1871 . . . Worlds collide when American Suffragette, Gertrude Finch, and titled Brit Blake Sanders meet in an explosive encounter that may forever bind them together. Gertrude Finch escorts a young relative to London and encounters the stuffy Duke of Wexford at his worst. Cross the Ocean is the story of an undesired, yet undeniable attraction that takes Blake and Gertrude across an ocean and into each other’s arms.
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Geraldine Finch has stopped in for a moment to talk to us. I am sure you'll be as impressed with Miss Finch as I am.
Interview with Miss Gertrude Finch (Our heroine of Cross the Ocean) by Miss Althea Benderway of the Ladies Order of the Knighted Sons of our Ancestors – June 21st, 1871
Miss Benderway: Miss Finch, tell our readers a little about the Suffrage movement you are involved with.
Miss Finch: I’d be happy to, Miss Benderway. I travel to small towns and to cities, too, with my sisters in the cause, Miss Esmerelda Bunchley and Miss Mary Alice Forsyth. We speak to women about getting the right to vote and ask them to join our cause.
Miss Benderway: Do you think there is any chance this right will be granted to women?
Miss Finch: The right to vote for women has been contested and defeated since our great nation was born. Of course, with the war over and Negro men granted the right to vote in ’68 with the addition of the 14th Amendment, women are back at the forefront of this conversation. We believe we are all citizens of these recently reunited United States and should enjoy all the rights that men do.
Miss Benderway: What do the men say when they hear you speak?
Miss Finch: Well, of course, they say that women are too simple-minded to vote for anything as important as the President of the United States and that if we are allowed to vote, there will be chaos, pandemonium and retribution from a vengeful God. And it’s not just here, mind you, Miss Benderway, the right to vote for women in England has not been passed yet by their Parliament.
Miss Benderway: I understand you recently traveled to England. Did you find men there to be as hardened to this reform as men in the States?
Miss Finch: Oh yes, Miss Benderway. I met a few and they can be as stubborn and entrenched in their beliefs as our own men, and even perhaps more!
Miss Benderway: Really?
Miss Finch: There was one man in particular, the Duke of Wexford, who was as dismissive of women and contrary as a man could be. His Duchess left him.
Miss Benderway: No! I’m flabbergasted, Miss Finch. And you were well-acquainted with this Duke?
Miss Finch: Yes, I am. He’s shockingly handsome, tall and well-muscled, and sure of himself, too, but as close-minded as one would expect from a man accustomed to privilege in all things. He kissed me as I swung from a tree house ladder, in full view of his son and daughter and other guests.
Miss Benderway: I . . . I hardly know what to say, Miss Finch.
Miss Finch: Neither did he when I punched him in the nose!
Blake went to the stables, had his horse saddled, and rode to Anthony’s estate. Maybe Elizabeth will ask me to stay for dinner, he thought. Then she’ll go to bed, and Anthony and I can drink a bottle of brandy and get stewed. He could stay there if he couldn’t ride home. A room was kept ready for him with a fresh change of clothes. Blake smiled and felt better than he had in days.
As the butler escorted Blake down the hall of Anthony’s home to the drawing room, he heard a loud but feminine . . . snort and Elizabeth’s trill laughter in reply. Damn. He remembered now. A cousin of Elizabeth’s from America, sent as an escort to another cousin, was staying with them. Anthony had described and dreaded the arrival of Cousin Gertrude with horror. A spinster remotely connected to Elizabeth’s father’s side, she was big, bold and here for a month. Her arrival had curtailed Anthony’s visits.
Blake stopped and hissed at the butler. “Think I’ve changed my mind, Jenkins. I don’t want to disturb their company.”
“Quite the coward are we, Your Grace? Leave your life-long friend alone with this Amazon from America.” Jenkins stared as he spoke. “In any case they saw you ride up the drive.”
Jenkins spoke his mind to all including Anthony and Elizabeth. There’d be no expecting servile behavior for him. “I’m sure you did not miss the opportunity to point out my arrival,” Blake said.
“Of course not, Your Grace.” The butler opened the drawing room doors with a flourish. “The Duke of Wexford.”
“Blake,” Anthony said and jumped to pump Blake’s hand. “I am so very happy you are here.”
Blake watched the woman sitting beside Elizabeth stand, and walk across the room to him. She was every inch as tall as he, and Anthony made the introductions. She held out her hand. Blake grasped it and bent to place a kiss there and was surprised when she began to shake it, hitting him squarely in the nose. Blake covered his face with his hand.
“Oh, dear,” Miss Gertrude Finch exclaimed. She threw a look at her cousin Elizabeth.
Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.
Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.