Home blog tour Promo Blitz: Marianne’s Memory

Promo Blitz: Marianne’s Memory

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Historical Time Travel Romance
Date Published: March 2018
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Marianne’s Memory is the third novel in Winona Kent’s accidental time travel / historical romance series, featuring Charlie Duran and her 19th century companion Shaun Deeley.
A Beatles badge from 1965 accidentally sends Charlie and Shaun back to London at the height of the Swinging Sixties, where they’re mistaken for KGB spies and subjected to a terrifying interrogation.
Rescued by top-ranking MI5 agent Tony Quinn, they soon uncover the details of a child born out of wedlock to Charlie’s mum and the uncomfortable truth about Charlie’s dad’s planned marriage to selfish socialite Arabella Jessop.
Further complicating their journey into the past is Magnus Swales, an 18th century highwayman turned time-travelling assassin, and the timely arrival of William Deeley, Shaun’s father, who’s been persuaded to leap forward from 1790 in order to save Tony from Swales’s deadly mission.


Excerpt

CHAPTER 22
Friday August 13, 1965
Stoneford
Charlie couldn’t find Mr. Deeley.
She’d gone back downstairs with Justin and had walked with
him to the drawing room, where the party was now in full-swing.
Arabella, in her blue silk pyjamas, flitted between little gatherings of
people, some standing, some having made themselves at home on
the antique sofa or on similarly-upholstered armchairs.
“Buffet in the dining room!” she announced. “Two chefs,
darlings! All the way from London! And we’ve got a lovely
marquee tent set up outside for dancing…Giles’s band’s come to
play for us!”
Giles himself was lounging in a deep armchair beside the
fireplace, wearing a black velvet suit, with a navy blue shirt and a
purple brocade tie, surrounded by admirers: three impossibly-thin
girls with lavish makeup and long, straight hair who might have
been models; a bearded gentleman in a pink fur coat who was
describing his latest project—an art installation involving a square
block of concrete on top of which he’d placed a bent fork; and a
young man with a pudding-bowl mop of hair who looked
uncannily like Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones.
The air in the drawing room was filled with the smell and haze
of marijuana and hash. In another corner sat a large woman in a
flowing kaftan and sandals, strumming an autoharp which she held
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to her shoulder like a child needing to be freed of wind. She
seemed to be entertaining no one in particular, and yet an audience
was beginning to gather in front of her as they were introduced to
one another.
Arabella was in full hostess mode, dragging Justin into their
midst.
“Darling,” she said, to a distinguished-looking gentleman who
appeared to be someone who did something important at the BBC,
“do meet my lovely Justin…and of course Portia—Lord Wintle’s
daughter—”
Lord Wintle, Charlie recalled, was a British ambassador who
was posted somewhere that was in the thick of a coup. His
daughter had a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other and
was wearing knee boots and a see-through knitted dress that clung
to her lithe body like plastic wrap.
“Charmed,” said Portia, introducing, in turn, her friends Binky
and Pierre—Binky being the daughter of an existential poet serving
a sentence in prison for setting fires, and Pierre the son of an
American actor who’d been blacklisted for being a Communist and
had fled to England, where he’d found work as a talking milk bottle
on a children’s radio program.
And still, no sign of Mr. Deeley. Or Charlie’s mum. Or Tony
and William and Astrid.
Charlie turned away in frustration and negotiated her way
through the pop stars and the adult children from titled families
who were chummy with the Boswell-Thorpes, the glammy
socialites dripping in diamonds, the boutique owners and the
clothing designers and the actors and actresses and a fellow dressed
all in black who was taking candid photographs of everyone
without their permission because they all secretly longed to be
featured in one of his fabulous avant-garde exhibitions.
She found the servants’ stairs behind the breakfast room and
went down into the cellar, thinking she might find them there. But
the cellar seemed to be mostly abandoned, with all of its doors
locked. Even the big 19th century kitchen, which in 1825 had been
bustling with a cook and her assistant and assorted serving staff,
was inaccessible and dark, the Boswell-Thorpes having installed a
much more convenient—and functional—kitchen upstairs, beside
the breakfast room.
Annoyed, and still frustrated, Charlie made her way back to the
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171
main floor and outside, to see if Mr. Deeley was in the big marquee
tent that had been erected next to the manor’s west wing.
* * *
Shaun had, in fact, located both his father and Tony Quinn. His
father had been lingering in a hallway in the west wing of the
manor, between the dining room with the sitting room. It was not
so much a connecting passage as a room of its own, with a lavish
oriental Axminster carpet of blue, red and gold, and ceiling-to-floor
leaded windows embedded with patterns of stained glass and,
occupying pride of place, several full sets of armour, assembled and
erected as if ready to do battle.
“But this is marvellous,” William said, spying Shaun as he
entered from the dining room. “This is beyond anything I have
ever beheld…if only Lord and Lady Ellington could be here to
share my wonder.”
“I suspect,” Shaun observed, “that if Lord and Lady Ellington
were here, they might be confounded by your mingling with the
master and mistress and their numerous guests.”
“As am I,” William confessed. “I find I am awkward in their
presence. I would feel far more at home below stairs with the
servants.”
“However, there are no servants,” Shaun provided, “other than
Mr. Brindlesworth, the butler, who is on loan from the Boswell-
Thorpes’s house in London.”
“This is by far the most discomforting of my experiences,” said
William, shaking his head. “No staff and no household routine. No
servants to look after the daily needs of the family. A complete
absence of structure. I have met people tonight who, in my time,
would be considered beneath contempt. And yet they are treated
with reverence by ladies and gentlemen of good breeding, with
titles, education and property.”
“These are all things which I have, myself, also observed,”
Shaun replied. “And my reactions, at first, were very much the
same as yours. But I have grown accustomed to the discrepancies.
It is refreshing once again to be reminded of the time I originally
came from—and for this, I owe you many thanks.”
“You are most welcome,” William said, surprised.
“Do you know where Mr. Quinn is?”
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172
“I do, in fact. Would you like me to take you to him?”
* * *
Tony Quinn was outside.
William led Shaun up the grand staircase to the manor’s second
floor, and then back into the building’s west wing. Here, there was
a narrow hallway which Shaun vaguely recalled, led to several of
the manor’s grand bedrooms. He could see one of these through
its open door, its walls and ceiling painted white, its fireplace
surrounded by exquisite white stone.
Halfway along the narrow hallway was another door, which,
upon investigation, opened onto a little set of stone steps leading
up to the roof.
Tony was sitting near its furthest edge, well concealed, with a
view overlooking the top of the marquee tent and the roofless,
brick-walled enclosure Shaun recognized as the kitchen garden,
where Monsieur Duran the Lesser had often taken great delight in
shooting at hedgehogs.
Tony put his finger to his lips as William and Shaun
approached, cautioning them into silence and, furthermore, into
lowered visibility.
Shaun crouched down—as did William—and, after ensuring
that he was nowhere near any point that might precipitate his
falling, peered carefully over the edge.
“Surveillance,” Tony provided, in a whisper. “I’m pleased
you’ve arrived safely. Now do me a favour and go away.”
* * *
Shaun had done as he was told.
He had gone back downstairs—in the company of William—
with the thought that he might try to locate Jackie Lewis and
perhaps prevent her from making the gravest mistake of her life.
She was not, however, anywhere to be found.
With William, he wandered again into the drawing room, whose
population had been diminished somewhat by an announcement
that the concert promised by Arabella’s brother was about to begin
in the tent outside. Indeed, Shaun could hear noises which
indicated that the band was preparing to play—portions of tunes, a
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173
crashing of drums and cymbals, a testing of microphones and the
boxes which amplified the sounds made by the guitars.
Those few left behind in the drawing room seemed to be
imbued with a sort of lethargy—perhaps caused by an
overindulgence in the special tobacco Mrs. Collins had described
earlier. The music on the record player had ceased.
“Not interested in the goings on outside?” a woman inquired,
causing Shaun to turn around in order to attach a face to the voice.
It was not an English voice. In fact, it sounded quite American.
The American voice belonged to a woman with an abundance
of flax-coloured hair which seemed to have been artificially built up
over the crown of her head. She was wearing a bright red silk cape,
beneath which was a black satin floor-length gown.
“Layla,” she said. “Layla Hancock.”
“I am…John Drake. And this is my colleague…”
“Phinneas Phelps,” William provided. “We are honoured to
make your acquaintance.”
“Mr. Drake and Mr. Phelps. So pleased to meet you as well. I’ve
been hired by Miss Jessop to provide…amusements…to the more
discerning of her gentlemen guests. Might my services be of
interest to either of you…?”
Shaun looked at his father.
“I think not,” he decided, “but we are very grateful for your
kind attention nonetheless.”
Miss Hancock seemed disappointed.
But then she brightened.
“Perhaps then you’d like a little nibble of my confectionary?”
She produced a square of cake, dark brown in colour, and
finished with a layer of what appeared to be chocolate icing.
“Many thanks,” William said, “but, alas, cake tends to be a
disagreeable companion to the fluctuating state of my digestion.”
“It’s not cake,” Miss Hancock whispered, conspiratorially. “It’s
called a brownie. Nobody’s heard of it over here but it’s one of my
specialties. And it’s a very special brownie.” She lifted the square to
Shaun’s lips. “Go on. Give it a try.”
Shaun did. And found it altogether delightful, although it left a
slightly peculiar aftertaste which reminded him, unaccountably, of
freshly mown hay.
“Good, isn’t it?”
“Very good,” he agreed. “Unusual.”
WINONA KENT
174
“Have the rest of it. I’ve got lots more.”
Shaun accepted the offer and sat down on the sofa so as to
avoid dropping crumbs on the expensive carpet.
Somewhere in the distance, he could hear the beginnings of
Giles Jessop’s pop band’s concert. He listened, finding the tune
pleasing to his ears.
“I shall return to the armoury,” his father decided, “if you have
no objections.”
“None whatsoever,” Shaun replied, amused, applying himself
again to the baked chocolate square.
William’s place on the sofa was taken by Miss Hancock, who
seemed also to be very taken by the music of Brighton Peer.
There passed a period of time, perhaps thirty minutes, during
which Shaun engaged Miss Hancock in polite and trivial
conversation, although none of it was particularly enlightening or,
in truth, of much interest to him.
And then, Shaun saw Jackie. She was wearing a plain black dress
with a white collar and long sleeves with white cuffs. Her legs were
encased in black stockings and in her hair she wore black ribbons.
She walked into the drawing room and lingered for a moment,
observing who was there. And then, obviously seeing no one she
recognized, she turned, and left.
Shaun got to his feet.
“Hey lover, where you going?” Miss Hancock reached out to
take his hand.
“I must excuse myself. Please forgive me.”
He tried to pull free, but Miss Hancock would not let go.
“Stay awhile, lover. I’m all on my own here.”
Shaun managed to release himself and made for the door. But
he was too late. Jackie had disappeared. He looked to the right and
to the left. She was gone.
And something else was happening. He felt most peculiar.
Things were slowing down, as if he was mired in jelly. It seemed as
if his mind was occupying one particular place, while his body—his
hands and feet, his legs, his arms—were most definitely elsewhere,
and not connected in any logical way whatsoever.
“How are you feeling, lover?”
It was Miss Hancock again, her voice dancing around his head.
It took Shaun a few moments to process what she had said.
“I am…content,” he said.
MARIANNE’S MEMORY
175
“That’s the secret of my special brownies. They make you very
very very content. And I do like to make my gentleman
acquaintances happy. Why don’t you come with me?”
Shaun wanted to object. He knew he ought to. He was acutely
aware that Miss Hancock’s suggestion would not be condoned by
Mrs. Collins, and that he needed to be here and alert and most of
all, locating Jackie Lewis…and not being led by the hand to the
servants’ staircase, and most certainly not allowing himself to be
taken down into the cellar.
Where Miss Hancock was leading him was familiar. She
produced a key and unlocked the door. It was the door to his old
bedroom, the one where he had slept every night while in the
employ of Monsieur Duran as his head groom.
“Have you never tried hash before, Mr. Drake?” she inquired.
“I have not,” said Shaun. His voice was somewhere else as well,
and most definitely had not come from anywhere within his body.
“Mmmm,” said Miss Hancock. “A virgin. My favourite.
Welcome to my dungeon, Mr. Virgin.”
The room was unmistakably his, but unrecognizable. Gone
were his upright wooden wardrobe, his books and his framed
paintings of horses and the brass harness decorations he had used
as paperweights. There was a bed. It was not his simple bed, but an
elaborately large one, with four brass posts, laid with a black satin
sheet and a similarly encased pillow. And it appeared to be the only
article of furniture there aside from a small round table and a
candelabrum, its five branches fitted with white wax candles.
Miss Hancock switched off the electric light—an embellishment
that had been added in his absence—and lit the candelabrum, then
closed and secured the door. And then she kissed him, quite
forwardly, and loosened the tie that Mrs. Collins had expertly
knotted for him earlier in the evening, and slid it over his head.
“Would you like to be flogged, my lovely virgin?” she
whispered, into his ear.
“No, I would not,” Shaun replied.
Miss Hancock removed her red satin cape and stepped out of
her gown and revealed what she was wearing underneath—a black
corset and stockings and suspenders, very similar to the stockings
and suspenders and corset Mrs. Collins had donned in Mr.
Tavistock’s gentlemen’s club, which were now causing some
familiar stirrings within him. “Are you absolutely sure about
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176
that…?”
“I have been flogged in the past and I am not overly anxious to
suffer the punishment again,” he objected, finding it increasingly
more difficult to put into words what was drifting through his
mind. “Especially as I have done nothing to deserve it.”
Miss Hancock bestowed another kiss upon him and undid the
buttons of his shirt.
“But you and I both know you’ve been a very, very naughty
boy,” she whispered, slipping his shirt down and removing it,
expertly. “And you know what happens to naughty boys.”
She turned him around.
“Oh!” she said, surprised. “You really have been flogged!
You’ve got scars.”
“I would not tell you an untruth.”
“How many lashes?” She began to count them, touching each
faint mark with a curious finger.
“A dozen,” Shaun supplied, “and one for good measure.
However, the instrument of punishment was a cat, so you may
multiply that figure by nine.”
“You have no idea how much this turns me on,” Miss Hancock
whispered, kissing each mark on his back. “I’m going to strip you
naked and tie you to that bed and have my wicked wicked way with
you.”
She turned him around again and pushed him onto the bed,
face up, and had fastened his wrists to each of the brass posts
before he could object. Now she was undoing his trousers…they
were off…and what he was wearing beneath…and his boots and
his socks…and his ankles were tied to the posts at the foot of the
bed…and it had all happened in an instant, a completely irrationally
slow instant.
“And now,” said Miss Hancock, reaching for the candelabrum,
“I’m going to visit every inch of your exquisite body, top to
bottom, and…perhaps…drop a tiny splash of candle wax along the
way…to heighten your senses…to explore the pain…”
As she tipped the candles, there was a knock upon the door, an
urgent-sounding rat-a-tat.
“What?” Miss Hancock shouted in an annoyed voice, replacing
the candelabrum upon the little table.
Shaun recognized the gentleman’s voice instantly. “Might I
inquire as to whether you are entertaining Mr. Drake within?”
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177
“We’re busy!”
But William would not be dissuaded.
“I must insist. Mr. Drake’s presence is urgently required
upstairs.”
“By who?”
“By his good wife, Mrs. Drake, who is the mother of his four
children, the youngest of which suffers from an ailment which has
worsened this past hour. She has come from the village. He must
hasten to his home immediately.”
Miss Hancock clambered off the bed and opened the door.
“For real?” she said.
William shielded his eyes, both from the sight of Miss Hancock
in her revealing costume, and the sight of Shaun, completely
unclothed and bound to the bed.
“The child is feverish and the physician has been summoned.
Mrs. Drake has collapsed from the strain but has been brought
back to consciousness with a judicious dose of sal volatile.”
“OK,” said Miss Hancock. “You win. This is too weird.”
She shut the door and quickly unfastened Shaun’s wrists and
ankles.
“Just my luck,” she said, handing him his clothes. “Maybe next
time, hey?”
* * *
William was waiting for Shaun beside the servants’ staircase.
“I apologise for the interruption however I observed your
departure with Miss Hancock and thought it wise to intervene.”
“I am indebted to you,” Shaun replied, heavily. “Have you seen
Mrs. Collins…?”
“I have not. But I promise I shall safeguard your secret, Mr.
Patrick. Shall we rejoin the party?”


About the Author


Winona Kent was born in London, England. She immigrated to Canada with her parents at age 3, and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she received her BA in English from the University of Regina. After settling in Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.
Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. Her writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power. More short stories followed, and then novels: Skywatcher, The Cilla Rose Affair, Cold Play, Persistence of Memory and In Loving Memory. Marianne’s Memory is Winona’s sixth novel.
Winona currently lives in Vancouver and works as a Graduate Programs Assistant at the University of British Columbia.
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