This is the kind of heroine we need.
Muskets and Minuets by Lindsey S. Fera released in October in the Historical Fiction genre.
Love. Politics. War.
Amidst mounting tensions between the British crown and the American colonists of Boston, Annalisa Howlett struggles with her identity and purpose as a woman. Rather than concern herself with proper womanly duties, like learning to dance a minuet or chasing after the eligible and charming Jack Perkins, Annalisa prefers the company of her brother, George, and her beloved musket, Bixby. She intends to join the rebellion, but as complications in her personal life intensify, and the colonies inch closer to war with England, everything Annalisa thought about her world and womanhood are transformed forever.
Join Annalisa on her journey to discover what it truly means to be a woman in the 18th century, all set against the backdrop of some of the most pivotal moments in American history.
Violence and battle scenes, sexual assault, mild sexual content, and profanity.
She hid her frown behind her glass of madeira. “My skill would be well-placed with any militia or minuteman band.”
George choked on his drink. “Annie—”
“A lady she is.” Mr. Gould spit into an empty tankard.
Jack cocked his head. “You wish to be a minuteman?”
As the men at the table remained silent, Annalisa clenched her fingers and released them. “Permit me an observation, gentlemen. Is it daft to have as fine a shot as my own amongst yours when you are in need? Or shall you keep us women—your property—indoors while you fight for freedoms we have not?”
Mr. Gould grunted. “A woman can’t fight.”
“Property?” George leaned forward. “Annie, no.”
“How could I live if you were to die at the hands of a Redcoat?” Jack frowned. “I’d surely die myself.”
She shivered at his words, and Mr. Gould left the table with a shake of his head, muttering something about doxies from New York being hardly less trifling than the women of town.
George slammed his hand on the table. “Are you satisfied? You’ve offended Gould. There’s no place for women at the tavern who—”
“There’s no place for women anywhere!” She crossed her arms. “I meant no harm in my conjecture, but what have I if I cannot fight?”
“There’s a place for you, here.” Jack reached for her hand. His thumb slid across her knuckles. “And you have plenty of talents—”
“In the ladies’ needlepoint circle? With Lizzie and her ridiculous fortune-telling?” Annalisa pulled her hand from his. “I can hardly withstand the chatter of such idled minds. You must mean to use me as sport amongst your friends. I am a bit of gossip, some silly girl who fires a fowling piece. It makes no difference whether or not I do it well, or if I may put it to use—to fight for what I believe in—not that what I believe matters to any of you.”
Jack’s gaze softened. “Annalisa, you are no joke. You must know how I delight in your wit, and your opinions. But it saddens me you cannot enjoy your time with the ladies. Surely, their minds are not as idle as you propose.”
“The ladies cannot afford me the kind of conversation I have with either of you. They lament each time I bring up the rebellion. And Hannah French. With her rude, degrading—”
“Annie, you lose yourself.” George’s jaw stiffened. “I’ve taught you to use a firelock to safeguard our home as a last resort. I know we’ve practiced with quite a shocking bit of liberty between us, but I don’t think we ever considered you might become so proficient. ’Tis most unnatural.”
“Unnatural?” Her fingers dug into the table. “It surprises you a woman can fire a weapon as well as a man. Why not accept it and—”
“Zounds. You’re persistent. What’s gotten into you? You’re lucky I’ve allowed you to come here tonight against Mother’s wishes.”
Jack squeezed George’s shoulder. “Cousin, Miss Annalisa is always welcome.”
She stood. “George Howlett, you haven’t allowed me.”
“I will not.”
George rose from the bench and pulled her aside. “I’ll not have you make a fool of yourself—not before me, not before Gould, and especially not before Jack.”
She ripped her arm from his grasp. “You try to control me like Mamma. I’m just some burden you’re waiting to marry off.”
“That is a lie.” George tugged her from the bustle of the tavern and into the keg room. He sat on a large barrel. “Come, you know I cannot abide by what Mother says. She treats you far more unfairly. I speak with reason. It would behoove you to listen for once in your life…else you never would have gotten that scar.”
His words stung, but it was true. Her heart in the trenches of her stomach, Annalisa leaned against two oak kegs stacked on top of one another and massaged her temples. Jane thought she should accept her place in Society as a demure lady; George seemed to believe it, too.
George rubbed the side-whiskers that extended to his jaw. “I’m no doxie, nor am I a member of your ladies’ circle. I can’t fathom the depths of your frustration, so I can only assume how you feel is correct. You know I love to discuss politics with you. But as your brother, and someone who loves you deeply, I can’t allow you to speak such folly about the militia, nor can I entertain your ridiculous thoughts about minutemen. Know you anything about them?”
“A minuteman must be ready at a moment’s notice to engage in imminent battle.” He held her stare. “You’re braver than most rogues I’ve seen wielding a firelock, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re a mort. I don’t understand how you can be so fearless, but I like to think I had something to do with it.” He scratched the nape of his neck. “Were you a rogue, I’d have you join in an instant.”
“George, I can—”
“Stop.” He held up a hand. “’Tis nothing to do with me believing your capability, because I know you’d be famous in any militia. But you don’t realize the repercussions for a woman masquerading as a man in the military, do you?” His bass voice deepened. “You will be charged with impersonation—and jailed. At worst, hanged, if you’re found by the enemy. And I along with you for knowing.”
The tavern musings from beyond the small room reverberated between them before he spoke again. “You’re lucky you weren’t found out the day of the massacre.”
Annalisa swallowed the lump in her throat. She’d fooled her Danvers militia quite readily—and they liked her, even respected her—as Benjamin Cavendish. But will they be harsh with me if they discover my true self? Will Nathaniel or Ebenezer listen to me if they know I’m a woman in disguise?
Goosepimples spread over her arms, and she shivered. How could she be a woman in a world that didn’t value her?
Author Bio: A born and bred New Englander, Lindsey hails from the North Shore of Boston. A member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets and Minuets. When she’s not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she’s nursing patients back to health in the ICU.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lindsey-S-Fera/e/B09598KYNMGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21491352.Lindsey_S_Fera
This post is part of an excerpt tour. Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/01/blog-tour-muskets-and-minuets-by.html