It’s the first day of the Multicultural Romance Blog-A-Thon! I’m excited to showcase great diverse romance and the wonderful authors who write it. This year’s debut features Susan Hughes and her romance Heart’s Desire. Enjoy 🙂
Heart’s Desire (Music Box Book 3)
Working as a school teacher in Vancouver in 1957, Mavis believes her secret relationship with a black classmate in Halifax has been left in the past—until he shows up at her door. Though she hasn’t seen Will since he left to serve in the Korean War seven years ago, the passion they once shared is easily rekindled. This time Mavis is determined not to hide their love. But society’s rules haven’t changed, and as Mavis and Will confront the prejudice that once tore them apart, they must face painful events from their past in order to build a future together.
Later in the evening, after the church women had cleaned up and the visitors had left the house, Mavis found her mother in her parents’ room, stretched out on the bed, still wearing her black funeral dress. Louise raised her head when the door scraped against the wood-plank floor. Her eyes shone with the tears she’d been holding back through the day.
“Come in, Mavis,” she said, sitting up. “Sit with me.”
Mavis did as she was asked. She glanced at the nightstand, where her father’s reading glasses still sat, next to the copy of Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge that she’d sent him for his birthday in September. A cloth bookmark protruded about halfway through the pages.
Her mother’s fingertips stroked through Mavis’s hair and came to rest on her shoulder. “Thank you for being here. I don’t know how I’d have gotten through it all without my only daughter by my side.” Abruptly Louise straightened her back and set about smoothing her rumpled dress. “Gosh, I’m a mess. I hope I looked more respectable during the service.”
“Mom, you don’t need to pretend you’re not sad. You lost your husband. People won’t judge you.”
Her mother responded with a skeptical sniff. “Of course they will. For years they’ve been judging our family, looking down their noses at your father because he was too sick to work. I’ve seen the pity in their faces when they look at me. And now that I’m alone, I need to keep my head up. The last thing I want is more pity.”
“It’s compassion, not pity,” Mavis said—though she’d received the same glances from her classmates in high school, when she’d gone to class in tattered shoes and outmoded clothes that her mother had bought on sale.
Louise heaved a shaky sigh and patted her daughter’s hand. “You have no idea the satisfaction it gives me to tell them I’ve got a daughter away at university. You’ve got the world at your feet, Mavis. I know you’ll take full advantage of the opportunity. You’ve always been headstrong.” She stood then, facing the mirror above her dressing table, and straightened her skirt. “You haven’t told me much about your classes. Are they going all right? Do you like your professors?”
“No complaints so far.”
Mavis nodded. She drew a long breath before adding, “There’s a guy in one of my classes who’s coloured.”
Her mother spun to look at her. “My goodness, they have Negro students at the university?”
“A few.” Mavis’s heart knocked against her ribs as she went on. “A friend of mine, a white girl, has been … spending a lot of time with him.”
Catching her meaning at once, her mother clucked her tongue. “That girl sounds like someone you shouldn’t associate with. Believe me, a girl’s reputation rubs off on her friends.” She turned back to the mirror and teased out the flattened side of her dark waves with her fingertips. “I feel sorry for her mother.”
Mavis felt a twist in her chest. Hopelessness stole over her. “Would you like me to make you some tea, Mom?”
Louise cast her a small smile in the mirror as she absently straightened the perfume bottles on her dressing table. “Thank you, Mavis. Maybe I can manage a sandwich with it. I haven’t had much to eat all day.”
“I’ll get some of the leftovers together.” Mavis stood and left the room, closing the door behind her.