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Cover Reveal | Well Dressed Lies: A Romance of Forbidden Love set in the Gilded Age #coverlove



Hi readers! It’s time for another cover reveal. I love unveiling covers and this one is gorgeous. Without further ado, here is the cover for Well Dressed Lies by Carrie Hayes.



Title Well Dressed Lies: A Romance of Forbidden Love set in the Gilded Age


Author Carrie Hayes


Genre Historical romance


Publisher HTPH Press


Book Blurb


A fictional account of an actual incident in the lives of Americans abroad, and the battle for happiness when social convention collides with our heart's desire.


London, 1877.

Retired suffragists, VICTORIA WOODHULL and TENNESEE CLAFLIN are shrewd, attractive, and looking for husbands. But their backgrounds are sketchy. No one knows they've been paid - some might say bribed - a fortune to leave New York. That they've been accused of intrigue, blackmail and worse are details best left alone. But when Victoria finds the love of her life, her prospects are threatened by a striking resemblance to a character in a story by Henry James.

Frantic to whitewash their past, she seeks Tennessee's help, unaware that Tennessee is in the midst of her own struggle, consumed by an illicit affair with a Duchess who is not only married, but is also mistress to the Prince of Wales.


Excerpt

I’m on the sofa. The floor is where it should be and I brace myself till the nausea passes. Relieved,I tuck my hand back under my chest and drift into sleep until—


Oh god. What was that? I press my hands to my ears. Knock, knock. Pause. Boom! A door slams shut. It happens thrice. I realize Vicky is mounting an offensive. The next door she comes to is going to be this one.


Moaning, I clench, roll over, shield my face with my arm. The knob clicks and turns on the strike. Three quick steps across the room. The scent means she’s standing over me. Normally I love it. But in my current state it’s so sweet it’s sickening.


I lower my arm, squint,will myself to look at her.


She’s holding the Cornhill and it’s rolled up. She taps it in the other hand, as if she wants to hit me.


Her face is still, impassive. “Have you read it?”


I struggle to sit up, smoothing the ruined blue frock with my hand. Twelve months ago, she declared me reprehensible, then shrouded the house in silence. This is the first time she’s spoken to me since. Parched, I run my tongue over my teeth. Orange and cigars bear gleeful witness to last night. But before I can speak, there’s a crash from builders down the street,rattling my brain inside my skull.


Wordlessly, she goes to the brass cart and pours water from a pitcher into a tall glass. She hands it to me. “Well? Did you?”


I drink the water down. If I reveal I’d spent the evening with Henry James, she’ll take it as treason.She must not know what transpired last night.


I summon my poker face, “Yes, I’ve seen it.”


She nods and refills my glass. “When that villain Henry James comes back to England, I am going to give him such a piece of my mind.”


Comes back to England? I need to be careful. “Where is he?” I ask this as casually as possible. No one can know that I saw him.


“He went home. I heard his father is dying, or something.”


“I see.” Is this chat a rapprochement? Should I even ask her? Better not. It might set her off again. My head is splitting beyond measure, but I thank God for Mr. James. His betrayal has created something else with which she can be aggrieved. She crosses to the window and I admire her elegant profile framed by the wide- brimmed homburg she’s wearing. “Are you going somewhere?”


She sighs at this, then turns to face me. Her eyes have a graceful downward slope at the edges. “No.” When she isn’t on a rampage, she looks wistful, tender. “I just don’t know if I should retire this hat or not.”


For each of Vicky’s misguided ideas, there have been nearly a dozen which I’ve known to be wonderous and brilliant. This last year has been very lonely.


I reach for her hand, “I think you should keep it. It suits you perfectly.”


Her grasp is firm, steady. “What are we going to do about Mr. James?”


“Do you really care if people think Nancy Headway is based on you?”


Sadly, she asks, “Don’t you?”


“She could be based on any American girl. She could be me. She might even be one of the Jerome sisters.” Which is not inaccurate.


“Neither you nor they have had previous husbands.”


“At least that no one is aware of.”


We know what it is to be ostracized. It’s worse than wretched, and we both know there’s only one man we might trust to get us out of this mess. That he is a scoundrel with nary a scruple matters not.


I say, “You should discuss this with Buck.”My headache seems to be fading. “After all, he’s our father. He’ll know what to do.”


VICKY


Tennie’s way of thinking is quite right. As expected, I find Buck in the dining room, stretched out on a divan near the window.Daylight seeps through the closed drapes on to the carpet and I lean over him. He seems to be sleeping.


Whenever I see him thus, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit to that flutter which tempts me to help him along and have him be done with it.But I don’t do that. I gently pull the cashmere over his shoulder instead.


Buck’s hand jerks out. He grabs my arm. “Now don’t go killing me just yet!” His grip is tight. “I’ve a mind to have you girls earn your keep.”


“We’ve earned our keep, Buck.”


“I’ll work you like a well-oiled machine.”

“That’s what we were.”


He shouts, “What’s that?”


“It’s all right, Pa.” With my free hand, I pat his and he releases my arm.“Don’t fret. I’m right here.” I pull up a chair and begin placing my hat pins in a row upon the table.

He opens his eyes, staring at me with his good one. Apropos of nothing, he says, “I didn’t want to part with you. You’re the smartest. Most like me, I suppose.” He pulls his eye patch over his bad eye.


Eventually, I clear my throat. “Pa, I’m going to need your coun-sel.”


He squints and says, “What about?”


“Something’s been written, Pa. I feel as though—”


He chuckles. “Ha. It’s about that story, ain’t it?” He pulls his own copy of the Cornhill from under the blanket. “Tennie gave me this beforeyou were up.” He lickshis thumb and finds the opening page. “Well, it seems to me, as always, it’s a question of pedigree.”


He carefully swings his legs out onto the floor. “Yes, indeedy. Our English cousins are just as snooty as our American ones. We’ll fix that.”


He leans on me, and I help him to stand. “We’ll just have to get ’emat their own game.” He gives me a little squeeze. “We’ll cook up something. Yes, indeedy. That’s what we’ll do.”


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Author Biography


Carrie Hayes was born in New York City. She grew up around journalists, idealists and rule breaking women. Find her on Medium.com, Substack.com and on her upcoming podcast, Angry Dead Women. Carrie's debut novel, Naked Truth or Equality was an Editor's Choice in the Historical Novel Review.


The Midwest Review describes her latest book, Well Dressed Lies, as "an inviting novel of intrigue, mischief, and love that invites libraries and readers to partake of a story replete in changing alliances, closely-held secrets, and social change that romps through high society relationships on both sides of the pond."


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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
28 sep. 2023

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your cover reveal with us! I can't wait to read it.

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