Jessica Duchen: Immortal

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Immortal. I’m sharing an extract with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to the publisher for providing the extract.

Blurb:

Who was Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’?

After Ludwig van Beethoven’s death, a love letter in his writing was discovered, addressed only to his ‘Immortal Beloved’. Decades later, Countess Therese Brunsvik claims to have been the composer’s lost love. Yet is she concealing a tragic secret? Who is the one person who deserves to know the truth?

Becoming Beethoven’s pupils in 1799, Therese and her sister Josephine followed his struggles against the onset of deafness, Viennese society’s flamboyance, privilege and hypocrisy and the upheavals of the Napoleonic wars. While Therese sought liberation, Josephine found the odds stacked against even the most unquenchable of passions…

Extract:

VIENNA, 1859

“Mariam Tenger, Madam.”

The maid stood back to admit my guest. I knew her at once. She was not “Mariam Tenger” at all.

Those smiling, innocent eyes and upturned face had scarcely changed since her childhood. She used to hide behind my skirts when she was eight years old, too shy to show her face in front of visitors. The years roll back and I am once more in our Ofen town house, high above the Danube, with little Marie and my ever-grumbling mother.

“Marie Hrussoczy! My dear girl.” I held out my arms and my visitor crossed the room to embrace me in a rustle of silk. Clearly she was doing well: her clothes were tasteful and practical, but finely tailored. A wedding band glinted among her rings. “Sit down, my dear, and tell me everything.”

Marie, beaming, settled herself on the cushioned settee nearest to me. “I had to come and see you, Countess Therese. Everything I am and that I do now, I owe to you. I was so excited when I heard you were passing through Vienna.” Her gaze bounced off the wooden walking stick propped against my chair. Probably she would be wondering, in tactful silence, whether a lady of my years should be travelling at all. Yes, my dear: I should.

“I am spending some time with my nieces – my darling Blanka has had a difficult decade and she is leaving for Paris to build a new life. Now we are going to Dresden, but we had just once more to see Vienna…” I did not mention that this might be the last time I would ever visit the city of our dreams.

“Blanka Teleki?” Marie’s eyebrows lifted.

“Finally she is released. Ach, terrible, terrible, what has happened to her. There is no limit to the cruelty in this world. Yet no limit, either, to its wonders…”

Marie gave an earnest nod. She had a writer’s eyes. Eyes that notice: sensitive to atmospheres, the unseen, the unspoken, more so than we who deal in daily realities and politics can afford.

She would be perfect.

***

Immortal is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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