I wasn’t back where I’d begun now I couldn’t even go back to st. Nicholas tonight you have been listening to Heather Rose Jones reading from the historic fantasy novel flood-tide you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more information.