The Lady in Yellow, or Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw with Werewolves
I totally loved writing this novella. It was inspired by a photograph by Sir Simon Marsden of a Medieval mural in a chateau in France that shows a lady in a yellow gown in the jaws of a wolf. Its is a lot like this, but much more sexual. The Lady in Yellow very much enjoys being carried off by the wolf. I have figured out that werewolves are really metaphors for over-sexed men, rampaging beasts, wolves as they are still known to this day. In Sir Simon’s tale, the lady was a beautiful libertine who wore a yellow dress. I used this story as a starting point for my tale of Veronica Everly, a Victorian governess who takes a position at the remote Belden House to teach a pair of identical and androgynous twins. She soon finds herself in the midst of terrible events rooted in an ancient curse form the side of their French mother, Sovay. Veronica falls in love with their father, Rafe de Grimston who forces her to take a stand she cannot even bear to contemplate.
I have been working on a cover which is difficult because I don’t know my way around digital art. I haven’t been able to do what I would like,which is to use Simon Marsden’s picture on the cover with color added – especially the yellow dress. So far I have this:
I’m not sure I can use it… but its a start. That’s Lily Langtrey who looks very much like my heroine. Veronica.
This is the opening of The Lady in Yellow
The Lady in Yellow
by Alyne de Winter
“You must understand, the twins are a bit difficult. Am I correct in seeing in your cover letter that you have had experience with a mad child?”
The agent leveled his assessing gaze at Veronica through a pince nez perched on the end of his long, elevated nose.
“Yes. By God’s grace I was able to help her to live an almost normal life. Sequestered but normal.”
He sniffed, nodded.
“The twins are merely unusual. They are identical. White enough to be albinos, but their eyes are pale green. They are also, well, androgynous. Have you ever met a person about whom is was impossible to tell whether they were male or female? That is the case with the twins. So the family decided to name them one for a girl and one for a boy. The boy is called Jacques, and the girl is Jacqueline.”
“Are they French?”
“On their mother’s side. They actually own a chateau in the Auvergne but Mr. Rafe de Grimston spends all of his time trying to sell it. The family fortune is in a terrible shambles since the tragic loss of his wife. She had all the money, you see.”
“So, I shall not see much of him.”
“Indeed. Mr. de Grimston is rarely at home. This position requires a great deal of responsibility and endurance, Miss Everly. You will have to make many decisions on your own.”
The agent looked Veronica up and down, squinted as if he were scrutinizing her for cracks. She smiled, straightened her shoulders, grateful for the support of her stays. The agent went on.
“Mrs. de Grimston was a very elegant, very beautiful woman. Her children adored her and have refused to accept a governess in her place. But you, Miss Everly, pretty as you are….. Forgive me, but why would such an attractive girl as you are choose to work when you could have your pick of gentlemen?”
“Well, Sir, my parents are dead so I must support myself. And I do thoroughly enjoy teaching. I got used to all types of children growing up at Saint Mary’s.”
“Are you a religious girl, Miss Everly?’
“But of course. Saint Mary’s is a religious institution. We attended Mass every day, though I am not as conscientious about it as I used to be.”
Frowning and biting his lip, the agent flipped through Veronica’s paperwork, scrutinizing it again. Then he looked up at her.
“Very well then.” He sighed. “Though you are young….What is it? Twenty-one? Your references are impeccable. Especially the report of your success with the mad child. I will give you the position. Just be aware that the journey to Belden House takes three days and nights by train. You will be far from all you know, and those who know you.”
“I’m sure I shall make new friends,” Veronica said brightly. “I am so looking forward to this.”
The contract signed, Veronica’s curiosity got the better of her.
“May I ask, Sir, what happened to Mrs. de Grimston?”
The agent cleared his throat. “That is a mystery Miss Everly. No one knows for sure….”
A very nice writer girl, Tiffany Cole will review this story on April 23rd, so I must have it up on Kindle by then. Find her at: