Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy?
Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of an angel talisman passed down through generations. The women of The Bone Angel series face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse. Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.
Extract From Chapter 20...
How odd it was to be still after what seemed like weeks of bumps and jolts. Or was it months, perhaps years, I’d been cramped inside that windowless carriage with so many people and their smells of sweat and sickness?
The coach door creaked open, the bright sky burning my eyes. Hot bits of fire danced in mid-air but I was cold, and shivered beneath my cloak. I reeled from the orange sparks. A man grabbed my arm, his fingers digging into my skin, pinching my flesh.
‘Must get away … get outside. Papa says get out, now! Fire’s burning. The twins … inside.’ I tried to pull away from him, from the flames.
The man sneered. ‘Scared of a few autumn leaves, my lovely?’
‘Leaves?’ Ah yes, I saw then, they were leaves––autumn leaves rocking in the breeze and fluttering to the ground, where they lay still amongst the browned, dead ones.
|The women of Paris march to Versailles|
My hands were smarting. I looked down and saw my palms were grazed and bleeding. Perhaps it had been me, not the leaves, falling to the cobbles as I’d tried to flee the man restraining me.
He dragged me upright and pushed me ahead of him, towards a cluster of dark buildings. The closer we got, the stronger the stench of piss, shit and unwashed bodies flared my nostrils.
‘Where am I? Where are you taking me?’ My words came out in hoarse, sharp whispers. ‘Where’s Grégoire? Find Léon, he’ll know what to do.’
‘Welcome to paradise, my lovely.’ The man’s breath was foul on my cheek.
He pushed me down into a chair. Why was he binding my limbs to the chair legs? Something moved across my head. I glanced at the floor––at the spatter of cinnamon waves covering the grimy tiles. My head felt different. I shook it and found it light, unburdened.
I hadn’t the strength to struggle as the man removed my clothes and shoved me into a wooden tub, nor when he fastened something cold and heavy about my neck.
‘If you move a muscle, that iron ring will break your creamy neck,’ he said. I dared not move and I breathed so slightly I could barely inhale enough air. ‘Have a nice bath, my lovely.’
The shock of icy water hitting my face was so great I did not even cry out. It gushed into my eyes, my nose and my mouth. I tried to breathe, coughing and spluttering. The cold water came again, and again.
‘Stop, no! Please!’ Still the water hit me.
It stopped, the man unchained my neck and the next thing I knew, a woman was standing over me, holding a chemise and an ash-grey dress.
|Storming of the Bastille|
‘Put these on. Hurry, girl. Time to go and meet your fellow lunatics.’ She laughed, but I had no idea what was funny.
The man was back, and leading me across a deserted yard entombed in high walls. He hurried me down steps slick with moss, and nodded beyond the wall. ‘Shame your room got no river view. Nothing to remind you of home, n’est-ce pas, my lovely?’
I didn’t know what he meant but I flinched, as we’d reached a deep place where only the thinnest, grey rope of light penetrated. I quivered with the fear, the unknown. Where was the bright sky and those leaves the colour of fire? I was sure I would feel better; understand it all, if only I could get back to the sky and the leaves.
Cries began to beat against my eardrums––sounds so raw with despair I was certain I must be dead, and I had reached some vast hall of Hell.