I’m sharing an extract from The Tobacconist’s Wife by AnneMarie Brear today. Thanks to Love Books Tours for having me as part of the tour. The Tobacconist’s Wife is published by Lume Books and you can order a copy here: The Tobacconist’s Wife It is set in Victorian Yorkshire and tells the story of Thea Goodson and her abusive marriage. In this extract, we get a taste of what life is like for Thea as she tries to hide what has been happening to her at the hands of her husband Ernie.
Extract from the book
The last four months had been dreadful, full of quiet, sullen nights and false smiles in front of customers during the day.
Sighing, Thea packed away the evening meal and banked down the coals in the range. She’d made a fish pie after church but couldn’t face it now. Ernie would come home when the Leopard closed; he would smell of drink and some loose woman’s perfume. He’d roll into bed and snore like a pig… and she hated every moment, but at least he didn’t touch her. She couldn’t stand his slobbering kisses and searching hands.
And as usual, in the morning, she’d make a pot of coffee, open the shop – just as she had at her father’s – and while Ernie blundered around complaining of a headache, she’d clean the rooms and do the shopping and pretend that her life was happy.
Perhaps if she tried harder, Ernie would change back into the man he was when her father was sick? She had to try. For the thought of spending the rest of her life like this was intolerable. She’d be better off throwing herself into the River Ouse, which ran behind at the end of the shop’s yard.
Placing the guard around the fire in the small sitting room, she turned down the lamp and entered the cold bedroom she shared with Ernie. She wished she could sleep in the little box room on the other side of the landing, but that would send Ernie into a rage and she didn’t want another beating.
Unbuttoning her bodice, she then unfastened her skirt and crinoline hoop and let them drop to the floor. Standing in her corset, chemise and petticoats, she studied the changing colours of her bruises in the mirror. Thankfully, wearing her hat at an angle had hidden most of her face while they sat through the long sermon in church that morning. If Ernie thought deeply enough, he’d understand her aversion to standing around talking to other parishioners. Did he want them to notice her face? No, he didn’t. He thought himself to be the big man of the street. He had lofty expectations of becoming an important man in the town. Having witnesses see her battered face wouldn’t help his cause. He should be grateful she made an effort to hide the evidence of his temper.
Her father had never hit her mother. Why did Ernie hit her? She did everything in her power to be a good wife, but no matter what she did, it was never enough to satisfy Ernie’s whims and demands. He complained, no matter how hard she worked. She could scrub the flat and shop until her face was reflected in the surfaces and he still moaned that it wasn’t good enough.
From the back of the book
Having lost her father, Thea Goodson is alone in the world.
It is true she has a husband, but Ernie is a brutal man, more inclined to use his fists to keep Thea in line than to build on their marriage. And besides, Ernie Goodson has secrets – secrets that even his wife cannot share.
But in Victorian Yorkshire, appearances must be kept up, so Thea goes on powdering her bruises and forcing a smile as she toils in Ernie’s home and tobacco shop. There seems to be no other option.
That is, until a handsome and well-bred stranger arrives to set up shop next door…
Can Thea escape her misery and break from the conventions of society? Or will the clutches of her abusive husband confine her forever?
The Tobacconist’s Wife is the latest book from AnneMarie Brear, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling The Slum Angel. Perfect for fans of Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.
About the Author
An award-winning and Amazon UK bestseller, Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. She has a love of old country houses, travelling, chocolate (except dark chocolate – not a fan), researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.