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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Historical Christmas Event with Sherry Thomas

USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided years ago that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

And by the way, English is her second language.

You can find out more about Sherry’s books at

For the Historical Xmas event in 2012, I wrote a little scene set on a wintry terrace, a man and a woman having a chat on Christmas Eve. At the time I thought the scene was going to be a one-off. But sometimes a story proves deeper and more interesting than even its creator imagined. So in 2013, 2014, and 2015 I added to the scene and this year I expand it yet again.

Please read Parts 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 first.

Her knock produced no response. She steeled herself and knocked louder.

Was it possible that he already had a visitor? Or that he was at this moment in some other lady’s room? She remembered him from earlier in the evening, whispering into Lady Piercy’s ear. Had they made plans then to be together at night?

She laid her palm flat against the door. It took only a little pressure for the door to yield—it had not been secured from the inside. No sounds of riotous lovemaking assaulted her ear, but the room beyond was softly lit. The scent of good beeswax candle wafted out, along with a hint of floor polish.

She pushed the door further ajar. The room that her old governess had occupied was to the right of the nursery, visible from where she stood. That door was fully open, but no one was inside, the bed that had been made up only that afternoon in anticipation of Beresford’s arrival had not been slept in, or even sat upon, so smooth was the surface of the covers, so sharp the corners of the sheets.

Georgina hesitated. She should not be standing here. What if someone were to come by? What if Beresford was to come by?

She walked into the nursery and closed the door behind herself. But what was she to do, now that she had chosen this particularly inadvisable course of action?

A few minutes passed as she lingered in the room in which she had played and taken her lessons, touching a blackboard here, a pile of old notebooks there, wondering, with the sort of delusion that she would have deplored in her friends, whether she could excuse her presence here as mere nostalgia for her own childhood.

Finally, she gave up the pretense and entered the room that currently served as his bedchamber. A disappointing experience, as she was determined not to open either the valise that stood in a corner, or the wardrobe into which his clothes had probably been placed. Without taking into account either of those, the room simply didn’t contain enough of his belongings to make his presence felt, no slippers peeking out from beneath the bed, no half-read book waiting for his return, not even his cigarette case, as far as she could see.

She opened the drawer on the nightstand more out of restlessness than anything else. It wasn’t empty. There was an already opened letter, addressed to Lord Beresford—and she recognized the handwriting on the black-bordered envelope.

It was her own.

She rarely corresponded with Beresford, though she occasionally added a few lines to Elliot’s letters. But she had written him once, while she was in mourning, in reply to a heartfelt note he had sent.

My dear Beresford,

I read your note three times yesterday and again this morning. It made me cry, of course, to be told how happy Elliot had been in our union. But I do believe it made me smile too.

He never failed to speak of you in the most glowing of terms. It had amused me, in the beginning, that two men as different as you were should have been the best of friends. I needed the passage of time to understand that the bond of brotherhood transcended these superficial differences. That you honored each other with every word and every deed.

I, too, am grateful to have known you. Your visits were anticipated with great relish, your departures tolerated only because they gave rise to the pleasures of the next meeting. Elliot was fortunate in your steadfast and warmhearted friendship. And I will always fondly remember the laughter and buoyancy your brought to our lives.

Someday I hope to tell you in person that you are beloved and indispensable.

Georgina Coventry

But she had never told him that in person. By the time she re-emerged in Society, eighteen months past Elliot’s death, he had gone on a trip abroad. He did call on her upon his return, just a little after she’d shed the last vestige of mourning clothes, but they had talked about his venture and her new life, rather than her old one.

In fact, by that time, Georgina had completely forgotten what she had written twenty-one months prior. But he remembered. And carried her letter as a reminder that even if she’d forgotten, once upon a time she meant most sincerely to reaffirm his place in her life.

She returned the letter to the nightstand drawer and stood in place for a minute. But she couldn’t stay there forever—or even for much longer.

Sighing, she turned—and froze.

Beresford stood in the nursery, his back against the door, watching her.

USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of Sherlock Holmes upside down…

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

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Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Print copy of A Study In Scarlet Women

To Enter: 
  • US shipping ONLY.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter for entry.

**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Sherry Thomas for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. Happy Holidays, Sherry! Your book appeals to me greatly. I hope I win just in time for Christmas. :-)

  2. I love the gender twist in your new book.

  3. oooh... the story continues!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Must we wait another year for Georgina & Beresford? ;) Have a Merry Christmas!

  5. I love mystery mixed in with a romance story!

  6. This book sounds great! I've read a little Sherlock Holmes and liked it, so this sounds like an interesting twist.

    Thank you for the giveaway! Fingers crossed. :-)

  7. Thanks for the next installment of your Christmas story.

  8. Ohhhh now I am hooked and want to keep reading!!!!

  9. This is definitely one Christmas short I wait for every year. Sherry is absolutely a master at mystery romances.

  10. I've had A Study in Scarlet Women on my wish list for a while. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  11. I always wait for your installment of this story every year at this time of year. I wish you would write this into a book or novella.

  12. I love historical mysteries. I found this at the library but I had heard of it before.

  13. Loving this Christmas story! I admit to being impatient every year after reading the latest installment as well as worried that you won't write another part next year.

  14. Looks like a really great book Thanks for the chance to win

  15. Love the idea of Sherry's newest book, turning the story of Sherlock Holmes upside down. I understand how women were thought of and treated "back in the day" and I love strong heroines who fought that system. This sounds to be an intriguing story that I can hardly wait to read!

  16. I love historical mysteries and Miss Thomas is great at writing them. Intriguing concept in this book. Can't wait to read it.

  17. I absolutely love that Sherry adds a little to this story every year. What a holiday treat!!

  18. Thank you everyone for you kind words!!!

  19. I've heard nothing but great things about A Study in Scarlet Women.

  20. Sounds like a great book, thanks for the chance to win.

  21. I await the next instalment of this short story very impatiently! Christmas can't come soon enough.