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The Girls of Lighthouse Lane #3

Lizabeth's Story

The Girls of Lighthouse Lane #3 by Thomas Kinkade
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Katherine is the daughter of the lighthouse keeper. She dreams of becoming a painter. But in 1905, a girl can't grow up to be a famous artist -- can she?

Rose just moved to the town of Cape Light. She wants to fit in with her new friends, but Rose has a secret she can't share with anyone ...

Lizabeth is Kat's rich cousin who always gets what she wants. But Lizabeth soon finds out that money can't keep her from losing the most precious thing of all ...

Amanda's mother passed away, and now Amanda keeps house for her minister father. When she meets a very special young man, can she find the courage to be friends with him in spite of her father's disapproval?

The quiet New England town of Cape Light never seems to change. But starting in 1905, the lives of these four friends will be transformed in ways they never could have imagined ...

HarperCollins; June 2009
192 pages; ISBN 9780061958427
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: The Girls of Lighthouse Lane #3
Author: Thomas Kinkade; Erika Tamar

Chapter One

"I can't wait to show you my new dress!" Lizabeth Merchant said. It was all she could do to keep from clapping her hands with pleasure. "The dressmaker just finished it yesterday."

Kat, Amanda, Rose, and Lizabeth were walking home from school along William McKinley Road. The sidewalk wasn't wide enough for the four girls to walk side by side. Lizabeth walked backward in front of the others. Her elbow grazed the azaleas along the sidewalk.

"And wait till you see the color—strawberry!" Lizabeth continued."Strawberry?" Amanda asked. "You mean red?"

"Sort of dark pink. I'm hoping it will make the judges think of strawberries. So then they'll automatically picture me as the Strawberry Queen."

"If you really want to look like a strawberry," Kat said, "you should wear a pointed green cap."

Kat's grin was contagious and Lizabeth laughed in spite of herself. "Oh, stop!""Anyway, Lizabeth, you're allergic to strawberries," Kat said.

The trouble with cousins, Lizabeth thought, was that they knew all about you, even your allergies. But why did Kat have to remind her of her hives! "I wasn't planning to eat them," Lizabeth said.

"They might expect the queen to have at least a bite of strawberry shortcake, don't you think?" Amanda said.

"Remember last year?" Lizabeth asked. "The beauty event was in the evening, much later than the rest of the Strawberry Festival. The afternoon in the churchyard was separate. That's when they had the strawberry shortcake, strawberries and cream—"

"Strawberry-and-rhubarb pie," Kat interrupted. "Yum!"

"I know they gave the queen some strawberries right after the crowning," Amanda said. "To make the point, I guess."

"What point?"

"That strawberries are good."

"Oh." Lizabeth frowned. "I suppose I could pretend to eat them. And . . . and then drop them in my handkerchief!" If there would be no way around it, she thought, she'd have to swallow one or two. The hives wouldn't show up until later, and being Strawberry Queen was worth a little itching. Well, even a lot of itching.

"What beauty event?" Rose looked confused. "Why are we talking about strawberries?"

"Oh, you don't know about the Strawberry Festival, do you?" Lizabeth said. Rose Forbes had just moved to Cape Light in March and they still had to explain many of the town's traditions to her. "It's always in May. Anyone over thirteen from Cape Light or Cranberry can compete for Strawberry Queen. And I turned thirteen in January, so it's my first chance. May nineteenth, 1906! Only eleven days away!"

"Rose, I can't believe you've lived here for only two months," Kat said. "It feels like we've all been friends forever and ever."

Rose gave a quick, pleased smile. The smile lit up Rose's face and made her close to beautiful, Lizabeth thought, but she wasn't serious competition for Strawberry Queen. Rose had that striking coloring—blue-black hair and ivory skin—but she was too thin and tall, and not very graceful. Except on horseback. She was always coming or going from her uncle Ned's stables, with bits of hay stuck to her clothes or in her hair.

"Strawberry Festival is about celebrating Cape Light's bumper crop of strawberries," Amanda explained.

Rose smiled. "And I bet the town of Cranberry gets a bumper crop of—cranberries!"

Kat nodded. "The cranberry bogs were there long before the high school and the town hall were built."

"Anyway, all the women bring their best strawberry dishes and sell them," Amanda continued. "The profits go to needy families. It's fun and it's for a good cause."

Lizabeth studied Amanda. Her eyelashes were throwing long shadows on her cheeks. They were unbelievably long! Amanda's hair was ordinary light brown, while Lizabeth had lovely blond curls. And Amanda's complexion was pale, not peaches-and-cream like Lizabeth's. But Amanda had perfect, delicate features. Many people said she was the prettiest girl in Cape Light.

"Um . . . Amanda? Are you entering the Strawberry Queen event?" Lizabeth asked."Me? Oh, no," Amanda said.

Whew, Lizabeth thought, that's a relief! But then, almost against her will, she said, "You ought to. You'd probably win."

Amanda shook her head. "Father wouldn't like it."

"You worry too much," Lizabeth said. She was sure Reverend Morgan didn't disapprove of nearly as many things as Amanda feared. He was friends with Rose's parents, even though her mother was a suffragette.

Amanda shrugged. "I wouldn't be comfortable."

"How about you, Rose?" Lizabeth asked.

Rose shook her head. "I'm not that brave."

Maybe Rose knows she doesn't have a chance at Strawberry Queen, Lizabeth thought.

"How about you, Kat?" Lizabeth asked—though Kat had freckles to go with her flyaway auburn hair. She had a pretty, lively face, but she didn't take care of herself. She went out in the sun and didn't give a hoot for using a parasol!Kat shrugged. "I don't think so."

"But the Strawberry Queen gets to ride in the mayor's carriage for the Fourth of July parade and everyone cheers her!"

"Sorry, it all sounds silly to me." Kat smiled. "You've got a clear field, Lizabeth. We'll all go to see you win."

Lizabeth bit her lip. "Do you really think I have a chance?"

"You can win over any girl in Cape Light." Kat laughed. "Especially if you look like a strawberry!"

Hmm, Lizabeth thought, but what about the Cranberry girls? "That Cranberry girl won last year. Claire Piedmont. She is awfully pretty but—" Lizabeth lowered her voice "—everyone knows she's fast."

"How do you know?" Amanda asked. "You shouldn't say that about anyone."

"You always like to think the best of everyone, but it was all over town. She was seen coming from the Potters' barn with my brother, Christopher."

"That doesn't mean anything," Rose said.

"Yes it does," Lizabeth said. "I hate to talk about my own brother, but Chris is getting a reputation for being wild. He courted Dorothy Lane for about ten minutes last year and then Claire Piedmont. Well, that wasn't even courting. And he's supposed to be apprenticing at the bank with my father after school, but no one can ever find him."

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