Image is from Yishana M on Flickr, creative commons licensed for commercial reproduction
Rowan raised her eyes, and nearly screamed when she saw Florence’s face staring back from her behind the wheel. Her black eyes were boiling with fury…“I will kill you!” she screeched suddenly. “I will drain every last drop of blood from you! Wintergraves don’t forgive!”
The vampire gave a terrible, animalistic howl that seared with anger.
– Extract from The Breathing Ghosts, copyright Eleanor Keane 2013.
Florence Wintergrave is Bert Wintergrave’s older sister, and therefore a Born vampire- one who is born, rather than turned into a vampire. As a result, she has no human memories to stir compassion, and no recollection of human weakness. Instead, she is cold, arrogant, sophisticated and aristocratic, rather like her brother, and fiercely loyal to the Wintergrave clan.
Family, wealth and power. These are the privileges that Florence takes as truths- they are as inviolable to her as a cliff-face.
Or, at least, so she believes. For though Florence Wintergrave is cruel and cold, she is also a little insecure: whilst her brother can charm usually anyone with his boyish good looks, she is less conventionally attractive and more striking: high cheekbones, bleached-white hair, sharp nose. It is perhaps this insecurity over her looks that leads her to follow flattery, rather than her instincts, and make a hasty marriage to someone who only wants the worst for her.
Initially, Florence sees things in black and white, as monochromatic as the pattern of her beloved houndstooth coat. She sees the threads of her life in black and white, and knows every card that Fate deals her. Florence believes that she is superior in every way to other vampires; she knows that she is an accomplished fighter; and that she will take revenge for the murder of her grandmother- Estella- who was killed by Rowan Oakwood’s vampire hunter grandfather decades before. This need for revenge stems from her fascination with her grandmother- who, as a beautiful and graceful socialite, was everything Florence isn’t. Left to fester, this need for revenge soon turns into a dangerous obsession, and leads her to places that are far from beautiful and far from graceful.
Alone with only her pride to fall back on, cut off from her brother and obsessed with revenge, Florence Wintergrave finds herself in an unexpectedly vulnerable position. When the time comes and her cards are dealt, which cards will she choose- the Queen of Hearts or the Fool? All too soon, the black and white squares of her life blur into a grey no-man’s land between good and evil, revenge and forgiveness. But where will her allegiance lie?