Writer Submitted Fic: 4/11 - 4/17

April 14, 2011

Patriot Hearts by Wendlou
Review by Agrutle

Rating: M
Genre: Romance/Drama
Characters: Edward/Bella

Summary: In colonial America, farm girl Bella would rather play in the wilderness than behave like a young lady. Edward is the son of a rich landowner and very proud. An unlikely romance unfolds.

Being transported back to the late 1700’s through this story is the best way to time travel. Back to a time when cars and possessions were not important and family and community was. We meet Bella, a young girl, who lives with her father Charlie and brother Emmett. Her mother died when she was very young, leaving her father to raise her the same way he has raised Emmett. Sadly, that has made her very boyish. She wears Emmett’s breaches and goes hunting and fishing with her friend Jacob. One evening, Charlie tells Bella that she will start going to the Cullen home every Sunday to start taking lessons on how to be a lady. All Bella knows is that she doesn’t want to be a lady if that means time away from her brother and father.

I sit in the chair next to Alice and across from Edward. I am too nervous to eat. Alice turns to me and in a whisper only meant for me to hear, she asks, "Is it true you run wild with an Indian boy?"

I giggle and nod my answer.

"What adventures you must have," she says, "I must hear all your tales. I never have any fun, well, except when we travel. I love to see the big cities and shop for pretty things and dine at restaurants…," it is as if a dam has broken and Alice cannot contain herself any more,"… I just know we are going to be fine friends," she finishes, and I think that she is right.

After lunch, Miss Rosalie leads us to a small parlor off the main hall for our lesson. As soon as she closes the door behind us, her pleasant fa├žade is replaced by a scowl. She takes a moment to appraise me from top to bottom.

"Well, I can see I have my work cut out for me. Your posture is atrocious, your table manners were appalling, and you smell like the inside of a barn," she snips. "I suppose we will have to start with the basics." 

She crosses the room, removes a book from a shelf and comes to stand directly in front of me. "A lady of good breeding always stands straight and tall," she says, and then places the book on top of my head. "I expect you to balance this book on your head and practice walking and sitting. In order to accomplish this, your back must remain straight and your head level."

I hold my tongue and do as I am told. Alice gives me a sympathetic smile that quickly disappears as Miss Rosalie begins to lecture us on the importance of good grooming and the benefit of making a good presentation of one's self. 

I spend the duration of my first lesson fumbling with a heavy book that seems to only want to fall onto my toes. Miss Rosalie praises Alice for her good upbringing and makes many comments on my lack of it. An hour later, Miss Rosalie declares an end to my torture and leaves the room to inquire how I will be let home. Alice and I take this opportunity to become acquainted.

Bella and Alice become fast friends and Bella soon is waiting to spend time with her during their Sunday lessons. She has had no real contact with Alice’s brother, Edward, until he takes her home one evening after a lesson. She is in awe of him. He was raised to care for girls in a certain way and she had never felt so taken care of and it makes her feel so odd. She doesn’t understand why she feels so fluttery and jittery. He’s just a boy, just like Jake and Emmett, but there is something else there, something different and she doesn’t know if it’s good or bad. He is so handsome and older, one minute he is being sweet and talkative and the next he is short and borderline rude. She doesn’t know what to make of him.

"G-Good day, Edward," I stutter as I return his greeting. I feel a blush coming to my cheeks as I do my best to return a smile. Edward slowly stretches out his arm and offers me an envelope. "What is this?" I ask as I cautiously take the envelope from him.

Jacob must have sensed my nervousness at our exchange because he silently comes to stand next to me in a protective manner. Edward turns his gaze to Jacob as if only now noticing him for the first time. The smile falls from Edward's face. They lock eyes and appraise each other for several moments.

"It is an invitation," he says abruptly, without taking his gaze from Jacob. His tone has become unfriendly. I cannot think why. "Alice has bid me to deliver it to you. She would like you to come to our Christmas ball."

"Oh," is all I can manage to say as I register his hostility. We all three stand awkwardly for a moment longer and then the silence is broken by Edward.

"Once again, good day," he says, nods at me, then turns , mounts his horse and leaves without a backwards glance.

The author has a way of making you feel like you are right there watching her story. I love that she can convey, no matter what time period, the uncertainty of a teen-aged girl dealing with new circumstances. Watching all the different people in different stations in life and realizing that in the end the only thing that matters is the way you conduct yourself. This story sucked me in within two chapters and I eagerly await a new chapter. I cannot wait to see how the relationship between Bella and Edward comes about. Come join the journey now and enjoy the anticipation with me!

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