#BlogTour The Wrong Envelope by @liztreacher
Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide.Evie Brunton loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow lanes of Devon on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Bernard is supposed to be painting for an important exhibition, but the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy. It captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
Evie has grudgingly agreed to have her portrait painted by Bernard. This extract is about the sitting.
The raspberry patch was at the back of the house, twenty canes covered in ripe, pink berries. They wandered through them, each carrying a basket, eating more than they picked. The sun was really hot now; Evie could feel her forehead prickle with perspiration. Bernard beamed at her.
‘Here!’ he exclaimed. ‘We’ll paint it here! Wait Evie! Stop! Don’t move a muscle, I’m coming back!’ He ran towards the house, still carrying his basket, scattering raspberries over the lawn.
‘Your portrait! We’ll paint it here! Don’t move!’
He returned a few minutes later with a small gardening stool and a sketchbook. He found a spot near her and dug the legs of the stool into the ground till they were level. Then he plonked himself down, pulled a pencil from behind his ear and opened his sketchbook.
‘Don’t I get to sit down?’
‘No Evie, you are the peasant girl, toiling in the heat, bringing in the raspberry harvest.’
She grimaced. She was baking in the sun. How long would this take?
‘Could you possibly agree to—’ Bernard made awkward movements with his hands, ‘wearing your hair down?’
Evie was too hot to care. She shook out her bun and her long blonde hair tumbled round her shoulders.
‘Lovely.’ He put down his sketchbook and stared at her.
‘Aren’t you going to get started?’
‘Hold on!’ Bernard got up and came over to her. He gently placed his hand under her chin and titled her head ever so slightly to the left. ‘There.’
He returned to his gardening stool and took up the sketchbook again.
‘Hurry up!’ laughed Evie, ‘I can’t hold this for long.’
Bernard set to work: looking at her, measuring the perspective with his thumb and pencil, scribbling in his book, looking again. After a few minutes, he suddenly got up again and came up very close.
‘Your hair,’ he explained, ‘can I just rearrange it a little?’
Without waiting for an answer, he gently picked up a loose strand that was falling over her eyes and lifted it out of the way. He was so close she could feel his breath on her cheek.
‘You have such beautiful hair. Don’t ever cut it!’
‘What? Why would I?’
‘So many girls do these days—’ He stopped suddenly and gazed at her mouth. ‘Keep still.’
Quickly and gently he brushed her top lip with his thumb.
‘Just a little fly,’ he whispered, ‘from the raspberries.’
The soft touch of his thumb made her lips tingle. She had to break the spell.
‘You’d better hurry up. I’ll be needing tea in a minute.’ She was smiling but suddenly business like.
Bernard stepped quickly away from her. ‘All done.’ He went back to the gardening chair, picked up his sketchbook and snapped it shut.
‘What, you’ve finished?’
‘I’ve everything I need.’
‘Oh.’ She felt cheated. Was that the extent of her career as an artist’s model? Five minutes in a raspberry patch picking fruit? Surely he needed to make a few sketches, otherwise he would never remember what she looked like. Perhaps he had lost interest? She had set aside the afternoon, but the sitting was already over.
About the Author:
Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing.
Her debut novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope’, is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under ‘Videos’. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, ‘The Wrong Envelope’ captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
The sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’, follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair’s high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.