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Velvet Song Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671739751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671739751
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of more than forty New York Times bestsellers, including Moonlight in the Morning, The Scent of Jasmine, Scarlet Nights, Days of Gold, Lavender Morning, Return to Summerhouse, and Secrets. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Chapter One"

The little village of Moreton was surrounded by a high stone wall, the gray of the stones casting a long, early-morning shadow over the many houses packed inside. Well-worn pathways connected the buildings, radiating out from the central position of the towering church and the tall white town hall. Now, in the dim light of the morning, a few dogs began to stretch, sleepy-eyed women lazily walked toward the town well and four men waited, with axes over their shoulders, while the gatekeepers opened the heavy oak gates in the stone wall.

Inside one house, a plain, narrow, two-story, whitewashed house, Alyxandria Blackett listened with every pore of her body for the creak of the gates. When she heard it, she grabbed her soft leather shoes and began tiptoeing toward the stairs, which were, unfortunately, on the other side of her father's bedroom, She'd been dressed for hours, waking long before the sun rose, slipping a plain, rather coarse woolen dress over her slight figure. And today, for once, she didn't look down in disgust at her body. It seemed that all her life she'd been waiting to grow up, to gain some height and, most of all, to gain some curves. But at twenty she knew she was always going to be flat-chested and hipless. At least, she thought with a sigh, she had no need for corsets. In her father's room, she tossed him a quick glance to make sure that he was sleeping, flipped the wool of her skirt over her arm and started down, skipping the fourth step, as she knew it creaked badly.

Once downstairs she didn't dare open a window shutter. The sound might wake her father, and he very much needed his rest now. Skirting a table covered with papers and ink and a half-finished will her father was drafting, she went to the far wall, gazing up with love at the two musical instruments hanging there. All thoughts of self-pity for what God had forgotten in her physically disappeared when she thought of her music. Already a new tune was beginning to form in her head, a gentle, rolling melody. It was obviously a love song.

"Can't make up your mind?" came her father's voice from the foot of the stairs.

Instantly, she ran to him, put her arm around his waist and helped him sit at the table. Even in the dark room she could see the bluish circles under his eyes. "You should have stayed in bed. There's time enough to do a day's work without starting before daylight."

Catching her hand for a moment, he smiled up into her pretty eyes. He well knew what his daughter thought of her little elfin face with its tip-tilted violet eyes, tiny nose and curvy little mouth -- he'd certainly heard her wail about it enough -- but to him everything about her was dear. "Go on," he said, pushing her gently. "Go and see if you can choose which instrument to take and leave before someone comes and complains they must have a song for their latest love."

"Perhaps this morning I should stay with you," she whispered, her face showing her concern for him. Three times in the last year he'd had horrible pains in his heart.

"Alyx!" he warned. "Don't disobey me. Now gather your things and leave!"

"Yes, my lord," she laughed, giving what, to him, was a heart-melting smile, her eyes turning up at the corners, her mouth forming a perfect cupid's bow. With a swift, practiced gesture she pulled the long, steel-stringed cittern from the wall, leaving the psaltery where it was. Turning, she looked back at her father. "Are you sure you'll be all right? I don't have to leave this morning."

Ignoring her, he handed her her scholar's box, a lap desk containing pen, ink and paper. "I'd rather have you creating music than staying home with a sick old man. Alyx," he cautioned. "Come here." With a familiar gesture he began to plait her long hair into a fat braid down her back. Her hair was heavy and thick, perfectly straight without a hint of curl and the color was, even to her father, very odd. It was almost as if a child had thrown together every hair color possible on one very small young woman's head. There were streaks of gold, bright yellow, deep red, a golden red, mouse brown and, Alyx swore, even some gray.

When her hair was braided, he pulled her cloak from the wall, put it about her shoulders and tied the hood over her head. "Don't get so engrossed you forget to stay warm," he said with mock fierceness, turning her about. "Now go, and when you return I want to hear something beautiful."

"I'll do my best," she said, laughing as she left the house, closing the door behind her.

From their house at the very back of the town wall, directly across from the big gates, Alyx could see nearly all of the town as the people were beginning to stir and get ready to greet the day. There was a matter of inches between the houses and in the tiny alleyway that ran along the wall. Half-timbered and stone, brick and stucco houses sat side by side, ranging in size from the mayor's house down to the tiny houses of the craftsmen and, like her father's, the lawyers'. A bit of breeze stiffed the air and the shop sips rattled.

"Good morning," a woman sweeping the gravel before her house called to Alyx. "Are you working on something for the church today?"

Slinging the cittern by its strap onto her back, she waved back at her neighbor. "Yes...and no. Everything!" She laughed, waving and hurrying toward the gate

Abruptly, she stopped as she nearly ran into a cart horse. One look up showed her that John Thorpe had purposefully tried to trip her.

"Hoa, now, little Alyx, not a kind word for me?" He grinned as she sidestepped the old horse.

"Alyx!" called a voice from the back of the wagon. Mistress Burbage was emptying chamber pots into the honey wagon John drove. "Could you come inside for a moment? My youngest daughter is heartbroken, and I thought perhaps a new love song might make her well. "

"Aye, and for me," John laughed from atop the wagon. "I have need of a love song, too," he said, ostentatiously rubbing his side where two nights before Alyx had given him a fierce pinch when he'd tried to kiss her.

"For you, John," she said very sweetly, "I'll write a song as sweet as the honey in your wagon." The sound of his laughter almost bid her answer to Mistress Burbage that she'd see her after evening mass.

With a gasp, Alyx began to run toward the gate. In another few moments she'd get caught and would never get her time alone, outside the walls, to work on her music.

"Ye're late, Alyx," the gatekeeper said, "and don't forget the sweet music for my sick babe," he called after her as she ran toward the orchards outside the walls.

Finally, she reached her favorite apple tree and, with a laugh of sheer happiness, opened the little desk and set about preparing to make a record of the music she heard in her head. Sitting down, leaning back against the tree, she pulled her cittern across her lap and began to strum the tune she'd heard this morning. Totally absorbed, working with melody and lyrics, recording on paper the notes, she was unaware of the hours passing. When she came up for air, her shoulders stiff, fingers sore, she had written two songs and started on a new psalm for the church.

With a long, exuberant stretch, she set aside her cittern, rose and, one hand on a low, bare branch of the apple tree, gazed out across the fields of crops, past them to the earl's enclosed sheep pastures.

No! she would not let herself think of the earl, who'd pushed so many farmers from the land by raising their rents and then fencing it and filling the space with his profitable sheep. Think of something pleasant, she commanded herself, turning to look the other way. And, of course, what else was there really beautiful in life besides music?

As a child she'd always heard music in her head. While the priest droned on in Latin at Mass, she'd occupied her mind with creating a song for the boys' choir. At the Harvest Festival she wandered away, preoccupied with songs only she could hear. Her father, a widower for years, had been nearly insane trying to find his lost child.

One day when she was ten, she'd gone to the well to draw water. A troubadour visiting the town had been sitting with a young woman on a bench, and beside the well, unattended, was his lute. Alyx had never touched any musical instrument before, but she'd heard enough and seen enough to know basically how to make a lute play. Within minutes, she'd plucked out one of the hundreds of tunes chorusing through her head. She was on her fourth song before she realized the troubadour was beside her, his courting forgotten. Silently, without a word between them, needing only the language of music, he had shown her how to place her fingers for the chords. The pain of the sharp strings cutting into her small, tender fingertips was nothing compared to her joy at being able to hear her music outside her mind.

Three hours later, when her father, with a resigned air, went to look for his daughter, he found her surrounded by half the townspeople, all of them whispering that they were seeing a miracle. The priest, seeing a wonderful possibility, took her to the church and set her before the virginals. After a few minutes of experimenting, Alyx began to play, badly at first, a magnificat, a song of praise to the church, softly speaking the words as she played.

Alyx's father was thoroughly relieved that his only child wasn't light in the head after all, that it was just so filled with music that sometimes she didn't respond to everything said to her. After that momentous day, the priest took over Alyx's training, saying her gift was from God and as God's spokesman, he would take charge of her. He didn't need to add that as a lawyer, her father was far away from God's holiness and the less she associated with such as him, the better.

There followed four years of rigorous training in which the priest managed the loan of every instrument created for Alyx to learn to play. She played the keyboard instruments, horns, strings with and without a bow, drums, bells and the hug...

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Customer Reviews

I wish I would have started with book one in this series.
Gbsmemaw
Well, I'm not saying that the book turned out bad or horrible but some parts of it were dissatisfying and maybe a little bit too rushed ?
Iusedtobeacat
These are my absolute favorite books by Jude Deveraux, and I've read all of her books.
L. Coy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michelle888 on November 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All her life, Alyxandria Blackett's world has revolved around music. So it is while she is deeply immersed in her newest composition alone in the forest when she finds herself fighting off the advances of Lord Pagnell. Although she manages to escape, the rejection isn't taken well by her would-be attacker. That same night, she sees her father murdered and her home burned. And when Pagnell realizes that she has again escaped, he declares her a witch and puts up a big reward for her capture. With the help of their priest, she pretends to be a boy and takes up sanctuary in the camp of outlaws and works as a squire for Raine Montgomery.

A few weeks before, Raine was declared an outlaw by King Henry when he made the mistake of attacking his beloved sister Mary's captor while in command of the king's army. Accused as a traitor, he has hidden himself deep in the forest and became the leader of England's rejects. But while obedience from them came quick and easy, it wouldn't be quite the same with his new squire.

From day one, Alyx has shown contempt for Raine holding his noble birth against him. But as quick as she is to dislike him, she also quickly learns that Raine is nothing like Pagnell. Fearing that she will soon lose her heart to him, she tries to protect herself by hiding behind the pretence of hating him.

VELVET SONG is the third instalment in the Velvet Quartet. If you have read the first two books, you might be a little disappointed to see that Raine is not quite the humorous, easy-going man he once was. Sure, we get to see glimpses of the "old Raine" once in a while, but for most part, he is bitter and quick to believe the worst of Alyx. But having been through so much agony since the tragedy that befell his sister, I could appreciate why he's changed so much.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "cynical-romantic" on July 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Velvet Song" by Ms. Jude Deveraux, was the first historical romance I read, and it suitably hooked me. I liked Raine, when he was not being too proud, and I rather admired Alyx because she did what needed to be done. Raine, I have since learned, is a much better character in the other Montgomery novels than in his own.
Ms. Deveraux writes well and captures you into the world she describes. She is one of the top 5 romance writers out there, though truth be told, the Velvet series is her best work. Her characters are human not always so perfect, and she even varies them somewhat, which is unique amongst her profession. The one problem I had with this book was that Raine hits Alyx. I know it was "a different time" and that the author probably in no way condones domestic violence, but I was uncomfortable with that aspect of the novel. Fortunately, it only happens once, and if you can get over that feeling of discomfort, it does not detract overly much from the rest of the book. It is why this book is a four of five stars instead of a five of five.
Alyx was the more likeable of the two characters, and you can truly empathize with her. She is good hearted and she is one of my all time favorite heroines. Raine is less special, but at times he also became a very strong character.
Ms. Deveraux's characters are romantic, and you are cheering for them all of the way. You also get to meet other characters who have books about them, which I really like. I highly recommend this book as well as the rest of the Velvet series. Ms. Deveraux is a pleasure to read, and she combines everything important into an extremely good romance novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sam I Am on February 2, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was anticipating something original, being that the heroine masquerades as a boy around the hero. It started out well and then gradually became disappointing. Raine, the hero, is a jerk! He kept on getting mad at Alyx, the heroine, for things she did that meant well for him but "hurt his pride". Gosh, I am getting sick of stumbling upon stories with such chauvinistic pigs who are so consumed with their pride. He gets mad at her three times and abandons her, he wasn't even there when she gave birth and he practically ignored her as their child is almost a year old. God what kind of a husband and father is that? She always has to be the one to come to him, even though she wasn't particularly asking for forgiveness, the notion of going to him is enough to say that she's wanting his understandings. Maybe I'm sounding like a feminist myself, but this Raine just infuriates me. If it was me, I would've left him a long time ago. I wouldn't want to have a baby and deal with another BIG one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am one of those rare individuals that when I ready I can see everything in my head.
I like an author that can make me laugh until my side hurts, cause me to despise a character before I get through the first chapter, and enjoy a couple discovering each other. However, what I enjoy the most in a author is when they allow their heroines to be feminine, but not weak. Just as a strong woman needs and wants a strong man. I like to believe a strong man wants and needs a strong woman. Once I figure out exactly how many books there are to this set I plan to read everyone of them.
Could you please tell me the exact order the Montgomery Trilogy goes in? And most importantly In the Velet Song there was a reference made concerning the bult Alyx owned. Is this the same bult form THE BLACK LYON? And is the THE BLACK LYON the first book in the Montgomery trilogy.
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