Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant

Monday, June 19, 2017

Where do I get my wretched ideas? And why can't I be stopped?

The Peculiar Folly of Long-Legged Meg-

Persephone "Persey" Foyle, the Dowager Marchioness of Holbrooke, leads a happy, busy existence, tending her garden, overseeing her charitable missions, feuding with her stepson's wife and vetting potential suitors for her stepdaughter. As far as this lively widow is concerned her life lacks nothing.

But when a young, famously-talented designer is hired to "improve" the grounds of Holbrooke estate— a task she has managed for eight years— Persey's comfortable world is threatened. It doesn't help that he's hired by her nemesis, the new marchioness, or that his talents are all the mode among England's Georgian aristocracy. He has no chance of impressing Persey. No chance at all.

Josias Radcliffe has worked hard for his success, and although he's been warned about the dowager, no "meddlesome old crone" will stand in the way of his latest triumph. Until he runs into a pretty maid on his first day and talks her into showing him through the Holbrooke maze. Soon his course is altered, his plans changed forever.

Because the dowager has secrets and Joss is the one person who could expose her as a fraud. He knew her when she was Long-Legged Meg— a scullery maid who spun tall tales, and, so it is rumored, used her knowledge of herbs and plants to dispatch her enemies. Folk say she used those long legs to carry her away from the gallows.

But have they carried her far enough?

(copyright J. Fresina 2017)

* * * *

My inspiration for this story began with one picture (right) - by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (circa 1850-1855).

People often ask where I get my ideas. Well, they often spring from just one picture, or a dream I had, or something I watched. This intently reading young girl immediately conjured, for me, the story of Meg, a soul who wants something more for herself than the life others believe she's entitled to have. Her skies are grey, but there is a light on her face that suggests she might soon emerge into sun. And I think she has stolen a moment away from her work to sit outdoors and read her book - possibly a forbidden pleasure, definitely something her employer would never encourage if they caught her at it. Her expression is quietly absorbed, but I can't help feeling there is much going on inside her mind - a great deal of story plotting, perhaps?

In the second picture, I see another Meg quite grown up and with a bit more "spit and polish".  Would you still recognize her? She hopes not.

You can find out more about Long-Legged Meg on June 28th. Happy reading!


(Painting on the left is of Emma, Lady Hamilton by George Romney 1782)

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