For my “teaser” post, I thought I would share the selection from ASCENDANT that I recently read at the Colorado Book Award Finalist Reading. The winners will be announced at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 13, 2014, at the Hotel Jerome, 330 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611—Wish me luck!! This scene is from chapter eight and Charlotte is just getting ready to meet her uncle for the first time:
I followed Emerick down a dimly lit hall connecting the study to his private offices. The narrow hall was lined with oil portraits illuminated with individual brass art lamps. A few of the portraits I recognized right away: Einstein, Beethoven, and George Washington, an odd portrait to be hanging in an English gentleman’s home. Others I recognized when I caught sight of their nameplates: Emerson, Thoreau, and Henry Ford. Hanging just outside his office door was a strange portrait that caught my attention more than any of the others. A man sat on a throne with his face obscured by a dramatic mask, half comic, half tragic. The nameplate read Sir Francis Bacon aka Shake-Sphere.
I stopped and starred at the portrait. “Mr. Wriothesley?”
Emerick was just opening the door. He stopped and turned, “Yes?”
I pointed to the nameplate, “What does this mean?”
He looked to the plate and then back to me. “What does it mean to you?” Emerick gazed at me. Like in the morning room the day before, his expression was confusing—his mouth was smiling but his eyes were scrutinizing. Measuring me. Teachers had the same look when they were waiting for you to disappoint them with the wrong answer.
It didn’t mean anything especially to me, but it had struck me. The aka Shake-Sphere reminded me of Shakespeare. And anything even remotely related to Shakespeare grabbed my attention.
“Um…” being asked outright, I felt foolish for the association I had made. I shook my head and shrugged. “I guess it just made me think of William Shakespeare. I’m sure that’s not what it meant.”
He stared a moment longer before turning on his heels. “I am sure you are correct either way.” He entered the office ahead of me.
He didn’t answer my question. Either he thought I was too stupid or, like most adults, he was trying to inspire me to figure it out for myself. Nearly every time I had tried to get an easy answer from my mother she would reply, Knowledge is sweeter found than given Charlotte. From spelling words to math facts she would answer, Knowledge is sweeter found than given Charlotte. And then I would stomp off to either the computer or the reference section of her private library depending on what I needed. Even though I had come to automatically expect it, my mother’s stock answer to my every question always irritated me to no end. It seemed such a normal way to be with your mother, irritated with her for not giving you what you want when you want it.
I wish I had known I would lose her.
I glanced at the portrait once more and memorized the inscription on the brass plate. Francis Bacon aka Shake-Sphere. Emerick Wriothesley didn’t know me. If he thought I was even remotely like his own son he might be surprised to know I wasn’t stupid or lazy. I would figure out for myself what it meant.
About Rebecca Taylor:
Rebecca Taylor is the young adult author of ASCENDANT, a recently selected finalist for the 2014 Colorado Book Award. The second book in the Ascendant series, MIDHEAVEN, will release in 2014 and her standalone novel, THE EXQUISITE AND IMMACULATE GRACE OF CARMEN ESPINOZA, will be available in 2014. You can find more information about her work at: