Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Author Anna Belfrage introduces us to her heroine: Alex Graham

I just finished adventure/romance/time travel/historical fiction novel Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage and today I am welcoming her to Bippity Boppity Book to talk about the female main character in the novel-Alex Graham. If you missed my review, you can read it here.

Without further ado here is Anna! Welcome!

Let me start by saying thank you very much Holly for participating in my blog tour and giving me the opportunity to post on your blog. May I also say that I am impressed by the number of tasks you’re juggling, what with the pet rescue, your reviews, college and work. I get tired just by thinking about it…

Anyway, I thought I’d kick-start this blog tour by introducing my female lead, Alex Graham, to you – and in a future post I will of course extend the same favour to Matthew. (“No need,” he mutters. He’s not all that much into self-promotion. Seems the concept was unknown back in the seventeenth century…)

Alex(andra) Graham, neĆ© Lind, is a woman pretty much like most of us. Well, until that fateful day when her BMW stalls in the middle of nowhere. It is a hot day, hot and overcast, with clouds the colour of slate hovering just feet above the ground – or so it seems to Alex. The resulting thunderstorm is of such magnitude it tears the weave of time apart, and Alex is sucked three centuries backwards in time.  Not, I might add, something she’d ever wanted to experience. Well, who would? (Me, actually …)

It’s not an easy world I plunge my Alex into. Gone are the days of clean clothes, regular showers and varied food. Instead she faces an existence in which women are chattels, in which people die of ridiculous things such as measles and strep throat, and where belonging to the wrong faith can result in painful, tormented death. Enter Matthew Graham, and at least I’ve given her a capable guide in this new, exciting life of hers. Let me tell you she will need him!

Alex sits down on the bench and looks at me. She’s flushed and looks damp – due to the weather she says, casting a look through the small window to the sunny yard beyond. I know for a fact Alex doesn’t like heat – just as she prefers to stay indoors whenever thunder rolls too close. Now she frowns at the edge of dark grey that lines the horizon and is slowly creeping up over the blue summer skies. 

“It might just be rain,” I say.

“Yeah,” she nods, sounding unconvinced. “Stupid,” she adds, “to be scared of thunder.”

“Given the circumstances …” I say.

“Yeah,” she repeats, and her hands interlace, fingers whitening as she presses her hands tight together. 

These days Alex doesn’t look all that different from the other women in the house. Long skirts, a bodice that is a bit too tight over a rounded bosom, a neat white collar and an apron that is in serious need of a wash. The colours suit her, the muted russet of the bodice brings out the bronze and copper strands in her dark hair. Two blue eyes meet mine, brows pulled together in a frown. 

“Still look the same, do I?” she says.

“More or less,” I say. After all, the first time I saw her she was in jeans.

Alex scrapes at a stain of something that looks suspiciously like dried blood on her apron and sighs. 

“Sometimes I no longer even notice,” she says, gesturing at the apron. “First few days here I’d change aprons every morning, but now …” She shrugs. “Same thing with all my clothes; now I wear them well beyond modern hygiene standards.” 

I can smell that. At least she bathes regularly, a major difference to most of the people in the here and now. 

“Do you think it was meant somehow?” I ask her. “You know, your plunge through time.”

“Like some sort of predestined fate? Don’t be ridiculous! It was more a matter of wrong time, wrong place.”

“Yes,” I say. “I dare say you regret taking the shortcut over the moors.”

“I was late.” Alex gnaws her lip. She takes off her cap and scratches vigorously at her hair. I wonder if she might have lice, but refrain from asking. “It was either the moor or being flayed by Diane for being late. The moor seemed a better option.”

“So,” I say, “do you regret it?” 

“Well, I didn’t exactly plan on time travelling, did I?she says. She laughs, shaking her head. “I guess nobody does. Kind of incredible, all in all.” She grows serious. “Had someone told me that by taking the road over the moor I might end up yanked out of my time, I would never have done it – assuming I believed anyone who told me something so utterly ridiculous.”

We share a chuckle. Alex has no patience with people professing an interest for the occult – no matter in what shape. And yet here she is, living proof that sometimes weird things happen. 

“I’m pretty glad no one did,” she says a few minutes later. “Otherwise, I’d never have met Matthew.” She gazes out of the small window, her mouth softening into a faint smile.

“So he’s worth it, huh?” I say.

“He’s worth some of it,” she fires back. “Some of the experiences I’ve had here I’d rather have been without, thank you very much.”

“Umm,” I say. I like putting her through precarious episodes. 

“Yeah, I kind of notice that,” she says. Her blue eyes bore into me. “It’s because you’re jealous.”

“Who? Me?” I feel caught out. Of course I’m jealous! She’s young, he’s gorgeous, life is crammed with adventure – okay, okay, perhaps excessively so at times, but still. She laughs and shakes her head at me, and I feel my cheeks flaring into a bright, tomato red. 

“We’re not here to talk about me,” I say in an effort to retake control over the situation. “It’s you people want to know about.”

“Five foot eight, dark hair, blue eyes, good tits… well that’s it, no?” she says.

I roll my eyes at her. “Your inner qualities, Alex!”

“Opinionated and stubborn to a fault,” Matthew says as he enters the kitchen. He grins at Alex.Quite the hellcat, and she kicks like an unbroken horse.” His mouth softens, he extends his hand and Alex sort of floats upright and levitates towards him. Okay, okay; of course she doesn’t – but is sure looks that way. 

“I’m right glad you chose that shortcut,” he says.

“So am I,” she says, “most of the time.”

“Not always?” he asks, something dark colouring his voice.

“Almost always,” she says.

“Hmm.” He grips her chin and raises her face to the light. He kisses her, a mere brushing of lips no more, and I pretend a major interest in my pencil.

“Not always?” he asks again.

“Always,” she says in a voice so breathless it makes me smile.  Seeing as they’re entirely oblivious to my presence I leave them to it, gliding as soundlessly as possible from the table to the door.

My next post in this blog tour will be published on March 21 on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Yikes, that’s tomorrow! I’ll be writing about… uh-uh, if you want to know, you’ll just have to follow the tour.

1 comment:

  1. I missed the review as well so was glad for this post. This is definitely for me!