Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley & Giveaway!

It's no secret here on this blog that Susanna Kearsley is one of my very favorite authors! Her writing is so rich and her characters are always memorable....her stories touch my heart. She combines history, romance, suspense, and time travel to perfection. My collection of Susanna Kearsley books are "keepers" and I look forward to reading them over and over again. 

Today I am honored to be a part of Sourcebooks celebration of the upcoming release of The Firebird. I have an excerpt from The Firebird as well as a fantastic package of  Susanna Kearsley books for a GIVEAWAY!  (THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED -- THANK YOU.)

THE FIREBIRD By Susanna Kearsley

Slains was not her home, and yet she knew its corners well, from trailing after her Aunt Kirsty while she did her work. The earl had always treated her with kindness, and she’d always found a comfort in this corner of the library, her hiding place, tucked safely out of sight behind the tallest, broadest armchair that sat angled to the fireplace. There was no fire now, it being summer, yet the corner kept its warmth and sheltering appeal, and Anna curled herself within it, arms wrapped tightly round her knees.
      She heard the voices rise and fall downstairs, her mother’s voice among them. No. She caught the thought and changed it. Not her mother. Donald’s mother, but not hers. Not anymore.
      Her breath snagged painfully within her chest, and then she held it altogether as she heard firm steps approach along the corridor. A handle turned, the door began to open, and she pressed her face with eyes tight-closed against the leather chair back, crouched as quiet as a beetle in her corner.
       The door swung shut. She couldn’t see the person who’d come in, but she could tell it was a man because his boots made a distinctly heavy sound against the floorboards. He walked straight toward her chair and she shrank smaller still, and when the chair back moved she squeezed her eyes more tightly shut as though that might somehow prevent her being seen, but no discovery came, and no recriminations, and she realized he was merely sitting down.
      The armchair shifted as he settled in it. Anna braved a peek beneath the chair and saw his booted feet stretched out toward the unlit hearth. And then she heard a scraping as he pulled the little table closer to him, singing lightly to himself. It was a pleasant tune, although she didn’t understand the words as they were in some foreign language, like the strange words of the fishermen from France who sometimes called upon her father in the night.
         No, not her father, she corrected herself. She was not a Logan. She was—
        “Curse this blasted palsy,” said the man all of a sudden, as the sound of something falling interrupted Anna’s thoughts.
         Peering underneath the chair again, she saw that several painted wooden pieces from the chessboard on the table had been tumbled to the floor to lie there scattered in disorder, and the black-haired king had fallen to his side upon the carpet and was gazing at her mournfully with darkly painted eyes.
        “I apologize, my lads,” the man said gently to the chessmen as he bent to pick them up, “my hands do shake these days, and show my age.” He leaned and moved his foot a fraction and his boot heel caught the black-haired king by what seemed sheerest accident and kicked it farther underneath the chair, much closer now to Anna’s hiding place.
      The man continued picking up the other scattered pieces, and she heard the clicks as each was set again upon the board. “Where is your king, lads? For of all of you, he is the one I should not like to lose. Where is he?” Shifting in his chair again, the man seemed to be searching. “Gone,” he said at last, “and lost. Ah well, that is unfortunate.”
       From underneath the chair, the painted wooden king looked up at Anna and she looked at him uncertainly.
       The man went on, “’Tis likely that the Earl of Erroll will not let me use his hospitality again, if I do so misplace his treasures.” And he gave a sigh so sorrowful that Anna could not help but feel an answering regret in her own heart, and reaching out she closed her hand around the errant king and crept out of her corner to return him to the playing-board in silence.
         She could see the stranger now. He was a man much older than her father or her Uncle Rory, older even than the earl who kept this castle, and his hair had grayed to match the whiteness of the close-trimmed beard that edged his lean and kindly looking face. His smile cut crinkles round his eyes.
         “I thank ye, lass. ’Tis a great kindness ye have done me.”
         When she gazed at him, not answering, he gave a nod toward the armchair facing him and asked her, “Will ye sit and keep me company awhile, or will your mother be expecting ye?”
        She felt the swell of tears begin to burn again and pushed them back and said, “I have no mother.” Bravely sitting in the chair, she watched him set the painted pieces in their places on the board.
        He asked her, “Do ye play the chess?”
        She shook her head.
        “It is the grandest game,” he said, “for those who have the patience and the wit to learn it.”
        Anna saw him set a small piece on a square and frowned as something deep within her memory turned and tugged. “What’s that?”
       “The pawn? Well, he’s the smallest soldier, yet the game would be for naught without his efforts.”
       In behind the lines of pawns the taller rows of varied chessmen stood—the kings and queens and horses’ heads and castle towers, but it was the little pawns who most caught Anna’s fancy, and she heard a woman’s voice repeating in her memory, “That one is my favorite, too,” and felt a sense of sadness that she did not understand, although it mingled with her own and made her ask, “What does he do?”
       The man was watching her. He smiled again and said, “Well now, I’ll show ye.”
        She had always had an easy time of learning things, and this game had a structure to it that she found appealing, and a challenge that was made more real by how the stranger chose to introduce the players and their parts, as though they were real men upon a battlefield.
       “But fit wye can the…” she began, to be corrected by the man.
       “Say ‘why.’”
       “Fit wye should I say ‘why’?” she asked.
       “Because it is more ladylike.”
        She frowned. “Why can the pawn not kill a man who’s standing right in front of him?”
       “His shield gets in the way,” the man explained. “He has to lunge his sword arm to the front and side, like this.” He demonstrated, and his skillful motion had a strength that deepened Anna’s frown until he asked her, “What?”
        She answered with the full directness of her seven years, replying, “You were telling tales, afore. You do not have the palsy.”
      “Have I not?” The crinkles formed around his eyes again. “Well, neither are ye motherless.”


Giveaway!! (Open to the U.S. and Canada)

Sourcebooks is offering a prize package of the following four books -- shipping to the U.S. and Canada only. These four happen to be my absolute favorite Susanna Kearsley books! I know many of  my followers already love these books and have them in their personal library. That's okay -- take a chance to win and share them with your friends! Simply leave a comment with contact information and one lucky winner will be randomly chosen and announced on April 23, 2013. Good Luck!


Book of Secrets said...

I've only read The Shadowy Horses, and I absolutely loved it! Awesome giveaway!


petite said...

Wonderful giveaway which I would enjoy greatly. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anne said...

What a great giveaway! Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors.


Tiffalex said...

I absolutely LOVE Susanna Kearsley as well! Thank you so much for having this giveaway!!

Unknown said...

Oh thanks for hosting this contest! ruthellenanderson (at) gmail (dot) com

Lara Newell said...

I love Susanna kearsley! She's fantastic. Mariana is one of my favorites and I wish I owned it! Thanks for the giveaway.

lafra86 at gmail dot com

Catherine S. said...

Susanna Kearsley is my favorite author! I would love to own these four books (as well as the other "hard to find" books).
Pick me! Pick me!

Nise' said...

Susanna has quickly become my favorite author too. I want to read this book.

Carrie said...

I love Susanna Kearsley, and would love this collection! lilahupa@hotmail.com

Amanda V said...

Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors!

I love this peak at the young Anna and can't wait to read the rest of her story in The Firebird.


Meghan said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Beautiful covers!

mestith at gmail dot com

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

Susanna Kearsley is one of those authors that I've heard nothing but good things about but have yet to read one of her books (so many books, so little time and all that). This would give me the perfect opportunity to read several of her books!


Eileen said...

Love Susanna Kearsley!! Can't wait to read Anna's story!

Susan said...

I haven't started reading Susanna Kearseley yet, but all these books are on my TBR list. I've heard such great things about her writing. Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!

Unknown said...

Woohoo! Can't wait to read this next one! And would love to win these 4 books for my very own!

Staci said...

I have this one and so can not wait to read it!!!

Unknown said...

First time visitor - directed to your blog by Susanna's post on Facebook :-) Thanks for the chance to win these books. She's a great writer.


funmail07 at gmail dot com

Audra said...

Uh-mah-zing giveaway! I've somehow never (yet!) read a Kearsley novel, but am dying to -- I see nothing but raves for her books. Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

unabridgedchick at gmail.com

Diane said...

What an amazing giveaway. I have not read any Kearsley but she comes highly recommended. I just purchased The Winter Sea. I love your book collage at the bottom of your blog, so many great books. Thanks for the chance to win more Kearsley titles!


JeannetteJoh said...

What a fantastic giveaway! The Winter Sea is my favorite Kearsley book, so far!


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