Excerpt - Page 6

      Barely eighteen, Rozalija was of average height with thick brown hair, which she usually wore gathered up loosely on the top of her head. Her eyes were green-grey and her skin olive. When her mother told her that she was going to marry Zacharias, she was in the front room, standing near a window, while her mother was sitting in front of her on the dull-red sofa, sewing. Behind her mother there was a large gold-framed mirror, and the mirror reflected both Rozalija and the window.
      “And, if I don't marry him?” she repeated, looking past her mother at the mirror and at the window in the mirror. Thinking hard-to-define thoughts about openings and exits. Still thinking of Mihails.
      Ieva, distantly connected on her father's side to Polish nobility, had looked at her daughter for a moment, not wanting to recognize the hesitant defiance behind the words.
      “Why must you make things so difficult for me, Roza? Can't you imagine how trying it is to find husbands for all of you? First Matilda and now you and Paulina.” Ieva sighed and looked at the sewing lying in her lap. “Anyway, I have already spoken with his family. It is all but agreed.” She looked up at Rozalija. “You cannot refuse. It is completely impossible. Imagine the talk!” She put her sewing to one side and stood up, almost blocking out the window in the mirror. “Give some thought to your mother, child! If you don't marry him, it will be my death. I can assure you of that.”