The author of Venus Envy takes you on a riotous ride back to one woman's future...
In a delightful contemporary farce with a riotous twist, Rita Mae Brown welcomes you to Virginia's horse country, where a fox hunt is about to lead a 1990s woman, Cig Blackwood, into a 1690s adventure of the heart. Infidelity, single motherhood, family betrayal, and the thrill of the hunt (in many varieties) are hilariously and poignantly played out in this captivating novel of time travel and self-discovery.
As a fantastic plot device, time travel doesn't compare in originality to narration by a cat, but Brown's new novel, in which a modern-day Virginian is transported back to 1699, proves every bit as giddily enjoyable as her series of Mrs. Murphy mysteries told by feline extraordinaire Sneaky Pie Brown. Pryor "Cig" Blackwood is a middle-aged widow who plays her many roles in life-mother, realtor, horse-farm proprietor and master of the local foxhunt-with simple aplomb and wit. Life hasn't been too much fun, however, since Cig's husband died a year ago-and it gets a lot grimmer when, during a foxhunt, Cig learns that he died naked in her sister's bed. Moments after that revelation, however, she's flung back into Colonial Virginia. There, she's accepted as the twin sister, newly arrived from England, of one of her ancestors, and learns much about the meaning of community and family. She also attracts two dynamic men, one of whom she beds, who fight each another for her affections. Then Cig is thrown back into the present, where she uses her newfound wisdom to reintegrate her life. With its feisty heroine, vivid period detail and well-turned plot twists, this novel is charming enough to make even the cranky Sneaky Pie purr with delight.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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April 29, 1997
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Excerpt from Riding Shotgun by Rita Mae Brown
A warm flickering light filled Cig's eyes when she opened them. A heavy quilt covered her, and her boots had been pulled off. Burning cherry wood filled the room with a warm fragrance. "Here." The pretty woman whom she had surprised in the summer kitchen helped her sit up and handed her hot cider. "Thank you." A few gulps reminded her that she hadn't eaten in hours. "I'm sorry to trouble you." "Don't you recognize me?" The green eyes beckoned. "No." Cig closed her eyes for a second. "Your voice sounds familiar." "A hot meal will enliven your wits." The young woman had a small pot warming in the fireplace. She ladled out some porridge into a smooth wooden bowl and cut off a large slice of moist cornbread, placing a big square of fresh home-churned butter next to it. Cig stood up. Her knees shook and buckled under her. "Pryor!" The woman quickly put her hands under Cig's armpits and with surprising strength hauled her to her feet. "Here, let me help you to the table." Alarm registered on her even features. Cig felt like an overlarge toddler as she was assisted to a small, beautifully crafted table. She sank into a graceful, simple chair. "Thank you." The woman smiled, buttered the slice of cornbread. With trembling hands Cig managed to get the food into her mouth. She felt better. "This is the most delicious cornbread and butter I've ever tasted." "Should be. It's your mother's recipe." "My mother's been dead for years." Cig blinked. "See there, you remember your mother. A fine woman she was. You and Tom strongly take after her." Cig ate, needing the sustenance to settle her nerves as much as her body. "Hunger is the best spice." The woman brought her more food. Cig wobbled up. "My horse." The woman gently pushed her back into the finely made wooden chair. "He's in the stable getting acquainted with Helen, Castor, and Pollux. They have much to discuss." "Thank you." Cig, relieved, reached for the bowl of porridge. "Once you're yourself again you'll have to tell us where you bought such a handsome animal. That's the finest horse in Virginia, better than Governor Nicholson's or Daniel Boothrod's horses. And you know what popinjays they are." Cig didn't recognize the governor's name. She let it pass. "I bred him myself." "Ah--the Deyhle gift with horses. Tom is hoping to breed someday but there's so much to do, and we're shorthanded. Times are changing so, Pryor. Your father brought over two indentured servants and their term soon expires. Slaves are exorbitantly expensive and Tom says they're still heathens." Cig blinked then chose to ignore what seemed like rant. "I apologize for the trouble I've caused you. I don't know what happened to me. I feel fine--honestly. I can sleep in the stable with Full Throttle. Wouldn't be the first time." She looked out the windows at the night, her smile revealing her dazzling teeth. &am