Books & Beyond

Floats The Dark Shadow by Yves Fey @YvesFey

Posted on: December 20, 2013

Meeting the heroine

Branches swayed overhead as Theodora Faraday cantered along the bridle path in the Bois de Boulogne. Shafts of light broke through the massed storm clouds, and the bright chartreuse of the lime tree leaves gleamed, eerily vivid against the ominous charcoal grey. To either side, lush meadows glittered with a king’s ransom of golden dandelions. Feeling the mare’s impulse to gallop ripple through her own muscles, Theo shifted forward, merging with the lengthening stride of her horse. Elfe had a lovely gallop, smooth and supple beneath Theo, her hooves drumming an eager rhythm on the ground. The March wind whipped the little mare’s mane, and scattered raindrops sparkled chill against Theo’s skin as she rode. Laughing, she urged Elfe to go faster. “Va, chérie, va!”

One dark rain cloud swept over them and passed on, leaving them wet but cheerful in an expanse of dappled sunlight. Theo eased Elfe back to a canter, then to a sprightly trot. They followed the Route de la Grande Cascade to the picturesque waterfall then rode back along the lake toward the stables. Elfe pranced, wanting to return to her waiting hay, but Theo kept her to a walk so she could savor the gorgeous afternoon light. She found a long pathway where the cherry trees were bursting into bloom and guided the mare into the glorious universe of pink. Theo hadn’t planned to sketch, but she never went anywhere without pencil and paper. There was a small sketchbook wrapped in oilcloth safe inside the pocket of her jacket. She let Elfe roam along the trail while she looked about for the best composition. She loved the wide horizontals of pink blossoms above and fallen petals below, the stormy sky looming behind and the path curving through. Even more, she was enticed by the elegant branching of one particular tree, asymmetric like a Japanese print, the bark flat black against the glowing grey clouds. Then a patch of azure opened behind one corner of the blossoms, making Theo giddy with delight. But the blue sky was to the east, and now the clouds overhead began to spatter her with rain. There was no point in making sodden drawings. If tomorrow brought sunshine, she would come back with her pastels. With luck, the rain would spare most of the blooms. If not, she could sketch the beautiful form of the tree.

Theo … often felt it was a kind of madness to try to capture the truth of the light when it shifted so quickly. She’d heard that Monet took a wheelbarrow of canvases with him to whatever place he had chosen to paint. Depending on the light, he plucked out whichever one was most like the current moment. Theo laughed at the thought of wheeling a dozen canvases about Montmartre in search of yesterday’s perfect vision. It was not the evanescent glimmer of light that she wanted to capture but the emotion the landscape evoked.


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Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

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