Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hidden Beauty

Hi Friends, 
My post this week is a short story that I found while delving into some old writing files, in an attempt to find some much needed inspiration. I could really use some feedback from my friends and fellow writers. Would you mind sharing your thoughts and some gentle criticism with me?

 My story is called..........

                                                   Hidden Beauty

     Jocelyn had always been told how much she resembled her great, great grandmother. She also shared her birthday.  Jocelyn loved listening to the stories Grandmother told of Adelaide and her life in the Victorian Age.

     Jocelyn, though proud to have the physical characteristics and strength of character that Adelaide possessed, wondered how much alike they really were. The family albums only revealed grainy, discolored and torn photos. And the stories sounded a bit far-fetched, at times. Jocelyn wanted proof and after her college graduation, she would set out to find it.

     Adelaide’s homeland, sat on the Celtic Sea, which may be why Jocelyn found herself dreaming of the seafaring lifestyle. She would visit Portsmouth, England to examine her roots. Her first stop, after she settled in at the cozy bed and breakfast she had reserved for her stay, would be the library. There she will find the family name and hopefully the comings and goings of Adelaide.

     She paged through newspapers of that era. Jocelyn’s plan was to read anything with the name Carleton in it. Unfortunately, she didn’t find much for her efforts. She left the library to head out for dinner, with the thought of being more productive the next day.

    The streets welcomed her with light that came from the little shop windows. They were quaint and colorful, just as she imagined Adelaide to have been. Grandma always made Adelaide seem larger than life. If that were so, then she certainly didn’t take after her. Jocelyn was more reserved, not outgoing as Adelaide. But, Jocelyn had a different feeling about her. She pictured her more subdued, maybe even, a little sad about her life. She began to wonder if the information Grandma had given her was true; or stories that her own imagination had made up.

   Jocelyn spent another day at the library to search further for any inkling of how Adelaide lived her life. One would think there would be newspaper clippings and articles aplenty, but nothing. Jocelyn heard a whisper of a voice say, “Carlton? You’re searching for Carleton? Would that be Adelaide Carleton?”

     “Yes! Why yes, did you know of her?” Jocelyn looked up and saw a very handsome man. She gasped, realizing he was very close to her own age and wondered, what could he possible know of Adelaide? The gentleman apologized for interfering, but seemed to have some very worthy news about her great, great grandmother.

     “Yes, I knew of her. Come with me. I have something to show you.”

     Jocelyn certainly wasn’t going to fall for that one, until the librarian had stepped up to him and said hello. She called him Mr. Langford, a name that was very familiar to Jocelyn. She had listened to her Grandma repeat it several times in her stories of

     She walked with him to an old, but lovely home set on the bank of the Celtic. Was this were she lived? Jocelyn wondered. He opened the front gate and took her hand, leading her down a path that took them to the back yard of the old house. Her attention turned to a man in a wheel chair, whom he introduced as his grandfather.

     “It’s very nice to meet you, sir.” He took one look at her and though he looked surprised…. he really wasn’t. As if, he knew this day would come. You see, Jocelyn really was the spitting image of Adelaide and the old man knew instantly who she was. He stared at the portrait in his grandfather’s study for many years while growing up. He took Jocelyn’s hand and asked the young man to wheel him into the house. In a room, off the hallway, there she was…...

     Jocelyn entered the room and with her mouth agape, she could barely believe her eyes. It was a self-portrait, or so it seemed, only in a different time and a different place. Jocelyn noted the sadness in her eyes and knew that for the first time, she would hear the true story of her great, great grandmother…….the story of an unrequited love with a seafarer……..the story that Jocelyn daydreamed so frequently.

     Glancing at the young man, Jocelyn knew there would also be a story of her own to tell when she returned to the States.

Thank you for your time and honesty,
The Ethereal Chick


  1. Hi Cindy, How I want to know the story! I would actually start with the SECOND paragraph - and pull in from the first to round it out for understanding. Then I'd just read it through and where you've used the word "had" and see if you can make it more active. It's lovely and I'd love to read more.

    1. Melissa, thank you so much. That is exactly what I need to hear. After reading it again, the way you suggest, I have to agree. You are so right in your assessment of using the second paragraph as the first. You've been very helpful:-)

  2. So beautiful. :D

    By the way, I nominated your for the Versatile Blog Award.

    Click on the link below to see the rules. <3

  3. I'm so happy you think my story is beautiful. Thank you so much for commenting and for the nomination. I'm going to check in on your blog today:-)

  4. What a treat to read something you have written! I really enjoyed it. I liked that Jocelyn had her own intuition about her Double Great Grand. and that she turned out to be right. I love the hint at a possible love story of her own at the end. If I had one comment it would be to add sensory detail where possible especially any clues to Jocelyn's appearance. any little detail you can slip in will pull your reader into Jocelyn's world; right where you want them. Great job! keep it coming!

  5. Thank you so much, Deb! Your kind critique means a lot to me. Sometimes we can't see what's right in front of our face until someone points it out and you are so right. She needs more color, more description. It will be fun re-writing this story.:-)

  6. Cyn,

    I really enjoyed your story! I've always felt an attraction to the Victorian Era (that explains why I love steampunk), as well as a fascination for genealogy. I enjoy that TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?" So, your storyline is very appealing to me. There could be a whole novel there, or at a least novella. For a minute there, I thought maybe it had some time travel thrown in, because I thought maybe the handsome guy WAS from Adelaide's era. Well, he sounds hot, regardless LOL.

    The only thing I might have done differently is phrase this line instead as: "... If that were so, then Jocelyn certainly didn’t take after her. She was more reserved, not..." But that's just a minor thing.

    Congrats on creating your story and letting us peek into another era. There's a quiet elegance to your style that really fits the Victorian Age.

    1. Thanks Nik, I was just experimenting with the Victorian style and never really saw myself writing in that way, but the story just seemed to take me there. Your enthusiasm for the story is very appreciated. It means so much to me. And I agree with your suggestion on that line, totally. It just sounds better that way.