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The Maidservant in Cabin Number One: The Beginning (The Guest Book Trilogy 4) by Chrysteen Braun is a Summertime Books Event pick #historicalfiction #literaryfiction #summertime #giveaway



Title The Maidservant in Cabin Number One: The Beginning (The Guest Book Trilogy 4)

 

Author Chrysteen Braun

 

Genre Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

 

Book Blurb

 

"Braun uses the mountainous area and cabins to her advantage in telling the stories of her characters. An exceptional plot. Her character development is outstanding."—Readers' Favorite

 

After her father’s death in 1923, when Ruth Ann Landry is just ten, she joins her mother as a maidservant for a wealthy Seattle family. The hours are long, the rules are strict, but she and her mother desperately need her wages to survive.

 

By the time she’s seventeen, they’ve moved into the house, and she’s become a mistress to her employer. While accompanying the family on vacation, she sees an opportunity to start a new life, and leaves. Ruth eventually finds solace in the mountain town of Lake Arrowhead, California, where she stays in one of the cabins owned by a man who becomes part of her future.

 

The Maidservant in Cabin Number One is the beginning of the story of The Guest Book Trilogy, and of Annie Parker who eventually comes to own the cabins where Ruth Landry stayed.

 

Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/KpruHNC5lmQ

 

Excerpt

 

At Christmas in 1929, the grand entry hall was decorated as it had been in the past, but seventeen year old Nellie was more preoccupied with getting ready to be presented at the annual Christmastime Ball than she was in decorating the tree. I’d witnessed numerous dress fittings in her room and was expected to clean up leftover threads and pins when they were done. She would wear a white gown that, to me, looked like a wedding dress, and even without her hair done up, she looked like a princess. I would have been lying if I said my stomach didn’t flip every time I saw her standing there, looking absolutely beautiful. I’d already accepted the fact that if I ever married, I’d never be able to pay for such finery. I’d be the one to marry the grocery delivery man.

 

       On the Saturday before Christmas, I watched as the Fletchers were driven in a horse-drawn carriage to the hotel hosting the gala. The next morning, as I was helping Nellie undress, she told me they’d danced until one in the morning, when they paused for dinner, and then continued dancing until eight in the morning when breakfast was served. By the time I collected her undergarments, and hung her dress on the outside of her wardrobe door, she’d already climbed into bed and I could hear faint snoring.

 

      That was the year I turned sixteen, and Franklin Fletcher first entered my room at the top of the stairs. 

 

     He knocked lightly, and when I opened my door, he said, “Close the door, lest someone will see me.” 

 

     He came under the pretext he had another book for me to read. 

 

     “But you could have given this to me downstairs,” I said, not quite comprehending his intentions.

 

      “Then everyone would have thought I was playing favorites,” he said. “Open it.”

 

      It was Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I’d never thought of Mr. Fletcher in any romantic way, but he was definitely a handsome man and obviously old enough to be my father. That thought, in itself, made me flinch. I did start to read the book though, and found that it aroused in me feelings I had never been aware of. I’d envisioned images of a man and a woman together, but nothing like what I read.      

 

     He came back a few nights later and when I heard his gentle knock, I didn’t answer. I hoped he would go away and forget about me, but that was not to be the case. The next night, he knocked again, and I knew I had to answer.

 

      “You didn’t open your door,” he said, once inside. 

 

     “I didn’t know you were there; I’d already fallen asleep,” I lied. 

 

     “Have you started reading the book?” 

 

     “Yes.” 

 

     “Then you know why I’m here,” he said, removing my robe. 

 

     His fingers traced around my breasts and down my stomach until he got to my necessities. I noticed he was watching me intently and a glimmer of a smile told me he’d seen how I’d reacted to his touch. There was a tingling in the pit of my stomach. When he touched me inside, I shivered, and he smiled even wider.

 

      “This is just an idea of what I have in store for you,” he said, kissing me on my lips. And then he left. 

 

     I hardly slept that night. Thoughts of being touched, and of the danger of being with Mr. Fletcher, overwhelmed me. If I refused, they could let me go. If I consented, we could be found out and not only would it shame me, but the end result would be the same. I’d be tossed out with nowhere to go. I know I eventually slept, for I woke to my mother pounding on my door.

 

      “Ruthie, we’re going to be late!” She called out. “I swore I heard voices in the night,” she said as we descended the stairs. “Did you hear anything?”

 

      “No,” I whispered. “I was dead to the world.”  

 

     Thirty minutes later, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it, I burst into tears again, for Charlotte stood there. Just seeing her brought a sudden clarity to my situation, and I said, “I have to leave.” 

 

     I told her about Mr. Fletcher coming to the room, and how I pretended everything was all right when the children saw him there. 

 

     “I can’t go back,” I said.

 

      “Then come with me. I have an idea.”

 

      I had nothing to wear but my uniform, so I gathered the few things from the room that were mine, and we left. We brought the food with us. I followed her down the hall and we made our way down to the kitchen. 

 

     “Stay here. No one will say anything, and as soon as I’m off, we’ll leave,” Charlotte said.

 

      My mind raced with images of the children coming back to the room and wondering where I’d gone. The rest of my uniforms were still hanging in the closet, but my underwear and my brush were gone. Would they go to dinner thinking I’d be back when they returned? When they came back and I still wasn’t there, would they worry? Would Nellie call her father? And how would he react?

 

Buy Links

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes your featured book a must-read?

 

Picture yourself in a forest, surrounded by cool summer breezes that whistle through the pine trees, the crunch of your shoes on the fallen pine needles as you find yourself in a copse of trees...and there's an Adirondack chair just calling you to sit and read...and then you pull out your book, The Maidservant in Cabin Number Seven, to read what happened before the trilogy. How perfect is that?

 

Giveaway –

 

Enter to win a $30 Amazon gift card:

 

 

Open Internationally.


Runs June 25 – July 4, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on July 5, 2024.

 

Author Biography

 

Chrysteen Braun is a California native, born and raised in Long Beach.

 

The mountains, where she and her husband had a second home, were the inspiration for her first three books, The Guest Book Trilogy. These fictional restored cabins from the late 1920s all had their own stories to tell.

 

Her writing crosses genres of Women’s Fiction with relationships, and a little mystery and intrigue. She’s published articles about her field of interior design and remodeling, both for trade publications and her local newspaper.

 

She lives in Coto de Caza, with her husband Larry and two Siamese cats.

 

 

Social Media Links

 

 

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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
03 ก.ค.

Thank you, Chrysteen, for sharing your book in our Summertime Books Bookish Event!

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