Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She writes about the extra-ordinary in life and her books, short stories, and articles are receiving considerable attention. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca.
There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if?
What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away?
“Queen Mary’s Daughter” presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.
As the wind picked up, blowing her deep red, unruly curls helter-skelter over her face, Mary Elizabeth’s eyes focused on her hands. She stretched out the left hand, revealing the old ring that sat on her baby finger. It was a tiny ring and it only fit on the one finger. At the same time Gran bestowed the heirloom gift on her granddaughter, she had shared her story of the ring, at least as much as she was willing to share. The ring had been in the family for generations and only the firstborn daughter of the firstborn daughter (and so on and so on) could wear it. The ring was her connection to a past she wasn’t sure she believed in, a past that had been shared from one generation to the next. Or was there more? Was there a story her grandmother never managed to share?
What would she find at Loch Leven Castle? The clues had to be there. But the boy said it was mostly ruins, crumbled walls and tumbled stones, except for the tower. Queen Mary’s tower. What could she possibly unearth to collaborate Gran’s story? And she only had two weeks to do it. She couldn’t afford more time away from work. Even though it was a poorly paid entry level job, she didn’t want to risk losing it.
A glow emanated from the ring on her outstretched hand. She felt a warmth spread up her arms. The wind picked up, violently tossing her hair in every direction, swishing her coat ends like laundry hanging loosely on a clothesline. She faced into the wind, allowing its vicious impact to draw her forward. She took a step, then another, until she felt the cold wet of the lapping waves of the loch splash over her feet. The water was cold; it jolted her back to reality. What was she doing walking into the loch? What was the strong pulse pulling her forward? She allowed her eyes to glance out across the loch, now almost obliterated by the darkened storm that raged all around her.
“Miss.” She heard a voice from behind her as the power continued to drag her into the loch. “Miss!” A hand gripped her arm, yanking her back toward the dry shore. “Miss!” The hands tightened their hold as she tried to pull away, tried to return to the loch. A scream pierced the air. She didn’t know where the scream originated. It sounded like it came from across the water.
It also sounded like it came from deep within herself.
Another scream and everything went black.
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