Each week I welcome a guest author to share a first meeting excerpt. Today on First Sight Saturday, Richard Brawer brings us a few vignettes to capture the first meeting from his historical romance, Silk Legacy. Richard’s fun fact is that he likes to explore local history.
SET UP OF THE SCENE:
Abe has been in Paterson for six years. He sees Sarah across the room at his brother’s wedding, but does not know who she is. He asks his brother and learns Sarah and her parents recently immigrated. He has not seen Sarah since he was 13 and she was a child of 3. She’s grown into a beautiful woman of nineteen “with a waist so narrow she would make an hourglass jealous.” Because of tradition he iss not allowed to meet her. However he does re-introduce himself to her father, his teacher in Latvia.
EXCERPT from Chapter 2: (The excerpt has been reduced a bit to fit the normal word-count on the blog.)
She first noticed him across the room at her best friend’s wedding. When their eyes met and he smiled, her heart fluttered and she almost swooned. He was so handsome, so distinguished with his sweeping handlebar mustache. He carried himself straight and tall, sure of himself.
She ached to meet him right then and there, but women weren’t allowed to mix with men at weddings. That Biblical edict did not stop her from discretely inquiring as to who he was. When she learned he was the groom’s brother, she was overjoyed. Her father had to know him. He had taught all the Bresslers. On their walk home from the wedding she asked her father about him.
“He was one of my best students. I invited him to our house Wednesday evening.”
(Sarah’s mother said) “You will be confined to your room.”
…Despite her mother’s forbidding, Sarah readied herself anyway in hopes her mother would have a last minute change of heart. She put her hair up, and dressed in the white linen shirt-waist with flowing sleeves and ruffled cuffs trimmed in pink satin ribbon.
“Sarah, come away from the window.”
Startled by her mother’s voice, Sarah withdrew her hand from the curtain as if she had grabbed the hot handle of a skillet. “Why won’t you let me meet him?” she asked.
Her mother crossed to the bed, sat down and patted a place next to her. “Come, sit by me.”
Sarah obeyed and fidgeted with a strand of hair that had escaped from her bun.
Taking her daughter’s hand, her mother said, “He’s not right for you, my darling. He’s too old.”
“But he’s only ten years older than I. Father is twelve years older than you.”
“That’s true, but your father is a learned man—a scholar, a teacher. He is counting on you to carry on for him.”
“And I will.”
“Not if you were to become attached to Mr. Bressler.”
“Why? Mr. Bressler is an educated man. He knows the value of learning.”
“Father said he taught him.” (We learned in Chapter 1 he taught all his students English)
“But it does not mean he learned anything.”
Confused, Sarah stared at her mother.
“You know all the places you read about and are aching to see—the Eiffel Tower, Rome, the Great Wall of China? You will never see them if you marry Mr. Bressler.”
“How do you know that? My friend, Cecelia, Mr. Bressler’s sister-in-law, told me Mr. Bressler makes a wonderful living from his business.”
“Yes, a saloon.”
“He’s not a shiker?”
“His father is.”
“But he’s not a drunkard?”
“Not that I know.”
Sarah sighed with relief. “Then why won’t you let me meet him?”
“Sarah, please. You knew the Bressler family back in Latvia. The father was a carouser. The uncle was an azes ponim—an arrogant man. You are aware the uncle tried to get your father fired for teaching the writings of Karl Marx?”
Sarah didn’t answer, thinking, yes the father did neglect his family, and the uncle lorded his riches over everyone. But that did not mean Abe was like them. Her best friend, Cecelia—Abe’s new sister-in-law—said her husband was a wonderful man.
“You do know what a sow is?” Sarah’s mother asked.
“Of course. Trayf. Not kosher.”
“There is a saying I picked up in this city of silk which fits Mr. Bressler very well. ‘You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.’ Let him go. He will stifle you.”
EXCERPT from Chapter 3, after Abe’s arrival for the visit:
“She is not feeling well,” Esther said.
Grief stricken, he questioned, “Nothing serious, I hope?”
“No, just a headache.”
He let out a sigh of relief and said, “I would love to come back to see her when she is better.”
“Suppose you send us a note so we can arrange a suitable time.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Singer. I will.”
They fell into a strained silence, the Singers glaring at him as if he were the Tsar himself.
Rising, he said, “Thank you for the tea. I really must be going.”
“So soon?” Sarah asked as she swept into the room.
“Sarah!” her mother scolded.
“Mother, why didn’t you tell me Mr. Bressler had arrived?”
“He was just leaving.”
“I’m really not in a hurry,” Abe said, a broad grin lifting his lips and springing his mustache upward.
“Then you will have more tea?” Sarah asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Please have a seat and I will get it for you.”
When Sarah handed him his refilled cup, their fingers touched. Her lower lip quivered ever so slightly. She dropped her eyes and hurried back to the couch to sit by her mother.
Abe held his teacup in his lap. Sarah’s fragrance lingered around him. He wanted to continue to savor it until it evaporated.
“I understand you own a pub,” Sarah said.
“Yes, I do,” Abe answered gleefully.
“It must be a very exciting business.”
“It has its moments.”
“Is it true the wives of some pub owners work behind the bars with their husbands?”
“It’s true. Mostly in the Irish pubs.”
Jumping up, Mrs. Singer grabbed Sarah’s wrist and dragged her out of the room.
Mr. Singer stood up and said, “I think you should go.”
Miffed and confused, Abe asked, “Why? What’s going on?”
“It’s getting late.”
On his way down the stoop, his shoulders involuntarily jerked at the loud bang the door made when it slammed behind him.
END OF EXCERPT
You can read the full reviews for Silk Legacy on Amazon or on Richard’s website www.silklegacy.com.
Find Silk Legacy at the following vendors.
You can also watch a movie trailer about Silk Legacy on YouTube. (Ignore the part at the end about being available in book stores. The trailer was made before the publisher went out of business.)
Richard and I both welcome your questions and comments. Make sure you come back each First Sight Saturday for a fresh excerpt from a new guest author.