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Tag: K.A. Servian

Protecting the community from a scandalous widow

Dearest Maria,

I simply had to write to tell you the most unbelievable news. It is so outrageous I almost cannot bring myself to reveal it.  I hope you are seated because here it comes, Mrs Florence Beaufort (previously Miss Thackeray) has appeared back in Wellington after twenty years!

I can imagine your expression of surprise when you read this, I mean, the gall of the woman showing herself here after everything she did. You will not believe it, but she was shopping on Lambton Quay as proud as you like as if she had every right to be there.

Then, hark this; she had the audacity to insult not only me, but my poor dear departed mother. That woman’s arrogance knows no bounds. I, of course, kept a civil tongue in my head and asked after her husband Dr Beaufort—the man she stole from me. She informs me he is dead. Yes, I know, dead. It seems she has a propensity for killing off her husbands.

Then, she proceeds to tell me that she is perfectly content as a widow as if poor Dr Beaufort meant nothing to her. I was as shocked as I could possibly be.

I must add that the years have not been kind to her. She is still slender, I suppose, and her hair has not yet turned from its shameless shade of copper to distinguished silver as mine has, but I distinctly noticed lines had formed around her eyes and the heavy black of her mourning dress did nothing for her complexion.

It is bad enough we are forced to endure her dreadful brother with his shameless flaunting of his Māori wife and half-caste children around the town, but now we must also tolerate the presence of that fiancé-stealing Jezebel amongst us.

Mark my words, I will ensure everyone in the town is aware of her sordid past and knows to treat her with the disdain she deserves.  She will not receive invitations from anyone of any worth if I have anything to say about it.

Anyway, I had better sign off now as I must spread the word before she is able to use her airs and graces to ingratiate herself with the unwitting members of our community.

Best wishes to you and your family

Adelia Dorrington

Excerpt from A Pivotal Right, Book Two in the Shaking the Tree Trilogy

Auckland, New Zealand

“Mama, Mama.” Soft tapping on the back of Florence’s hand brought her rushing back from a black void. She opened her eyes to find her daughter’s face hovering above her.

“You fainted, Mama. I think you may have hurt your head on the floor.”

Florence’s vision swam alarmingly. “I must be losing my mind. I could have sworn I saw—” She swallowed. “No, it couldn’t have been.”

“Saw what?”

“Nothing.” She closed her eyes to try to ease the throbbing pain that was building at the back of her skull. “It is impossible.”

“Liam, bring a couple of blankets from the store room.” The voice so familiar and yet so unexpected cleaved her mind, sending shockwaves through her.

Florence gripped her daughter’s hand as her heart lurched violently inside her chest and she feared she would faint again. “I can hear—” She wanted to say, a ghost, but stopped herself. Viola would think her mad. How hard had she hit her head?

A shadow fell across her and she looked up straight into the eyes of a dead man. Blinking, she attempted to clear the spectre, but it would not vanish. Jack had visited her in her dreams many times over the years, but never when she was awake.

There were only two possibilities—either she had lost her mind or she was dead—but no lifeless heart could race the way hers was racing now.

“Am I insane?” she asked the vision of her long-dead husband.


Bio for K A Servian

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.

Her first novel, Peak Hill was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. She has also published a romantic suspense novel tilted Throwing Light and her short story, Seeing Him Again for the First Time won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Chapter Short Story contest for 2018.

Never one to do things by half, Kathy creates her own covers and has made and photographed the costumes for the covers of her Shaking the Tree trilogy of historical novels: The Moral Compass (2017), A Pivotal Right (2018), and Slaves in Petticoats (due out in 2019).

She has made and photographed costumes from various periods ranging from Regency to early twentieth century. Images are available for purchase on Shutterstock

Kathy has completed a diploma in advanced creative writing. She works fulltime as a writer squeezing it in around teaching the occasional sewing class and being a wife and mother. You can follow Kathy on her website or Facebook page

A Scandalous Affair

Tongues are wagging this week in the exclusive enclave of Belgravia as news spreads of one of their own caught in the midst of a dishonest deed. I overheard The Countess B relating the details to her good friend Lady J whilst taking tea at the Imperial. With a lightning fast hand, I faithfully recorded their conversation for you, dear readers.

“I swear I am in earnest, Lady J. I heard it from a most reliable source.”

“I cannot believe it to be true. I have always thought Mr T to be most upstanding. His late wife’s family were of an excellent lineage. Why, I even had his delightful daughter, Miss T, to dine only a week past.”

“I, too, have received them and that is what makes the whole situation so distasteful. How could he steal from the very people who have welcomed him and his children into their homes and treated them as equals?”

“This is, without a doubt, the most shocking and outrageous thing I have ever heard. I will be speaking to my husband this evening. I expect he will remove our business from that bank without delay.”

“As will mine, I am sure.”

“It is as I have always feared. When you allow merchants and traders into society, you do not know to whom you open your doors. These people may have money, but they have no breeding. You can put a Saville Row suit on a man, but that does not make him a gentleman. From now on, I will only be admitting into my home those whose pedigree I am confident of. One must learn to draw the line, don’t you think?”

“I completely agree. Would you like to hear what has become of them?”

“I suppose so, if only to be aware of which establishments they frequent so I can be sure to avoid them.”

“They are to immigrate to New Zealand.”

“New Zealand? What fate will befall them in such a place? Particularly Miss T; even with her father’s low birth she, at least, had some hope of an advantageous marriage because of her mother’s connections.”

“And she is so pretty.”

“She’s passable I suppose. But I did find all that curly, red hair most off-putting. Such characteristics are often an indication of wild and unsavoury tendencies in a person.”

“Who do you suppose she will find a match with now?”

“If she is fortunate perhaps a gentleman farmer will take her. I don’t imagine that she will be able to hope for much better.”

“Perhaps she will wed a native with a bone through his nose.”

“Oh, Countess, you are a card. How shocking.”

Excerpt from ‘The Moral Compass’ by K A Servian

Having gathered her few most precious possessions in her reticule and pinned her mother’s brooch to the neck of her dress, Florence peered at Jack sitting astride his Clydesdale. He reached down to her.

“You cannot be serious, you don’t even have a saddle.” Her eyes narrowed. “Why do we not take the cart?”

“Poor old Nellie needs a break from dragging that thing around.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “And I thought I’d be more fun this way. Give us a chance to get to know each other.”

Rolling her eyes, she reluctantly grasped his hand and placed her foot onto his. He hauled her off the ground as if she were weightless. There was only just time to twist her body as she landed sideways with a thump on Nellie’s wide rump.

He peered over his shoulder at her. “You’ll be more secure if you sit astride.”

She shook her head. Despite the fact that her seat was precarious, there was no way that she would sit in such an undignified way and she certainly did not want to be any closer to him than absolutely necessary. At least in this position, she could retain her decorum and keep some distance between them. “I have ridden side saddle since I was a child, I am sure that I will be able to keep my seat, thank you.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself. You’d better hang on to me. It’s a long way down.”

“No thank you.”

Jack shook his head as he pressed his knees into Nellie’s sides and she lumbered across the grass towards the gravel road.

Florence felt for something to grip onto as her body lurched from side to side. Nellie moved quite differently from the thoroughbreds Florence was used to riding. She eyed the ground. It was a long way down.

“Tell me,” said Jack. “How did you and your brother end up here?”

She frowned. “I’d prefer not to speak about it if you don’t mind.”

“Were you running away from something? Most people I’ve met here in New Zealand are running away from something.”

“As I said, I’d prefer—”

“—not to speak about it.” He shrugged again.

A stream ran across the road and Nellie stepped sideways to avoid a crevice created by the water. They lurched and an involuntary cry escaped Florence’s lips as her backside slid. She scrabbled to hold on and as it seemed inevitable that she would fall, a strong arm wrapped around her waist, catching her just in time.

“Will you stop being so damned stubborn and sit astride,” Jack snapped as he hauled her up. He eased Nellie to a stop and slid forward.

Florence scowled at him as she manoeuvred her leg over Nellie’s back whilst grappling with her petticoats in a vain attempt to maintain her modesty. Finally, after a few very undignified moments, she was securely astride.

Jack slid backwards closing the gap between their bodies and Nellie resumed her slow amble. “Hold onto me it gets a bit rough up ahead.”

Florence glared at his back as she wrapped her arms around his waist, gripping the rough linen of his shirt.

“See, that’s not so bad is it?”


The slow roll of Nellie’s gait combined with Florence’s previously sleepless night had a soporific effect and soon she found her eyes growing heavy. Leaning into the firm warmth of Jack’s body she inhaled the mingled scents of linen and something spicy that reminded her of Christmas. She tightened her grip and snuggled closer as she drifted off to sleep.

About The Moral Compass

The Moral Compass is part one in the Shaking the Tree Series in which several generations of women from one family battle for their independence and learn how to love.

Florence Thackeray has a charmed life. The poverty and filth of Victorian London are beyond her notice as she attends an endless round of balls, suppers and parties.

However, when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace, Florence’s world comes crashing down around her. Forced to emigrate to the other side of the world leaving behind the man she loves, she faces hardship beyond anything she could have imagined.

Florence becomes a working-class wife when she is given no choice but to marry Jack Cameron who is ‘the wrong sort of man.’ She learns that there is more to life than parties and pretty dresses and that love can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

But a piece of the spoilt little rich girl still remains within Florence and when she is offered the opportunity to escape the drudgery of her daily life, just for a short time, she takes it. However, she soon discovers that the offer is not all it seems. There is a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.

The Moral Compass is due for release later this year. Sign-up to my newsletter here, check out my blog or like my page on Facebook to keep in touch and be in to receive a free pre-release copy.

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