The Wolf Mirror
by Caroline Healy
Publication date: February 14th 2017
YA Historical, Romance
Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.
Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.
With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.
Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.
Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.
Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.
Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.
Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.
In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice
Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.
She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.
(More details can be found on her website www.carolinehealy.com)
The Wolf Mirror does a slide back into 1714. What inspires you about this era?
I remember a substitute English teacher took our class for a semester when I was about thirteen years old. She introduced us to the Classics. Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice were two of the books she chose for us to read. I had never even heard of these authors before, and I was a bit reluctant. It took me a while to get into the language but once I did, I was hooked.
I have read and watched a number of adaptations of Classics, the BBC Pride and Prejudice version with Colin Firth springs to mind.
I always wanted to write historical fiction but didn’t want to go with the era of Austen, so I went back another hundred years. I studied history and English in University so for me, the merging of the two, writing and history, was relatively easy.
I chose 1700’s because it seemed a grittier than any of the later centuries, more unpredictable and I felt like it would be a greater challenge for the main character to readjust to this time period. I wanted a messier century than the 19th, so I chose the 1700’s.
What was the greatest challenge when writing two characters from two different time periods?
I wanted to make their experiences comparable and I wanted to highlight the role of women in society in both centuries. Trying not to be too forceful with this and give the characters room to develop and change was a challenge. I also didn’t want to make my characters very likable, particularly Cassandra to begin with. Every person has aspects of their character that are positive and indeed negative. I wanted to reflect that in the writing.
As I began to write I think Cassie and the characteristics she had or lacked as the case may be, led readers to become part of her development as a character. The development was important, but also the story, so balancing the two was a challenge.
What was the most amusing thing you ran across during your research?
When I was researching the clothes I was fascinated at all the bits and pieces that you needed. Also the food, the dishes prepared were at times really disgusting. The rules and regulations as regards etiquette were also fascinating. Let’s just say, I am glad I live in the 21st century.
Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents? Or hobbies?
Nothing too uncommon, I teach Yoga and Pilates and like to dance salsa.
Is there something memorable you've heard from your readers/fans?
I teach creative writing and I remember a student coming to me at the end of a semester of class and she told me one of her short stories had been accepted for a literary journal. She was very thankful (even though I hadn’t written the thing for her, merely given her the confidence to try) and said that she wanted to be a writer and had found the thing that she liked to do best. That was a great thing for me to hear as her tutor. Things like that make me believe in the power of the written word.
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