Today I have a real treat for you - an excerpt from Jody Hedlund's new book, Rebellious Heart, and a giveaway! I can hardly wait to read this book (it sounds very good!) and hope you enjoy the excerpt. ;)
Excerpt from Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund ©2013
Mr. Ross rose from his wingchair by the fireplace and glanced first to the window and then the door. From his caged expression, she guessed he’d rather be anywhere but there.
Susanna shifted against the hard seat of her chair, wishing she could sneak off to the warm kitchen hearth and read. But she was a prisoner in the room too. Although her parents hadn’t said the words, she knew they expected her to remain with Mary and act as her chaperone.
Mr. Ross glanced in her direction.
Quickly she pretended to be busy tucking a stray hair back into the smooth coiffure Phoebe had managed to help her arrange in spite of the earlier tangles. The slave had even added a white rosette to the coif, a larger version of the striped ribbon rosettes sewn among the pleated robings of her sleeve.
When he stared at her again, this time longer, her heart sputtered forward with a strange, crazy beat. She ought to stare right back at him to show him he wasn’t having any effect on her. But she had the impression he’d see through her façade.
Instead she focused on the embroidered edge of her gown which opened in the front to reveal her silky petticoat beneath.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see him crossing the room toward her. And when he stopped in front of her, she couldn’t resist lifting her gaze to meet his keen one.
“Alas, Miss Smith,” he said. “It appears we’ve been relegated to act as chaperones to our enamored companions. Hence we may as well make the most of it.”
“They are enamored, aren’t they?” Although she was happy for her sister, a twinge of jealousy tugged at her nonetheless. Young men paying court to Mary had always been as plentiful as herrings. And since Mary must wed first, Susanna had conceded her beautiful, fair-haired sister to the suitors. None had appealed to her anyway. None had what really mattered—justice, honesty, prudence—among other virtues. Instead, they were governed by self-interest.
“Have you read any Milton today?” He lowered himself into the chair next to her.
She shook her head, testing the sincerity of his words. Was he going to belittle her again for reading? Or perhaps he would snub her as so many men did when they learned of her love of reading. Most men didn’t want a wife who was an independent thinker or more knowledgeable than them.
“Are you planning to condemn me, Mr. Ross, like so many of your sex?”
“And what exactly is so wrong about a woman learning to read something other than the Bible? Isn’t a woman’s mind equal to that of a man?”
“I can see that yours is.”
“The intellectual capabilities of all women are no less than those of men,” she insisted. “If we weren’t denied the same opportunities of education, then we would at last have the chance to prove it.”
“So what are you saying, Miss Smith? That girls should be able to attend school alongside the boys? Perhaps even Harvard?” His voice held the hint of laughter. “What next? Women opening law practices or becoming ministers?”
“You’re mocking me.”
“Then what reason could women possibly have for higher learning?”
“Education has the capability of making women better wives and mothers. Since families are the cornerstone of our society, we should strengthen women’s abilities to teach their children because then we strengthen our society as a whole.”
He sat forward and studied her, the humor fading from his countenance.
She held her breath, waiting for his response, wondering how he could possibly argue with her further.
“Go on. Perhaps you’ll convince me yet.”
“Very well.” Her heart quavered. Never had a man cared what she had to say on anything, especially when it came to providing girls with educational opportunities. “In youth the mind is like a tender twig, which you may bend as you please, but in age it’s like a sturdy oak and hard to move.”
He nodded, the earnestness of his expression spurring her on.
“Therewith, young girls ought to sit alongside their brothers and gain the same knowledge while they are in their youth. Why are they any less deserving?”
“Am I to surmise you’ve been denied this very thing?”
She pushed down the swift bitter disappointment that surfaced whenever she thought about the education her parents had given to William but denied her. “My father has always been lenient about my use of his library. And Grandmother Eve has done her best to take me under her limited tutelage.”
“But that hasn’t been enough?” he finished for her softly, his expression almost tender.
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher's Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.
Giveaway details: Jody is giving away a copy of her new book, Rebellious Heart! Giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Ends 9/29
How to enter: Sign into the Rafflecopter form below (it might take a moment to load) and click “enter” on each of the entries you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!