From Gail Gaymer Martin:
Set in Heidelberg, Germany, Dreaming of Castles is
one of my favorite novels and my 2nd book published. It’s been out of
print a long time, and now it is back to life with humor and poignancy
in a gorgeous setting.
Dreaming of Castles
Available for Kindle and other ereaders.
“Oh, your wedding dress sounds beautiful, Anne.” Spring Dalton
savored the words. She gazed at her friend with awe. She envisioned
Anne’s slender body draped in a lovely, white, satin sheath, adorned
with seed pearls and lace.
Anne giggled. “I know. I’m so excited I could die.”
Spring and the three young women seated at the picnic bench leaned
forward on their elbows, closing the gap between theirs and Anne’s
excitement. A few months earlier, Anne had dashed into the Royal Oak
Studios of Artistic Design, her hand jutting forward brandishing a
diamond. Each girl oohed and aahed as the ring flashed its fiery colors,
but Spring knew each girl deep inside flashed her own sparks of envy.
She felt the pang more than the others. Dates, for her, were as rare as
Spring’s stomach twitched like the ears of a nervous rabbit before
the question left her lips. “So, did you pick out the bridesmaids’
dresses?” She felt sure that Anne would ask her to be a bridesmaid.
Anne’s eyes shifted toward Spring, then to the wrapping that had
covered her sandwich. She folded the waxed paper then raised her eyes to
Spring’s. “Well, yes, I did find exactly what I want.”
“Pale yellow floor-length sheaths for the bridesmaids and mint green for
my maid of honor. Don’t you think the colors will be lush for a late
“Lush,” Spring agreed with a facetious grin. She envisioned herself
in a pale yellow or green sheath, looking like a rotund lemon or lime
while traipsing down the aisle At least good for a nice squeeze. She
chuckled, soothing the ungainly image of herself.
Sitting at the far end of the bench, Deidre nodded. “Sounds pretty to
me. I like it.” Deidre glanced at her wristwatch. “Wow! I hate to miss
this, but I was due back from lunch ten minutes ago.”
She jumped from the bench. As she did, Spring grabbed for the table as the bench catapulted, toppling her to the ground.
“I hadn’t planned to make my exit quite so quickly,” Spring said,
hoping to make a joke of her embarrassment. She gathered her skirt
around her knees.
Deidre gaped at Spring seated precariously on the grass. “Spring, I’m so sorry. I never thought about your weight on that end.”
Embarrassment crept up Deidre’s neck and she blurted, “Oh, but I didn’t mean—”
Squirming with her own discomfort, Spring hoisted herself from the
pale spring grass. “An accident. Don’t worry about it. It’s easy to
forget how picnic benches flip up occasionally. Anyway, hurry, or you’ll
be on Mr. Tyler’s list.”
“You’re right.” Deidre grabbed her lunch bag, rushing toward the office door. “See you inside.”
Spring grinned halfheartedly, watching Deidre make her escape. No one
meant to mention Spring’s weight, but even the word alone caused
everyone a twinge of regret. She knew the extra fifty pounds should come
off, but somehow, it never did.
When she worked part-time at the donut shop during college, she had
gotten, as she called it, “addicted” to donuts—any kind, all kinds. She
chuckled to herself. Nothing eased a lonely evening like a
custard-filled donut or two.
Anne gathered her wrappers and threw them in her lunch bag. “I suppose the rest of us should get back.”
“Right,” Carolyn said, rising and heading toward the door.
Spring and Anne stood alone facing each other. Spring studied Anne’s
face, aware of her discomfort, and prepared herself for something she
had already concluded.
Anne managed a tremulous smile. “Spring, I love you, and you’re my
dearest friend, but when I picked out the dresses, I figured that. . .”
“That I’d look like a pastel blimp? I pictured that myself, Anne.
Listen, don’t fret. I’m so happy for you nothing could disappointment
me.” She smiled brightly, telling Anne the biggest fib she’d ever told.
The hurt spilled over inside, flooding her with a mixture of emotions.
She felt irritated with herself and with her friend’s exclusion. Yet she
understood. Everyone wanted a beautiful wedding—and memorable wedding
photographs. Spring would add an air of. . . whimsey, not beauty.
Spring took her compliments for what they were—an apology. “I’d be
honored to design your invitations, and I don’t want to hear another
She gave Anne a final squeeze and unwrapped herself from her
arms. They hurried back inside the building, Anne appearing to float on
the warm April air and Spring with her feet in a rut.
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