Book Jacket

 

rank 5077
word count 64289
date submitted 15.05.2011
date updated 20.07.2011
genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical Fictio...
classification: moderate
complete

Becoming a Lady

Margaret Fleming

It's not easy becoming a lady. Especially when starting from rock bottom, as Katy is discovering. She needs assistance, but who can she trust?

 

Aberdeenshire, Autumn 1878.

Katy dreams of leaving the inn near the harbour. The expensive lessons learning how to walk and talk are wasted, as she waits tables fending off abusive and rowdy punters.

George admires Katy from afar. If she only had money not just looks. His paltry bank balance is a source of constant irritation. Marrying well seems his only hope. But is there an easy way to get rich and win Katy? Will she go along with the plan?

Henry has all the money he needs but a demanding family who would have it all for themselves. Despising the curse of being wanted only for his financial assets, he must always pay for others to realise their ambitions. But what about his own? He dreams of exacting revenge on those who love only his money, but is that really enough?

For Katy to realise her ambition and escape the drudgery of her life, she must find an escape route. With the family-run Inn sinking lower and lower, the possibility of getting out is evermore distant. How can she break away? And if she does, what unknown complications lie ahead?

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19th century, aberdeen, adversity, atmospheric, attraction, betrayal, character driven, classes, easy read, family relationships, happy ending, head o...

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14

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Locating a good townhouse required a good agent, someone trustworthy and moreover someone who had no acquaintance with him or his family. It wouldn’t do to have his affairs leaked, it must be done with discretion. Henry avoided the usual offices, he was well known there. His business ventures made him more familiar in the offices in the city than in the drawing rooms. Seeking someone fresh and new he walked down Union Street, clicking his black umbrella on the paving like a walking stick. Everyone here was well known to him. he tipped his hat occasionally at a business associate. There was nothing new, he wondered if he should perhaps to travel to Dundee or even Edinburgh and have the deal managed by proxy, he would certainly have less chance of being discovered that way but already he had succeeded in arranging the best lodgings in town he’d ever had, they made the Anchor Inn look like a hovel in comparison.

He would continue here a while at least and see what could be managed. He shook his head at his own folly in every going to The Anchor and worse, returning. Though, with a wry smile, he realised the sport at his current lodgings would be poor in comparison, the landlady was as pious as a Sunday morning. There was no chance of any snappy banter or backchat, and that, he reminded himself, was just as it should be.

Nowhere caught his eye as a suitable place to start his quest, it must be properly managed and therefore not rushed. His arrival in town had been later than expected, the afternoon was growing late. He decided to spend no more time looking, he would start afresh the following day. For the present, he was famished. The promise of a good hearty meal at his lodging house filled his mind. He had grown much too thin of late, his appetite ceased each time he set foot in his own house and the constant nag of his mother and sister gave him no wish to remain at table for longer than necessary or even sit down at all.

The feast that was laid before him was better fair than he ever remembered eating in his life. Even with his landlady hovering in a very bumptious fashion, he still found his enjoyment not overshadowed in the least.

‘You’ve got a very healthy appetite, and you look like you need it. Skin and bone, that’s what I thought the minute a saw you. I said that soon as I clapped eyes on you. You got a wife you?’

‘Eh, no,’ he said as the large woman bore down on him, hands on her gargantuan hips, a large cloth trailing over her left arm. He found her questioning almost as distracting as her towering persona.

‘No, I thought not, if you had a wife she wouldn’y let you get that thin, doesn’y do to be too thin.’

‘Well,’ coughed Henry, ‘this ought to help, it’s very good.’

The landlady smiled, she looked immensely pleased with herself.

‘You know of course you get no liquor her. This is a respectable establishment and no resident here has ever had the taste on their lips.’

‘Yes, thank you,’ he said, assuming she must have short term memory problems as she’d already given him a substantial lecture on this point on his initial enquiry regarding rooms.

‘Good, you seem a man of good sense and intelligence. I wonder that you’re not married, are you a widower?’

‘No, indeed.’

‘I’m a widow and I’m not sure it suits me.’

She leered at him in a manner that he did not care for, pleased as he was that she thought him a man of sense and intelligence, he did not like the implications this admiration seemed to insinuate. He was not about to change his status for her, no matter how good her cooking was. He could go without alcohol for a while but a life permanently devoid of a good malt did not suit.

‘I wonder,’ he said quickly, ‘if you can help me with something.’

‘Oh?’ she said, looking interested.

‘I’m looking for a solicitor, for the purpose of purchasing a house in the town. I’m looking to put my business in the way of someone young, perhaps new to the profession.’

‘Really? A bit of a philanthropist are you?’

He could not help but let out a dry laugh, ‘perhaps, though not always through choice.’

She laughed, without really understanding and started clearing away his plates.

‘I think I know just the place, a nice young solicitor, eh… name of Macmillan, I believe, yes. My brother had some dealings with him, all good I think, certainly talked about him a lot, raved in fact.’

‘Marvellous, perhaps you’ll be good enough to furnish me with the address, I’d like to go there tomorrow.’

She bustled off to retrieve immediately.

Henry felt deeply satisfied.

 

 

Chapters

14

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Sophy wrote 789 days ago

Hi Margaret,
I've read the first 3 chapters, and like it so far. You have great introductions to the chapters - makes the reader 'there' with the character without endless descriptions of scenery. It is easy to see it through the action. If you're after constructive feedback, here's my thoughts:
Generally - some of your sentences are very long, perhaps putting in a full stop where there is a comma might help - eg 2nd last sentence of chapter 1.

chapter 2 - referring to his breakfast as the 'fair' - should spell 'fare' - occurs twice in this chapter.
'half and hour ago' ought to be 'half an hour ago.
Esther's language is not always consistent - she mixes educated speech with colloquial terms - but this might be intentional, and maybe it's just me, so don't worry too much!

chapter 3 - 'spoons drooping on the best china' - perhaps 'dropping' as it is referring to the clinking noise they make. Some sentences need tightening up again, or cutting in half.

Keen to read more - let me know if you would prefer not to have feedback like this, it is all little stuff. I do like your story and the setting is great.

good luck with it,
regards, Sophy

Bucephalus wrote 843 days ago

Hi Margaret
I liked the construct of this story, and the sheer energy of your writing style. As a personal observation I would suggest tightening the final paragraph a little.
best regards
Steve

Carol Ritten Smith wrote 1011 days ago

Hi Margaret. I'm enjoying your book and I've decided to rate it high and pop it on to my bookshelf. I'm curious as to how you got to number eight hundred-something when you have so few backings. What number did you start with? I'm still trying to figure out Authonomy's ranking system. Best wishes with "Becoming a Lady." Carol

auntie_hen wrote 1034 days ago

I love historical fiction. I like this as it is set in a different location. too many are set in London, this is interesting. I like the characters and find them enagaging and interesting. I will read more soon.

Carol Ritten Smith wrote 1048 days ago

Hi Margaret. Becoming a Lady is definitely my kind of story. I love historical novels of this era. You described the atmosphere of the inn so well, I was right there. You certainly utilized the senses: noisy banter... tankards clanged... thick air... pinching fingers. Your dialogue is strong and the rude remarks made by the boors in the inn really add to the atmosphere. I often critique as I read each chapter, so here goes Chapter one. In Canada we spell lightening, lightning. My old dictionary, printed in Great Britain, spells it that way, too, so maybe you'd better spell check that word. Also, I'm a stickler for grammar. The second paragraph has run on sentences. My published friend told me that his editor wanted more short and to-the-point sentences for ease of reading and comprehension. When I write, my sentences are never longer than what I could read aloud in one breath. I felt light-headed reading your forty-nine word sentence/paragraph. This is how I might rewrite it. 'Kate cursed as her hands slammed the tabletop and the tray of drinks slipped from her fingers. Its contents flowed freely across the table and dripped over the edge. The man leapt to his feet, snarling . . .' I've separated your one-sentence paragraph into three sentences, but you could make it into two if you kept the comma between 'fingers' and 'its'. But you definitely need to break it into two. Please realize I am only offering suggestions and you can disregard any or all of what I say. My intentions are to bring out the best in fellow writers. Believe me, I've had plenty of advice and hard critiques over the many years I've written. I wish you the best and will continue reading about Kate and the mysterious gentleman. Carol

sweet honey wrote 1051 days ago

Vivid description of an inn in the first chapter. We meet Katy, a girl who wants better for herself, and is neither timid nor shy. Me thinks she'll do well for herself. Might the wet stranger seeking board in her father's inn be the one to make her dreams come true? Perhaps not. We can only find out one way.

AnneEvans wrote 1059 days ago

only read the first chapter so far, but you do a good job of getting the reader interested up front. I'm interested in reading the rest.

Jacoba wrote 1069 days ago

Hi,
I read all your chapters and this is really good. Well written with a nice easy flow making the reader immersed in your story. I liked all the characters they are all complex in their own way and I like the way you have tied them together. I feel a clever plot unfolding already at this early stage. I have a feeling Katy's casual feisty attitude is going to turn a few heads and attract attention. Possibly from both bachelor patrons??? I think I'm gunning for the poor rich lord who has to contend with a house full of women. I'd like to see his demeanour change and perhaps be happy.
If you post anymore let me know, I'd like to read on.
Well done,
Star rated and watchlisted for now,
Cheers Jacoba

Su Dan wrote 1072 days ago

a well written piece; great flow, easy to read, and enjoyable...l shall back...
read SEASONS...

senyah nala wrote 1073 days ago

Margaret (BECOMING A LADY)

This is not my normal sort of read, but browsing the site your pitch for the book sounded interesting and I read three chapters.
It is a pleasant story and well written. Your writing is very descriptive and you make it easy for the reader to imagine being there. I also like the way you have of getting right into the feelings of your characters.
I trust Katy will eventually achieve what she wants.
I'm sure your book will appeal to many. It's going on my shelf. All the best.

Al

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