Colorado Promise (A Sample) (Chapter 1, page 2 of 12)


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As she watched the passing of gleaming black Hansom cabs drawn by sluggish, heat-weary horses, she thought about the lovely book her father had given her for Christmas, a book she cherished above all others and one that had inspired her to take up pen and ink and watercolor to capture the fine details of plants. Which led to her growing passion to study botany. The artist, a Belgian woman named Berthe Hoola van Nooten, did more than just paint flowers and trees; she somehow captured their perfection in a way that made each living species fascinating and magnificent. Emma wished she could portray creation with such precision, but knew she still had a long way to go. She longed for a studio in which she could paint for hours, uninterrupted.

Her heart thrilled at knowing her opportunity to reach her dream was at hand. Soon, in a scant two months, she would be off to Vassar College-seventy miles away. Away from the stifling heat of the city and the suffocating scrutiny of her parents.

She chided herself for such thoughts, but she yearned for room to grow, for more space than their small but elegant brownstone home afforded, where she had little privacy and even less say in how she spent her time. She loved her parents truly, and although some of her friends had already found their escape through marriage, Emma had yet to find a suitable beau. Like them, she yearned for love and often fantasized what her future husband would be like, but none of the young men her parents had arranged for her to meet were at all what she hoped for in a husband. Stuffy, arrogant, well mannered-and oh so dull.

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