Meet Tessa from Laura Frantz’s An Uncommon Woman

Welcome to Novel PASTimes! We are pleased you stopped by today, Miss Tessa Swan. 

Much obliged. Pardon me as I trade my soiled apron for a clean cambric one. My flyaway hair and untied bonnet strings shall stay. 

Tell us something about your family? What’s it like living with five brothers?

Squirrely! Especially when you’re fifth in the family and the only girl. Let’s see, there’s Jasper, the eldest and the most hog-headed. Then there’s Lemuel, Zadock, Cyrus… And Ross, the baby, only he’s bigger than me now. I’m most partial to Ross given I helped raise him. Of all my brothers, Ross keeps his face to the sun. Always sees the bright side. He’s most like Pa, you see. Only Pa was felled by Indians awhile back. 

I heard tell of one Swan who’s been called a fearsome wrinkle of a woman in homespun. Who might that be? 

That would be Aunt Hester. She’d as soon spit at than speak to you. She fancies herself the spinster queen of Fort Tygart, if for no other reason than she’s likely the oldest woman in the territory. And surely the meanest. I say all this without rancor as I do love her, ornery as she is. 

Is there anything special about your name? 

Tessa? It sounds right pretty, some say, with Swan attached. ‘Twas my granny’s name. She hailed from Scotland. Our family Bible penned it Teresa but somehow it got shortened to Tessa. I like my name. The French and Indian War hero, Clayton Tygart, remarked on it, too, when we first met. He called it uncommon. In a territory of so many Janes and Marthas and Anns I’ll keep it, thank you. 

What do you like most about where you live?

Aside from it being uncommon dangerous, you mean? I liken western Virginia to the Garden of Eden after the fall, breathtakingly beautiful but spoiled by the serpent, by so many hardships and trials. The Buckhannon is one of the most beautiful rivers I’ve ever seen. Actually, it’s the only river I’ve ever seen. I’d like to remedy that.

I hear a lament in your voice. Would you like to live somewhere else?

I’ve heard tell of overmountain places like Philadelphia. Williamsburg. Where folks don’t have to watch their backs or fear for their very lives. I’d like to know what’s it like for a body to rest easy, to look in shop windows and partake of a meal they didn’t have to cook in an ordinary or sit in what’s called a pew in a church with a big bell that rings you right in. One day, maybe…

What is your heart’s deepest desire?

To find a man who is brave yet loves books. Most men I know can’t read nor write. I do both but have never met a man who manages both, too, except for the fort’s storekeeper, old as yesterday’s breeches. 

What are you most afraid of?

Being taken captive by Indians like my beloved childhood friend, Keturah Braam. We were out picking strawberries when she vanished, quick as a blink. I recall it clear as yesterday though more than a dozen years have passed since. She was my bosom friend. Nobody’s come close since. 

Thanks for allowing us to get know you a little better!

Mighty kind of you. Thank you!

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Frontiersman’s DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel’s Lady,The Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. Learn more at http://www.laurafrantz.net.

All About Lark MacDougall from Laura Frantz’s A Bound Heart

Frant_A Bound Heart_Cover

Name: Lark MacDougall

Parents: Deceased

Siblings: None

Places lived: Isle of Kerrera, Scotland & Colonial Virginia

Jobs: Stillroom mistress and beekeeper

Friends: Magnus MacLeish, childhood friend and laird of Kerrera Castle

Enemies: Though I hate to say it, I’m not fond of the laird’s wife, Lady Isla, or her maid

Dating, marriage: I seem to be doing things a wee bit tapsalteerie as we Scots say, with a baby first, then a courtship…

Children: An adopted son, Larkin. “She took the infant, going wide-eyed at his weight. A ruadh-headed handful he was. He gave a chortle of delight, and the knot of women looked relieved, spared of his fretfulness. His dimpled hand brushed Lark’s flushed cheek, his bright eyes on her face.”

What person do you most admire? The laird of Kerrera Castle

Overall outlook on life: Life is hard, but God is faithful

Do you like yourself? Somedays

What, if anything, would you like to change about your life? I would see justice served

How are you viewed by others? Capable

Physical appearance: Tall and spare

Eyes: Blue

Hair: the hue of a maple leaf in autumn

Voice: A bit low for a woman

Right- or left-handed? Right

How would you describe yourself? Full of flaws but trying to be better

Characteristics: Fortitude, Kindness, Compassion

Strongest/weakest character traits: Endurance/nostalgia

How much self-control do you have? Enough to not run after the laird 😉

Fears: Leaving my beloved island

Collections, talents: Mistress of the bees and stillroom

What people like best about you: My compassion

Interests and favorites: A hankering for books and a bit o’ jewelry

Food, drink: My granny’s bannocks and a cup o’ tea

Books: The Bible and Watt’s Hymnal

Best way to spend a weekend: Baking scones and drinking tea

What would a great gift for you be? Seeing someone else made happy

When are you happy? When I’m with the folks I love

What makes you angry? Injustice

What makes you sad? Slavery, poverty, disease

What makes you laugh? Wee ones

Hopes and dreams: Returning to Kerrera Castle

What’s the worst thing you have ever done to someone and why? I snitched a sweet from the castle kitchen

Greatest success: Marrying my love

Biggest trauma: Being condemned of a crime

What do you care about most in the world? Faith

Do you have a secret? Nay

What do you like best about the other main characters in your book? I adore the laird and Larkin

What do you like least about the other main characters in your book? Lady Isla and her maid are/were a thorn to me

If you could do one thing and succeed at it, what would it be: Overturn the corrupt court system and see justice reign

Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you: Being on trial after being in gaol (jail)

Thanks for introducing yourself to us, Lark!

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of severalFrantz_Laura books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, and The Lacemaker. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Introducing Lady Elisabeth from Laura Frantz’s The Lacemaker

 

The Lacemaker-Book CoverToday we welcome Lady Elisabeth from the novel The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz.

 Novel PASTimes: Welcome, Lady Elisabeth. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Lady Elisabeth: I would walk through the gardens of Ty Mawr and Ty Bryn and spend the day with my twins in the fresh Virginia air. We’d enjoy a picnic of my husband’s favorite Welsh bara brith and tea and the like. I’d pick flowers for the foyer and bedchambers of Ty Mawr.

Novel PASTimes: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Lady Elisabeth: Hmm…my dear husband, Noble, told me he first thought me pretty in a pale sort of way. I think people once viewed me as the spoiled only daughter of an overbearing aristocrat and believed me to be timid and vapid. Appearances are deceiving!

Novel PASTimes: What’s your idea of a good marriage?

Lady Elisabeth: Trust. And friendship. Both make a firm foundation. Noble first noticed me when my life turned upside down. Though it was a terrible trial at the time, if that was what led to marriage, my downfall was worth the price if that was what brought us together. At first, with others questioning whether or not I was a Tory spy, he had to determine whether to trust me. His life was on the line. Mine, too. I knew I could trust him from the outset when so many proved false. I trusted him with my life when my own father and supposed friends failed me. Most importantly, a shared faith is paramount. That has helped us weather a war and far more.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most proud of about your life?

Lady Elisabeth: Using the skills as a lacemaker learned from my mother and grandmother to help me through a tumultuous time. Remaining a lady when my title and lifestyle were stripped from me. Remembering who I belong to as the daughter of an eternal king if not an earthly earl.

Novel PASTimes: What do you believe about God?

Lady Elisabeth: I believe He holds all the world and events of history in His mighty hands. People of my day often refer to God as a distant being and call Him ‘Providence’ but I believe in a personal God who has a plan for my life, always bringing good from evil, always giving me hope. Sometimes His protection and leading are best seen in hindsight.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life?

Lady Elisabeth: Losing my home and family at the start of the American Revolution. Yet God has brought tremendous good out of heartache. I mean, here I am with a true, happy family in a beautiful house of my own with children and a loving husband. Before I had an unhappy, estranged family always at odds.

Novel PASTimes: Tell me about your best friend.

Lady Elisabeth: Once upon a time I would have said my former friends in Williamsburg, but few have stayed true. My husband is my best friend. He was my best friend since first meeting though I didn’t know it back then. He proved his friendship time after time, standing by me even at the risk of losing his own friends and fellow Patriots who suspected me of being a spy.
Novel PASTimes: What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Lady Elisabeth: I rather like my old friend’s, Mister Benjamin Franklin:

The body of B. Franklin,

Printer,

Like the cover of an old book

Its contents torn out,

And stripped of its lettering and gilding,

lies here, food for worms.

But the work shall not be wholly lost,

for it will, as he believed, appear once more,

in a new and more perfect edition,

corrected and amended

by the Author.

Novel PASTimes: What a unique and thought-provoking epitaph. What are you most afraid of?

Lady Elisabeth: Losing my children. So many young ones don’t live beyond childhood in this day and age. They’ve brought such joy to my life. I’d like to keep them little forever, but in health and prosperity. But I also know, if the Lord were to take them, that heaven is far better than here.

Novel PASTimes: What advice would you give to those in times of war?

Lady Elisabeth: Live as simply and gratefully as you can. Help in practical ways. Pray. Let no one who comes to you go away hungry or ill-clothed. Be the hands and feet of our Lord.

Thank you, Lady Elisabeth, for giving us that inspiration.

Frantz_LauraLaura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the ECPA bestselling author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel’s Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, A Moonbow Night, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.