From Across the Room
by Gina L. Mulligan
Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Five Star Publications
Hardcover & eBook; 271 Pages
Self-indulgent young writer Thomas Gadwell has traveled from Boston to the new Hotel Del Coronado in California to at last finish his novel when he meets the clever and headstrong Miss Mary Harting. At once Thomas tosses aside his literary pursuits for a charmed summer of romance that ends with the happy couple making future plans. However, Mary Harting is the only unmarried daughter of notorious railroad tycoon Charles Harting, and he has no intention of letting a useless wordsmith derail his own critical plans for Mary. The couple must continue a clandestine courtship, but Thomas’ ingenuity has unexpected repercussions and he unwittingly uncovers a sinister plot of deception, greed, and blackmail. Guided by mentor Henry James, to win Mary, Thomas must step from the pages of the world he creates to explore his own insecurities, battle against worldly corruption, and expose family demons.
Told through a series of clever, heartfelt, and engaging letters, From Across the Room is a voyeuristic escapade that delights at every twist. Reflecting back to a time when letters were saved in the imagination of the reader, the lost art of letter writing brings to life the opulent Gilded Age and unfolds the universal passions of love, ambition, and the resilient bonds of family.
Praise for From Across the Room
“A passionate love story set in a brilliantly recreated Gilded Age, this intimate epistolary novel takes the reader from a wide-open California to the salons of literary and industrial New York. Colorful and indelible characters stride across the pages of this exceptionally vivid historical novel that brings the past stirringly to life.” -Diana Birchall, Bestselling Author of Mr. Darcy’s Dilemma
“Gina Mulligan’s impeccable prose, engaging characters, and original style reminds us all why we love to read.” -Reza Kahlili, 2010 National Best Books winner for A Time to Betray
“The characters have richly defined voices and fascinating lives that sparkle against a transcontinental history of America at the beginning of the twentieth century.” -Jessica Klein, Award-winning Writer/Producer of Northern Exposure, Beverly Hills 90210, Gabriel’s Fire and other popular TV series.
About the Author
Gina L. Mulligan is a veteran freelance journalist for numerous national magazines and the author of the award-winning novel, REMEMBER THE LADIES and FROM ACROSS THE ROOM. After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated television talk show The Steve Harvey Show, People.com, and TODAY.com.
June 6, 1888.
DEAR AVERY —
In another age my kind was near extinction, killed in battle while struggling to put on chainmail. Today a writer can travel to a seaside resort, slouch on a padded lounge, and appraise your furious letter in comfort. Rest assured I am toiling away on the book, but as a matter of principle, I must refute your accusation I am again irresponsible. Again? You know my pages were delayed last time due to a simple miscalculation. According to my lunar calendar, I was a month early. Nevertheless, this time my delay in sending the promised chapters was unavoidable and shows a depth of character you might also find hard to believe.
Are you at least curious why I journeyed all the way to the Hotel Del Coronado to find my muse? A hotel is the ideal setting. The onslaught of fresh arrivals provides constant fodder while the locale ensures variety. True, high season calls for stamina; writing requires such keen skills of observation. Though some are born with this gift, the rest of us must learn the nuances of peering and loitering while enduring the occasional knock on the head with a beaded evening bag. You see what I must suffer for your greatness and the publisher’s profits?
Before you fling your spectacles and run your thick fingers through your thin hair, I am not in the least trying to be flippant. I am well aware that, as my agent, your income is based on my hard work, and losing Harper & Brothers Publishing is a distasteful consequence we both wish to avoid. My career is dependent on the publisher and their dotted line so let me explain my tardiness with enough background and detail to appease, nay impress, our good friends at Harpers.
Though the hotel offers many diversions, I abstained from the temptation of billiards and chess and set out my writing supplies even before unpacking. You see, Avery, right to work. Looking for inspiration, I even arranged a city tour. After a turn through the respectable streets of San Diego, a few extra coins persuaded my hackney driver to take me to the Stingaree District. In contrast to the luxury of the hotel, this area is described only in whispers and my intent was a quick survey to jot down scenery notes.
San Diego was built around the Mission Basilica and remnants of Spanish settlements. Along with drab wooden storefronts, much of the city proper is laden with handmade signs advertising clean office space and cheap irrigation supplies. It seems San Diego has stalled for need of water and respectable industry. Of course men always find ways to occupy their time. I just wonder what Father Serra would think if he saw what goes on just around the corner from his mission.
Trainloads of high-flying men in shirtsleeves blanketed walkways lit more by cigars than the dirty lamps, and powdered chippies in purple corsets were draped over balconies like flags on Decoration Day. I stepped over men gambling and passing jugs of Tarantula Juice right on the street corners, then a pitch-man with a greasy complexion slapped a pot of milky cream in my hand and said, “For the French Pox.” Before I could react, a harlot with ruby cheeks and a vacant stare offered me a way to need the jar of ointment.
Unrecognizable music blared from every direction, and my disgust at the scene was almost bested by the smell. The stench from the chickens, horses, and opium dens (their curtains parted to calloused deputies) was so thick not even the sea breeze could carry it away.
The district is small, so with the end in sight, I turned to go back, when all of sudden I was shoved and fell right into a stack of hay. The landing was soft but my surprise meant I also got a literal taste of the area. As I spit out sprigs and brushed bits from my waistcoat, I spotted my assailant: a woman running down the walkway with fistfuls of her skirt hiked up to her knees. She was chasing a man.
In truth, what caught my attention was the lady’s bloomers. Shenanigans are expected in such an area, but I could tell by the pastel brocade lace that the owner was not one of the regulars. I watched as the woman pursued the fleeing man around a corner. When I then heard her scream, I sprung into action like a mother cheetah.
To avoid the crowded walkway, I darted around a hitching post and hurled myself into the street. Just as my feet hit the dirt, a chuck wagon swerved and I scrambled back into my haystack. Ignoring the driver’s profanity, I regained my balance and charged down the center of the road, leaving a feed trail.
My pulse quickened until I no longer heard the awful music. As I ran toward the scream, my jacket caught on a piece of wood jutting from one of the buildings. I spun with the grace of a discus Olympian and slipped free in one fluid motion. A few more steps and I rounded the corner. My pounding heart seized as I skidded to a stop.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, November 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Wednesday, November 28
Review at Jathan & Heather
Friday, November 30
Review at A Holland Reads
Saturday, December 1
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Wednesday, December 5
Interview at Passages to the Past
Thursday, December 6
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Friday, December 7
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, December 10
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, December 11
Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, December 12
Review at Laura’s Interests
Friday, December 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, December 17
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books
Tuesday, December 18
Feature at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, December 19
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Thursday, December 20
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 copies of From Across the Room & Stationary! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
–Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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–Only one entry per household.
–All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
–Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.