Monday, November 1, 2021

Book Tour & Excerpt: Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy


Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family's constant disappointment. As the nation's most fearless--and reviled--columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 
Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel's sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she's long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.

Advance Praise

“Duffy shines in elegant, flowing prose and delicate precision that underscores the nineteenth-century setting."— Booklist, starred review

"An author to watch."— Library Journal

"Duffy's writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative."— Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City


Gussie stepped into the train car and stretched her neck, easing the kinks. Minnesota and South Dakota weren’t exactly undiscovered, but one may as well be the Arctic, and the other had only become a state eight years prior. They were as far from her readers’ lives as the moon. And Gussie aimed to provide a peek at other places. Places to dream on. Places to wish for.

After she followed the porter to her berth and watched him settle her bags on the bed and draw the velvet curtain, she made her way to the dining car, eager for a decent meal and a few moments with her book.

She ordered lobster salad and a glass of chardonnay, then set A Lady’s Journey East on the white tablecloth and ran her hand over its light blue cover. She traced the gilt title with the familiarity of one who had spent a decade reading the words contained in its pages. The author, Cordelia Fox, was the heroine of Gussie’s youthful dreams. While other girls yearned for princess castles and knights in shining armor, Gussie only wanted to explore the beaches of Cyprus, ride an elephant through India’s forests, and climb dunes in Morocco.

Gussie opened the book, its binding worn and cracked, the pages stained from adolescent exploits. Here a smudge of golden paint from when she was banished to her room for playing Midas. Her sister Lavinia hadn’t appreciated the effort it took to paint her parakeet. There the remains of the contraband holiday gingerbread she’d stolen the night before Christmas. She’d eaten half of it and spent the entire next day groaning and clutching her stomach while Mother sadly shook her head and Father took all her gifts to a poor family from church.

She swiped at the brown stain, again feeling her parents’ disappointment. That had never gone away. Not really. And over the years, it had only grown.

Gussie shook her head and flipped the pages, filling the empty places of her heart with Cordelia Fox’s adventures. With romance and excitement and thrill.

Some people had dime novels. Gussie had travel memoirs. Written by women who had cast off tradition and expectation and stepped into places unknown. Women who not only were changed by their experiences but had, in turn, changed the world.

Nellie Bly had proven herself capable and that women were equal to any task. Cordelia Fox had taken all she had learned during her travels, settled in China, and launched one of the country’s first rural teacher training facilities. And Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati . . .

Gabriel MacLean, who had always been called Specs on account of the spectacles he’d worn since early childhood, had sent Gussie a copy of Ramabai’s book a couple of years earlier. It was leather-bound and much underlined, and Gussie loved the story of the Indian woman traveling to England and the United States, telling the world about the terrible plight of widows in her country.

She has earned my highest regard, Specs had written.

After that, Gussie sent him and Catherine clippings of her columns with trepidation, knowing she could never measure up to Ramabai. Knowing her own work lacked in comparison.

She turned her attention back to A Lady’s Journey East. There was no use in thinking on such things. Her columns would likely never change the world, but they changed moments, at least.

A waiter delivered her meal, and she continued to read as she ate, occasionally turning to look out the window and watch as the never-ending plains disappeared into darkness. This was a terrible land. Unforgiving and inflexible. But it tugged at her. She thought that if she threw herself from the train, it would catch her . . . then consume her. And something about that drew her forward until her nose touched the window and she saw past the reflections of the other diners. Saw the shapes and shadows of prairie grass and clumps of stunted trees.

She could lose herself here. Get off at the next stop and become a product of reinvention. Anyone she wanted to be. Who would she choose? Who was worthy of her thrumming heart? Who deserved the blood pulsing through her veins and throbbing in her ears? Who would measure up to all those female explorers and world changers, pressed together and compounded?” 

About the Author
Kimberly Duffy is Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn't mind.

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Follow the Tour

Nov 01 Heidi Reads...
Nov 01 Austenprose
Nov 02 The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Nov 02 A Darn Good Read
Nov 02 Reading with Emily
Nov 03 A Bookish Way of Life
Nov 03 Bookfoolery
Nov 03 All-of-a-Kind Mom
Nov 04 Between the Lines Books ‘n’ Stuff
Nov 04 Library of Clean Reads
Nov 04 Wishful Endings
Nov 05 Captivated Reading
Nov 05 Laura’s Reviews
Nov 06 My Bookish Bliss
Nov 06 Beauty in the Binding
Nov 07 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Nov 08 Novels Alive
Nov 08 Bookworm Lisa
Nov 09 Nurse Bookie
Nov 10 Our Book Confessions
Nov 10 Literary Time Out
Nov 11 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Nov 11 Storeybook Reviews
Nov 11 Life of Literature
Nov 11 Among the Reads
Nov 12 Books and Socks Rock
Nov 13 Silver’s Reviews
Nov 13 Reading Is My Superpower
Nov 14 Literary Quicksand

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