The Truth Seekers
by Mavvy Vasquez
Genre: Victorian Historical Romance
Release Date: June 28, 2016
He wants to change the world; she wants to embrace it.
Welcome to the world of the Victorian upper class: a vibrant, strictly ordered society that encourages gentle, intellectual pursuits but condemns those who reject its conventions.
In a community created to celebrate the Arts, gothic novelist Geoffrey Hawes finds himself coerced into lecturing to the idle rich. Reluctant to abandon his solitude, he must concede or risk offending his wealthy patrons. Bitter and disenchanted with the privileged and wealthy, Geoffrey hides his scorn as best he can, but he refuses to let the social conventions of the time determine the course of his life.
The last thing he expects to find in this rarefied world is someone who understands his unconventional views. Budding artist Miranda Claridge, the Governor’s intelligent and vivacious daughter, uses her unique perspective to open Geoffrey’s eyes to all that is beautiful and good in the world. Wise beyond her years, she is able to see beyond the trappings of society to the wonder of small, every day details, but unlike Geoffrey, she is unwilling to reject the conventional duties of rank and family. Her calm acceptance of her life’s predetermined path frustrates and bewilders the fiery, passionate Geoffrey, but she does not hesitate to challenge his beliefs with equal determination. In the midst of their many heated debates on the mores of the upper class, this unlikely friendship blossoms into a passionate, impossible love. Although Geoffrey does not deny his longing for Miranda, he cannot convince her to abandon what she believes to be right. In order to win her, he will have to sacrifice his own pride and convictions. To find a solution, they must discover where their true destinies lie. In a battle between principles and passion, can there be a victor?
Frustrated, Geoffrey left the assembly and returned to his lodgings. He gravitated once more to his balcony, gulping in great gusts of air in an attempt to clear his head. Now that he was away from Miranda Claridge’s intoxicating presence, he searched for some rational thought that would rid him of this impossible infatuation. It proved to be a futile effort. When at last he conceded defeat, he saw that each interaction with her had but served to increase the strength of the unbearable yearning, and that the kindest course of action to take for himself would be to remove himself from her presence altogether.
However, the next day he discovered that the temptation to see her once more was too great to resist, and he found himself standing in the Claridges’ well-appointed home before many more hours had passed. A drink had been pressed into his palm, and he gripped it like an anchor while he watched Miranda’s elegant figure float into the room. She wound her way through the throng with practiced ease, smiling and dispensing the appropriate welcoming sentiments to her parents’ guests. He suspected that the words falling from her lips with such aplomb were insincere at times, knowing as he did the personalities to whom they were addressed, but no indication of her personal opinions was revealed by that smooth mask.
She was beautiful and alluring, it was true. But he hated to see her like this. The light in her eyes was dimmed, almost unperceivable, and her gentle smile was too restrained, allowing no hint of unladylike wit to mar the smooth lines of her face. Even as he winced at this façade she had assumed, he found that he could not look away. He watched her progress while she moved in his direction. So absolute was his focus on his inward struggle, so lost was he in the dark byways of his conflicted mind, that when at last she made her way to his side, he was startled to find her there before him. Recalling himself, he met her frank appraisal with a frown.
“It was good of you to come,” she said, her voice ringing with the cultured timbre that had been bred into the members of their class.
“I did not wish to disappoint you,” he replied in a bitter tone.
Miranda laughed, and the sound rang false in his ears. “My goodness, you do appear cross this evening!”
“Don’t,” he growled at her. “Don’t you dare play the gracious hostess with me.”
Mavvy Vasquez is an author of contemporary and period fiction. Also published under the pseudonym Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Ms. Vasquez enjoys weaving together different genres to explore and examine human relationships and dynamics. A lifelong writer and artist, Ms. Vasquez divides her free time between her husband, two sons, three cats, her collection of cozy murder mysteries, and her mildly severe caffeine addiction. Her eclectic background includes intellectual property law, ghosts, ball bearings, opera, government proposals, fabrics, and framing. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, and graduate of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, she now works from her home in Cleveland, Ohio.