Interview with Grace McNair – Heroine of The Substitute Wife
How do you do, everyone! This is newspaperman Archie Davidson, reporting from Bristol, Connecticut. I’m here to tell you all about a rather alarming incident that occurred just the other day, at what was supposed to be the society wedding of the year. I attended the wedding with plans to write an article for the social columns, but something queer happened instead. The engagement notice printed in my fine newspaper read: Dr. Raymond McNair to wed Miss Audrey Whittaker. And we never make mistakes at the Bristol Times, you can be quite sure of that. Tell me then, why did Miss Audrey Whittaker disappear right before the big day, while her sister, young Miss Grace Whittaker, married the good doctor instead?
That ladies and gentleman, is the mystery at hand! But with my classic newspaperman’s nose, I’m going to sniff it out, starting by interviewing…the substitute wife herself.
Grace appears in the doorway, but doesn’t enter the room. She stands quietly, hands folded in front of her, eyes on the carpet.
Davidson – Come in, come in, won’t you? Have a seat. Care for some tea? I make quite deplorable tea, actually, but I’d be glad to share some with you.
Grace takes a seat on the edge of the settee. To Davidson’s cataloging eye, she seems to perch, like a hummingbird ready to take flight at the merest instant.
Grace – I make deplorable tea too. She fixes her wide-eyes on Davidson. She has rather pretty eyes, or so they seem to Davidson. Greyish-blue, fringed with thick, dark lashes.
Davidson – Really? I would’ve thought you’d be rather handy with housekeeping. Aren’t most girls?
Grace – Perhaps. But not me. You see, after Mother died, I spent so much time working in Father’s store, I never had a chance to learn. But now that I’m married, my kitchen skills are proving me a disgrace.
Davidson – (rather eager) Married, you say? I’d heard about that. Is it true that you took your sister’s place at the altar after she ran off with the traveling circus?
Grace – It wasn’t the traveling circus. It was a theatrical troupe. But please, don’t print that in your paper. My father wouldn’t wish the family name ruined any more than it already is.
Davidson – Off the record, then. Just to satisfy my own curiosity, how are you and your new husband enjoying married life?
Grace – (fidgeting with her clasped hands.) Is it possible to enjoy what was forced upon one? Dr. McNair only married me to save his own name from scandal. He is polite and civil, but he doesn’t love me. Not that I should expect him to. I’m not beautiful like Audrey. She could charm any man that came within ten miles of her. Father always said I’m plain, and he’s right. I don’t attract men. It’s just not in my nature to smile, flirt, and be charming. So you see, Mr. Davidson, a marriage cannot possibly succeed after such a rocky start.
Davidson – I don’t know about that. Dr. McNair is one of the most decent men around. And with his kindly manner and Irish charm, he could win over any girl if he set his mind to it.
Grace – (sighing softly) He is charming, like you say, and handsome too. And I do want so much to be happy with him.
Davidson – Just give it time, Mrs. McNair. As the old saying goes, “time heals all wounds.” And as I know from personal experience, love doesn’t always have to come in the grand, romantic way it does in novels. Sometimes it steals upon you quietly. And when it’s unexpected, it’s often all the sweeter.
Grace – (smiling now) Thank you, Mr. Davidson. You’re very kind.
Davidson – The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. McNair. I wish you both the very best.
Amanda Barratt is a historical romance author with two novellas releasing in 2015 with Barbour Publishing. She fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story - a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Since then, she's penned novels set in Regency and Victorian England, and the Gilded Age.
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.
These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England.
You can connect with her at amandabarratt.net and on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/amandabarrattauthor
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