Sunday, October 30, 2011

When a Rose Blooms by Tarah Scott

This short Scottish Medieval is on the spooky side. Nathaniel Moncrieffe can't accept his wife's death and let her go. It's up to the reader to decide whether or not she can let him go.

Chapter One

As the moment that marked the eve of his wife’s death approached, Nathaniel Moncreiffe knelt before her grave. Fog swirled in thick, gray strands past the eerie light of the lantern beside him, enveloping him in a living tomb. His fingertip, calloused from countless repetitions, traced the letters that were as deeply etched into the recesses of his heart as they were the rough surface of the gravestone.



BORN 1259

DIED 1287

His hand shook upon the final line before falling away. Eyes closed, he listened to the distant rush of waves and their crash against the cliff that served as Castle Rothesay’s eastern sea barrier. The waves beat upon the stone, their insidious aim to wear away the island until it was but a narrow pillar like the one standing sentinel sixty meters from the mainland.

How had that pillar withstood time? Nathaniel gave a harsh laugh. Such questions were kin to asking why Maggie had been taken—or why he had ceased living. Anger shot through him. You know why, his mind cried out in the first denial of the night. Five years has not dulled your memory. Neither will another five change the answer.

Footsteps in the darkness wrenched his head around. “Who goes there?”

“Forgive me, Laird,” came a familiar voice. “I didna’ see you there.”

Nathaniel exhaled the breath he hadn’t realized he held. “Barclay, you near sent me to my grave.”

Barcley stepped from the mist and through the cemetery gate. “It would take more than this old gardener to bring an end to Laird Moncreiffe. But lingering outdoors on a night not meant for the living could do so.”

Nathaniel swept his gaze upward at the murky sky. “Aye, a night for the dead.”

Barclay shivered. “Niamh walks the earth tonight.”

Nathaniel looked back at the grave. “The otherworld princess walked amongst us once. She will not do so again.”

“No surprise, I suppose,” came another voice from the mist, “that I should find you here.” James Ruthven entered the small circle of light.

“You should have saved yourself the trouble of coming,” Nathaniel replied, gaze still on the headstone.

“ ‘Tis five years past, Moncreiffe. Time to put your mourning clothes aside.”

Nathaniel riveted his attention onto his friend. “Five years? What is that to a lifetime? Maggie and I were wed ten years—betrothed three. She was everything to me.”

“But she would not ask this of you.”

Nathaniel surveyed the graves surrounding his wife. Lives not cut down in their prime. “What would you know of it?”

“Come inside,” his friend urged. “Rose is there.”

A thrill radiated through Nathaniel. “Nay,” he shot back, recognizing the second denial in as many minutes.

“Come.” James gripped his arm and pulled him upright. Lifting the lantern, he urged Nathaniel toward the gate, then halted. “The grave—”

Nathaniel gave him a questioning look, but James shook his head, smiling. “An ungodly place to congregate on such a night.” He laughed. “On any night, aye?” He gave Nathaniel a hearty backslap and prodded him onward. As they turned down the path, James cast a final glance over his shoulder into the darkness of the cemetery.


On the fifth year anniversary of Nathaniel Moncreiffe's wife's death, a flesh and blood woman enters the battlefield he has created around his heart, forcing him to choose between life among the living, or life with a ghost.

What readers are saying about When a Rose Blooms

The wispy voice of Nathaniel’s late wife calling from the grave gave an eerie atmosphere to this fine little story.

A fitting introduction to Tarah Scott’s writing which will make readers look out for her other books.


This short is only 20 pages long, but boy is it full of intrigue, mystery, and drama. It doesn't take long for you to get the sense that something is terribly dark, terribly wrong about Nathaniel. Driven mad by the death of his wife, you experience the push and pull of his emotions, witness the depths of despair. Guilt weighs heavy on his heart. He blames himself for her death, and although he can't imagine being with another woman, he frequently visits women who don't mind pleasing him even though he calls them by his wife's name. But, on the anniversary of his wife's death, things are about to get even darker, and only a sign from the grave can bring him back to the living.

Tarah Scott showed some serious range in her writing style and novel length. I love that because her work keeps me guessing, keeps me excited, keeps me wanting more! When A Rose Blooms is definitely a 5/5 short!

Zee--Zee--Firepages Reviews

I'm giving away a copy of When a Rose Blooms to one commenter. Be sure to leave your email address in the post so I can contact you.


Debby said...

Very tantalizing. I will need to read this one. Nothing better than short stories for when you need something quick and satisfying to read.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Na said...

A Scottish medieval story sounds great. I'm finding so many stories to add to my want to read list. Many are from new authors to me.