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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#EXCERPT: The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini


Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

Publisher: Mill City Press (Nov 17, 2015) 
Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Pioneer Woman, Strong Female Character, Western 
Tour date Mar/Apr, 2017 
ISBN: 978-1634138291 
Available in Print & ebook, 
560 pages
  The Blue Hour

Description of Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

IN THIS EPIC TALE of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change—until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path. Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life. When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.

EXCERPT

Oregon
1864

Emily Wainwright Todd stood facing the rough doorway of the little cabin, willing herself to go inside. Behind her, the world huddled, gray and still, under the cold hard dome of winter. She could hear the ring of pickaxes from mines in the nearby mountains, the sound carrying for miles in the crystalline air. She rested her forehead against the cold doorframe and wished she could go back in time. She wouldn’t repeat the mistakes that had brought her here. If only she knew what to do. In the three days since Samuel’s death, she had been carried on the momentum of the funeral preparations. Now he was buried in the hard winter ground, and the neighbors were gone, returned to their unaltered lives. She was left to navigate hers without benefit of compass or map.
Her hands were numb from the cold: as numb as she felt inside. She would freeze if she stood out here any longer. But she couldn’t make herself take that step. It was too monumental. If only there were a ritual for such moments, when something as ordinary as entering a room seemed charged with meaning. But the time had come. Unless she wanted the neighbors to find her frozen body, she couldn’t put it off any longer. She took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside. She was twenty-eight years old, and, for the first time in her life, utterly alone.
She closed the door behind her and looked around, unsure of what to do next. The cabin was frigid – she could see her breath coming in white puffs. She went to the cast iron stove and peered inside: weak embers flickered in a pile of spent cinders. If she worked quickly she could revive them. She pulled the three-legged stool under her and carefully blew on the embers. They glowed beneath fluttering grey ash.
She fed kindling into the stove’s belly, grateful to have the next few moments decided for her. On any other day she’d have been preparing the mid-day meal for Samuel when he came in from the fields. She’d be spared that chore for a while: her table groaned under the weight of covered dishes brought by her neighbors, more than enough to see her through the next few rugged days. Like her, most of them were scraping by, even more so in winter. She knew well what their generosity had cost them.
She also knew that the few souls who had braved the bitter February wind at Auburn Cemetery had come out of respect for her. Samuel had made few friends in the short time they’d lived in the Blue Mountains of Oregon: he’d kept to himself and preferred that she do the same. She’d rewarded the mourners with a brief service. Why make them stand in the cold and sing hymns for someone they barely knew? She’d watched impassively as the men strained to dig Samuel’s grave in the frozen earth: their efforts would soon be over, while her struggle was just beginning. Few could survive alone in this harsh land, let alone a woman. They must assume it was only a matter of time before she packed up and returned to her family in Illinois.
She laid a small log on the fire and watched the clinging lichens burst into flame. The woodsy fragrance embraced her like an old friend as the crackling fire grew, magical and alive.
Fool! You’re wasting the flame.
She clamped her hands over her ears in despair: it was Samuel’s voice, lodged forever in her mind. She had instinctively braced herself for it. His harsh judgment would live in her head for all eternity. She would never be free.

Praise for Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

“All of Righettini’s characters are well-rounded, in particular Emily herself, whose personal growth throughout the novel is richly detailed and memorable.”-Historical Novel Society
 “This novel is about second chances and the courage needed to take them. The most compelling aspects of The Blue Hour are not the vivid, expansive descriptions of life on the vast (and seemingly never-ending) Oregon Trail or the well-drawn characters who dance (and often trudge) between hardship and hope. Instead, the brightest lights burst forth from nuanced moments tucked throughout the story. Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.”-Underground Book Reviews
“The Blue Hour is one of the finest historical novels I've ever read. You will love the author's writing and the detailed historical references. The characters are vividly portrayed, and I felt as if I knew them well. Long after I'd finished reading, I still thought about the story. It's part adventure, part love story, and part survival. Highly recommended.”-Ann Creel, Author

About Vicki Righettini

Blue Hour by Vicki RighettiniVicki Righettini is an award-winning, nationally produced playwright, and her recently-published historical novel, The Blue Hour, was a badge winner and Pitch Perfect Pick at Underground Books. Originally from Los Angeles, Vicki lived in Oregon for over twenty years, where she developed an abiding love of the land and the Oregon way of life. Before turning to full-time writing, she worked for forty years as a singer/actress and performing arts instructor.
Her blog, Between a Book and a Hard Place, focuses on the ups and downs of the creative process (http://www.vickirighettini.com).
 Vicki lives in San Diego with her software-developer, Jeopardy!-champion husband, and the world's shyest cat.
 Facebook: http://bit.ly/2h2UZGy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VRighettini

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  Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini

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