Summer Day has already been my guest with her fanfiction tales based on classics: Pride and Princesses and Wuthering Nights. Today I'm glad to present her new novel, ANNE EYRE (to be released in August) . There's a digital copy for you! Get a chance to win it: leave your comment + e-mail address! The contest is open worldwide and ends on July 28th.
From the Blurb
When eighteen year old Anne Eyre accepts a summer job at majestic Thornfield Hall, she meets the handsome Nathanial Rochester – a man with a devastating secret. From the writer of Pride & Princesses and Wuthering Nights, Anne Eyre is inspired by the classic, gothic romance, Jane Eyre
Read an excerpt from the novel
Part One - Journey
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to go to the South of England. I imagined at night, sleeping in the various beds of my ever-changing foster families, that one day, I would live close by the sea. Water is transient yet eternal. Sometimes I think my life at Thornfield Hall was just a mirage, an excuse to visit the ocean.
The day my aunt handed me over to Social Services, I suspected life was not meant to be easy. I was only eight. Afterwards, I endured a series of foster homes and finally an expensive school paid for by my unknown benefactor. I ended up flung out onto a busy street at eighteen, wearing last year’s jeans and carrying every possession I owned on my back. I knew I had to get out of London: the city; the congested streets; the strangers moving past me as if I was air; the sheer bustle, scope and majesty of the place, would swamp me if I didn’t.
I need to go somewhere solitary, I thought, somewhere safe.
I’d started scouring the internet a few weeks before my final exams and just after I’d completed my university interviews. If I got in (and my final marks suggested I would) I’d still have more than three months (and nowhere to live) before classes started. I’d applied to at least six different employment agencies for a job but I had few practical skills. My benefactor had paid for me to have ‘a proper education’ at an exclusive day school in South Kensington. It was a school filled with rich, abandoned girls - girls who rated you on looks and ‘pulling power’ and girls who committed various minor classroom crimes then pointed at you for the blame. The students in their checked uniforms were rich girls from ‘good families’, girls who hated ‘povvies’, (short for poverty stricken ones). Girls like me. Let’s just say, I did not fit in, but I made the most of the experience. My expensive education and ability to speak French is what led me to Thornfield Hall and the job of caring for six-year-old Sophie Varens.
Now that I’m eighteen and officially an adult, solid work is hard to find. I see endless advertisements for lap dancing clubs and strippers and it makes my stomach churn when I realize that no matter how hard I study, the only opportunities for me to earn a full salary without a university degree can be found in the final classified pages of a free newspaper.
I feel older than my years. You may wonder how that is possible, but let’s face it, after the kind of life I’ve led already, it is. I’m finished with Lowood School and grateful for my thorough knowledge of English, French, history, music and mathematics. I got very high marks in all my subjects but I’ve learnt already that finishing school in the middle of a recession was not the wisest choice – as if I had one. Every advertisement screams ‘experience’. Which kind would they like?
Would they like the experience of being abandoned by my birth mother on my aunt’s doorstep, aged two? Being fostered out six years later because my aunt ‘disliked’ me? Realizing I’d never be adopted and have a real family because my mother wouldn’t sign the release forms? I was too old (at six) for anyone to want to adopt anyway. This led me to eight different foster homes in as many years.
Yes, I’ve had quite an education. And yet. I have no contact with my birth parents but I’m not bitter. I have raised myself, in many ways, and I do not believe I have done a bad job. It is true, my expectations for happiness are not high but for the first time, I feel free and that is a joy in and of itself.