The Last Word by Samantha Hastings ***Excerpt -- Giveaway***
The Last Word
by Samantha Hastings
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 9th 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.
Where one story ends, another begins.
1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.
David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.
Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London—the perfect book for book-lovers.
David laughed and pretended to cough. “Are you enjoying the concert?”
“Very much,” Lucinda said. “But I have no idea what is being sung. The music is very pretty though. Do you speak Italian?”
“A little bit,” David said modestly.
Lucinda arched one eyebrow and gave him a doubting look.
“I read Latin fluently and Italian is not all that different,” he said. “I understand more than I can speak.”
“Pray tell me, what is this song about?”
“A fickle woman,” he said.
Lucinda scowled at him and whispered, “Stop teasing me this instant.”
David feigned innocence. “‘La donna è mobil’—the woman is flighty.’”
“‘Like a feather in the wind, she changes in voice and in thought. Always miserable is he who trusts her. He who confides in her his unwary heart!’”
Lucinda wrinkled her nose and pursed her lips. “I think I preferred the music before I knew what he was singing about.”
She did not speak for several more songs, but then added, “It is ridiculous to assume that women are more inconsistent than men.”
“What of your story?” David countered. “Isn’t Eurydice Emerson fickle? Why can she not pick one of her suitors, instead of keeping both men waiting on her whims?”
“You’ve read it then!” Lucinda said a little too loudly.
Several people looked back at them. David could see her color heighten, but thought that her blush made her even more becoming.
Once all eyes were again on the singer, Lucinda leaned closer to David and whispered, “Eurydice is not a fickle character. She just hasn’t made up her mind yet. There are qualities in both suitors that she admires. She needed a little more time to know her heart, and alas, the author, Mrs. Smith, died before she could give Eurydice that time.”
David considered this. “If she required time to select which suitor, she was not in love with either of them,” he whispered back.
Lucinda smiled. “Why David, I would never have guessed you to be a romantic.”
David flushed at these words, seeming to heat up underneath the intensity of her gaze, the nearness of her body to his. This discussion had become too personal. “Besides, Mr. Thisbe is an annoying chap,” he added in a light tone. “He has no faults at all and is too inclined to give sermons. She should have married Lord Dunstan and been done with it already.”
“But what of Lord Dunstan’s mysterious past?” Lucinda asked. “Mrs. Smith died before Lord Dunstan could confess what he did to Eurydice. He could have done something quite dreadful, you know.”
“Nothing he did could be as dreadful as having to live with someone who gives sermons on a daily basis.”
Lucinda choked in an attempt to not laugh. David found the sound entirely charming. He turned in his seat to see Lucinda’s face, instead of just her profile. He felt the large hoop of her skirt brush his leg as she turned toward him as well. She opened her mouth to speak when the music stopped and the room filled with the sound of applause.
“Is the concert over already?” Mrs. Patton asked.
Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.
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