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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Fifth excerpt from WHAT FREES THE HEART -- Jenny tries to write home


The release of What Frees the Heart grows ever closer, and the excerpts keep coming! We've got a short one today, from the beginning of Chapter 12.

If you'd like to pre-order, which I'd be delighted for you to do, you can get the Kindle edition here, or the paperback here (Amazon) or here (Barnes & Noble).


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It wasn’t nothing but some fruit. Nothing special, really. And nothing Mamie’s cook hadn’t served before. Just stewed plums.
Jenny must be feeling specially tender-hearted this morning, was all she could figure. Else she wouldn’t be eating the plums with tears trickling down her face. Or maybe she was getting her monthly, which’d make her get worked up easier. It was just about time.
It would’ve been worth crying over nothing, if only her monthly meant a vacation. But Mamie always said, “Every single girl in this place has her bleeding time every single month, and I don’t plan to go broke over it. There’s plenty the gentlemen’ll like without needing to spread your legs.” So if someone asked for a girl during that time, Mamie would offer the choice of that girl using just her mouth or her hands and showing off whatever part of her body they’d like to see, or some other girl ready for more. . . .
It wasn’t as if Mama’s stewed plums would’ve won prizes. The cook’s were as good or better.
But when they didn’t have much of it, Mama always used to share it with Jenny, who liked it best of all the children, even though she figured out as she got older that Mama liked it even better.
Jenny finished her breakfast as fast as she could and hurried upstairs. It was time to get herself dressed and prettied up. But maybe she could squeeze out a few minutes to do something she hardly ever tried to do.
She closed her door, wishing it had a lock on it, and tried to remember where she’d put pen and paper. In the little drawer in her dressing table? Nope. How about under her unmentionables? Not there, neither. Finally she found them on the closet shelf. But all that looking had left her even less time to spare.
She sat at the dressing table with the paper in front of her, chewing on her pen, for a precious half a minute before writing out, slow and careful, Dear Mama and —
Which of her sibs would still be at home, and which would’ve married and set up housekeeping somewhere else? No way of knowing.
Would Papa even let Mama have the letter? She could hope so. And if he didn’t like it, she was way away out of his reach.
Dear Mama and all of you —
I hope you are well. I am fine.
I hope the grasshoppers didn’t eat up everything on the farm, like happened some places, though not here.
Should she tell where here was?
I am in Nebraska, in a town some bigger’n any near you. I get to meet lots of folks.
And she’d be trampled by horses before she said how. Not that Mama wouldn’t have written her off as a tramp long since, most like.
There she went crying again. And leaving teardrops on the paper. Maybe they’d tell her tale more than she could ever stand to do.
I’m sorry I left so sudden.

She shoved herself back from the chair before the tears, coming fast now, could smudge what she’d worked so hard to put on the paper.

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Next time: a trip to get ice cream goes awry.

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