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January 27, 2018

Excerpt from Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little

Read an excerpt from Judithe Little's debut novel, Wickwythe Hall.
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Wickwythe Hall
France: May 1940:

Outside the convent kitchen, a truck rumbled past. “Sister,” Annelle said. “That’s the fifth to go by.”

“Yes,” Sister Marie Michel said, not bothering to look up. “Now try to be still.”

Arms out at her sides, Annelle balanced on a rickety wooden stool, worn and curved at the center from so many feet before hers. Sister Marie Michel’s skirt rustled as she crouched low on the rough stone floor stitching the hem of the gown Annelle was to wear down the aisle. It was a simple white sheath with sleeves to her wrists and a high collar. It made her skin itch and her face flush. She wanted to loosen the seams, stretch the tight weave of the cloth. Instead, she swallowed hard. “These trucks,” she said. “They sound like army trucks.”

“The vows bring such marvelous enrichment,” the nun said, as if she hadn’t heard. “The ultimate act of giving oneself, to give your whole being in sacrifice to another…”

Annelle shifted her weight. The stool wobbled. She felt a sharp, quick pain at her ankle.

“Mother Mary, I stuck you,” Sister Marie Michel said. “Are you all right?” She looked up at Annelle with kind blue eyes that had soothed skinned knees and night terrors. Twenty years had passed since the accident when Annelle, two years old, and her brothers, seven and eight, were orphaned and brought to the convent to live. Sister Marie Michel, like all of the sisters, had cherished and loved them as if they were the nuns’ own flesh, maybe more so because the nuns didn’t have that option. And now the day was coming, the day the sisters had kept tucked in their hearts since Annelle had arrived, the day they’d give her away.

“It’s fine,” Annelle said. The stinging at her ankle felt strangely good, something to think about besides army trucks and wedding dresses.

Sister Marie Michel continued stitching. “…a love that is gentle and kind…the most holy union…a ceremony sanctified and sacred…”

Annelle closed her eyes. In one week, she would be the bride of Christ. One last week, before she gave herself over to vows of enclosure, chastity, poverty, obedience. But her brothers, gone ten months, would not be there to give her away.

“…truly bound to Christ in the most marvelous way… this most holy Groom will never fail or leave you…”

Outside, another truck passed. Annelle opened her eyes. “Something’s happened,” she said. “Something with the war.”

Buy Wickwythe Hall at Amazon

About the Author:

JUDITHE LITTLE earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After a brief time studying in France and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Writer’s League of Texas, Houston Writers Guild, and the Churchill Society. She lives with her husband and three children in Houston, Texas. She is a lawyer at Haynes and Boone. This is her first novel. Learn more at judithelittle.com.




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1 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Girl Who Reads! Judithe Little

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