When Alex Graham enters the Duchess of Haverford’s elegant salon, she can’t quite contain an admiring gasp. “It’s so…modern,” she says, taking in the plush chairs, the elegant drapes.
Her Grace: Why, thank you my dear. I just had it redecorated—after all, one must keep up with the times, must one not?
Alex (sitting down tentatively on one of the chairs): I suppose that depends on what times, my lady.
Her Grace: Your Grace, actually. But you may call me Eleanor if you wish, and I, in return shall call you Alexandra.
Alex: No one calls me Alexandra—it’s Alex. (She extends her hand. The duchess looks at it with raised brows. Alex drops her hand) No handshakes?
Her Grace: No. (She smiles) Now, I hear you have a hankering for tea. (She gestures at the cups and the pot) As I understand it, tea is a rare commodity in your time.
Alex: Once again, depends on what time.
Her Grace: Ah, yes: you’re the time traveller, aren’t you?
Alex: Most reluctantly. (She studies her surroundings) Imagine if one day you were thrown out of this comfortable existence and sent flying through time to land in the 17th century. That wouldn’t be much fun, would it?
Her Grace: I’d say it depends on where I landed—and with whom. (She winks and hands Alex a cup)
Alex (takes a moment to inhale the aroma of her tea, looking quite blissful while doing so): I landed on a moor in 17th century Scotland. (She shivers) Just like that, all modern amenities were gone. No cars, no washing machines, no hot showers…
Alex (fidgets): Well, there was Matthew. (Laughs) You know, the first time I saw him, I thought he might be some sort of hermit, a wacko determined to live outside the confines of modern society.
Her Grace: A wacko?
Alex: Someone who’s slightly insane.
Her Grace: Ah. And was he a…wacko?
Alex: No. (She touches the ring she is wearing) No, he was my destiny, my fate—however pathetic that might sound.
Her Grace: It doesn’t sound pathetic to me. But it must have been difficult, adapting to a new life and a new man.
Alex: Tell me about it. It didn’t exactly help when Matthew was abducted and sold as a slave on a Virginia plantation.
Her Grace: Oh, my! How awful!
Alex: Or when he almost got himself killed trying to save his brethren in faith from deportation and death. (She glances at the duchess) Matthew’s sort of devout—well, a very devout Presbyterian, proud member of the Scottish Kirk and all that. (She grins) It causes a lot of arguments between us: he thinks I’m borderline heathen, I consider him far too rigid at times.
Her Grace: I find men of convictions to be rather attractive.
Alex: So do I—until those convictions threatened me and our children. (She sighs, picking at the heavy fabric of her woollen skirts) Ultimately, we were forced to emigrate, which is how we ended up in Maryland.
Her Grace: Is it a nice place?
Alex: If you’re into woods, yes. Neither St Mary’s City or Providence qualify as major must-sees in my book. Small, colonial towns—one with a predominantly Catholic population, the other chockfull of dour Puritans. (She chuckles) Matthew doesn’t like it when I call him dour.
Her Grace: One wonders why.
Matthew: Mayhap because I’m not? (He strides into the room, all six feet and three of him. In breeches and boots, no coat over his shirt, he’s quite the sight) Your Grace. (He bows)
Her Grace: A man with manners—how lovely.
Alex (somewhat sarcastically): Manners and convictions—what else can one ask for?
Her Grace: A fortune, perhaps?
Matthew: No fortune, Your Grace. (He turns to look at his wife) Undying devotion, perhaps? (He takes Alex’s hand and lifts it to his mouth. She blushes, making him smile as he kisses her digits)
Her Grace: How sweet! Now, where can one read about all this?
Alex: Well, Anna Belfrage has written eight books about our undying, time-transcending love and our various adventures. Mind you, at times I do feel she makes things excessively exciting. (She clasps Matthew’s hand) She puts us through so much loss, so much heartbreak, and sometimes… (Her voice breaks)
Matthew: Shush, lass. (His long mouth curves into the softest of smiles) As long as we have each other, we can handle whatever life—and Anna—throws our way.
Alex (wiping her eyes): Yeah, I guess we can.
Her Grace: Some more tea, my dear? (She pats Alex’s hand) I find it has such a soothing effect. (Addresses Matthew) What are the names of these books?
Matthew: Well, the first one is called A Rip in the Veil, and collectively they’re called The Graham Saga (chuckles) No points to Anna for dazzling creativity there.
Her Grace: Maybe not—but I see the books are available on…Amazon, is it?
Matthew: Aye, they are. They’re also available on other online—odd word, isn’t it?—bookstores. Here’s the blurb—yet another odd word, that—for the first book:
On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears without a trace. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on an empty Scottish moor. Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.
Due to a series of rare occurrences, Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time. She lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland in this the year of our Lord, 1658.
Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies- what is she, a witch?
Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what to her mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.
Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.
Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But for all that Matthew quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.
How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?
Her Grace: Utterly Intriguing! Well, my dears, it has been a pleasure to meet you both, but I fear I must prepare for my evening event. (She stands. Matthew immediately follows suit, bowing yet again)
Matthew: The pleasure is ours, Your Grace. (He lifts her hand, kisses it)
Her Grace: Such a charmer! (She smiles and bats her eyelashes) I must congratulate Anna on your creation. For a 17th century devout Presbyterian, you carry yourself well in the salons of the rich and powerful.
Alex (stands up as well): Yes, my man is quite something, isn’t he? (Major emphasis on the possessive pronoun)
And there, dear readers, we leave the salon. But before we go, here’s some additional information about the author:
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with The King’s Greatest Enemy, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power.
When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, chances are she’ll be visiting in the 17th century, more specifically with Alex and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. This series is the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him. A ninth instalment is on its way, despite Anna having thought eight books were enough. Turns out her 17th century dreamboat and his time travelling wife didn’t agree…