The Regency Spy ~ Sorting Fact from Fiction

The Regency Spy. He is such a popular figure in fiction that it can be difficult to know where the story ends and the truth begins.

Accounts of actual spies are vague and difficult to find. Not surprising, as they were spies. Undercover work wasn’t exactly respected at the time and was usually done by people acting as double agents: mistresses, traveling poets, scholars, diplomats, etc.

By most accounts, the French were a little better at it than the English, though it’s possible the English were simply a bit better at keeping their activities secret.

In my recent book, A Noble Masquerade, a Napoleonic spy had infiltrated England and our heroic English spy has to stop him. The spies in A Noble Masquerade are considerably more organized than the real Regency spies were, all being connected by a centralized War Office.

There was no organized spy office in England at the time, particularly not a government recognized one. Instead of having a centralized organization, if someone such as the prime minister, foreign minister, or even General Wellington needed information, they built their own slipshod network. Most spy work at the time was actually happening in France, which is where the spy in A Noble Masquerade got his start.

A Noble Masquerade is now available in eBook, paperback, and audio book formats. Find out more at Kristi’s website.

More about A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter:

NobleCoverLady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

 

New Inspirational Regency and a Chance to Win

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match.

Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.

Intrigued? You should be!

That’s the description for the latest novel from our very own Michelle Griep.

Emily Payne doesn’t make a very flattering first impression on her temporary guardian, Nicholas Brentwood. Her second one isn’t much better.

He thinks she’s a spoiled excuse for a gentle lady and she thinks he’s a stuffy killjoy. What they both thought would a be a few weeks of escorting her to and from the stores quickly turns into a fight for their lives.

Before long their relationship is thrown into a territory neither is prepared to handle. Tragedy and danger have a way of doing that, after all.

So much more than a love story, Brentwood’s Ward will take you on a nail-biting adventure as justice and love try to prevail.

You have the opportunity to win a copy of Michelle’s latest tale by leaving a comment below. You can enter again on each post now through the end of next week. The winner will be chosen on February 28 and have their choice of print book or audiobook.

 

A Regency Romance with a French Twist

Last fall, I wrote about researching my latest regency romance. Well, this month it is available and I thought I’d give readers an update. My title and cover have been changed. It is now title She Shall Be Praised and the new cover is below.

She Shall Be Praised (from Proverbs 31) is a sequel to my London-set Regency, The Rogue’s Redemption.  In Book 2 of The Leighton Sisters series, Katie Leighton, younger sister of Hester Leighton from The Rogue’s Redemption, travels to Paris with Hester and her husband, Gerrit Hawkes.

L'Hôtel_national_des_Invalides
L’Hotel National des Invalides, Wikipedia

Paris has been liberated from Napoleon by the British and other allied countries, so tourists are once again traveling from England to the Continent. Katie, who travels from America (Maine), meets a young French veteran who fought at Waterloo against the British. Among the narrow medieval street of Paris and the monuments like Notre Dame, Katie finds herself more interested in visiting the blind, cripple veteran at Les Invalides, a hospital and old-age home for veterans.

I love France and all things French, from the food to the art. It was interesting to research this period, when the horrors of the French Revolution and the years of wars under Napoleon have brought about the restored monarchy. But along with the new king, comes a wave of reactionary politics as the aristocrats come back from their emigration during the Reign of Terror, wanting to have their place in society restored. They want things back the way they used to be. But too many people have tasted the freedom under the civil government of Napoleon, so there is a clash of old school vs. new.

The land has been devastated by years of war, so France has missed out on the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the prosperity it has brought to Britain. And yet, during this time of the Restoration, people continue to live their lives.

Katie Leighton, my “beauty” in this beauty and the beast tale, doesn’t consider herself a beauty, but a plain Jane. Etienne Santerre, my “beast” hides under both an assumed name and behind the thick walls of Les Invalides, a virtual prisoner of his evil valet, Pierre. There is a mystery surrounding Etienne’s background, which Katie senses, but which Etienne is silent on. In the meantime, she is more concerned with his soul. Little by little, her light begins to shine into Etienne’s darkness.

The story takes Etienne from the walls of Les Invalides to the Loire Valley to his ancestral home. There he faces what he has tried to blot out since he landed at Les Invalides, a wounded, crippled soldier. When his life is most at risk, he begins to turn to the God Katie has witnessed to him.

Etienne is a dark hero, sorely in need of Beauty’s touch. She shares her faith with him in her gentle, loving way, until he lets down his defenses and allows the healing power of love to restore all he has lost.RuthAxtell_SheShallBePraised_c

New Inspirational Regency releases

RuthAxtell_SheShallBePraised_cShe Shall Be Praised: A Leighton Sisters Novel (The Leighton Sisters Book 2)by Ruth Axtell

Tender-hearted Katie Leighton can’t resist a stray mutt or mangy cat, much less the outcasts of society. When she accompanies her sister Hester and brother-in-law Gerrit (from The Rogue’s Redemption) to Paris after the fall of Napoleon, she prefers visiting the wounded and maimed veterans living out their days at the military old age residence of Les Invalides than seeing the sights. But when one young French soldier begins to steal her heart, she resists telling her family. Will they think it’s only pity that draws her to the embittered, wounded man?

Buy for only $2.99 on Amazon

StrangersSecret_final[1][1]A Stranger’s Secret (Cliffs of Cornwall series Book 2)by Laurie Alice Eakes

As a grieving young widow, Morwenna only wants a quiet life for herself and her son. Until a man washes ashore, entangling her in a web of mystery that could threaten all she holds dear.

Lady Morwenna Trelawny Penvenan indulged in her fair share of dalliances in her youth, but now that she’s the widowed mother to the heir of the Penvenan title, she’s desperate to polish her reputation. When she’s accused of deliberately luring ships to crash on the rocks to steal the cargo, Morwenna begins an investigation to uncover the real culprits and stumbles across an unconscious man lying in the sea’s foam – a man wearing a medallion with the Trelawny crest around his neck.

The medallion is a mystery to David Chastain, a boat builder from Somerset. On a quest to discover the mystery surrounding his father, all David knows is that his father was found dead in Cornwall with the medallion in his possession after lying and stealing his family’s money. And he knows the widow who rescued him is impossibly beautiful – and likely the siren who caused the shipwreck in the first place—as well as the hand behind whoever is trying to murder David.

As Morwenna nurses David back to health and tries to learn how he landed on her beach, suspicion and pride keep their growing attraction at bay. But can they join together to save Morwenna’s name and estate and David’s life – and acknowledge the love they are both trying to deny?

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email sizeAccidental Fiancee (Love Inspired Historical)by Mary Moore

Lady Grace Endicott never would have dreamed she’d be ruined by a rake. But after an innocent encounter with notorious scoundrel Lord Weston is misconstrued, her beloved sister’s introduction to Society-and her own reputation-are put at risk. The only way to avoid a scandal is a betrothal.

Brandon Roth-Lord Weston-doesn’t quite know what to think of his independent fiancée…or their growing friendship. Yet their engagement ruse is quickly becoming more than a temporary fix. If he can convince Grace that his wicked ways are now far behind him, he’ll be able to prove that he wants nothing more than to care for the lovely lady …

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Tales from St. Louis ~ A Report on the ACFW Conference

View of over half the arch from Kristi's hotel room. Kristi here. I had the great pleasure of attending the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in St. Louis this weekend.

This was the view from my hotel window. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, despite being spitting distance from the arch, I never actually made it over there. Oh well. It’s still pretty.

Meeting Some Familiar People

Kristi Hunter and Kristy Cameron at ACFW galaOne of the best thing about conference is meeting up with people you normally only “see” in cyberspace.

If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know “friend of the blog” Kristy Cameron. Something you might not have known is… the girl is tall. But I love that hair. That’s how I found her from across the room of 600 people.

I also ran into some of our favorite Regency authors.

Kristi Ann Hunter and Sarah LaddSarah Ladd was a finalist for the Carol in the debut novel category with her Regency The Heiress of Winterwood. 

The category was won by a contemporary book with Regency ties, Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, in which a young lady channels Jane Austen’s characters to help her get through life. (Amazing book, I highly recommend it.)

Kristi Ann Hunter and Julie Klassen in Regency garbI also met up with Julie Klassen, looking amazing in her pink Regency ball gown. Julie was honored with the Mentor of the Year award at the gala.

As you can see, she’s another blonde that towers over me. If you ever have the honor of meeting her, think of something more witty to say than, “Wow, you’re tall.” I already took that one.

Kristi's Regency DressYes, I am also dressed in Regency era garb. My amazing and wonderful mother made me a dress for the genre dinner (where we got to dress up in time periods and characters). Now I’ll also have it for things like book signings or other events.

She even made me a matching shawl and reticule.

Mothers are awesome.

Upcoming Book News

Other than Sarah and Julie I didn’t see any of our other Regency authors this weekend. Julie has a new release in December, so keep watching for that.

I know many of our readers are expanding into the Edwardian era, in part because of Downton Abbey. This is a growing area in Christian fiction, so if that interests you be sure to check that out. I know I saw some titles set in Edwardian England from Carrie Turansky and heard of a series by Roseanna White coming out next year.

My Own Happy News

Kristi's Genesis award and ArchI also brought home my own special souvenir. Here is the Genesis award I was blessed to win with the beautiful arch as a background.

In case you’ve missed me making the announcement elsewhere, I’m happy to say you can pick up this award winning story for yourself next Fall when it comes out from Bethany House.

 

 

 

All in all it was a pretty amazing weekend. Were you an author able to go to the conference? Got a question about the weekend that I might could answer? Leave it in the comments.

New Regency Book: Prelude For A Lord

It’s our very own Camy Tang, writing as the fabulous Camille Elliot! We’re very excited to announce her new Regency novel, Prelude for a Lord. 

About the book:

PreludeCoverAn awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?

Bath, England—1810

At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.

In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.

But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.

Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.

Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

Find out more about Camy’s alter ego and links to purchase the book at camilleelliot.com. She’s also giving away three copies of her new book to people who join her email list!

 

What do you “hear” when a book mentions music? Do you ever look up the songs mentioned?

Knitting a Victorian shawl

Hi guys, Camy here!

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My mom taught me basic knitting when I was young, but then I forgot it all as an adult. I wanted to knit again, so I learned from online videos (so awesome! I can hit repeat over and over).

IMG_1153One thing that has fascinated me since I started knitting has been historical knitting patterns. One book I love is Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. There are tons of lacy shawl patterns to knit and they’re all gorgeous. They range from easy to difficult.

I love knitting these patterns because they make me feel like a woman in those times, knitting delicate shawls for an evening by the fire or for a day out in London.

IMG_1150This shawl is called “Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern” in the book. It’s actually a combination of two knitting patterns:

“Close Diamond, Surrounded by Open Stitch” from The Lady’s Assistant by Jane Gaugain, volume 1, edition published in 1847

And

“Vandyke Border” from My Knitting Book by Frances Lambert, first edition published in 1843.

IMG_1165I’ve included links above to the digitized versions of these books, which you can download for free! The books themselves are fascinating, because the patterns and the items women could make represented the industrious needlework of women in the early 1800s. In addition to shawls, women could make mittens, caps, purses, stockings, ruffs, counterpanes, even garters!

For you crocheters, Jane Gaugin’s book also includes crochet patterns, although they’re not very detailed. The book also includes netting patterns.

The shawl I made looks like a complicated pattern, but it’s actually very easy. The center portion repeats the same diamond motif over and over again, and the edging is knitted on, also in a repeating pattern that’s easy to memorize.

IMG_1163I used a lace weight yarn, which is a wool yarn that is very thin, almost like crochet cotton, but it’s very light and lofty. I also used a pretty large needle size for the yarn, so the holes are larger and the lace pattern shows up better.

After knitting, I blocked it, which is basically just dampening it and then pinning it out on my bed to dry, stretching it a little so the lace pattern opens up. Once dry, it stays opened up.

IMG_1168Can you imagine a young Victorian lady throwing this shawl about her shoulders as she heads out for a carriage ride at the park? Or perhaps tucking it about her bodice for modesty as she receives morning callers?

In Victorian Lace Today, Sowerby writes: “Not only did a shawl provide warmth, it was a modest cover-up for décolleté dresses. Mrs. Gaugain (the author of the first knitting pattern I linked to above) suggested that a shawl should be ‘for throwing over the shoulders indoors, or for very young ladies wearing out-of-doors.’”

If any of you are knitters and you haven’t tried lace knitting yet, I encourage you to try it! The first several patterns in this book are super easy, and you can feel you’re a Victorian lady knitting a shawl for an evening out. 🙂 If you’re on Ravelry, here’s the link to my knitting notes.

PreludeForALord lowresTo celebrate the release of my first Regency romance in August, I’m busy knitting away so that I can offer some Victorian lace shawls in a few giveaways I’ve planned! I’ll be giving away several gift baskets with shawls, a violin ornament, and some Jane Austen tea. 🙂 I hope you all will preorder Prelude for a Lord!

A Lady’s Honor …Finding True Love

A Lady’s Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes deals with a person’s inability to receive love because they have never really known love. From growing up with her grandparents who love her but demand a certain standard of behavior to having parents who are living off in London society, Elizabeth Trelawny has come to feel she is only as good as the size of her dowry.

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Trebarwith Strand on north Cornish coast- Wikipedia

 

The story opens with her fleeing from an unwanted suitor–a much older man who wants her for her money, but whose suit has been sanctioned by her parents. She escapes to her ancestral home in Cornwall, hoping for the protection of her grandparents. They give it, but no sooner is she safely behind the walls of the Cornish estate on a cliff than they are foisting another older man on her.

When the hero Rowan Curnow begins to show his attraction, she doesn’t trust his love. Her grandparents try to point her toward the Savior, but she feels their love is conditional–if she behaves properly, they will love her and give her their blessing. If she acts the way she wants to act, which is an unconventional way for a gently-bred young lady of the regency period, they will be shocked, displeased, or, worse, disappointed.

It’s not until her life and those of the ones she loves are threatened by an outside danger that Elizabeth begins to understand why she has been running from God’s love all these years and why she has put her trust and love in her ancestral home.

220px-Land's_End,_Cornwall,_England
Land’s End, Cornwall

A Lady’s Honor takes the heroine on a spiritual journey without which she is not able to give and receive the kind of love the hero both demands and deserves.

This was a wonderful story, reminiscent of the gothic novels of Victoria Holt and Daphne Du Marier. I could just imagine being in Cornwall, smelling the sea spray, hearing the tide come up, tasting the pasties at the fair, and shivering at the mysterious threats around every corner.

First the Cliffs of Cornwall series, Lady's Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes.
Cliffs of Cornwall series, Book 1, A Lady’s Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes.

 

The Husband Campaign ~ Guest Post by Regina Scott

Like many of the wonderful writers on this blog, I work hard to make sure my stories are true to the historical period, but there are some areas of the Regency that frankly scare me. I am in awe of the writers who can name every battle Wellington fought in or the color of the braid on the 95th Rifle’s uniform. I admire authors who manage to study period medical books without growing queasy. And if you can figure out how to do more than describe the colors of horses as they pull the appropriate carriage to whisk a heroine away to a ball, well, you have my respect.

Regina Scott The Husband CampaignAnd then along came John, Lord Hascot, the hero of my April Regency-set romance from Love Inspired Historical, The Husband Campaign. John who raises hunters, those powerful horses that carried gentlemen into the hunting field and, occasionally, into battle. I was fairly certain I would never be able to think about horses the way John, Lord Hascot, does. Horses are John’s life. But they would need to become the life of any lady he wed. How could I possibly describe Lady Amelia’s response to John’s horses or her own?

Luckily, research led me to an exceptional little book, lovingly recreated online, called The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual. Though its original publication date of 1838 (taken from material dating from 1829) post-dates the Regency, it is close enough that I felt comfortable relying on it. The manual describes such things as how to choose a proper ladies mount, the various parts of the horse and its accoutrements, and how to mount, manage the reins, and find your seat. It confirms that the way a lady sat upon her horse was very important to many Regency era gentlemen, as this passage indicates:

“A lady seldom appears to greater advantage than when mounted on a fine horse, if her deportment be graceful, and her positions correspond with his paces and attitudes; but the reverse is the case, if, instead of acting with, and influencing the movements of the horse, she appear to be tossed to and fro, and overcome by them. She should rise, descend, advance, and stop with, and not after the animal. From this harmony of motion result ease, elegance, and the most brilliant effect.”

And how, you might ask, can a lady have the best deportment on horseback? The manual explains that as well. A lady must

• Keep her shoulders even but back
• Put no weight on the stirrup
• Incline partially backward
• Keep her head in an even, natural position looking straight ahead
• Hold her elbows steady and near her side, with the lower part of the arm at a right angle to the upper
• Above all, never carry the whip in a way that might tickle the horse.

Got all that? Good, because according to the manual, “Nothing can be more detrimental to the grace of a lady’s appearance on horseback, than a bad position: a recent author says, it is a sight that would spoil the finest landscape in the world.”

All I can say is that I’m glad Amelia gets to ride the horses and I only have to read about them. What about you? Do you ride? Were you given any rules of the road for how to sit on horseback? Are you glad women are no longer constrained to riding sidesaddle?

reginascott11-07mediumAfter 27 sweet historical romances set in the Regency period, Regina Scott knows there is still much to learn. You can learn more about her at her website at www.reginascott.com, her blog she shares with author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.com, and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorreginacott.

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb
The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal, and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents’ ire, he must propose. John’s ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want, except affection.

Amelia sees John’s true nature shine through when he cares for his horses. But the brooding aristocrat seems determined to keep her at arm’s length. Little by little Amelia will turn Hollyoak Farm into a home, but can she turn a marriage of convenience into a joyful union?

Spiritual Truths Abound in “The Soldier’s Secrets”

Hi, all! Susan Karsten here…I’m bringing insights on the spiritual themes found in        “The Soldier’s Secrets” the latest release by our own dear Naomi Rawlings.

Not only does author Naomi Rawlings deliver a compelling read with this historical romance set during the early days of the French Republic, she gently brings home some serious spiritual truths.

The importance of honesty and truthfulness is drawn out in an unusual way. Both the hero, Jean Paul, and the heroine, Brigitte, are brought low by dishonesty. The unusual aspect of this is that some of their troubles are of their own doing. So often, we find idealistic, too-perfect heroines and heroes–this is not the case in this gripping novel.

Brigitte and Jean Paul should have abided by the following verses:

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight….Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool…2 Corinthians 8:21 For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man….Proverbs 6:16-20 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Forgiveness is another strong theme in “The Soldier’s Secrets“. To receive God’s forgiveness, to forgive other people who sin against you, and to forgive one’s self are all treated in the midst of this historically accurate gripping story.

Here are some pertinent verses on the facets of forgiveness–we can all keep in  mind:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you….Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets and a History Channel documentary: The French Revolution. 

Naomi Rawlings The Soldier's Secret
French Revolution DVD

 

I hope you read The Soldier’s Secrets — I think you’ll be happy you did. Leave a comment on your favorite verse on forgiveness or honesty. Thanks!

Susan Karsten
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