Genre: YA Historical Romance
Title: Ingenious Daughter
Word Count: 50,000.
Song: Nothing’s Going to Stop Us
Ben Franklin dared to say it. Jane’s a better scientist than her father. Dad fights back, curtailing research and multiplying chores. Hungry for knowledge, she’s too wily for him. It’s time to marry her off.
The curd begins to bubble. I sing three verses of “Milk and Butter,” and pull it off the fire. I’ll trade this batch for a tempering hook, and Poppa will never know.
Cheese fascinates me. There’s a universe to discover in texture, color, smell, and taste. And the profits from sales save me from household work.
I leave the curd and move to my test batch.
9 April 1742. The Thornton cheese has ripened three days.
I unfold a tea towel, set out my tools – a ladle, three knives, and two pike probes — and tear the cheesecloth off the tun and sniff.
The sour smell has sweeter notes. Accents of lilac.
I scoop up some of the soft cheese, and pour it onto a dish.
Kate clatters a pile of plates. “Miss Jane. Mr. Lewis? He told me to double the order.”
I hate interruptions, but I stop, look up, and force a smile. Kate means well. “Did he give you a note of payment?”
“I’ll speak to him when I’m in town.”
I select the smallest knife. As I slice the cheese, Kate places a tray next to me.
“Have you had any breakfast?” She is forever reminding me to eat. I’m not a baby. I’m almost seventeen.
“Later,” I say. Inside the cheese, a surprise. Tiny air bubbles. I take my reading lens out of my pocket for a better look.
“And, Miss? Your father says he wants to see you. He says now.”