NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHORLessons in French “Laura Kinsale creates magic.” —Lisa Kleypas,New York Times bests. Includes excerpt from the author's: Uncertain magic (p. ). Laura Kinsale unique powerfully written love stories transcend Adobe Digital Editions is required for downloading and viewing the eBook.
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Note: Unfortunately, due to contractual issues, Lessons in French is not available in ebook format outside North America. The audiobook is available worldwide. CONVERSATIONAL REVIEW: Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale .. of them with a new link for their ebook download or to confirm that the. Praise for Lessons in French: "Laura Kinsale creates magic. Her characters live, breathe, charm, and seduce, and her writing isas delicious and.
His sisters and mother had always seen to all of that: supervising the linen and directing the servants. They would have been aghast if he or his majestic grandfather had interfered or inquired about the smooth running of the household. Not that Trev had ever been inclined to do so.
She had hidden it well. He saw now that he should have come then; he had wanted to, but he had hidden certain things himself, and it had not seemed possible at the time. Surprising, but not inconceivable, considering the circuitous route he had arranged for the funds to take. Trev narrowed his eyes. He hoped that somewhere in France, a certain banking correspondent was enjoying his remaining interlude of good health.
He felt his way to the stairs. There were no candles or spills, not even a rushlight. But he remembered the low ceiling and heavy railing well enough. The lamp he had left with her still burned low. She was sleeping. He stood for a moment, watching her labored breath. His mischievous, sweet-faced maman—he had hardly known her for herself when he saw her. She was drawn, her cheeks sunken, her lips parted, thinned by the effort to take in air.
But she had a trace of a smile, as if she dreamed a pleasant dream. Trev scowled. He hardly cared to admit the vast feeling of relief that he had felt when Lady Callie offered to come. It was not something he would have asked of her.
They were all but strangers now. He put that thought away, not yet ready for the surge of anger, the wound that lay behind it. Even that surprised him—he had supposed himself long ago over that juvenile affair. But they could still be friends, it seemed, for which he was glad. He liked Callie. Admired her. What other lady of her position would stop dead in the midst of a waltz and insist upon coming instantly to the aid of a Frenchwoman who had no earthly claims upon her?
He smiled a little. A lavender turban, with that hair. Only Callie: oblivious to every fashion, as sweet and shy as a wild doe. Her long lashes f luttered, dark against her pallor. She lifted them. I will have to shoot them all. I engaged myself to two beautiful young ladies and had to leave by the back window. Will you conceal me in your wardrobe? I wish only that he and your father were alive to see it. Even Monceaux! He stood and propped pillows about her.
She smiled, breathing with difficulty. Her fingers trembled as she put her hand on his arm. Elegant economy! Lady Callista desired me to say that she will be here presently. If she can produce a supper, I shall marry her out of hand. Two Mrs. Adam had not hesitated a moment when she heard. Easley had succumbed to the bottle again was sufficient to excuse all.
Tell her to fetch the arrowroot custard that I meant for midday dinner. She was always better when she had a task at hand. While Lilly swung the lantern so that shadows f lew all over the scullery, Callie wrinkled her nose at the odor of sour milk issuing from a pail on the f loor.
The air was cold and damp, the hearth a dark pile of abandoned ashes. It appeared that nothing had been done in the kitchen for a week or more. On the slate f loor lay a square case-bottle marked Hollands.
Callie feared that Madame must have taken a serious turn for the worse, to allow things to come to this pass. She pulled off her gloves and folded back the calash hood from over her turban, set Lilly to washing bowls and cutlery, and located a candlestick from amid the disorder of the pantry. As she made her way up the short staircase, she wished strongly that she had not been absent for nigh a month with her sister and the new Lady Shelford, drinking the vile waters at Leamington and knitting enough length of Shetland wool to tie up a haystack in garters.
She could hear Madame coughing, and so she only knocked once before letting herself in. Somehow she had expected that Madame would be alone—Callie froze when she saw Trevelyan turn and look toward the door. All her shyness swept over her again. Then he took her hand and made a bow as he relieved her of the candle. Callie looked at his bare hand holding hers and then toward his mother. Madame de Monceaux held a handkerchief to her mouth, but she put it down and smiled such a warm welcome that Callie felt a little more at ease.
Easley until tonight. Will you take some arrowroot pudding? You find this house in a sad state, I fear! He still held her hand in a firm clasp, as if to keep her. He glanced toward his mother. In the f lickering shadows from the candle, his face seemed grim.
Then he stood back uncertainly, looking like a man in a sickroom—helpless. It was a natural thing; she had often done so for her father. The Frenchwoman lifted her lashes and gave a faint thanks. She laid down the silver. You cannot conceive! But she laid it down again.
But my family—you have been good to us beyond any hope that we… can repay you. Please do eat a little more! Her father had been willing enough for her to take lessons to improve her French with Madame and her daughter, but in his curt summation, whatever wealth and rank the Monceaux had held before the Revolution, by the time they reached Shelford they were living upon little but pride and thin air, however refined it might be.
The French lessons at Dove House had ceased. Callie had taken some further lessons at Dove House—if not entirely in French. She sat down on the chair beside the bed and locked her fingers together nervously.
Madame took several slow bites, pausing for breath between each one. She held herself rigid. Madame had never mentioned such a thing before. She wondered if taking recourse to the sal volatile and burned feathers on the nightstand would help.
He was always a perfect Adonis. She has warned me again and again against Mrs. Easley, but—you know— she is not such a bad woman, after all. Callie did not need to be told that Mrs. Easley had been all the cook that Dove House could afford.
And until we locate someone, we can very well spare the undercook and a maid from the Hall. It grew worse, lasting so long that the tray shook and the Frenchwoman struggled for air.
Callie finally took the tray and helped Madame to lie down, keeping her own countenance calm with an effort. Hardly a spoonful of the pudding had been eaten, and every gasp seemed weaker. Madame lifted her lashes when the spell at last diminished, clutching the coverlet. The duchesse closed her eyes. She breathed shallowly, her lips working as if she would say more. A single tear slid down the side of her face.
Callie stopped in the kitchen door, still startled at the sight of him, even though she should have been perfectly prepared. He sat at the kitchen table, watching Lilly measure tea into the pot, but he sprang up as Callie entered. The tray. She glanced about quickly for Lilly as she found herself propelled up the short stairs and across the dark hall to the parlor.
In the firelit room, he set the chairs back from the hearth. Lilly was sure to portray it in a positive light to Mrs. This comprised a large circle, even discounting the goats.
He perfectly comprehended the most arcane demands of courtesy, even if he had always been equally pleased to disregard them at his whim.
Callie bit her lip. God forgive me. What can some country surgeon know? She feared that another physician could do no more than ease the way a little, but she did not wish to say so. And someone who can coax this abominable chimney to draw. Whatever is required. I wish the best that can be had, but I have no notion how to discover them.
A good housekeeper may take some weeks to procure. Callie met his eyes for just an instant. It was like a lifting of a burden she had not realized she carried, to have someone who understood. She could not agree with him openly, not in front of Lilly, but she gave him an appreciative glance. She lifted her eyes long enough for a quick smile and lowered them before he could perceive the rush of gratification that she felt at his words.
They sat for a moment without looking at one another. Callie sipped her tea. She was vividly aware of Lilly in the chair behind her. She suddenly found a hundred things she wished to say to him, questions to ask, where he had been and what he done. She struggled for a commonplace to fill the silence, but commonplaces always eluded her. His voice held a hint of a smile. I was hoping to see him again. But he was upward of eighteen years, you know, and had a good and fruitful life.
But surely an ode would be appropriate? She pressed her lips together to conquer the quiver and put down her cup. If only he would not look at her quite so, with that gleam in his dark eyes. It had always made her think foolish, outrageous things. I believe Madame said there was a hen nesting under the rosebush when I called last month. So do not tarry long, my lady. Or a little earlier, if you can manage it. It was impossible that he meant anything by such absurd things as he always said—she should know that well enough—but still she could feel her thoughtless heart f lame with long-silent memories.
His carriage held the scent of him. Even after he had closed the door and stood away, after the driver had clucked to the horses and the carriage began to roll, in the dark interior of the vehicle she breathed a faint perception of his presence, a hint of sandalwood and polished leather. Lilly sat up on the roof with Jacques, to direct the way to the gates of Shelford Hall. Inside, Callie ran her hand over the velvet seat of what was certainly an elegantly appointed traveling chaise.
She could not see it well by moonlight, but she had discerned the coat of arms painted on the door. That ceremonial vehicle stood yet in the coach house, only used on Sundays and for funerals.
Enclosed and dark and set a little away from the stables, as it had always been, left to quiet and seclusion each week after the wheels had been cleaned of mud and the seats brushed down.
She stared out at the slowly passing shapes of trees and hedges, all blue-white and black under the rising moon. It was Trev who had first perceived the commodious possibilities of the coach. It was not something Callie would have considered. But then, she had not been considering anything very rationally at the time. She had been so in love, and so besieged by the sensations he could evoke just by glancing down at her with that faint perceptive smile at the corner of his mouth—one of the peahens in the yard would have been more likely to hold a sensible exchange on the matter of where they might safely meet.
His kisses she had already experienced. She was an authority on the topic. Trev said so. He said her kisses made him feel as if he were dying, which she had taken as a compliment, because his made her feel exactly the same way, and it was indeed a great deal like dying, or disintegrating, or falling down some infinite well that had no name but led somewhere that she was sure she had to go.
Even now, years later, she moistened her lips and closed her eyes and put her gloved fingers to her mouth at the thought of the dim coach interior, lit only by a thin line of daylight that fell down from some high window and through the curtains, a streak of brightness across the red velvet seats.
And silence, but for his breath at her ear and throat, and the little noises she made as he touched her. Protest and pleasure and fear almost to panic that someone would discover them, but when he had kissed her there and even there, his tongue and teeth on her breast, tugging through her gown, she had gasped and clung to his shoulders and begged with tiny whimpers. Then he had freed the buttons on his trousers and guided her hand, kissing the side of her neck.
When she touched him, he shuddered and bruised her skin as he closed his teeth. A low sound in his throat seemed to make sparks shower down through her whole body.
She arched up against him, pressed and tangled as they were on the seat, his leg over hers and her skirt all askew.
She wanted him closer and pushed him away, frightened and seeking for more. As she pressed her legs together, he worked his fingers inside her, finding a place that made her sob with smothered pleasure. She could hear herself panting, and him, their breath coming harder, mingling and rising until she felt a wave of such intense pleasure burst through her that she did cry out, forgetting everything but him.
He rose over her, pressing himself hard into that intimate place, not his hand now but the thick head of his erection pushing for entry. Remembering, Callie bit down on her fingers so hard that it hurt through the glove. Trev had tried to conceal her, but there was no hope of it.
Only an instant of bewilderment, and then her heart had seemed to burst in horror. Sickness rose in her throat. Callie had scrambled past Trev, stumbling down the stairs, her gown and hair in disarray.
Her father had not touched her. He stood back, his hand working on the riding whip he carried, as Trev swung down after her in one swift move. Callie made a choked cry. She took an instinctive step toward Trev as she saw the line of blood well across his cheekbone. His face was white, utterly still. He stared at her father without speaking. She had turned away and run from the stable yard, up the front stairs, run blindly through the hall and up to her room.
She had not seen Trev again. He had vanished from Shelford, from his family, from her life. Not even his mother had known where he had gone until years later, when he began to write from France. Late in the evening of that dreadful day, after she had sent back a tray from her room, having no appetite to swallow anything, her father had come to her. Callie was too mortified to do more than sit at her dressing table with her fingers gripped around her comb until the teeth bent.
She had glanced at him once, but the expression on his face was unbearable. If it had not been her father, her own staunch and self-possessed papa, she would have thought from his red-rimmed eyes that he had been weeping. She well knew she had been wicked.
Anything and everything to do with Trev was a transgression. She had kept it secret because she had known that with perfect clarity. All she had to say for herself was that he made her lose all shame and reason, and that was no defense.
She felt the ivory teeth of her comb break with a tiny snap. She stared down at the red marks on her fingers. He seemed almost to plead. Callie perfectly understood what he meant. But she should not have touched that place where Trev had guided her hand, or let him do what he had to her—what girl of any slightest modesty would not have comprehended that! Her papa let go of a deep breath. He turned back to face her. Callie stared at her toes.
He knows it now, if he did not before. She had not wholly believed him. Trev had said they would f ly to the border to be married, because neither of them was of age. In the years after, she was amazed to look back and think that she had ever had the nerve to fall in with such plans.
But then she had always done so, whether it was a secret jaunt to see the finish of a horse race, amid a very mixed crowd of rowdies and questionable gentlemen, or a visit to the graveyard by a full moon.
She had known he was wild, but she had trusted him. At first, he was courting Callie anew for her money, but he seemed to want more from their union, even though she was happy enough to marry him, allow him his affairs, and access to her money, as long as he didn't expect intimate relations between them. He had a past with Trev that makes their connections to Callie even more complicated, in addition to being rivals for the same woman. I admit that I was frustrated with the obstacles that kept Callie and Trev apart, particularly their stubborn insistence that they couldn't be together.
Trev didn't believe he could offer Callie a good life, even though he had money. His name was mud in England, and she is the daughter of an earl who once slashed his face with a riding crop and ran him off after catching he and Callie in a compromising position.
Callie has been rejected so much, she doesn't think much of her looks and the ability for a man to love her, even though Trev says numerous times how much he loves her even before she does. I wanted to yell at them to just take what they wanted--each other.
Run off together, already!!! I just had to keep reading. It's hard to say if this book will appeal to some readers of historical romance. The relationship between Trev and Callie is the lynchpin of this story, but their love story unfolds slowly through their interactions with each other and the various characters that they encounter in their complicated lives.
For readers who like that sort of dynamic, a fuller story in which the main couple plays their roles, I think they would enjoy this book. It felt very authentic and period, which I am always happy about when it comes to historical romance. This was no modern love story wrapped up in costume drama. The characters were people of their time, with all the expected social values, expectations, and hangups. And that the surprise was a surprize.
Good for you, we should all have one of those for important papers. Sarah, I agree, I love the new re-issue covers. I hope they come out in as lovely colors as the scans appear to be.
Loved it, loved it! Callie was so sweet, and Trev—just to die for. A worldview and plot line not confined to the aristocracy. Real fleshed out laborers, farmers, cottagers. Always real fleshed out animals, too - the animal parts of Lessons in French, well really in all LK, always seem so well-researched without seeming… well-researched.
Same too when specialized jargon is used - like the boxing slang or the nautical language in Seize the Fire Ended the book wondering - was her fortune in tact or not?
I stayed up until a. And I loved that Callie had a deep interest in cattle. So atypical for a Regency miss. Thank you for a delightful book. And for a delighful little mystery, too. You blindsided me on the resolution—I never saw it coming. Which of course made the book all the more entertaining! Laura does comedy so well.
The witty banter is the best! So I was hoping maybe a few readers would be too! Actually, I probably need to get it anyway. Congratulations, LK! I made it. Whew, I made it! I loved the humor, the characters, the setting and the love story.
I will be reading and rereading this story, as I do with all of your novels. Graci  Posted by laura kinsale on It was beautiful and heartwarming, and I was very pleased with the ending!! But for now, I will re-read this one, along with Flowers From the Storm which is on my mind…and Shadow and the Star… Happy writing…Dreamer  Posted by laura kinsale on My copy has several blurred but readable pages, and a steep incline from left to right.
It sounds like maybe your copy went through the press wrong. Here is the contact info for Sourcebooks, the publisher: They have been extremely pro-active with addressing problems.
In France a group of top gynecologists led by M. The Shadow and the Star is perhaps the most perfect romance ever written. Thank you so much. I love that idea!
I am still smiling! Now I get to go back and read this charmer all over again to pick up on all the little nuances I have surely missed through my first desparate,giddy read. Love the Regency setting,love Hubert! He may be your best animal character yet. Hey Yummy! I was so tickled to see your name. This is like a homecoming. It is the same Patti, Laura. I have missed everybody too. I hope you know you never lost any of us.
We have been out here waiting patiently for the new book, and now this lovely new site. Congratulations, both were efinitely worth the wait! By the by,does anyone have a bit of jewelry, or a pretty fan I might borrow? Where is Thomas when you need him? I was wondering if it had some sort of clause against Trev in particular or potential fortune hunters in general. Thanks again, Lena  Posted by SandyO on Now, I shall curl up with a pot of tea and the book. Plus, we are all highly distracted down here because the Saints are in the Superbowl which, coincidentally means that hell hath frozen over!
Following the superbowl is Mardi Gras! Hey, SandyO! Good luck to the Saints, Yummy! I have no dog in that fight.
Married women did not have a legal existence—in the common law they became, legally, the same as their husband on marriage, and everything they owned outright became his property. So trusts were used extensively to protect and control female assets. Since his wife was happy to get rid of Callie, and C was a better bookkeeper anyway, I think there would be no problem with Cousin Jasper giving C full control of her own accounts—in practice, if not in a legal sense.
This was not uncommon either. Bought it immediately and read it all in one sitting, until 2am. Loved it - worth the wait! Also worth the four cups of coffee I had to drink to stay awake at work today…. Thanks, I love hearing I made readers sit up all night.