Give the gift of “Autumn Lady” this holiday season! Barnes and Noble is offering a 10% off sale on paperback editions today. Travel back in time to 1870 San Francisco!
Mara McClain is a young Irish immigrant looking to begin anew in Victorian-era San Francisco, after the California Gold Rush. She struggles for both love and independence, as a budding businesswoman in a male-dominated society.
Set amid the fascinating backdrop of San Francisco’s Golden Age, Autumn Lady draws from an eclectic cast of characters, both historical and original. It’s an idiosyncratic journey through the highs and lows, ballrooms and back rooms, alleys and the promenades, and the enchantment and viciousness, of an American city on the brink of a new era.
Autumn Lady is not just the story of Mara McClain, it is the story of both a woman and a city coming of age in one of America’s most exciting historical periods.
“The home never failed to fill her with a sense of awe. Two dramatic staircases of polished mahogany spiraled on each side of the parlor, leading to the second story. The upstairs featured richly decorated bedrooms, sitting areas, and baths. Each room contained a collection of vintage antiques acquired over many decades.
On sunny days, the stained glass windows illuminated the parlor transforming the room into a colorful lightshow. The back wall displayed a large oil painting. The artwork had been completed the year the house was built, 1873. The sun’s rays managed to penetrate the fog belt outside the windows. A colorful beam of light caressed the face of the portrait subject.
A young woman stood beneath the flowing branches of an old oak tree—its leaves reflecting the vibrant autumn colors of the stained glass. Strawberry blonde curls flowed from beneath a cheery blue bonnet, her hair the color of smoking cinders. Flecks of gold appeared to have been mixed into the paint. The brushstrokes reminded Mary of paintings created by Impressionist artists in the 19th century. The composition seemed to be moving with an electrical rhythm, broken up by dabs of color; but you could still make out the minute details, like the long lashes framing soft blue eyes. A rosy blush shone on her fair skin.
Delicate pursed lips lifted slightly in the corners as if she found the moment amusing. A blue satin gown was cinched tightly around the tiny waist and flowed softly against the autumn colored leaves. Her gloved hands held the reins of the petite sorrel mare standing at her side. The horse’s crimson mane shone brilliantly in the afternoon light as she eyed her mistress with affection.
Mary studied the image with fascination. Her musings were suddenly interrupted by the sound of Margaret’s voice calling her from the kitchen. “The tea’s ready if you’d like some, dear.” She moved away from the portrait, toward the kitchen. Not much had changed since she was a child. The room was still the same collection of old teakettles, cups and vintage wallpaper. An old fashioned stove was in the corner. The antique oak table was set for two. A crystal vase filled with fresh roses rested on a flowered tablecloth.
Fog moved past the windows, darkening the room. Margaret poured tea into Mary’s cup. Little shamrocks decorated the fine china. Margaret placed a blueberry scone on a matching pastry plate. This warm kitchen brought back so many memories. She recalled her grandmother busy stirring a cocoa while sugar cookies baked in the oven. The scent of cinnamon hung in the air. Rain pattered gently against the window in a room which was always a sanctuary.”
―AnneMarie Dapp, Autumn Lady
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for visiting. ❤️📚🎄