Fiction Fest: Final free glimpse of Sarah Beard’s ‘Porcelain Keys’

Porcelain Keys 2x3 webThis is it. Your final free peek at Sarah Beard’s “Porcelain Keys.”

The Deseret News calls the book, “ engaging read — especially to those who are musically inclined.”

So what are you waiting for? Read this final excerpt, then go get your copy in bookstores or from online retailers.


Aria discovers a broken piece of a music box that has been missing since her childhood, and she suspects that her dad has something to do with its disappearance. She almost confronts him about it, but they get into an argument about something else.

We glared at each other, and after a while his breathing slowed and the tight line of his mouth loosened. “I just don’t want you to get hurt,” he said, and I wondered if he recognized the hypocrisy of his own words. “When you’re eighteen, you can move out and do whatever you want. But for now, no boyfriends. Especially not Thomas Ashby. Got it?”

I clenched my jaw, trying to contain the turbulent swell of anger that rose with each breath. I opened my mouth to object, but the fire in his eyes seared it shut. I dropped my eyes and nodded, but my anger turned inward, going deeper, flooding my marrow with a toxic torrent.

“I’ve got a wildcat to skin,” he said. “Come get me when dinner’s done.” The back door clapped shut behind him, and I stood there fuming. I’d come home intending to get answers from him, and instead I had to be the one to answer to him. How could he have so much control over me? The answer chimed inside me like an alarm clock. Because I let him.

No—I had to be stronger than that. I wasn’t like the piece of porcelain in my back pocket that would shatter if I tried to stand up for myself.

I marched out to the barn, determined to ask him what he’d done with Mom’s music box. But the closer I got to the barn, the more hesitant I became. When I peeked inside and saw a wildcat hanging upside-down, Dad scraping out its guts, I almost turned around and went back to the house.

“Be brave,” I whispered to myself, then stepped inside. I wrinkled my nose at the acrid smell of dead flesh that filled the barn. Two long florescent lights hung from the rafters, along with a few tagged and numbered antlers. Containers of chemicals crowded the shelves—tanning cream, degreasers, pickling agents. Glass eyes and tongues filled a chess of drawers, and a couple freezers clung to one wall, lids rusted from years of corrosive blood. Half-completed projects lined a workbench—a deer hide waiting to be attached to a mannequin, a fox with hollow eyes, a duck, a beaver, and other hides I didn’t recognize. As I approached Dad, a battle between terror and determination raged inside me.