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The Year Without Summer

The Year Without Summer

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The Year Without Summer

4/5 (1 valutazione)
59 pagine
56 minuti
Mar 24, 2010


Lieutenant Robert Pierce of the Royal Navy was raised in the shadow of his father, a great admiral, and has spent his life on the high seas fighting the ships of Napoelon Bonaparte. When he loses a leg in battle and is confined to land, Robert is devastated. Taken in by his sister Maria, Robert faces the infamously cold, wet summer of 1816 trying to adjust to his new life. It's made all the gloomier by his worry for his best friend and lover, Lieutenant John Burgess, who is still at sea... until a visitor brings a bright ray of sunshine into Robert's overcast life.

Mar 24, 2010

Informazioni sull'autore

GS Wiley is a writer, reader, teacher and traveller who lives in Canada.Check out for more information.

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The Year Without Summer - g.s. Wiley

1816 had already begun to be known as the Year Without a Summer.

A hard, cold rain fell nearly constantly. On the few days when it stopped for an hour or two, the gloomy and overcast skies lingered, and there was a chill in the air more suitable to mid-December than late July. Robert, who had anticipated sitting out in the rose garden during the summer months, remained confined indoors like everybody else. He sat in the drawing room of his sister’s home, watching the rain run in rivulets down the windowpanes while Maria and her guests played whist.

I received a letter from Captain Doyle some weeks ago. Maria’s friend Mrs. Doyle arranged her cards in her hand. He says there is ice on the rivers in Massachusetts. The Americans were skating on Midsummer’s Day. There was a round of ladylike laughter. Out of the corner of his eye, Robert saw Maria pick up a card and add it to her hand.

"Robert had a letter from his friend Lieutenant Burgess of the Dauntless, Maria said. She glanced in Robert’s direction, but he ignored her. He is off the coast of Ireland, and he said it has poured rain daily since the first of May. That was the only part of John’s letter Robert had shared with his sister, not that there had been much worth hiding. Robert had not expected reams of love and longing, but he had expected more than the terse note he had received. John had not even mentioned whether Robert’s presence was missed aboard ship. Isn’t that right, Robert?"

Robert turned away from the window and looked at Maria. Her dress was dark blue, a shade that bordered on marine. That, coupled with the white frill at her collar, put Robert in mind of the naval uniform he’d worn for over a decade. The uniform John Burgess still wore aboard the Dauntless.

The Irish crops are ruined, Robert replied, quoting from John’s letter. There are fears of a great famine. I hardly think that is a topic for drawing room conversation, but clearly you are of a different opinion, madam.

Maria’s friends, fellow naval wives Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. Hamilton and Maria’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Finch, exchanged uneasy glances. You must miss being at sea, Mr. Pierce, Mrs. Doyle finally said. I know my Alfred is forever restless when he’s forced to be at home.

Indeed, Mrs. Doyle. There was nothing more to be said. Robert rearranged the blanket on his lap and turned back to the rain-soaked window.

Maria Burke-Henry was the wife of a captain, the daughter of a late admiral, the sister of a former second lieutenant, and, most recently, the mother of a fourteen-year-old midshipman. She was well acquainted with the ways of navy men. She left Robert alone for the rest of the day, but that did not lull him into believing it would be a long-term respite.

Sure enough, after supper, as they sat huddled in front of a roaring fire in the drawing room, Maria looked up from her needlework and said, Have you considered marriage, Robert?

Robert drew his eyes away from the leaping flames, licking like red tongues at the splintering wood around them. A painted fire screen kept the sparks safely away from the hearth and the carpet. If I am becoming a burden to you, madam, I am certain I could make a living begging on the streets of Portsmouth. The pity of fellow sailors alone should keep me in bread and beef. Perhaps. Sailors were nothing if not superstitious, and a there but for the grace of God mentality might benefit Robert if it came to that.

Maria shook her head, her curls bouncing. Don’t be ridiculous, Robert. You know I love to have you with me, particularly now that little Georgie is at sea. Maria sighed, but the thought of her midshipman son was evidently not enough to turn her mind from the subject at hand. There is nothing to keep you from taking a wife now.

Apart from the minor inconvenience of my infirmity. The same infirmity had ripped Robert away from the only adult life he’d ever known, away from the sea and the waves and his bosom friend John Burgess, now first lieutenant aboard His Majesty’s frigate Dauntless.

You have a little money from Father’s will, Maria explained, as if he did not know it. She smiled. And you are a handsome man. As much as it pains me to say it of my little brother, the site of your amputation was not high enough to eliminate every woman’s interest. Robert blinked, shocked that

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