Today I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Lindsey S. Fera’s newly released novel, Muskets and Masquerades, as part of a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Muskets and Masquerades is set against the backdrop of America’s war with Britain.
Annalisa awoke. The giant sea thundered upon the deck of their three-masted barque; a sea that sought to press her flat upon the ocean floor. She clutched her stomach from the roil of nausea made worse by the ship’s continuous heaving.
In her bunk, she shivered violently. Near-frozen brine dripped onto her face, mingling with the cold sweat of fear beading at her temples. She reached for Jack beside her and felt space. Frantic, she leapt from her bunk. Her feet splashed into the frigid water swirling about her cabin. Sloshing through the seawater, she staggered into the dark passageway between other cabins at the stern of the barque.
“Jack?” Annalisa wobbled and thudded against the bulkhead. She gripped the beam above as the ship pitched from port to starboard, its timbers giving a low, stressful groan. A lonely lantern swayed from its hook, the flame flickering in darkness. She stumbled and skidded into a barrel sprung from its harness. It rolled with each lurch of the creaking ship and knocked Annalisa to the deck. Her wool dress sodden, she crawled to the roped stair, which led to the upper deck.
“Jack!” She clutched the rope as the vessel gave a stomach-loosening plunge. Her grip on the rope whitened her knuckles, and the dive of the barque propelled her upward. From above, strained voices shouted orders over the roar of the storm.
“Reef the mainsail!”
Trembling against the stair, she dipped a numbed hand into her pocket. Nestled deep within, her fingertips grazed the musket round that had embedded in her shoulder at Bunker Hill; at her neck, the wampum feather from her dear friend, Quinnapin. She drew in a sobering breath. Emboldened, she pushed against the heavy door. It did not budge. She heaved again, this time with as much force as she could conjure. It slowly shifted with a groan, and she crawled onto the poop deck.
Annalisa’s face stung in the whipping wind. Hail undulated in sheets across the open deck. In the eerie, unnatural glow of early morning, the crew crawled along safety ropes, their shouts muffled by the roar of waves and gales. Jack would never hear her cries over such wrath. Keeping herself low, Annalisa crawled across the slippery wooden planking.
When she reached the rail, she peered over the edge. The North Atlantic swelled. A wall of water, dreary green at its height, blended into iron-blue. Crests of white spume laced the peaks and lashed at her face. Her wet hair plastered to her forehead, she turned from the rail.
Surely, they would capsize; surely, they would end here, forgotten in a deep, cold grave.
Jack’s arm surrounded her waist and pulled her from the edge as a wave crashed down upon them. They rolled as one, flung against a stout wooden bollard.
“This way.” Jack hurled them from the poop deck, down to the quarter deck, toward the helm.
The captain shouted, “Abandon course! To point!”
Huddled beneath the mizzen-mast, Jack pulled her close. “Stay with me.” He kissed her and pressed his forehead to hers.
A squeal and loud bang sent her shivering in his arms. She buried her face in his neck. Despite the salty wetness of his neckpiece, he still smelled of smoky amber.
“Will we end here?” Her throat clogged as she heaved against him with the tossing of the ship.
Jack brushed his lips across her dripping hair. His silence startled as the world around them clashed and clamored. “This journey. ’Tis my fault.” His voice wavered and cracked as if to weep, but she knew he would not, not when he must be strong for her.
Though her mind drifted to her family’s farm for only a moment, she shouted over the roar of rain and wind, “If I must, I’m glad to perish in your arms.”
Jack’s hold tightened.
Fleeting thoughts of George, away with the Continental Army, emerged; her youngest siblings, Mary and Henry, and her pregnant older sister, Jane; poor William left behind at George’s tavern; and Abigail, her best friend and sister-in-law who awaited them on the other side of the angry Atlantic. They had much to live for, but it seemed divine Providence held other plans.
“Lay out the sea anchor! Lay out all chains!”
Another wave—it must’ve been miles high—swept over them. In the surge that flooded them, Annalisa barely heard Jack’s stifled voice as the violent sea pulled him from her. The reefed canvas sails tore from their lashing and spilled from the sky. A tangle of ropes and spars, and the top of the mizzen-mast, crashed around them.
Jack and Annalisa are married only five months when, enroute to France, a shipwreck separates them. On different shores, each believes the other dead. But when Annalisa learns Jack is alive, she returns to America and discovers much has changed. After a betrayal, she flees town as her alter ego, Benjamin Cavendish, and joins the Continental Army.
Unbeknownst to Annalisa, Jack has also joined the Continentals, harboring shameful secrets from his days in mourning. Against the backdrop of war with Britain, façades mount between Jack and Annalisa, and the merry minuet of their adolescence dissolves into a masquerade of deceit, one which threatens to part them forever.
Muskets and Masquerades is available at
Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon CA • Amazon AU
Lindsey S Fera
Lindsey S Fera is a born and bred New Englander, hailing from the North Shore of Boston. As a member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets & Minuets, a planned trilogy.
When she’s not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she’s nursing patients back to health. Muskets & Masquerades is her sophomore novel.
For more information about Lindsey and her books click on the links below
Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram
Amazon Author Page • Goodreads
More information on the Coffee Pot Book Club and other works of quality historical fiction can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
Book Title: Muskets and Masquerades
Series: Muskets Trilogy
Author: Lindsey S. Fera
Publication Date: 18 April 2023
Publisher: Pompkin Press
Page Length: 500
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance
One thought on “Muskets and Masquerades by Lindsey S Fera”
Thank you for hosting Lindsey S. Fera today, with an enticing excerpt from Muskets & Masquerades.
The Coffee Pot Book Club
LikeLiked by 1 person