Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Books & Writing -- Rosslyn Elliott

Rosslyn Elliott is one of my favorite authors. Her books are stunning works of art. If you haven't read one, now is a good time to start. You can begin with her new release, Lovelier Than Daylight, which is the third book in The Saddler's Legacy series. You might want to begin at the beginning with book one, Fairer Than Morning, an exquisite debut novel.

Rosslyn has graciously agreed to share an excerpt from Lovelier Than Daylight.


Chapter One

Ohio, 1875

Tall grass and wildflowers blocked her view and stranded her in the middle of the meadow. Susanna’s arms prickled as if someone watched her—but surely no one else was out here in the country, on this June morning already hot and breathless.
     Scores of fleabane daisies studded the wall of grass like flat yellow eyes, unblinking. The heavy air pressed from all sides, its stillness broken only by the hum of a wasp that circled above her head.
     Her sister needed her. She must get to the farmhouse as soon as she could. She gripped the handle of her heavy valise with both hands and pushed through the grass, peering for marks of passage to keep her on the overgrown path. Her back grew warm under her bustled polonaise and corset, and her petticoat dampened beneath her skirt. She wanted to lift her curls away from her neck and fan herself, but she trudged on. At least her straw hat kept the sun out of her eyes.
     This summer refused to relent, with its constant liquid heat, harsh as the burn of whiskey on the tongue. Susanna had tasted a sip of whiskey once, at her father’s request. He wanted her to know its flavor so curiosity could never tempt her, even though she promised him drink held no allure for her. Whiskey had done more than enough harm already.
     She would not think of that. She was here to bring companionship and merriment to her sister and her children before she headed off to college in Westerville.
     In her valise she had a surprise that would entertain them for hours—layers and layers of thin paper in seven colors. With it she would show her nieces and nephews how to make something wondrous, exact replicas of the flowers in her botany book. She could not wait to see the joy of creation ease their cares, at least for the few days she was with them. A smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. The children would crowd around and ask with bright eyes what was in her valise—they knew there would always be a surprise. She only wished she could give them more.
     A brick chimney poked above the grass, which finally opened to a clearing. Her sister’s house squatted ahead with its familiar, peeling white planks. Rusted farm tools lay by its walls, and the fields beyond bore only a sparse cover of wilting corn. But any neglect was not Rachel’s fault. With a lazy husband and six little ones to feed, Rachel could not go out in the fields and do everything herself.
     Susanna hurried forward, her shoulders aching from the pull of the valise.
     Why hadn’t the children come out to greet her? Clara or Wesley should be out doing their chores, even if the little ones stayed inside.
     She stopped. Something had happened to the flowerbeds. The blooms lay crushed and browned along the foundation of the house. Her throat knotted—Rachel must be so sad. The only color and luxury at the home had come from the flowers she had so patiently watered and weeded. All dead now.
     She set her luggage at the bottom of the stoop, climbed up and knocked. No answer. She laid a tentative hand on the knob and pushed the door open a crack. “Rachel?” Her call sank into eerie silence. Her stomach hollowed and she gripped the knob tighter. She eased the door open. The small parlor with its threadbare furniture was empty.
     A few steps took her into the dim hallway and back to the bedroom. No one was there. The sheets were rumpled, the quilt hung on the floor, and the baby’s cradle was empty. Something was wrong—her breathing quickened.
     No, she must not panic. Perhaps her nieces and nephews were upstairs, caring for Rachel there. In her most recent letter, she’d mentioned having a mild fever. If she were still feverish, Clara and Wesley would be caring for her, as their father would be of little help.
The motionless, musty heat of the house gave her a queasy feeling, but she climbed the narrow stairs in the hall anyway. There were two bedrooms upstairs, one for the two older boys and one for the three girls.
     “Clara?” she said into the stillness. Both bedroom doors were open, and an unpleasant odor seeped out. A cold flutter started in her chest. She pulled her handkerchief from her skirt pocket and steeled herself to step up to the doorway. It was too quiet. Clutching the handkerchief to her nose, she edged forward.
     The room was in shambles, and vacant. The odor came from a few soiled diapers strewn across the floor with flies creeping over them. An old quilt lay in a heap on the bed, as if the children had been playing with it. This was not like Rachel at all. Difficult as her circumstances might be, she had always kept her home clean and orderly. Susanna tried to swallow but her mouth was paper dry.

What a fabulous beginning! I can't wait to read the rest of the book. How about you? Rosslyn is offering a FREE COPY to one reader. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your email address and I'll draw the winner's name one week from today. 

Rosslyn Elliott is the child of a career military man. She lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. She attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in English and Theater Studies. Five years later, after a stint as a high school teacher, she entered the Ph D program at Emory University and finished her dissertation in 2006. Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction.

Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southern United States, where they all enjoy playing with their dogs and working with their horses.

If you'd like to learn more about Rosslyn and her books please stop in at her website at http://www.rosslynelliott.com/.


  1. Anonymous1:25 AM


  2. Would love to win this book. I haven't read any of her books yet. I'll have to look up one of her books to read next. Thanks for the chance to win.


  3. I would love to win this book! I haven't read any of her books yet. Looks like I'll have to pick up one of her books to read next. Thanks for the chance to win!


  4. I love the title and the book sounds great. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.


  5. I have heard so many good things about Roslyn's books. Looking forward to reading her work!
    Great post.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  6. I love Rosslyn and this book sounds great!

  7. Pam K.4:55 PM

    I read the first book in this series and really liked it. I'd love a chance to win a copy of Lovelier Than Daylight.


  8. Amanda, thanks for stopping by!

    Wendy, I'm glad you like the title. All three of the novels in the series ended up titled from a Harriet Beecher Stowe hymn lyric, which was completely Providential and a cool story in itself.

    Amy, thank you and I wish you the best with the drawing!

    TC- Good to see you here! Thanks for coming by and for your kindness.

    Pam, all the best with the drawing. Thanks for reading Fairer than Morning.

  9. Anonymous12:18 PM



  10. Anonymous3:40 PM

    This sounds like a very good book and I would love to win it. I love the cover picture. Thanks!
    Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

  11. Anonymous4:53 PM

    This book sounds great, and I plan to read it some day. I would love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you so much!


  12. Anonymous1:13 PM

    I forgot to mention that my email server was gmail, so again my email is:
    Thank you!

  13. I read this author when I can find a book, good stories, thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

  14. What a lovely cover! I'd love to win a copy and read a new author to me :)
    dkstevensneAToutlookD OtCoM