I am excited to participate in the blog tour for Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder. This debut novel is a romantic thriller set in Regency England. Today I am sharing an excerpt from the book! Hope you enjoy!
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
Book Summary: “Will Seeking Justice Lead to Her Own Demise? A Gothic-Style Regency Romance from a Promising Young Author
Second daughter of a baron—and a little on the mischievous side—Ella Pemberton is no governess. But the pretense is a necessity if she ever wishes to get inside of Wyckhorn Manor and attain the truth. Exposing the man who killed her sister is all that matters.
Lord Sedgewick knows there’s blood on his hands. Lies have been conceived, then more lies, but the price of truth would be too great. All he has left now is his son—and his hatred. Yet as the charming governess invades his home, his safe cocoon of bitterness begins to tear away.
Could Ella, despite the lingering questions of his guilt, fall in love with such a man? Or is she falling prey to him—just as her dead sister?”
Excerpt from the book:
Major Sir Frederick Tilbury was persistent if nothing else.
Henry crumpled the letter and tossed it across the room. Didn’t the man realize Henry had responsibilities to attend to? He couldn’t simply take off at the notice of a letter to drink tea and play Bouts-Rime with the major’s unmarried daughter.
He browsed through other correspondences, wrote various responses, then moved on to his ledger. He had just dipped his quill into the inkwell when a tap came at the door.
A footman entered and bowed. “A visitor, my lord.”
“Who is it?”
“She does not say, my lord. I believe she mentioned the position of governess.”
He closed his ledger. “Send her in.”
The door shut and came back open again, all in a matter of seconds.
The young lady stood on the threshold, wearing a white dress and yellow pelisse, blond curls escaping from under her bonnet. Her arms hung limply at her sides, and the shade of her cheeks was especially colorless, as if she were experiencing discomfort.
A reaction he had inflicted, no doubt. “Well.” Henry rose. “Did you walk?”
“I arrived in a hackney, my lord.”
“What may I do for you?”
“I understand you are in search of a governess.”
“Oh.” A flush swept across her face. “Well, I have never been before, but I am certain I could do well at it.”
“You are very fond of children, I presume?”
Again, she hesitated.
He moved on. “What is your name?”
“Miss Woodhart.” Her chin lifted a notch. “I am two and twenty, and quite capable of managing a child.”
“The best, my lord, and I am moderately accomplished in both Greek and Latin.”
“Greek and Latin?” He sank back into his chair, motioning for her to do the same. “I am quite impressed, Miss Woodhart. I wonder that you are so well versed in two languages, yet seek a position so lowly.”
“There is nothing lowly about a governess.” Her eyes flashed. “And I was previously a lady’s maid. I learned a great deal.”
“And gained a wealthy wardrobe, I see.”
“Her ladyship desired me to dress in vogue.”
“I wonder that you ever left her.”
Her mouth opened, then snapped back shut. She turned to leave—
“Miss Woodhart.” Henry came around the desk and held out his hand.
She stared at it for a long time until finally her eyes lifted to his face. She placed her gloved hand in his. “Yes, my lord?”
“Forgive my ill temperament. I shall send a servant with you back to the village, and you may retrieve your things.”
“Thank you, my lord.” A pause, a strange flicker of emotion he could not place. Then she tugged her hand free and was gone, shutting the door quietly behind her.
Henry returned to his desk, yet even when he opened the ledger, the figures were a blur. Miss Woodhart. He dipped his quill for the second time. Why did it seem he knew her already? Why did something in her eyes spark recognition, as if he’d held such a gaze before?
He couldn’t place it. If he had spoken with her in the past, it must have been brief indeed, for the name meant nothing to him.
He leaned back and tugged the bellpull on the wall.
Minutes later, Dunn swept through the doorway and approached the desk. “I presume all went well, my lord?”
“As well as we might have hoped for. Though I daresay, our new governess will be new in more ways than one.”
“Then perhaps she would not be suitable—”
“No, no. She will manage quite well, and I imagine Peter shall find her charming.”
“Splendid, my lord.”
“And though she never said as much, I would not be surprised to learn she at one point possessed a small fortune herself, which gives me great confidence in her ability to educate Peter.” Henry leaned back in his chair. “It does not much matter to me how she came to lose such a fortune or why she desires to work here. It only matters to me that she stays.”
“I believe that is all our hopes, my lord.”
“Let us do more than hope, hmm? See that Miss Woodhart is afforded special privileges. Put her in one of the guest rooms, the one with the view, and see that she is allowed to partake of all her meals with myself and Peter. I want her to feel as comfortable as possible. Understood?”
“And see that she is given her own freedoms, as well. Mrs. Lundie will continue to watch over our Peter when Miss Woodhart requires her own time.”
“Yes, my lord.” Dunn’s forehead tightened. “But do you think such arrangements…well, do you think them wise, my lord?”
“Maybe not.” A familiar pang started low in his stomach. “But I am desperate.”
And no matter what happened, he didn’t want his young son to lose another woman again.
Beneath His Silence, Chapter 3, Pages 38-41
Beneath His Silence was published November 1st. You can check it out now!
Hannah Linder resides in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. Represented by Books & Such, she writes Regency romantic suspense novels. She is a double 2021 Selah Award winner, a 2022 Selah Award finalist, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Hannah is a Graphic Design Associates Degree graduate who specializes in professional book cover design. She designs for both traditional publishing houses and individual authors, including New York Times, USA Today, and international bestsellers. She is also a local photographer and a self-portrait photographer. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments–piano, guitar, and ukulele–songwriting, painting still life, walking in the rain, and sitting on the front porch of her 1800’s farmhouse.