After two years of COVID-91, the neighborhood is again assembling in my backyard for a cookout on Memorial Day. We’ll have about a dozen people and four dogs eating and visiting and playing ball. (Two of the neighborhood dogs are obsessed with chasing after a ball.)
But in the midst of the fun, we should remember why we celebrate.
This holiday dates back to 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, when people in both North and South put decorations on the graves of those who fell in what is still the bloodiest war in American history. The holiday was called Decoration Day before the name was changed to Memorial Day.
Two of my ancestors fought for the Union during the Civil War: one from Pennsylvania (my dad’s side of the family) and the other for West Virginia (my mom’s side of the family.) Both were wounded, one at Gettysburg, the other at the Battle of the Wilderness.
My father and brother both served in the Air Force, so in their memory, I will leave you with this image of the majestic the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Alina K. Field is visiting today to share her latest release, a sweet Regency novella, “Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match” in a new anthology of stories called Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection With Friends.
Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends
This collection of novellas by nine Regency romance authors is a perfect opportunity to sample some new-to-you storytellers. The stories are set around a central premise, a family of all daughters, left destitute by their late father, the earl of Seahaven.
Here’s the blurb for the collection:
Love Against the Odds
The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.
The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.
When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters. They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.
So they start their adventures in York amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?
But it’s not just daughters finding romance…
Not everyone who finds love is a daughter. The earl’s young widow finds her own happily-ever-after. And my heroine, Lady Twisden, is a widowed aunt who learns that following her passion for painting doesn’t mean sacrificing love.
Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match
He’s not just a perfect image of a soul-stirring hero, but a perfect-for-her match.
After years of tolerating her late husband’s rowdy friends, Honoria, Lady Twisden, has escaped to York where she can paint, investigate antiquities, and enjoy freedom. Then her stepson appears with a relative in tow, the perfect image of a long-ago relation whose fierce portrait made her shiver with mad imaginings.
Promised York’s marriage mart and the hospitality of his cousin’s doddering stepmother, Major August Kellborn is shocked to find that his fetching hostess is the one woman who stirs his heart. To win her heart, however, he must convince her he’s her perfect match.
“Where is the footman? We need him to fetch in our trunks.”
Looking past the broad shoulder she saw another figure approaching and…
Good God. Heat swamped her and flamed in her cheeks. Dark eyes shot darts at her over a grimly set, thin-lipped mouth. The palpable sternness of Wes’s companion sent a shiver of awareness through her. It was a familiar shiver, one she’d indulged during her tedious days at Twisden Manor when she’d found herself fighting off mad imaginings.
Wes’s laughter shook her tongue loose. “My goodness, sir,” she said. “You bear an uncanny resemblance to—”
“Old Ebenezer Twisden,” Wes said. “Yes, it is as if the old Warden has come back to life, Mother. As soon as I laid eyes on him in Brampton, I knew he must be a relation. And do you know who he is, Mother?” He laughed again. “I’ve written to Granny to tell her. She’ll be in alt when she reads the news.”
A man of perhaps forty, he was about the same age as Wes’s ancestor, the Warden in the painting at Twisden Hall who’d been in the King’s service for many years when that portrait was done. This new incarnation of Ebenezer wasn’t a particularly tall man, not as tall as Wes, but he still towered over her.
Old Ebenezer cleared his throat.
“But of course,” Wes said. “Where are my manners? Mother, may I present my cousin, Major Augustus Kellborn. Gus, this is my dear stepmother, Lady Twisden.”
While she curtsied, managing not to wobble, he dipped his head, never taking his gaze away.
USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature but prefers the happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with a golden-eyed terrier.