EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT - In the Shadow of Croft Towers

Here at HBTB, we are super excited about an upcoming debut novel - In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson - which releases January 15, 2019 from Thomas Nelson. We’re also super excited because we have an EXCLUSIVE early excerpt to share with you today!

About the book

cover - Shadow of Croft Towers.jpg

From debut author Abigail Wilson comes a shadowy Regency tale of secrets and spies, love and treachery. 

“Mysterious . . . Melodic . . . Thrilling and original . . . Abigail Wilson has crafted a debut that shines.”—Kristy Cambron, bestselling author of Castle on the Rise 

Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.

With murderers, smugglers, and spies on the loose, nothing—and no one—in Regency England is what they claim. Can Sybil even trust what she knows about herself? 

What others are saying

“Abigail Wilson's In the Shadow of Croft Tower is the kind of novel I love to recommend. Well written, thoroughly engrossing, and perfectly inspiring. I honestly couldn't flip the pages fast enough.”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray

"In the Shadow of Croft Tower is beautifully written, suspenseful, and satisfyingly romantic. Abigail Wilson paints a beautiful picture of pastoral Regency England. This book will keep you riveted to the end, and you'll be rooting for the feisty heroine to get her happily ever after."—Jennifer Beckstrand, author of Home on Huckleberry Hill

“Mysterious . . . Melodic . . . Thrilling and original . . . Abigail Wilson has crafted a debut that shines.”—Kristy Cambron, bestselling author of Castle on the Rise 

"Part mystery and part romance, Abigail Wilson's debut is an atmospheric period novel that will keep readers guessing to the very end."—Amanda Flower, USA Today bestselling author of Death and Daisies

watch for our review in the Launch Issue of HBTB, shipping out later this week!

EXCERPT

The Chalcroft landau rattled to a halt. Beyond the rain-soaked window I saw little but an eerie sky. I told myself not to panic.

The carriage door screeched open to reveal a lanky footman, who stumbled backward at the sight of me. My shaky hand sought the remains of my drenched coiffure, and I forced a measured breath before grasping my reticule.

The wide-eyed young man seemed to recover and extended an umbrella over the carriage’s narrow opening. “Miss Delafield, is it?”

“Yes.” I forced a tepid smile before descending the steps, my wet frock clinging to my legs, the chill wind whipping at my skirt. I’d planned such a different arrival, one meant to impress. One I’d hoped would afford me the answers I’d come for.

The footman led me across a gravel drive and into the lurking shadow of my new home—Croft Towers. The aged structure rose up out of the misty twilight like an old king dressed in black, surveying his kingdom with a cautious eye. My chest tightened.

“This way, miss.” The footman shuffled forward then stopped. “We’d planned for you to come in the front, but considering your, uh, present state, perhaps it’s best—”

“Nonsense, James.” A tall man with a heavy build held the front door wide, his face weathered with age, his eyes shrewd. A smile appeared for a moment then vanished into a stern chin.

“You may address me as Hodge. I am butler here at the Towers.”

I nodded. “Pleased to meet you. Miss Delafield—Mrs. Chalcroft’s new companion.”

“I’m well aware why you are here. It was I who sent the carriage.”

He motioned me through the door. “Come inside, and I will figure out what is to be done with you.”

I crossed the threshold into a dim marble entryway. To the side, a small candelabrum winked in the wind. The wavering light did little to compete with the overwhelming gloom of thick crossbeams and paneled walls.

Hodge frowned. “Would you be so good as to wait here?”

I nodded, wrapping my arms around my middle, a terrible empty feeling settling into my stomach. Hodge ambled off at a brisk pace, and all too quickly I found myself alone. Alone with my thoughts and doubts.

Impostor. The voice whispered from the recesses of my mind, the same one I’d heard this many weeks or more. The voice was followed by the sound of a casement clock, which ticked to life from somewhere in the darkness. Wind gusts surged against the heavy door, clambering for a way in; but the air inside the house remained motionless, heavy with dust. Unable to move or sit, the nagging chill I’d endured throughout the journey returned in full force.

A door slammed in the distance. Uneven footsteps trailed down a far-off hall. I turned, but no one entered the front room, and the steps dissolved into the pervasive darkness around me. A shiver crept up my arms. Standing as still as possible, I inspected the shadows, fighting off the unnatural feeling of being watched.

Taken from “In the Shadow of Croft Towers” by Abigail Wilson. Copyright © 2018 by Abigail Wilson. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.