Holly Newbury's life is on hold in the cozy English village of Chilton Crosse. While her friends are marrying, having children, and embarking on successful careers, Holly is raising her three younger sisters and working part time at the village art gallery. Her life feels incomplete, but family is more important to her than anything. Then a film crew's arrival galvanizes the community, and Holly becomes fast friends with Fletcher Hays, the movie's love-shy American writer.
The production of an Emma film isn't the only drama in town, though. Their father makes a choice that threatens everything she gave up her dreams for. Holly's sisters endure growing pains. And Fletcher plans to return to America as soon as filming is over, ruining any chance of their relationship blossoming further. After years of sacrificing for others, Holly must find the courage to take a risk on a future she never dared to expect.
|Publisher:||Red Adept Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)|
About the Author
Traci also adores all things British. She even owns a British dog (Corgi) and is completely addicted to Masterpiece Theater-must be all those dreamy accents! Aside from having big dreams of getting a book published, it's the little things that make her the happiest: deep talks with friends, a strong cup of hot chocolate, a hearty game of fetch with her Corgi, and puffy white Texas clouds always reminding her to "look up, slow down, enjoy your life."
Read an Excerpt
Finding the Rainbow
A Chilton Crosse Novel
By Traci Borum
Red Adept PublishingCopyright © 2015 Traci Borum
All rights reserved.
Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings.
For twenty glorious minutes at dawn, the village was all hers. Doves cooed and mist hovered on sheep-dotted fields as she picked up her pace and quickened her breath. When she finally huffed past the dark, empty shops and cobblestone streets, the sun winked through a cluster of trees to signal it was time to head home. Some people hated jogging — the sting of air in the lungs, the irritating burn inside the thighs. But Holly Newbury found it nothing short of blissful.
The running ritual had started six years ago, when she'd quit university to help raise her three younger sisters. She'd craved something she could call hers and quickly found it in a morning jog around the village. Those twenty minutes gave Holly something precious — twelve hundred seconds to clear her thoughts, center herself, prepare for the day ahead. She always felt a hesitant pull toward Foxglove House during that final spurt up the hill because she knew the moment she entered, chaos would ensue. Always the best kind of chaos — people she loved, getting ready for their day as she helped them make breakfast, prepare lunches, find homework from the night before — but her time became theirs again.
A few minutes after this morning's run, Holly stood over the Aga, nudging scrambled eggs inside a pan. As she switched off the burner, she heard footsteps clomp down the stairs.
"No. It's the effing wild berry! I can't find it any where!" Bridget shouted, accusing her twin sister as they entered the kitchen, tossing their phones into the wicker basket on the counter. Holly had created the "basket rule" when their father bought the twins mobile phones last year, for their sixteenth birthdays. Holly didn't want them heads down and tapping during breakfast.
"How come it's always my fault when you lose something? I don't even use that gunk," Rosalee answered, rolling her eyes and taking a seat at the kitchen table. "It's nasty. Smells like rotten fruit."
"Then you did use it!" Bridget pointed.
"No, I only smelled it. But that was, like, two weeks ago." Rosalee poured a glass of orange juice. "It's not my fault you can't keep track of anything like a normal human being."
"Well, it's not my fault you're an effing idiot!"
"Enough, girls!" Holly gave her best stern look. She turned to Bridget, waiting for eye contact. "And no cussing in this house. You know better."
"But 'effing' isn't a cuss word," Bridget argued.
"Maybe not, but it's implied profanity."
"Exactly. Implied. Not actual," Bridget said to her eggs.
"Well, in this house, 'implied' is close enough." Holly nodded toward the plate. "Now eat something, both of you. You'll be late for school."
She left the twins to their breakfasts, hoping they wouldn't kill each other in her absence, and walked down the long hall. She wondered how much longer this hateful phase of theirs would linger — the twins had never gotten along well, but over the past few months, they barely had a kind word for each other.
Fraternal twins born three minutes apart, Bridget and Rosalee had broken every cliché of twinship since the beginning. As a newborn, Bridget screeched and wailed, while Rosalee dozed through everything. When they were little girls, Bridget was fearless and temperamental, while Rosalee sat quietly in corners and read books. As teenagers, the differences had only grown more distinct — tastes in music, clothing, friendships. Polar opposites. The girls had even worked hard to look less alike. Three months ago, Bridget had bleached her long hair blond, while Rosalee had trimmed hers to shoulder length, keeping it natural brown.
Reaching the sitting room, Holly spotted Bridget's neon-pink backpack crumpled beneath the couch where the twins had finished their homework last night. Holly shook her head at the sight: wrinkled term papers and battered notebooks sticking out of pockets, an open book with a broken spine splayed out on the floor, and beside it — a-ha! — the missing tube of lip gloss. Holly snatched up the book, the bag, and the gloss, and went to check on Abbey. It wasn't like her to be the last one down.
"Abbey! Time for breakfast!" Holly called from the staircase.
"Coming! I'm coming!" Abbey emerged at the top, fidgeting with the collar on her sweater — part of the girls' school uniform — and nearly tripped on the first step down.
Petite for her age, twelve-year-old Abbey still seemed like an awkward little girl. But Holly was grateful for the awkwardness. Too many of Abbey's schoolmates were eager to grow up fast, experimenting with makeup and showing off their midriffs, already begging parents for piercings or tattoos. But not Abbey. She'd rather play outside, watching a ladybug crawl on a frond, than worry about boys or makeup. She also wore glasses that fit her personality, made her look as bookish as she was. An old soul.
When Abbey reached the bottom of the stairs, Holly adjusted her sister's collar and followed her to the kitchen.
"I smell bacon. Mmmm," Abbey said as they went. "Is it the maple kind?"
"Yes. Just for you," Holly whispered then rounded the corner and set the backpack beside Bridget's chair. "I found your lip gloss. Second pocket," she added, then poured another cup of coffee.
Rosalee, newly absolved, tossed a self-satisfied glance in Bridget's direction.
"Five minutes," Holly announced as she saw the time and watched them gulp down their food.
Holly remembered well the first breakfast they'd had when she returned to Foxglove House six years ago. A somber morning, where the only sound had been the quiet clanking of flatware against plates. She knew nobody wanted to be there, sitting at that table. Her sisters would much rather have been up in their bedrooms, grieving privately. Staring out windows and gulping back tears. Wishing their mother had been at the head of the table, where she belonged.
But Holly had insisted on that half hour, knowing back then the importance of it. Coming together as a family, if only in silence. And since that first morning, those breakfasts had become a steady routine, something the girls could count on. Something Holly could count on, too.
Over the years, though, they'd turned into little more than bickering sessions, an inconvenience the girls rushed through. But maybe this particular morning's squabbling could be blamed on the fact that school was back in session after a long break. Perhaps the girls needed time to readjust to the early morning routine.
"Outta here," Bridget announced first, disappearing in a neon-pink streak.
"Don't forget your umbrella. It's going to rain!" Holly called after her.
"I'm gone too," Rosalee said, sipping the last of her juice and pushing back from the table.
"Wait for your sister," Holly said, receiving an impatient sigh in return.
"I'm eating as fast as I can!" Abbey insisted through a mouthful of eggs.
"That's gross," Rosalee said then asked Holly, "Can I go to the bakery after school?"
"As long as you take Abbey. Do you have money?"
Rosalee nodded. "Couple of fivers."
One last bite and Abbey scrambled to catch up to Rosalee, who was already halfway down the hall. They slammed the front door, taking all the energy of youth along with them.
Thankful that she could trust their tiny Cotswold village, Chilton Crosse, to provide the girls a safe walk to school, Holly sat at the corner desk to check her laptop for her next assignment, another staple in her morning routine. As much as she would love to open the French doors wide, linger against the doorframe and sip her coffee for hours while she watched the garden change in the light of a mid-April morning, there wasn't that sort of time today.
She drummed her fingers, waiting for the slow-moving university site to open, and let her eyes wander over to it. Something she'd received in yesterday's post. Something she'd intended to throw away. Sondra's wedding invitation, propped against the edge of the counter, asking Holly to look at her own life and compare it with someone else's. This had been the third invitation in six months — two for weddings, and one for a baby shower. While Holly had created an odd sort of life here in her childhood home, raising her sisters, her university friends had moved on, meeting new guys, getting engaged, having children of their own.
Standing, Holly took the few steps to the counter, snatched the thick, expensive card, and chucked it into the receptacle. Good for Sondra, she thought, shoving down her jealousy.
Envy is a poison, her mother had once told her. Indeed.
Returning to her laptop, she heard the grandfather clock's chime echoing down the hall and realized she only had an hour before visiting Gertrude's. Barely enough time to start brainstorming that research paper. Or to emotionally prepare for the visit to come.
* * *
Clutching the oatmeal raisin bread she'd made the night before, Holly stood at the door of the cottage and wondered why she put herself through this torture. She already knew every one of the probing questions she would get, as well as the rote answers she would be forced to offer. These interrogations always turned her inside out.
Gertrude Middleton, her father's cousin, lived in Hickory Cottage down the road. Though only in her early seventies, Gertrude seemed at least a decade older: the grey hair she refused to color, the cane she leaned upon because of arthritis, the general crankiness with which she approached each new day. Holly often questioned why her father displayed such loyalty to "just" a cousin — especially a grouchy, ungrateful one — by stopping in to see her every week, when he didn't have time.
"It's the right thing to do," he'd once told her. "She's family."
So, Holly had taken over her mother's duties six years ago, visiting Gertrude at least once a week to check in, to give her someone to talk to. Gertrude had so few visitors. Really only Mildred, her housekeeper and caretaker, ever came to the cottage.
Realizing she would be chided for her three-minute tardiness, Holly put on a cheery face and gave a jovial knock before walking inside.
"I'm hee-eere," she called as she entered the parlor.
As usual, Gertrude sat rigidly in her straight-backed chair, stroking Leopold, the black miniature poodle who ate gourmet biscuits from his mistress's fingers. Holly was always amazed the dog wasn't two hundred pounds.
"I made some raisin bread for you." Holly held up the wrapped bundle.
"Put it over there," Gertrude demanded, pointing a withered finger in the direction of the table. "I'll have it with my tea when Mildred arrives this afternoon."
Holly took her usual spot on the button-backed couch with the scrolled wooden feet and clasped her hands in her lap. She never seemed well dressed enough in this house of antique furniture, of old lace draperies and doilies. Like something out of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel. No television, no computer, no technology at all — only basic electricity and running water. The cottage had an eighteenth-century atmosphere, and Holly supposed she should be wearing a flowing, high-waisted dress to better fit in. Along with some long, white gloves and a fan.
"How are you feeling today?" Holly said loudly, so she wouldn't have to repeat herself, as she normally did.
"You don't have to shout." Gertrude scowled. "I'm not deaf." She shifted uncomfortably, forcing Leopold to cling to her lap for dear life. "The weather change is making my knees worse, I can tell you that. And my hemorrhoids are back with a vengeance."
Now it was Holly's turn to shift uncomfortably, racking her brain for a valid enough excuse to leave earlier than planned.
"Tell me." Gertrude tapped her cane on the floor as a judge would a gavel. Commanding, arrogant. "Do you have a young man?"
The same question she asked Holly during every visit. So, Holly offered the same answer as every visit: "I'm too busy for that. Plus, I haven't found the right person yet."
As always, the answer wasn't good enough.
"Well, you're not getting any younger. How old are you now?"
"Remember, every tick of the clock is a minute closer to staying a spinster."
Holly bit the inside of her cheek to avoid a snide response. And a chuckle. The irony struck her. Gertrude had never married, yet there she was, lecturing Holly, judging her "spinsterhood."
Hypocrite, thy name is Gertrude ...
Eager to change the subject, Holly remained undauntedly cheerful and leaned forward. "So, I have a delicious bit of news. I heard it from Mrs. Pickering yesterday."
"Do tell." Gertrude drew in, visibly eager for a generous piece of gossip to munch on later with her afternoon tea.
"Apparently, our little village is about to be famous. A film crew is going to set up at Chatsworth Manor and make a film. Isn't that exciting? The rumor is that it's Emma."
"Emma?" Gertrude crinkled her brow.
"Yes. Jane Austen. Emma. The matchmaker who pairs up people unsuccessfully?"
The look of confusion remained. "Never read it."
Holly sucked in a breath and unclasped her hands. "Oh, youmust read it! Jane Austen's best work and my favorite book in the world since I was fourteen. My mother gave me my first copy. I've lost count of how many times I've read it."
"Humph," Gertrude said, raising her nose to the idea. She slipped another biscuit to Leopold, who snatched it greedily. "In my opinion, books are only for those who cannot think for themselves."
Holly's cheeks prickled with heat. She could accept the rude judgments of her social life, could even take being labeled "spinster" — but a lack of respect for books, for Jane Austen, and thus, for her own mother's memory? That was unacceptable.
"Well, in my opinion," Holly started, trying to contain the tremble in her voice, "those who detest literature have small minds and narrow views of the world. Jane Austen once said that. Or something like it."
Gertrude sat higher in her seat, face horrified, and said with another rap of her gavel, "Then this 'Jane Austen' is clearly a fool."
Holly stood and tried to breathe, remembering who she was talking to. A blood relative, an elder who deserved respect. She monitored her tone and kept it as even as possible. "Honestly, Gertrude, I think you're wrong. And to prove it to you, I think we should start a book club."
"And I think that our first book should be Emma."
"For goodness' sake, you have got to be —"
"And that this book club should meet right here. In Hickory Cottage. Once a week." For the first time in her life, Holly saw genuine panic on Gertrude's face. Holly took advantage of the moment, reveling in her own boldness. "This will be the best way for you to decide if Jane Austen's work is trash or treasure. I'll round up some interested readers this week and we can have the first meeting on Monday. I'll take care of everything."
With that, Holly pivoted and headed for the door, half proud and half petrified of what had just happened. She knew the shocked expression would remain on Gertrude's face for the rest of the day. And something about that gave Holly a wicked rush of satisfaction.
* * *
Fat drops of rain spattered above Holly's head, tap dancing on her green umbrella as she skipped over puddles. Storey Road, the cobble stoned main street of Chilton Crosse, glistened on rainy days, like a watercolor painting. Holly inhaled the dewy scent and browsed the street, savoring how the rain altered the quaint limestone shop-fronts from a pale sand color to a darker taupe. A stone gazebo stood in the middle of the road, usually occupied by tourists taking pictures or eating lunches. Holly always loved this view of the village: pristine shops lined up in a neat row, multicolored flowers peeking out of window boxes. All brought to life, even on a gloomy day.
She approached the art gallery, which was sandwiched between the post office and clock shop across from Joe's pub, and shook out her umbrella. Though Holly's father insisted she didn't need a job — she was busy enough looking after her sisters — she believed otherwise. It was important to earn her own money, to set a good example for her sisters. So, four years ago, Holly had filled out an application for part-time work and had been hired on the spot by the curator, Frank O'Neill.
Excerpted from Finding the Rainbow by Traci Borum. Copyright © 2015 Traci Borum. Excerpted by permission of Red Adept Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
LOVED this book! The characters are people I want to know, and that small English village is definitely a place I would love to live. The characters from Book 1, "Painting the Moon" are "seen" in the background of this story, which is great to "see" how their lives have progressed. Some may compare this book to Jane Austen's "Emma," but I see it also, as "Little Women" - one of my all-time favorites. I look forward to Traci Borum's next book in this series. More, please!
Lovely English tale worthy of Masterpiece theater
If I've learned anything in this life and that i still have yet to master, is being honest with myself about where my heart and mind are. I mean truly and deeply gut level honest, but we are not taught that, and so we suffer. Granted we can't take every decision we make to heart because many we have to make are not necessarily life altering. But I believe we do instinctively know which ones are, but are "fear-full" and therefore step back from leaping into our lives' potentual greatness. Hence God's great opportunties for growth and getting our attention. Often. I loved this book. It is one to savor. It is engaging, personal, and thought provoking. The way the book is laid out is beautifully done: structured with lead in killer quotes and personal epiphanies which result in waking up Noelle to reclaim her life, but it's personal as well. You and the main character Noelle go on this journey back to yourselves. It is about the power of connection and love, missed opportunities, misunderstandings, secrets and owning your self. Pretty powerful stuff. This novel has helped me on my journey to further disentangle myself from "the proper way to live my life according to others and how to do it their way" by not staying in a boring job, incompatible relationship or whatever....this novel ultimately is about courage. I found myself being frustrated with Adam, but realize he is part of who each of us is as we struggle and resist until our "aha" comes. Each of the characters are intregal and contribute to the story. Like the perfectly cast movie with great script this novel is fully satisfying, complete and just the right length!
This review first appeared on my blog Christy's Cozy Corners. I was first introduced to Traci Borum back in February when she asked me to read her book Painting the Moon which is the first book in the Chilton Crosse series. I loved Painting the Moon, so I had high expectations for Finding the Rainbow. I was not disappointed. Finding the Rainbow can be read as a stand alone, so you don’t need to read Painting the Moon first (though you’re going to want to read it!). There are some of the same characters in this book, so if you like reading chronologically, you can read Painting the Moon first :) I love the characters in this book. Holly is more than a big sister to her sisters since she’s had to help take care of them since their mom died suddenly six years prior. She sacrificed her college education, freedom and relationship to help her dad. When she meets Fletcher, one of the screen writers for the local filming of Emma, she finds a friend to depend on. But will she find more? This book is so sweet. You will fall in love with the characters, including Holly’s crotchety aunt. I love this town and wish I could just jump in and live there. Emma is one of my favorites, so I love that they were filming it in the town and were reading it in their new book club. I highly recommend this book to all of you who love sweet and clean romance books with a cozy feel. I am looking forward to reading whatever Traci Borum comes up with next!
I love Jane Austen, and I really thought this was an interesting intersection of modern day romance and classic Jane Austen. Holly’s mother died, and she stayed home to help her dad care for her younger sisters. She put her entire life on hold to care for her family and now she’s eagerly awaiting her chance at life and love. When Fletcher arrives on the scene with a film crew to film “Emma” by Jane Austen, they meet and become friends. Does Holly have the courage to start living life for herself and to go after what she wants and deserves? I really liked this book. As I said, I love Jane Austen, and I thought the touches of Austen throughout the book were really charming. The author wasn’t trying to recreate Austen by any means, but I think she was really paying homage to Austen and the way she crafted characters and love stories. I really liked Fletcher. I thought he was charming in his shy demeanor and I loved the chemistry that he and Holly had together. Holly’s Father, however, can go jump off a cliff. I thought the way he was so demanding of Holly and just expected her to do things was selfish and a bit cruel. He made me angry quite a bit. My only complaint with this book was that I felt the end was a bit rushed. I would have liked for it to play out a bit more and unfold more naturally. But, overall I found I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for more! Reviewed by Sara Squared for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy provided for review*
Finding the Rainbow is a return to my favorite English village, Chilton Crosse, the place I fell in love with while reading Painting the Moon. The story picks up not long after the end of Painting the Moon and is told from Holly's point of view, Noelle's gallery assistant. Holly dropped out of university six years before to help raise her younger sisters after the sudden, unexpected death of her mother. Holly takes care of her sixteen-year-old twin sisters, Rosalee and Bridget, and twelve-year-old baby sister, Abbey while her father commutes to London where he runs a successful business. Assuming the roles of mother, caretaker, and older sister, doesn't leave Holly with much time for herself, although she takes courses online and escapes to her grown up playhouse out back to read in peace. When the BBC production of Jane Austen's Emma comes to Chilton Crosse, Holly decides a book club centered around the same novel is a wonderful way to immerse the town into the production. Walking through town, she stumbles upon one of the screenwriters, Fletcher, and American from Texas, and coerces him into addressing the book club, launching one of the best platonic male/female friendships I've read in awhile. The camaraderie is evident from the start, rather than developing after the whole lust-at-first-sight thing which is common in most romances of late. This is a refreshing change from the ordinary. Plot The plot in Finding the Rainbow is more subtle than in Painting the Moon. Overall, it's about Holly finding where she fits, and the romance plays a role in that, but it's so much more than that. When Holly's father makes a choice that changes her function within the family, she feels adrift and without purpose. This is no "I need a man to be happy" story, though. Her friendship with Fletcher is well-established before anything romantic evolves and he isn't her saving grace. Strong subplots involve the making of the movie and a romance involving Holly's boss, Frank. Additionally, Holly's father, all three sisters, and even Fletcher have their own arcs. World Building The world building is almost stronger this time around than in Painting the Moon. Sure, we're already well acquainted with Chilton Crosse, but Noelle was a recent transplant, whereas Holly was born and raised there. This time, we get to see it through the eyes of a lifelong resident, allowing us to gain a more intimate understanding of the village and it's colorful inhabitants. Characters I love all the characters, and I think that's where Traci Borum's writing really shines. She creates unique, three-dimensional characters that come alive in believable ways. Each and every character is distinct, even twins, Rosalee and Bridget. Holly is not Noelle 2.0 either, nor is Fletcher a reboot of Adam. Writing Once again, the writing transports us to a quaint English countryside where life is slower paced and it rains. A freakishly lot. The pacing matches the laid-back lives of the characters that inhabit the pages. Ending I thought the ending did justice to the story, and I liked it more than the end of Painting the Moon, which I thought was well done. The characters remain true to themselves, which I think is key. Top Five Things I enjoyed about Finding the Rainbow 1. Holly's Personality. I love her outlook on life, the way she's so resilient and doesn't allow herself to wallow, even though she has plenty of reason to. 2. Fletcher. I love that he was always a friend first to Holly. He could have been the typical American guy, looking for a quick lay and short-term romance until he left, but he never went that route. 3. Rosalee. Of Holly's sisters, she was my favorite. Her passion and tender heart made her someone I'd want to befriend if she was a real person. 4. Emma. While not my favorite Austen novel (that would be Sense and Sensibility) I do love the Jane Austen themes that wind through both of Traci Borum's novels. 5. Grown Up Playhouses. I love how Holly turned her childhood playhouse into and adult retreat. I'd kill for someplace like that in my own backyard! Bottom Line Finding the Rainbow is a sweet story that is similar in some way to Painting the Moon, but has a little Notting Hill twist with a dash of The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. Disclaimer I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
And again people feel the need to practically rewrite the book. We can read actually and wish to do so on our own! Knock it off already.
Finding the Rainbow by Traci Borum For the past six years Holly Newbury, being several years older than her sisters, stepped into the role of caring for and raising her younger sisters when their mother passed away unexpectedly from an aneurism. Their father, Duncan, struggled with depression for months and hid himself away from the family in his home office. He is still practically non-existent in family affairs. Chilton Crosse is a picturesque English community where everyone practically knows everyone else. It was nice to re-visit and learn about more people in this town. It is big news when a film company chooses an estate at the end of town to film the movie Emma. Everyone gets in the spirit and are lucky enough to play extras in the process of filming. Emma is one of Holly’s favorite Jane Austen stories. She decides everyone should read the book since the movie is being filmed there. She organizes a book club to be held at her cantankerous Aunt Gertrude’s house to try to draw her into the town’s excitement. She even invites Fletcher Hays, the American playwright who adapted the book for the big screen, as their resident Emma expert. They become fast friends and the book club is a huge success. Each chapter is opened with a Jane Austen quote, which ties into the story. The plot is character driven with many twists that draws different family members into the spotlight. Family secrets are exposed, which must be dealt with, a teenage infatuation goes awry, and a hidden emotional time bomb explodes. To top all of this off Holly is suddenly struck how much her life parallels Emma. This turned into a satisfying read that left a smile on my face. FYI: This is Book 2 from the Chilton Crosse Series, however it can be read as a stand-alone story. Format/Typo Issues: I was given an advance reader’s copy but I noticed no glaring proofing errors. **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** June 15, 2015