Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Lady Eve and the fortune teller
I remember going to a Renaissance Fair and having my fortune read--she said I would meet a tall, handsome man...but that's another story.
This week I'm going to talk about one of my favorite heroines in my novels, Lady Eve Marlowe, a titled Englishwoman who has an insatiable appetite for sexual adventure in 1939 Europe in that time when the world was teetering on the brink of war.
Lady Eve doesn’t see it coming. She’s unbelievably rich, beautiful and lonely…
Her journey begins in the duty-free port of Port Said, a city in Egypt which “harbors a white slave trade flourishing in its hidden places, bars, and houses where young girls languish and perish under the thumbs of men.”
She has her fortune told in a seedy bar:
"You will meet a man within a fortnight,” he insisted, “and his fire will peel the skin from your bones, making you lose all control–”
I pulled my hand away. “Sounds unpleasant.” I tried to keep my voice steady, not let him see how his prediction affected me, nurtured the elusive dream I craved, but even as I said the words, my lower belly ached and fever consumed me.
The fortune teller continued, “With him you will find immortality.”
I pondered this, though not for long. Immortality? What nonsense. What near eastern alchemy he was peddling I could only guess. I doubted I could find a man to fulfill the incompleteness haunting me since my husband’s death and assuage my hunger for the pleasures long denied to me. Still–
“Where will I meet this man?” I had to ask, wanting to believe I could escape my loneliness through this pre-destined encounter. I held my hands together in my lap to stop them from shaking. If I found such a man in Port Said and found sexual pleasure with him, that would mean I’d crossed the line into another world.
I sensed I was at a dangerous impasse by snubbing the staid world of British royals, forcing me to face what I thought I’d left behind: My taste for the sweetest of tortures. I’ll not regale you, dear reader, with details. They will come later.”
-–from Chapter 2, Cleopatra’s Perfume
So begins the Lady Eve’s journey that will take her to Cairo, London then Berlin in the spring of 1941…