Fire & Frost Blog Hop: Madame Quinton


What do we have here?

Madame Quinton fingered the cards beneath her hand as she watched the two women enter her booth. They were young, clearly of quality, and eager to absorb the sights surrounding them: colorful and exotic scarves, rugs, and lanterns turned the interior into a foreign oasis amidst a sea of ice and snow and humanity.

One of the ladies appeared apt to giggle, taking in the décor with the unfettered joy of a child with a bag of sweets. The other dark-haired woman appeared more reserved, skeptical.

A challenge…

Madame Quinton figuratively rubbed her hands together, then cleared her throat and deepened her voice. “I see a believer and a skeptic before me.”

The more boisterous of the two tugged on her friend’s arm, guiding her friend to the table, her eyes wide, then said, “My friend,” she nodded to the skeptic, “Miss Synclaire, would like a reading.”

Miss Synclaire didn’t scowl, but gazed unflinchingly at the madame, a challenge the madame was all too happy to accept. Madame Quinton dipped her head, pulled a quartz crystal from its salt bath, and proceeded to cleanse her deck. “Have a seat, Miss Synclaire.”

Miss Synclaire sat while her friend settled 2 pence upon the table, the posted fee inscribed on an elaborate sign at the entrance of the booth. “Thank you, Theo.”

Madame Quinton locked eyes with the lovely young woman before her, Miss Synclaire, while her hands shuffled the cards by rote. “You are not a believer, I take it?”

Miss Synclaire lifted her chin. “I believe in having control over my future.”

Madame Quinton smiled. “Aah, but the Tarot does not predict the future. These cards are but a tool. A way to focus your mind…to reveal the truth of what you already know.”

Miss Synclaire relaxed a touch, but only a touch. “I’ve read about people using the cards for prediction…”

“Aaah, some spreads do suggest what may happen should you remain on the path you trod, but we still make our own choices, yes? Our paths can change should we choose.”

Miss Synclaire nodded.

“Now, close your eyes and think of your question.”

Miss Synclaire hesitated, but closed her eyes. “Question?”

Madame waved her hand. “Every woman I know has some question or other on their mind. Questions of love, fortune, future… What is your most burning question? Ask yourself, fix it in your mind. When you have it, open your eyes.”

Miss Synclaire opened her eyes almost immediately, and Madame Quinton smiled once more. “Aah. A woman who knows what she wants. Excellent.”

The madame slid the deck towards Miss Synclaire. “Now, cut the deck, three times while thinking of your question. There is no wrong order. Listen to your womanly instinct.”

Miss Synclaire looked to the cards before her and began, her movements decisive. Confident.

This woman was not the usual debutante. Interesting.

When finished, Miss Synclaire slid the deck forward with a confident smile.

Madame Quinton dipped her head, taking another moment to observe the woman’s posture, her hands, her clothing. These things said as much as her cultured tone could ever reveal. The madame smiled. “I see a woman who is practical, confident, and of middling means. Not extravagantly wealthy, but resourceful. Your question would not be about love or fortune. No… You seek a question about…yourself.”

Miss Synclaire dipped her chin. “Impressive.”

Madame laid out three cards, face down, and as she did, said, “You. Your current path. Your potential.” Here, the madame paused, noting Miss Synclaire’s lingering look on the final card.”

Perhaps, there was the touch of the romantic in Miss Synclaire after all.Strength

Madame flipped over the first card. “You.” Strength. “Hmmm…,” The friend nearly bounced in her slippers. “This card suggests you have great courage and conviction. Determination. You wouldn’t, perhaps, be somewhat outspoken for a lady of gentle breeding?”

The friend’s mouth dropped indicating that Madame Quinton’s assessment was astute.

Miss Synclaire squared her shoulders. “Any one of my acquaintances would certainly appreciate such a characterization. One might be easily convinced that you are telling me things I want to hear…”

Madame dipped her head. “Perhaps, but then the things we want to hear say very much about who we are, yes?”

The EmperorMadame flipped the second card. “Your current path. The Emperor.” The friend, Theo, sucked in an audible gasp. “Reversed.” She’d obviously been to a reading once before. “Interesting…” The madame intentionally drug out each syllable of the word before continuing. “If you are not careful, your passionate convictions, though correct and strong and true, could lead to excessive control, domination.”

Miss Synclaire lifted her chin. Defiance all but oozing from her. “Remember, child, these paths are not set in stone. We make our own choices in life, yes? Domination can be a plus in our world.”

Miss Synclaire nodded. “I very much wish to be in control of my own future.”

Madame Quinton’s hand hovered over the last card. Miss Synclaire remained composed, while her friend nearly burst with anticipation.

Madame flipped the last card while saying. “Your potential.”Lovers

The Lovers.

Miss Synclaire turned red, while her friend squealed with delight. “The lovers signal harmony, trust, optimism—”

Just then a tall, large figure dressed all in black, leaned inside. “Ladies, is everything all right?”

Miss Synclaire, for the first time, spun in her chair, emotion in her every movement, her hand clutched to her neck. The blush of her skin even more brilliant than before. And she said one and only one word, barely a whisper, but filled with so much meaning. “Chester—”

It seemed Miss Synclaire might be curious about love after all…

Don’t Forget:

  • Leave a comment here to be entered to win a copy of one of my novels.
  • Visit all five booths in the 1814 Frost Faire Blog Hop to win prizes at each one.
  • Comment on this post, each of the other four, and the page on the Belles’ website to go into the drawing for the main prize in the blog hop, a $50 US Amazon card.


58 thoughts on “Fire & Frost Blog Hop: Madame Quinton”

  1. I would love to read this book and the whole collection, they sound so intriguing ! Thank you so much for sharing about them. As I am reading these excerpts it feels like I could actually be there. Thank you for making it so much fun.


  2. I’ve never had my cards read or fortune told but I do have a friend who goes often and she truly believes in them. I’m a bit more of a skeptic I guess! lol Loved the excerpt and now want to know what happens!!!


  3. These stories were amazing. I loved them all! A real keeper! I can’t wait for another Umbrella adventure! Loved Madame Quinton as well!!


  4. Madame certainly makes excellent use of her skill of observation way before books on body language must have been written. How fun!


  5. All the stories so far have excited me to read the collection and this one is no exception. I am a skeptic and feel card readers use their observations and ability to read people to make their predictions. That said, it might be fun to have a reading.


  6. Wow! I’ve enjoyed every one of these excerpts. I have not read any historical books for a very long time, but after this I’m definitely going to read this one! The idea of the frost faire is fascinating.


  7. Ooh! what an astute observation by Madame. A friend of mine does go to such a card reader & she also believes much of what is told to her but like Miss Sinclaire I am a tad sceptic about all this. Perhaps it is just the very clear observation by such a card reader that convinces the client of the truth of said conclusions. I’d would have loved to have been there when the girls experienced this sort of thing.


    1. I have to say, that tarot really is more a tool for focusing your own mind. A large part of the basis of tarot is the assumption that the person receiving the reading already has the information in their mind, subconsciously, and tarot readings help them to tap into that knowledge, to really hone their own instincts. The Tarot reader is fluent in understanding how to interpret the cards’ meanings, but those cards are really meant to trigger what the other person already knows deep down.


  8. I’ve never had a Tarot reading but it sounds like an experience I’d enjoy. I’ll have to get one done the next time I visit the Renaissance Faire.


  9. Loved this peek into the story. I’m excited to read them all. Loved visiting the Frost Faire.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com


  10. Thanks for this “bonus feature.” Every little bit of behind the scenes activities adds to the world you are creating for these characters.


  11. This story sounds very interesting. I would love to know what happens with them.
    While I would never go to a fortune teller, I have friends who would and I would be the one friend who was waiting outside with a nice hot cup of hot chocolate.


  12. I would have definitely been a skeptic like Miss Synclaire, but when Chester, obviously someone that meant something to her, walked in after turning The Lovers card, well, well, well, Madame Quinton might be on to something!


  13. I would love to read what happens in this story. I like how the reader(Madame Quinton) is thoughtful and concise not trying to cheat the read.


  14. I enjoyed thst miss Synclaite was skeptical about having her fortune read. It said she was controlling but she did get a lovers card and the ladies squealed. Chester put his hgead in the tent to make sure the ladies were ok. Miss Synclaite blushed and in a soft voice said Chester. Is this the man she lives. So need to read more about them.


  15. OH how I would love a tarot reading. Can’t wait to read all these stories about the ice fair. Great idea for the series.


  16. A friend and I had our cards read many years back. Because I was dressed in colors and she in neutrals, the Madame reversed us. We laughed for ages about it.


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