Book cover of Alice's Secret

This is a draft of the book cover that my sister in law Gill Bowditch-Cooper is in the process of doing for my new book Alice’s Secret.

Alice’s Secret is the second book in the trilogy that I’m writing about the different generations of the same family. It has themes of relationships, family, hardships and diversity. Elen is the first book. You can find it at:

http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01911AE8Q

I am in the process of editing Alice’s Secret which is a drawn out process to say the least! Here’s an extract from it, due out in July 2016.

Prologue

July 1874

Sara was sure that she had already walked by this neck of the woods; yes, she could see the old piece of farm machinery sticking out of the ground, just to the right of the lane. It had sat in the ground half buried in the soil ever since she could remember, so that anyone passing may not have seen it. Except for me, Sara thought. I should know this lane very well; I have walked around here enough times with Henry. So, why did she feel so lost? She looked behind her at the unfamiliar stretch of woods, as they curved around the corner, out of sight. She looked forward again, coming closer to the rusted old piece of machinery. It looked different to what she remembered. It was not the same, but just looked like it. This piece had rusted spikes which had become exposed in the rain. No, it was not the familiar piece. It was then that panic bubbled inside, as she realised that she was lost. She looked up at the sky, as a large drop of rain descended onto her nose, followed rapidly by another. She pulled her shawl around her as the heat of the day had rapidly turned into the chill of the night time. There was a quick movement up ahead; rabbits had come out to play as the dusk was falling, jumping around the grassland looking for their dinner.

A gust of wind blew around her dress, and pulled the shawl off her shoulders. She wished that Henry had come with her today, but he was needed up at the Mackenzie’s Farm. She groaned at the unfairness of it all. He should be here with me! She thought. The shawl blew across the road, and onto the branches of an old oak tree. She ran over to retrieve it, trying to get it free from the gnarly fingers of the tree. It seemed to be stuck fast, and she knew that her mother would leather her if she had snagged it; Alice had only just finished making it for her. It was made of the soft wool of the merino sheep that they kept on their farm and was fine and soft to wear. Sara set the shawl free, and adjusted her bonnet which had come off her head and was dangling down her back, allowing the soft curls of her hair to come loose.

Just then, as she was setting herself right and wondering which direction was the best to take, she heard a twig snap in the woods set to the right of her. A flock of birds suddenly decided to take flight just up ahead; an indication that something or someone had disturbed them. What was there, hiding in the woods?

‘Who’s there?’ she cried out. ‘Don’t hide from me, I can see you.’

There was the sound of more twigs snapping, and a rustling, which seemed nearer now. Sara could make out no one in the rapidly dimming light; even the rabbits seemed to have disappeared as the rain started to come down more forcefully. Sara was starting to feel soaked through; she would be in for it when she got home.

The noise from the woods was now just metres away, and she could just make out a form amongst the trees, and then a hand appeared pulling back some particularly dense bushland.

‘Oh, it’s you,’ she uttered in a confused tone. ‘What are you doing out here? Did my dad send you? Do you know the best way to get back to the farm? I’m lost you see, and would love some help.’

The only reply was the sound of the rain dripping onto the trees, and the gurgling of the rivets of rainfall as it pooled around her.

*

Copyright: Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

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