Part of the fun of starting a new book is doing the research for it. In my popular five star Regency time-travel, THE QUESTING BOX, I needed a “device” that would send twenty-first century Rae Santini back to Regency England. I decided on a mysterious box that was an heirloom for her family. This box would be called, naturally, a questing box.
The act of going on a quest is a journey of self-discovery. Questing involves leaving the known world to explore one’s spiritual roots, obtain healing and knowledge, and then hopefully, return home with these new understandings. The Gypsy culture plays an important role in this novel, and to help me with this, I obtained a really cool resource book, GYPSIES OF BRITAIN, by Brain Vesley-Fitzgerald. That book and the internet gave me insights into the Romani people and their language that in turned, helped to give life to my characters.
TAKING A CHANCE--TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY STYLE--
As the adult child of an alcoholic, Rae Santini struggles with unnecessary guilt. If only she was a better person. If only she could have helped her father. If only he hadn’t died. So when a Questing Box comes her way, she longs to turn back the clock to save him. But she had been just eight at the time of his death; she hadn’t been ready to embark upon a healing journey. Eighteen years later, the mysterious box is gifted to her. She figures she has nothing to lose so she opens the box...
TAKING A CHANCE--NINETEENTH CENTURY STYLE--
James Bonnell, the Earl of Blackburne, dreads returning to his family’s estate for Christmas. His parents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Litchfield, not only belittle his political career, but most urgently insist that he marry to beget an heir. As it turns out, he had intended to bring home a bride, however the “lady” in question is too free with her favors. Disheartened, James is on his way to Litchfield when he encounters an unconscious Rae. He quickly bundles her up and takes her to a nearby Gypsy encampment. A risky idea then comes to mind. Perhaps this attractive wood nymph will consent to a masquerade and act as his countess... just for the holidays?
Artist’s rendering of a possible cover
Rae Santini plans to go on a quest to heal herself. What she doesn’t know is that she must travel back to the past to do it.
THE QUESTING BOX is available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com, in addition to other internet locations. It’s has earned multiple 5 star reviews at Amazon.com and Goodreads and has quickly become a reader favorite!
This book is part of the prestigious Elegant Regencies line.
Here’s a tidbit from real life. In THE QUESTING BOX, Rae reconnects with her childhood by joining a Regency skating party. She’d first lived in the Northeast where snow is plentiful, and then later moved to Miami. No snow there! So when she finds herself on the James’ father’s estate with its own private lake, she’s delighted to try skating again. I also grew up in the Northeast where I learned to skate, too. Then later, I moved to Miami--no ice skating there! However, now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m not as brave as Rae. There will be no more ice skating parties for me!
Below is a picture of a typical Regency outing. The men have on skates--sharp double-edged blades with metal soles that were secured by leather straps--while the woman seated in a chair on the ice is pushed around by her escort.
Drawn by Diana Sperling, 1/2/1817
The following passage describes Rae’s first try on the ice.
Concentrating her gaze on the solid ice below, Rae first took mincing steps. With James’ encouragement, she slowly lengthened her stride. The path of her skating blades cut incredibly fine particles of ice, sending splashes of ice outward, almost like a mist. The noise of her skates, along with James’ skates and the others’, combined into cutting, scraping sounds that then echoed out from the lake and up to the icy trees of the woods.
“Oh, James! Skating is just as I remembered. It’s so exhilarating!”
His emerald green eyes sparkled as brightly as the morning dew. “I am happy if you are happy.”
Happy didn’t even begin to describe what she was feeling. It was as if she’d been transported to her childhood in Boston, to when she and her father had skated together. Back then, her father had taught her but, sooner than she’d wanted, he had insisted she go solo.
Now was her time to go solo again.
“I’m going to spread my wings now.” Pulling away from James’ arm, she took even longer strides. She quickly reached the next grouping of pine trees, circled around to face him, and then, with a swoosh, came to a stop.
I hope you enjoy Rae and James’ love story.
Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!