A lady, a musket, and a dance for freedom . . . pair that with a fabulous cover and an intriguing plot, and you have Lindsey S. Fera's Muskets & Minuets. She's giving us a sneak peek inside the story, so keep reading!
Muskets & Minuets
Love. Politics. War.
Amidst mounting tensions between the British crown and the American colonists of Boston, Annalisa Howlett struggles with her identity and purpose as a woman. Rather than concern herself with proper womanly duties, like learning to dance a minuet or chasing after the eligi-ble and charming Jack Perkins, Annalisa prefers the company of her brother, George, and her beloved musket, Bixby. She intends to join the rebellion, but as complications in her personal life intensify, and the colonies inch closer to war with England, everything Annalisa thought about her world and womanhood are transformed forever.
Join Annalisa on her journey to discover what it truly means to be a woman in the 18th century, all set against the backdrop of some of the most pivotal moments in American history.
Trigger warnings noted in book details section.
Enjoy an Excerpt from
Muskets & Minuets
The dirt road curved upward, and Annalisa followed until she reached the top. Beneath the hazy dawn before her, the Charlestown peninsula stretched across shimmering waters, southeast toward Boston. She squinted at the faintly visible slopes of Dorchester Heights far to the south. Steep, green islands were not the only things to speckle the harbor. Three-masted warships littered the inlet with billowing ivory sails, each one crowned with the blue, red, and white flag of Britain.
She shivered. Far nearer, and more visible through the summer smog, sat a large fortification atop one of Charlestown’s hills. The king’s warships pointed their guns at the rising land—land a thousand minutemen had worked all night to secure.
George and Jack must be there now.
Her throat tightened as she imagined Jack and George clutching muskets behind those ramparts. A thunderclap of artillery shattered the morning calm. At last, she was direct witness to the hostilities. Sweat trickled between her breasts bound in linen, but the fabric wicked all moisture, as did the menses apron between her legs.
I should face no troubles today as I did in Portsmouth.
But the threat of her womanhood in disguise loomed.
A half-mile from Charlestown Neck, Annalisa lingered beneath a wide maple. The cacophony of cannonade washed over her with bitter resonance. Without her militia, she must find a way to safely cross the narrow strip of land.
The clank of metal mixed with a scuffle of marching shoes, and two regiments of what appeared to be provincial militia, gathered across the road. The gentlemen in command, addressed as Colonels Reed and Stark by their subordinates, appeared sullen and stiff. Colonel Stark, a thin, older man who must be in his middle-forties, stood tall and imposing. He wore his cocked hat low over squinted eyes. With a scowl upon his sunken mouth, he held himself in readiness, and lifted his cutlass into the air.
“Gentlemen.” Stark’s craggy voice severed the eerie silence between cannon fire. “Ready yourselves. We march across the neck.”
This was her chance. She gripped her musket. The regiment marched passed at a deliberate pace, and she slipped in.
“Watch yourself.” An older man scrutinized her as she stepped on his foot.
Panicked, she lowered her hat, and fell in with the march. She must take extra care to blend in and keep her identity hidden, no matter the cost.
When they reached Charlestown Neck, water glimmered on either side of the narrow strip. Gunboats and warships blasted artillery across, turning the ground to crumbled wasteland. A blazing cannon screamed forth and lodged itself into the earth mere feet from her. The ground quaked and Annalisa lost her footing. She tumbled and fell, the moist soil inches from her nose. A minuteman from behind scooped her up and continued the march, scarcely wasting a step. Shaken, she advanced across the neck.
Bunker Hill rose before them. It was probably thirty feet high. Beyond it, a valley, then a smaller rise, Breed’s Hill, she’d heard them call it. There, atop the shorter mount, minutemen gathered behind six-foot high dirt walls and ram-shackled rail fences.
Perspiration gathered on her brows and dripped down her back. Hand trembling, Annalisa wiped her forehead. The regiment stopped after they descended Bunker Hill. To her left, the grassy land sloped down toward the banks of the Mystick River. Colonel Stark crossed in front of the regiment with another officer.
“My boys.” He gestured to the river. “Low tide opened up this beach. You are to secure it with stones to form a breastwork to the water’s edge. Three ranks of men will flank you from behind.”
Before she could sneak away, Annalisa fell in with a group descending the bank. They scurried over the edge and set to building a stone wall that would meet the brackish river waters.
A young, bright-eyed boy handed her a large stone. “This is madness, is it not?”
She grabbed the heavy rock from him, and her knees buckled. Annalisa bit her tongue, unwilling to speak. The timbre of her voice over cannonade would surely give away her secret—the one secret she had left.
“Stack the stone, lad,” an older man barked.
She placed the large rock atop the first row.
“I daresay, we’re lucky to have made it this far.” The young man handed her another small boulder.
“Nathaniel.” She gasped.
He tipped his hat out of habit, then his brows lifted. “Ben Cavendish.”
They embraced for only a moment and Annalisa pulled away, her anxiety pulsating. Will he ask why I abandoned our militia at Concord?
Hesitantly, she asked, “What are you doing here? Is Captain Foster here with the militia?”
“No, I left the militia shortly before Concord. My family moved to Exeter in New Hampshire. I enlisted with Colonel Stark’s first New Hampshire regiment only a fortnight ago.”
Annalisa exhaled, relieved. He didn’t know she’d been detained in Topsfield that fateful day Ebenezer fell at Concord.
“Here we are, Cav. Everything we believe in we get to fight for.” Nathaniel clapped her back, and his palpable vigor set her at ease—an old friend from her militia beside her in this fight.
End of Excerpt.
Muskets & Minuets ©2021 Lindsey S. Fera. Shared with permission.
A born and bred New Englander, Lindsey S. Fera hails from the North Shore of Boston. A member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets and Minu-ets. When she's not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she's nursing patients back to health in the ICU.
Book Title: Muskets and Minuets
Author: Lindsey S. Fera
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 19th October 2021
Publisher: Zenith Publishing (imprint of GenZ Publishing)
Trigger Warnings: Violence and battle scenes, sexual assault, mild sexual content, and profanity.
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