Author's Note: I posted an excerpt, Part One of a Romantic short story I was writing and requested strong, and unabashed critique for that section. I had been struggling with it, and was stuck. So, thank you to all those who helped me decide what to do, what to change, and what needed to be kept.
So, without further ado, here is the rewrite of Part One. I hope I did it justice:
.....Hot coals burned in the grate, a deafening crackling in the cold night air as Prudence lay totally bare in the porcelain tub. Horace, her faithful family footman, had brought up many glorious pails of hot water for her nightly ritual while she had been riding the hills behind her beloved home. Warmth of the bath seeped into her bones relaxing her muscles, and clearing her mind as well.
.....Since her coming out ball, the promenades around the park, endless mundane chatter, all those interminable hours spent smiling, dancing, pretending as if she cared, had pushed her beyond the bounds of her physical and emotional limits. The search for those eligible bachelors in need of a wife, had all been for naught.
.....When her mother Mary and father Percy had sat her down a mere six months after these nightmare outings to inform her of an impending marriage to a man who lived not far from their estate, she had been rather annoyed, yet stunned at the same time.
.....Her father had placed the settlement document upon a side table, angling them where she could plainly see, expecting her to actually read the papers, as if she actually counted in the final decision.
.....The man she had been given to, Julius Trowbridge, Duke of St. James, according to her friends in the ton, had devilishly good looks, wealth, power, yet he also had a very stubborn nature. Her father had pushed across that point, when the Duke, who had wanted a vast amount of property that resided on the east side of her family property for years, had finally got said land within the words of the contract.
.....Even though she always harbored a great amount of respect for her father, the deal he had made, left her with a great feeling of distaste. Percy, someone not quite rich, nor poor either had really thought that the deal would benefit both gentleman, when in reality the opposite would probably turn out to be true.
.....How could her father be so cruel as to not ask of her feelings in such a matter? He had always been such a fair, jovial man.
.....Water sluiced down her body as she rose from the tub, grabbing a towel from a nearby bench. Drying as efficiently as possible, she sprinted across the cold marble floor, grabbing her white, cotton nightgown and pulling the material over her mahogany curls.
.....Once suitably attired for bed, she lay down in her rose colored sheets, covering herself all the way to the tops of her shoulders, sighing with disappointment. Thoughts of what she would rather be doing crawled through her mind, slipping into her dreams as well.
.....The usual dreams of having a home that belonged only to her, of having servants at her beck and call, no man telling what to do, no one at all to answer to, fortified her heart, brought about a pure smile of happiness along with peace. In the back of her property, a lovely sea with white capped waves frothed at her toes, as she held her hands out to the wind, squealing with childish glee.
Here is the link to the original draft, to compare the two, if anyone wishes to do so: FWE,PromptsforMay25thandJune1st