by Madeline Archer
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Half-fae Lenox Pendry is surrounded by secrets and none are his to keep. Plucked from his mother’s arms as an infant and raised a changeling, Lenox grows to adulthood unaware of what and who he is and oblivious to the danger unfolding as his birthday draws near. After he’s unwittingly sent to the Scottish Lowlands out of harm’s way, he chances to meet a beautiful healer named Janet Roxburgh. The townspeople believe her to be a witch. It would appear Janet has a few secrets of her own.
Note: Madeline Archer is the pen name of award-winning author Rose Anderson. The Changeling comes from the sweeter side of Rose’s imagination and was inspired by the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin. Rated PG.
Known for crafting characters that stay with you long after the last page has turned, Rose Anderson is a multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes across genres under the pen name Madeline Archer. No matter which pen name she uses, Rose chooses descriptive words as carefully as an artist might choose a color.
As a self-described “persnickety leisure reader”, Rose especially enjoys novels that feel like they were written just for her. “It's hard to explain, but if you have ever read a book that felt like you alone knew what the author was getting at, then you’ll know what I mean. I tend to sneak symbolism and metaphor into my writing. You might say it's a game I play with myself when I write. I just love when readers email to say they've found something.” These hidden insights are her gift to her readers. Rose hopes readers will feel her stories were written just for them, for that’s the truth.
She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
The Changeling by Madeline Archer / Rose Anderson
Hello, my name is Rose Anderson and I am a romance novelist. As Rose, I write award-winning intimate romance. I also write children's and youth books, murder mysteries and high-concept fiction, as well as historical non-fiction. As Madeline Archer, I write the other flavors of adult fiction, including the sweet romance featured here.
Experience tells me the literary characters created in my imagination evolve into people of substance. While I’m walking in their world they share with me all the details of their lives, details I either missed or never realized while I was writing them. Sometimes authors think a story will turn out one way when in fact it takes a completely different turn. Other times I discover characters know more than expected. This always leaves me wondering who’s actually at the helm! I had an encounter recently when I found myself standing at the doorstep of an ancient mansion 1891 …
I often write historical stories and each one has its own architecture and landscape. I’m one of those total immersion authors. Because I love the escapism only good imagery provides, I write the sounds, smells, textures, and sights, into my stories. The moment I saw the building I knew where I was – Carterhaugh. The mansion sits just outside the town of Selkirk in the Scottish Lowlands. I raised the heavy bronze door knocker and made my presence known.
A small woman of no more than five feet tall answered the door. By her immaculate staid black dress and the hefty chatelaine of keys at her waist, I knew at once this was Mrs. Frew the housekeeper.
Her eyes sparkled with her smile when she said, “Ah Mistress Madeline! I’ve been expectin’ ye. Come in, dear. Come in.”
I smiled at the sound of my pen name spoken with the polite and practiced tone of a woman long-employed at the top of the household hierarchy. I followed her down a hallway to an older portion of the manor where she led me into her private rooms. The charming housekeeper’s sitting room had a cheery fire and was decorated with late-Victorian flounces and small China
figurines and vases of flowers. This private space was a perk for the housekeeper who oversaw the service staff, a duty she shared with the head butler Monroe.
“Please, have a seat,” she told me gesturing to the small floral-patterned settee with its finely embroidered pillows. The small basket of embroidery sitting beside her chair suggesting she’d done them herself. She said, “I have a girl bringin’ our tea.” No sooner were her words out when a young woman lightly rapped at the door. I recognized her as chatty Winnet. The maid smiled at me and gave a slight dip of a courtesy. I could tell she’d like nothing better than to sit with us and share the household news. I’d written her that way.
“Ah there ye are, girl. Set it there.” Her last words came with a nod toward the small table before me. Winnet set her full tray down then curtseyed once more and was gone. Mrs. Frew saw to my tea and then her own before saying, “It’s so guid of ye t’ come, dear. I’d imagine ye have many questions and t’ tell ye the truth so do I. Perhaps we each can offer answers. So what is it ye want to know?”
I said, “Perhaps we can, but first I’d like to say how well you’re looking today, Mrs. Frew. I know you’ve been under the weather.”
“Och, never mind me. Mistress Madeline. Janet Roxburgh takes guid care of me. The lass has a talent for mixing healing herbs, ye know. She sees to me several times each week and all is weel”
Her Scottish accent was exactly as I imagined while writing her. I told her how happy I was she was feeling better. Then I asked how young laird Lenox is fairing at Carterhaugh.
“Oh, the young laird is a guid man, as guid as his uncle Laird Charles was, god rest his dear soul.”
Lenox was a good man. All my heroes were. At this point in the story, he had no idea he was a half-fae changeling. Being privy to the inside details as I was, I also knew Mrs. Frew had an inkling of Lenox’ true nature. Testing how willing she was to speak of it, I went straight to the point.
“Mrs. Frew, may I ask, do you notice anything unusual about Lenox?”
“Ye mean beyond that he’s an outsider to these parts?”
Not wanting to lead the conversation beyond my question, I nodded again.
She gave me an appraising look as if testing how trustworthy I was with sensitive information. That was a solid trait in many large households like this. The servant staff may very well talk among themselves, but they seldom shared such opinions on their lairds and ladies with outsiders. Making her decision, she said, “He reminds me of my cousin.”
She nodded then told how her auntie had born a son much too soon and far too sickly to survive. She was only a girl at the time but explained how she had gone with her uncle when he placed the wee laddie upon a faery hill in the hopes the fae would take him away and make him well with their magic.
“My uncle Robbie explained that once taken, the poor sickly babe would never return. Leaving him was the only hope, ye see. An’ sure enough, come mornin’ the sickly babe was gone and a hale and hearty changeling was in his place. A changeling is a mixed-raced babe, dear, in case ye don’t know. The laddie had slightly pointed ears, but not so pointed as to be taken as a full-blooded fae.”
I asked if this was a common thing, leaving babies like that.
“Oh aye, it was common in the Highlands when I was a girl. It’s the only chance the sickly babes have, ye see. My auntie happily raised her changeling as her own, for it meant the fae had her son and were doing the same. Owen, she’d named them both.” Glynnis smiled remembering. “And you say Lenox reminds you of baby Owen?”
“Aye, his lairdship has a similar presence.”
I asked her to explain.
“Manys the time I’d hold wee Owen and he’d set me to tingling from head to toe. It’s a sensation one never forgets, dear. That very same tingle comes from the touch of headmaster Eppa and from his daughter Janet every time she comes to treat me with her herbs. The tingling sensation also came from the hand of the new Laird of Carterhaugh.”
I’d written Mrs. Frew to be quite an astute woman.
“Mistress Madeline, if I may, do keep this opinion of mine to yerself, hmm? I don’t think our young laird knows what he is just yet.”
No he didn’t. But he’d have to know eventually. His life was in danger. I reached over and gave her slight fingers a squeeze of assurance. “His secret is safe with me, Mrs. Frew. Thank you for sharing your insights.”
She smiled and reaching for the plate of scones, said, “Mrs. Nevin, our cook, makes delicious scones. Do have one, dear. Now if ye don’t mind, I have a few questions myself.”
The Changeling by Madeline Archer / Rose Anderson Half-fae Lenox Pendry is surrounded by secrets and none are his to keep. Plucked from his mother’s arms as an infant and raised a changeling, Lenox grows to adulthood unaware of what and who he is and oblivious to the danger unfolding as his birthday draws near. After he’s unwittingly sent to the Scottish Lowlands out of harm’s way, he chances to meet a beautiful healer named Janet Roxburgh. The townspeople believe her to be a witch. It would appear Janet has a few secrets of her own.
©August 2015. Rose Anderson writing as Madeline Archer Bio
Rose Anderson is a multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in interesting things to weave into stories. She’s known for crafting characters that stay with you long after the last page has turned. Rose also writes across genres under the pen name Madeline Archer. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Author Media Links:
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004XDGWL6