Please give a fabulous Stiletto Gang welcome to the talented Anna Lee Huber. She is the debut author of The Anatomist's Wife which hit shelves last week. And make sure you keep reading because you might get the chance to win her amazing book. (And if you don't, you should check it out. You won't be disappointed!) So without further ado, take it away, Anna!
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of sanctuary, of sacred places and safe havens. I know when someone uses the word “sanctuary,” most people think of churches and cathedrals, of Quasimodo screaming it from the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral. But I’m talking about it more in the context of a personal refuge, a place of comfort and security. Somewhere you can go to escape when the world becomes too much, to grieve when you face loss, to reflect when you feel lost, and to find the strength and serenity to move forward, both for yourself and the ones you love.
I believe everyone has a sanctuary in one form or another, whether they realize it or not. When things go wrong, it’s the place you crave, the destination you long to run to, where you know you’ll find your center again. Sometimes your sanctuary is a specific physical space, like a room or a car, other times it’s a general location, like a hiking trail, a forest, or a beach. And still for others, like me, it’s more of a space of time.
I have always been drawn to sunset. I don’t know why exactly, but something about it calls me to me. When I was a little girl, we lived in the country, and I would often wander out into our large backyard and find a soft patch of grass or snow to lie in and stare up at the sky. I would watch the brilliant play of light fade from the sky and the stars begin to appear one by one. Something about the simple but awe-inspiring transition of day giving over to night would stir my soul and yet soothe me. Even my parents understood this, and allowed me to wander off as long as I was properly attired, so as not to freeze to death in our chilly winters.
Sunset—the wide-open sky and spectacular change over of day to night—was my sanctuary. And still is, though living in the city as I do, surrounded by tight-packed houses, I don’t lie down in my backyard anymore. Maybe one day I’ll live far enough from my neighbors to feel comfortable doing so again.
In my debut novel, The Anatomist’s Wife, my heroine, Kiera, Lady Darby, also has a sanctuary—the library loft at Gairloch Castle—where her sister, Alana, finds her after Kiera has once again faced vicious accusations and name-calling.
We sat that way for several minutes, staring past the wooden banister, out at the ceiling of the library. A large mural depicting the life of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, covered the entire space from one wall to another. Though it was certainly not the work of Michelangelo, it had a charming rustic quality I found soothing. None of the colors were deep or the lines sharp, but the muted shades and blurred lines were somehow appropriate to its location in the far north of the Highlands.
Alana had asked me once why I liked the library loft so much, but I hadn’t been able to explain it to her. Perhaps there was some sense of peace being so high above it all, with the saint on the ceiling my closest neighbor. All I knew was that I always felt better, that my thoughts were always clearer, when I was curled up in the little space below the eaves.
Do you have a sanctuary? Where or what is it?
Berkley has graciously offered to give away a copy of the Anatomist's wife (US Only). Leave a comment today to be entered to win. Good luck!
The Anatomist's Wife
Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes. Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage-a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl. When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim...
Anna Lee Huber was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, where she majored in Music and minored in Psychology. THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE, the first book in the Lady Darby historical mystery series, has been hailed as “…a riveting debut…” and will be released by Berkley Publishing on November 6th, 2012. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband and troublemaking tabby cat. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family. Visit her website at www.annaleehuber.com.