Write & Shine: Novel Excerpt Share #2
Another share of my novel My Mr Keats today. My Mr Keats is currently crowdfunding on Unbound, a crowdfunding platform for books!
My Mr Keats is a historical YA novel set in the Lake Districts in the 1940s.
A historical coming-of-age story about a young girl who befriends a dying boy kept in the attic of his family’s home
When Kitty’s father is employed by the wealthy Castleton family as a live-in doctor in the Lake District, 10-year-old Kitty bewitches the servants and the family alike. The horror of her city life is quickly replaced by the rhythmic peace of the new: swimming in the local stream with the servants, feeding the animals at the nearby farm and helping Charlie, her best friend and the Castleton’s sarcastic chauffeur, build his own car.
But during the evening Kitty visits Johnny in the attic.
The excerpt is from the 2nd part of the book. Kitty is now 15 years old and has returned from boarding school which was closed at the end of the war. Back at the house, for which she thinks is for a permanent, she runs around in the rain and spends time with her old best friend Charlie, now 22.
Novel Excerpt | My Mr Keats
The water hit the roof with a thunderous clattering, like a hundred pebbles being dropped above me. I realised the meadow would be too damp to climb in such a deluge, so I decided to use the rockier path up the side. It was further away, but safer to hike.
I pulled my cardigan up and over my head and took off in a run. The rain was cool rather than freezing but it soaked straight through my clothes. I was wearing my wellingtons rather than my sandals, thankfully, which helped when I began clambering up the path.
I could hear the muffled shouts of Mrs Buckworth calling me from the cottage, no doubt scolding me for being so reckless, but I found that enjoyed the rain. When I was out in it I knew that no one would disturb me for fear of getting themselves wet. I was left alone to do as I pleased under the disapproving eyes of the windows from the house.
I clambered up the rocks and onto the drive. My hair was matted to my cheeks and my clothes stuck to me over every inch, but I didn’t mind. I laughed at the mad freedom the rain afforded me and walked at a leisurely pace towards the car shed to find Charlie, smiling widely. I twirled around the fountain, watching as the droplets of rain caught in the basin causing the water to rain upwards. I stood and watched it, catching my breath from my strenuous climb.
“Kitty? Kitty!” I heard Charlie calling. He was a hazy bluer in the distance under the cover of the car shed, watching me standing by the fountain. I laughed and waved to him, aware that I must appear a sight to him. He didn’t seem overly concerned though. I saw his blurry figure cross his and lean against the wall of the shed. He was observing me.
I saw no need to run to him, not once he had seen me just standing in the rain. I closed my eyes, tilted my head towards the sky and breathed it all in; the fragrant stormy air. I wanted to bottle it was so splendid.
“Afternoon.” I said, when I finally approached him, my arms still flung out wide and dripping wet.
“What were you doin’?” he asked incredulously, but not scornfully.
“I was taking a stroll in the rain.” I said as I came under the cover of his shed. I immediately started looking for a towel or rag to wipe my face, for rain is never as enjoyable when you take shelter after you’ve been in it.
“I could see that. Why?”
“Because I could. And you?” I asked as I took one of his oily rag from a work surface and held it out under the rain for a moment to wash it clean. “What are you doing under here? Mrs Buckworth said you were looking for me.”
“Yeah, about an hour ago.” He turned and whipped the damp cloth from my hands, wringing it out and passing it back to me.
I took a seat inside his car. The car seats had been installed and most of the innards had been completed. It was the engine and the body of the car that really needed work, but this had been the same for three years. His heart had left mechanics, for a while, after his brother’s death. He never spoke about it though, whether it hurt too much or because it was a scar long healed over, I never pried.
He sat alongside me, watching me as I wiped my face of the water and leftover smears from my snack with Mrs Buckworth. He leant across the seats, chuckling under his breath, and found a towel for me to dry myself with.
“Thank you.” I said.
We sat quietly for a moment just listening to the patter of the rain against the tin roof and the gravelled drive.
“It’s a horrible day.” Charlie said.
“I think it’s quite wonderful. I wonder what the lake looks like right now.”
“Like a lake filling up with water.”
“Oh Charlie.” I said, hitting him gently across the middle. “It’s so much more than that. Think of all of the disturbances on the surface, the miniature waves caused by the wind and the spray that must come off it.”
“It’s just a load of water.” He repeated. I threw the towel at his face, he caught it and laughed. “Fine, it’s more than just water.”
“But you haven’t seen it?”
“Then take me.” I said. “Right now.”
He scoffed and shook his head.
“I don’t need a cold right now, thank you very much. Although you’re probably gonna get one and pass it on to me anyway.” He scoffed.
“Think of it as a gift.” I joked.
It was his turn to throw the towel at me.
“Some gift, thanks.” He said.
We sat laughing together for a minute more, warm and protected within the confines of his little car. The towel had fallen across our legs and acted as a blanket as Charlie lifted his arm and wrapped it across my shoulders naturally.
For more information about my novel My Mr Keats and Unbound take a look at my Unbound page!
I’ll be sharing my next excerpt in a fortnight, so watch out for that! Be sure to leave me a comment if you liked this snippet of my novel and share if you enjoyed!