Monday, February 8, 2016

The Changeling

Welcome to Madeline Archer's blog. As Rose Anderson, I write the intimate side of award-winning romance. Madeline writes the other flavors of fiction--it might be a sweeter love story, an otherworldly walk in the twilight zone, or something dark...

Blurb~ Half-fae Lenox Pendry is surrounded by secrets and none are his to keep. Plucked from his mother’s arms as an infant and raised a changeling, Lenox grows to adulthood unaware of what and who he is and oblivious to the danger unfolding as his birthday draws near. After he’s unwittingly sent to the Scottish Lowlands out of harm’s way, he chances to meet a beautiful healer named Janet Roxburgh. The townspeople believe her to be a witch. It would appear Janet has a few secrets of her own.

Setting the stage~
In this scene, an old peddler comes to the kitchen at Pendry to sell her apples. Busy with work of his own, Osgood absently listens to the conversation between the peddler and the cook. There's something familiar about the old woman, something that sparks a terrible memory from long ago.

     What is it about that peddler’s voice? Listening to the exchange, a niggling recollection stayed just out of Osgood’s reach. Awash with a sense of familiar and feeling unaccountably unsettled, he recorked the wine and left the butlery to join the women in their transaction. As he advanced down the hall, he got a good look at the peddler. She was old and crabbed and looked to be in advanced age. That old peddler has been here before. His brows drew downward as the elusive memory popped into his mind. Twenty years ago! Nearly twenty years had passed but she’d hadn’t aged a day, in fact, she looked exactly the same. As the woman turned to leave, he hurried down the corridor, shouting, “Stop madam! Stop right there!”
      Too late, the cook turned in surprise. The head butler bumped into her in his haste, sending her full apron of fruit rolling across the floor. Osgood called over his shoulder, “So sorry, Joanie!”
      Mrs. Comstock’s called after him. “Mr. Osgood! What in heavens are — ”He threw open the door and dashed outside. There was no one in the service yard. He ran around to the front of the building. No one. Coming back inside, he quickly apologized again to the cook, then went to find Fanny.
The lady’s maid was in the laundry where he found her sewing a button on a riding glove. Checking down the hall in both directions to see if they were alone, he closed the door as a precaution. Winded, he leaned against the sink and asked breathlessly, “Fanny, do you remember the old apple woman?”
      She shook her head, confused. “I’m sorry, Mr. Osgood, do I remember whom?”
      “The old apple woman!” He snapped before he checked himself. “Forgive me, Fanny. The old apple woman, twenty years ago in the hedge . . . .”
      Recollection coming, Fanny gasped. “The old peddler who tried to kidnap Master Lenox?”
      Taking out his handkerchief, he blotted his brow. “The same.”
      “Oh, I remember.” Her hands went to her cheeks. “If Arthur Brookes hadn’t been trimming the verge that day, she might have taken the lad.”
      He nodded. The gardener had charged after the old woman as she pulled the struggling five-year-old behind her. Brookes had the iron hedge shears in his hand and explained how when the old woman saw them, her eyes went round as saucers with fear. She released the boy and ran around the hedge. Brookes had been right on her heels, yet the moment he rounded the corner, she was nowhere to be seen, nor was there cover in the oat field.
      Since the babe came to the household, Osgood had read everything he could lay hands on regarding the fae and their ways. He found folklore mostly, but he was of opinion that the old legends held truths, especially that the fae would try to take any child that had any of their blood. And another thing came to light again and again, that the fae did not like iron whether in the form of horseshoe nails, hedge clippers, or a steel paring knife. As far as he knew, Master Lenox with his mixed blood held no such aversion to touching iron, and often used steel tools in his studies. Lacking understanding of the complexities of it all, he frowned.
      He’d been in service to this family since he came begging a meal at the kitchen door as an orphaned boy of nine. Kindhearted Lady Marjorie took him in and put him to work beating rugs and sweeping the kitchen floors. He wasn’t much older than Masters Evan and John when he rose in rank to become Master Rupert’s man. Having recognized a keen head for numbers and an ordered mind, Master Rupert made him head of the household staff at age thirty-two.
     His eyes fixed to Lady Amelia’s mended glove on the table, his thoughts straying to the men no longer here, the three he missed. They were cut from the finest cloth, and young Master Lenox, with his astounding physical similarity to Master John, and to Master Rupert himself, was as good and noble as the rest, a true Pendry if ever there was. He nodded to himself. Master Rupert entrusted him to watch over this family and that was exactly what he would do.
     Fretting, Fanny said, “Our Master Lenox is a man full grown. Why ever would they come for him now?”
     Osgood turned to Francis March, his accomplice in bringing a changeling here to be raised an earl. They would need to be vigilant, for apparently this drama had not come to a close twenty-four years ago. “I don’t know why,” he said, “but it’s obvious, Fanny. They want him back.”


What readers say about The Changeling

5 Stars "...a very well written, engaging, story with all sorts of deeper historical tidbits and storylines involving the characters, their family lines, and the townsfolk culture. Scenes are written vividly with date and culture appropriate dialogue that overall made this a delightful read right down the satisfying ending that ties all the pieces together."

5 Stars
"Utilizing the author’s knowledge of folklore, the novel dramatizes in a delightful way the story of the changeling, making the faery characters—from fae princess to glamour-inducing hobgoblin—as well as their human counterparts, endearing and likable. In the “About the Author” following the story, it’s stated she “crafts characters that stay with you long after the last page has turned.” This is definitely so in the case of The Changeling. For quite some time afterward, the fate of the human changeling Rowan stayed in my mind. All in all, it’s a sweet, enchantment-filled romance. Lenox, Janet, and even Rowan are characters the reader will take to her heart."

5 Stars "I love Madeline Archer/Rose Anderson's first-person books. The Changeling is wonderful to read. Lenox Pendry, the fae changeling, is a smart, charming man with the unusual ability to sense auras of the people around him." "The Changeling is a convoluted story about birth mothers, the fae, tragedies, and victories, along with many twists and turns. If you like to sink comfortably into an engrossing book, I recommend this one."

5 Stars "An absolute pleasure to read. Usually I don' like to see a prologue in a book I am reading but The Changling is different. Not only does it give the book substance it is interesting and intriguing which made me want to read on. I am so glad I did. Madeline delivers a well thought out beautiful story with a plot that unfolds before your eye, it's very cleverly written. The characters you meet along the way are believable and the reader can relate to them."

5 Stars "The tale is richly complex and inventive. This novel, besides being a sweet romance, is also an exciting fantasy adventure that will keep readers turning the pages wanting to know what will happen next."

5 Stars "I love this book for many reasons. After an enthralling journey of conspiracies and revelations, dilemmas and triumphs, at the conclusion of The Changeling I just felt good!!! Archer's entrancing characters are mythical and amazing, yet inherently human in their motives and emotions, making it impossible to not be drawn into their world and connect with their feelings. It is a love story, but so much more. The supporting cast of characters is so intriguing they make the telling of this tale something extraordinary. I read a lot of books and some you just forget. The Changeling and it's company of characters will be with my for a long time to come."

5 Stars "I loved this book. The story reads like the tip of an iceberg, hinting at a much deeper history behind the characters, the fae world, and their secret interactions with the lives of humans. The author clearly has researched the time period, locations, and mythology that support the story. The descriptions of glamoury raise a clear picture in your head - I could easily see the story played out in my mind as if it was a film. One of my favorite parts is the way animals speak to the fae. This is another wonderful, imaginative story from the mind of Rose Anderson, now writing as Madeline Archer. Highly recommended for a sweet, happy, and engaging read!"


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