A Waltz at Midnight

A Waltz at Midnight

by Crista McHugh

NOOK BookOriginal (eBook - Original)


Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426896729
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 07/15/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 430,896
File size: 487 KB

Read an Excerpt

Poughkeepsie, New York
November 1866

"Susanna, my room is cold," a nasally voice called from down the hall. "Add some coal to my fire."

"Why don't I just burn you instead?" Susanna muttered under her breath as she paused from gathering the ashes in another room. She'd just asked Annabelle if she needed anything five minutes ago. But like every morning, the spoiled Yankee princess waited until Susanna was knee-deep in another task to come up with some trivial demand.

Be grateful you have a roof over your head and food in your belly. She dumped the last shovelful into the bucket and brushed the stray ashes off her long skirts. She was grateful her aunt ran one of the boardinghouses for the Vassar students and had given her and her brother a place to live in exchange for their help around the house. There were some days, though, where Susanna would have preferred starving in her burned-out shell of a house in South Carolina.

Days like today, when she was the target of Annabelle's game.

She marched next door with the shovel still in her hand, her anger waning with each step until she was able to stretch a civil smile across her lips when she entered the room. She dug out a mountain of coal from the bucket, pulled back the screen, and tossed it in. The screen slammed shut of its own accord as though it, too, was perturbed with the room's occupant.

"Anything else, Miss Annabelle?" she asked in a flat voice.

"No, thank you." Annabelle pretended to bury her beaked nose in her book, but Susanna could still feel her eyes watching from over the pages. When she reached the door, Annabelle called out, "Wait. It's going to take a while for the room to adequately warm up. Fetch me the throw from my bed."

Susanna jerked to a stop. This game was treading on her last nerve. All the girls who lived in this boardinghouse played it, but Annabelle was the queen of them all. After all, she'd been there the longest at five years, earning the largest and most luxurious of the rooms.

Of course, most of the other girls completed their college education in four years.

Susanna plucked the small quilt off the bed and dropped it on her lap, then headed toward the door.

"Come back here and spread it across my legs for me."

Susanna didn't break her stride. If she continued to cater to Annabelle's every whim, she'd be in the room until sunset. "I'm terribly sorry, but I have to finish my chores, and you have two sets of perfectly good arms and legs of your own."

"You mean unlike your poor brother?" Annabelle shot to her feet and followed her into the hallway, her perfectly coiled curls bouncing like Medusa's snakes as she moved. "If he hadn't been Rebel trash, then maybe he'd still have his leg."

Susanna tightened her grip on the shovel. Images of beating Annabelle's face black and blue teased her, and her hand rose in the air. "Take that back."

Annabelle flinched, her arms forming a flimsy shield in front of her clenched eyes. "I'm telling your aunt about this."

The threat hung in the air like the nor'easters Susanna had come to hate during the last two winters in Poughkeepsie, driving the air from her lungs. She lowered the shovel and hid her fear behind a mask of bravado. "Fine. Go ahead. You'll have Lavinia cleaning your room again."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Waltz at Midnight 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I really thought this was more of a 2 1/2 star read, but I guess I'll round up... It wasn't a bad story, it just was rather unremarkable. It's a quick read--well under 100 pages--but even so I thought it could have used a lot more development...characters, plot, romance. The concept was cute (Cinderella-ish story partly told through an exchange of letters) and had a lot of promise, it just didn't feel as if it quite delivered all it could have. I'm willing to round up on the stars because it did keep me turning the pages (and because 10% of the royalties from the book are going to Operation Homefront, which I think is great), but the ending just kind of felt like it...ended. It wasn't nearly as satisfying as I had hoped. The author thanked her in-laws in her acknowledgements for watching her children for a weekend so she could write this, and it felt like a story that was written in a weekend. I couldn't help but think that with a little more revision and tweaking, it could have been a much more satisfying story in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
vanessasgram More than 1 year ago
This book had a good premise but cut it too short and at the end--it was as if author said, "OK enough words" and ended it with a chop! I got interested in the servant Susanna and her brother who lost a leg in the Civil War but at the end--bang band--hero finds out a fact he didn't know--and met a woman he'd met only in letters but bang--bang--no anger at deception, nothing about brother's lot in the future, nothing--just END! SO I was left feeling hungry and unsatisfied! I AGREE---2 1/2 stars at best!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bites.No sample, get with it people!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago