Continuing on my themes from the last week’s posts–hauntings, and also recent releases that didn’t get proper blog posts because my website was down at the time they came out.
“Would you like to see Cleo?”
This time the blush flamed to the surface of her skin, and the chill dove deeper, towards her heart. “I… Can I?”
Robert Fitzwilliam held out his hand. “There’s a statue of her down the hall.”
A statue. Of course. Had she been expecting a ghost? She pressed her palm to his again, felt long fingers close around it, followed the draw of his arm. The thick carpet drank in their footsteps.
“The Bitterness of Flesh” came out in Ever Dream of Me, an anthology from Fantasia Divinity Magazine. It was inspired by two things: the Year’s Best Food Writing anthologies from Holly Hughes, and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Of course, I was reading those at the same time, which is one of the best ways to cross wires for creative sparks.
Plot-wise, the story is not about a chef: I’m more interested in eating scrumptious delicacies than preparing them, so the Food Writing inspired me to notice and incorporate sensual details–and also an heirloom apple orchard. Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t more writing out there combining culinary and erotic appetites, although Gael Green’s Insatiable and Ashley Warlick’s The Arrangement are both on my bookshelves (I hadn’t realized M.F.K. Fisher had a love triangle under her belt along with all those European meals!).
The core of the story is about a second wife, and also, of course, about the first one. I adore Gothic novels, but the atmosphere of “Bitterness” is a little lighter than most Gothics–more bittersweet than venomous. Its partial inspiration, Rebecca, is a book about jealousy and fear, love and obsession. And when the heroine gets that obsessed with Rebecca (aided not least by the tour Mrs. Danvers gives of the shrine made from Rebecca’s bedroom), it becomes almost–with more or less “almost” about it–sexual.