Category: Regency Romance

Angst: Confessions of a Regency Writer

Regency writers and readers are some of the most persnickety lovers of any genre. On fan lists, I have seen people complain about a book for everything from the hero wearing trousers in 1800, to a boxing match that took place six months after the book’s setting. It’s enough to give writers in the genre heart palpitations.

I think about this as I await the final page proofs on A Flight of Fancy, my next Regency.

What errors did I make and who will find them and what will they say to me or others? Will it stop them from enjoying the book so much they’ll say bad things about it? Angst. Angst. Angst.

The problem is that the Regency is such a specific genre. The time period is brief, even when we stretch it from the true nine-year period, to the thirty year time publishing allows in many cases.

British Union Jack

The Regency is location specific. Having a Regency take place outside of the British Isles isn’t impossible if one has mainly British characters (which can include Scottish, Welsh, and Irish), and those characters must act, speak, and think like a Regency era person. In other words, the priorities in life are: Family, Country, God. Hmm. More problems when adding the inspirational element to the genre.

In short, the Regency novel must sound, smell, taste, look, and, above all, feel like early nineteenth century Britain. If you could change titles to mister and missus, or exchange a location in England for one in America, the novel might not be true Regency novel.

Or is it? Do readers really know that much or care?

Yes, writing a Regency novel does not require a great deal of knowledge of the time and place; it requires the ability to withstand the angst of knowing one made some flaw and whether or not it will it be fatal.

Laurie Alice Eakes

Originally posted 2012-04-25 02:54:08.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Shameless Plugs

Vanessa here,

The ladies of Regency Reflections have a lot to celebrate. Below are Awards, Upcoming Books, Current Releases, Contracted, Contest Wins, and Anything Else.

Awards

At The Romantic Time Conference, Reviewers Choice 2011 we celebrate these Inspirational Regency wins:

Category Series: Love Inspired Historical Reviewers Choice:

THE ARISTOCRAT'S LADY

Genre: Series, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Current Series Imprints

2011 Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical Award Winner

RT Rating

THE ARISTOCRAT’S LADY (4.5) by Mary Moore: Regency England: Nicole Beaumont has a secret she protects with every fiber of her being. She catches the eye of Lord Devlin, who thinks she’s incredible — witty and charming, with a good head on her shoulders. But he also suspects that she’s holding something back. When he discovers Nicole’s secret, he is hurt she did not trust him with it. Can Nicole regain his trust, or did her last chance at love slip through her fingers? This story is so good and the heroine so compelling that even readers who don’t normally like Regency-set stories will find it well worth their time.

Category: Inspirational Romance

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE
by Julie Klassen

2011 Inspirational Romance Award Winner

RT Rating

This book has scandal, mystery, secrets and a budding romance. The characters are written in such detail the reader will forget they are fictional! Klassen has outdone herself with this latest novel. Her writing is comparable to Jane Austen’s. She writes with passion and readers will not be able to put this book down.

In 1813, Mariah Aubrey has been banished to a distant relative’s estate after stirring up a scandal her family wanted to quietly bury. She is assigned to live in the gatehouse, which is on the very tip of the grounds, away from everyone and everything. She supports herself and her servant the only way she knows how: she writes novels in secret, under a false name.

Captain Matthew Bryant has leased the estate to show the woman he loves that he is worthy of her, despite the fact that her father believes Matthew is not high society enough for his daughter. When Matthew meets Mariah, he is intrigued by her but at the same time, he realizes he must keep his distance in order for his plans to come to fruition. When a mystery comes to light, Mariah and Matthew work together to discover the truth, and they start to have feelings for each other. Will the mystery be solved before the heir to the estate can put his evil plan into motion?

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

Cheers Mary & Julie

Upcoming Books

A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

(October 2012)

Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits–once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

Current Releases

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

(February 2012)

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Hometown Cinderella  by Ruth Axtell

(February 2012)

It’s not Regency but it’s by Ruth Axtell so it’s got to be good.

After years traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Keller wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Sanctuary for a Lady – by Naomi Rawlings

(April 2012)

It’s almost Regency, and it’s a great Debut Novel. Buy It. 🙂

Running to freedom, she found love . . .

The injured young woman that Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat, and in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal.

Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be . . .

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win Naomi’s book! Name will be drawn on Friday!

Contracted

Sarah Ladd signed a 3 book deal with Thomas Nelson for her debut series, Whispers on the Moors.  The first book, Heiress of Winterwood, will release next spring.  You go girl!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa Riley (moi) contracted Madeline’s Protector with White Rose Publishing/ Pelican Books. It will release this next spring. Here’s the blurb:

If all the young men of the world leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care because the nightmares would end, and she’d cozy up to a Psalm in her aunt’s sculpture garden. Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound changes everything, and Madeline must trust that the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Can she forge a bond with the stubborn earl before the next disaster strikes?

Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, vows to keep Madeline safe and in her place as a dutiful silent wife, but with her lips parted in prayer, his wife in-name-only and her faith are alluring. Maybe when he thwarts the danger, Justain can tempt the unpredictable miss with the comfort of his arms.

Contest Wins

Nothing to update here, but the year is still young.

Anything Else

Well, we really want to thank the readers of Regency Reflections. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, for sharing part of your day with us. We love it. Please keep coming back and help spread the Inspirational-Regency-Love.

Be Blessed.

 

Sources: Amazon.com, Romantic Times

 

Originally posted 2012-04-18 10:00:00.

A Dream Is Born

Once upon a time, I was about fourteen and had decided that I liked reading romances, historical ones in particular. Looking back, I can see the school librarian going back to her office and tearing out her hair trying to figure out what to give me to read next since I read about two books a week. The library was a nice one, but not overflowing with novels appropriate for an innocent early teen.

But one day inspiration must have struck her and she handed me a copy of Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. Glory, glory halleluiah! I had found my niche.


Lords and ladies, a breakneck mission through the English countryside, a maiden in distress, and, best of all, romance between the dashing hero and what was
previously his best female friend whom he suddenly decided he loved. Nothing better.Except I did find better. Georgina by Clare Darcy, then Frederica by Heyer, more Darcys, more Heyers, more authors writing in this fascinating time period until I was dreaming of writing my own beleaguered lady in need of a hero.I started reading nonfiction books about the Regency era. I even plowed my way through the Jane Austen library. I absorbed language and costume and the politics of the day like a velvet pelisse soaking up water from the rain while the wearer walks in Hyde Park.

What draws me to this time? I was asked in a recent radio interview. All of the above. The Regency was a time of amazing transition in the world from the excesses of the Georgian era aristocracy, to the rise of the middle class due to industrialization. The lines between classes, though still sharply defined, are beginning to blur around the edges. Social reforms are being at least talked about and steps taken to implement them. And the war with France and then a second war with America are always fodder for a fun read. Never a dull moment in the Regency.

After college, grad school, and a couple of jobs, I started to write my own Regency romance. Those first novels I completed are from my BC days, and I’m mortified that copies of them may be floating around the Internet. 

What is more important to me is the birth of my first two published Regencies and others coming out in the future. My first published novel Family Guardian is a Regency and won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency. A Necessary Deception is my first Regency for the Christian market out October of 2011. These books symbolize dreams born in the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl coming true.

 

 

 

Originally posted 2012-03-21 10:00:00.

Happy Leap Year Day!

 

Leap Year A La Regency

Thirty days hath September, 
April, June and November; 
All the rest have thirty-one, 
Excepting February alone 
Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine, 
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine. 

Just as young people desiring to bypass all the rigmarole to get married in Regency England could hightail it to Scotland, women could also thank the Scots for making it a law allowing women to propose to men one day a year, every four years on Feb. 29.

Tradition has it that this law came on the books back in 1288—and that if a man turned a woman down, he must pay a fine, anything from a kiss to a pair of gloves or even a silk dress. Another tradition has it that the spurned woman must be wearing a visible red petticoat if she wanted the fine paid. Tradition aside, there is no written evidence on the books of Scottish Parliament’s having passed such a law.

Another legend has it that it was over in fifth century Ireland that St. Brigit asked St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men, since, supposedly, men were laggards in this area. After a bit of negotiating, St. Paddy allowed it every four years on Leap Year Day.

The American Farmer, published in 1827, quotes this passage from a 1606 volume entitled Courtship, Love and Matrimonie:

Albeit, it is nowe become a parte of the Common Lawe, in regard to the social relations of life, that as often as every bissectile year doth return, the Ladyes have the sole privilege, during the time it continueth, of making love unto the men, which they may doe either by wordes or lookes, as unto them it seemeth proper; and moreover, no man will be entitled to the benefit of Clergy who dothe refuse to accept the offers of a ladye, or who dothe in any wise treate her proposal withe slight or contumely.

So, wherever or however the tradition developed, by the time of the regency, Leap Year as a year or a day of female initiative in the romantic sphere was well-known. 1812, 1816 and 1820 were all leap years. Even though the Gregorian calendar had made the bissextile year (having an extra day) official back in 1582, Britain ignored the date of Feb. 29, so legally it didn’t exist. British law conveniently “leaped over” the date, probably because of so many negative superstitions associated with it, especially concerning livestock and crops. Ignoring this day resulted in a tradition of “anything goes”—hence women proposing to men. According to the Encyclopedia Americana 2004 Edition (Volume 17), King Henry VIII’s reign had an English law passed making February 28 the official birthday of “leaplings” or “leapers,” those born on Leap Year Day .

LEAP YEAR, OR JOHN BULL’S PEACE ESTABLISHMENT

[Published March, 1816, by S. W. Fores, 50, Piccadilly]

This British political cartoon satirizes the royal marriage of Princess Charlotte of Wales (the Prince Regent’s daughter) to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg on May 2, 1816.

The British Parliament settled £60,000 on the newlyweds, with £50,000 more for the prince should his bride pass away. The cartoon depicts the English nation on its hands and knees, a bit in his mouth, driven by Her Royal Highness with a horsewhip.

John Bull is the national personification of England, the way “Uncle Sam” is to the United States. He is loaded down with packages labeled with all the heavy tax burdens imposed on the populace at the time. After more than a quarter century of war with France, Britain’s people were financially exhausted. The Prince Regent’s extravagant lifestyle and building projects only filled them with disgust and caused a growing number of riots (one reason the Prince Regent preferred spending time at his seaside retreat, the Royal Pavilion at Brighton).

In the cartoon, Prince Regent George supports himself on crutches formed of dragons from his Brighton money pit. “Push on!” he shouts, “Preach economy! And when you have got your money, follow my example.” “Oh! my back,” groans John, crawling under the weight of his heavy burdens. “I never can bear it! This will finish me.”


 Sources: English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the Nineteenth Century/Chapter 3, Wikisource.org; Smithsonian Magazine.com; http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/leap-year.html; http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Leap-Year-Superstitions/; http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/historical/a/leap_year_2.htm; http://voices.yahoo.com/leap-year-2008-history-facts-798349.html?cat=37

 

 

Originally posted 2012-02-29 05:00:00.

Reflections on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day in Regency England

Cards were already a popular custom for all classes by regency times. Most were home-and-handmade from plain to fancy, depending on what the sender could afford. Fancier ones might include gilt-edged paper and real lace (paper lace didn’t come into production until later in the century). Woodcuts or copperplate engraved cards existed but this process was still hand-done and thus time-consuming, so mass-produced cards didn’t come on the market until the 1820s. This coincided with the standardization of the postal system, making sending cards cheaper.

For those who had trouble with a rhyme, there were publications called “Valentine writers,” chock full of ready-made verses for gentlemen to use. Some even contained poetical replies for ladies to use.

Everybody’s Valentine Writer; or True Lover’s Notebook; and Kemmish’s Annual and Universal Valentine Writer, or the Lover’s Instructor were a couple published in England in the late 18th century.

A sample of a lady’s reply to a gentleman’s verse, from Everybody’s Valentine Writer:

To a Gentleman

With proverbs, sir, I see you play;

With proverbs, too, I answer nay—

 

The Language of Flowers

Although special significance of flowers became most popular in Victorian times, lovers’ messages through flowers was already seen in regency times. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire , described a “secret language of flowers,” when her letters home were published posthumously in 1763. This language was a form of Turkish and Persian poetry called selam, which used words that rhymed with flower names. In 18th century Europe this developed into giving flowers sentimental significance (ie. a rose symbolizing love).

 

Various and changing meanings were ascribed to different flowers, but you wouldn’t want to receive a striped carnation in 1819, which according to Madame Charlotte de la Tour, who published a dictionary on flower language entitled [sic] Le Language des Fleur, meant “I’m sorry, I must say no.”

Yellow carnation, you disappoint me...

 

 

Nor would you want to receive a yellow carnation, which meant “You disappoint me.”

 


 

Better would be a red rose from your true love; or a pansy (“you occupy my thoughts”); or perhaps an arum, which meant ardor.

The Art of the Valentine Card

The reputedly oldest valentine card in existence is owned by the British Royal Mail. It dates from 1790. Its four points open up to reveal a love poem, but the outside words are already quite enchanting:

Valentine card circa 1790

“My dear the Heart which you behold,
Will break when you the same unfold,
Even so my heart with lovesick pain,
Sure wounded is and breaks in twain.”

 

Sources:

The Evening Independent, Feb. 14, 1977

The Year’s Festivals, Helen Philbrook Patten, 1903

The Quest of the Quaint, Virginia Robie, 1916

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1947/02/15/1947_02_15_021_TNY_CARDS_000207379

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/11feb2011-aac.pdf

Originally posted 2012-02-13 10:00:00.

Providence, Let Me Love You

Vanessa here with a devotion from my heart:

Providence, let me love You like my chosen betrothed. Flood my arms with anticipation, so the pimples tickle the lace of my best ball gloves. I sweep my fan and search for You above the crowds.

With a quickened pulse, I slip away to greet You in the privacy of my hostess’s garden. Let me come to You uncaring of my appearance, unworried about my reputation. Let no concern shadow my heart about my unworthiness of this match. Pray let me not fall victim to my doubts or be persecuted by my memories, the false promises of my past.

I run to You now in the midst of the spring shower with muslin and sarcenet gathered in my palms. My lifted skirts expose my ankles to the soft kisses of raindrops. I twirl in circles trampling my foolish pride with the tender soles of my slippers.  Joy fills my lungs for at last I know it is You who loves me, just as I am.

Let me embrace You like my true betrothed and seek You in the hidden places. The labors of my hands, the burdens upon my shoulders disappear in Your presence. The lightness of Your yoke frees me to sing as Your fragrance, the myrrh and frankincense, anoints the cuff of my sleeve. I smell safety and sense whispers of encouragement. My heart pounds at the softness of Your touch, the shield of protection You gird about me. Though it is I who strayed, I weep at the openness of Your arms, Your forgiveness.

Let me love You in fearless reverence. When the Ton scoff at Your humble beginnings and call You a tradesman’s son, make me not shun You or deny my feelings. I should know now that Your riches provide honor and inheritance for all my generations. Grow my heart to be as generous and as loving. Aid me to be light in this world and a proper helpmate for your ministry.

A wave of shyness grips me. I want to turn, but Your patience draws me. I lower my fan once more and glance at your beauty. There can be no falling away or breaking with You. I shall cling to your promises, your comfort. My lamp is trimmed and full of oil, and I await You, no longer a foolish virgin, but a hopeful bride seeking her Prince of Peace.

As you have your time of devotion this week, study these verses. Your true betrothed has sent an invitation.
Mathew 11:28-29
Mathew 25:1-13
Psalm 68:19
Song of Solomon 2:6
1 Corinthians 15:9

Originally posted 2012-02-10 07:00:00.

Wedding Hotspots in Regency England

Naomi here, and we’re talking about weddings today. More particularly, wedding hotspots. In today’s society, destination weddings seem to be growing in popularity. A person can’t just get married in a church anymore. Oh no. We have to fly to Hawaii, trade vows on a Jamaican beach at sunset, or visit the Florida keys in order to have the perfect wedding. Does anyone get married in a plain old church anymore?

In Regency England, church weddings were all the rage. They had to be. It was illegal to get married anywhere else (unless you were super rich and bought your way out of the church deal, but we’ll get to that in a moment).

According to the Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753, if a couple wanted to marry, they needed:

  • a license
  • banns read in church services for three consecutive weeks
  • parental consent if under the age of 21

Then the marriage itself had to:

  • be performed in the morning hours between 8:00 and 12:00
  • be held in a public chapel or church (Church of England church, Jewish synagogue or Quaker meeting)
  • be conducted by authorized clergy
  • be recorded in the marriage register with the signatures of both parties, the witnesses, and the minister.

As you can well see, the British Government was gracious to all those poor people wanting to get married two hundred years ago. And the sad thing is, England has so much lovely scenery. You know those beautiful White Cliffs of Dover? Do you want to get married there at sunset? Regular folk likely couldn’t have, though there were two ways around the tedious list of marriage regulations.

  • For a modest sum, you could purchase a license from the local clergy, which enabled the marrying couple to skip the banns.
  • For an exorbitant sum, you could purchase a special license from no less than the Archbishop of Canterbury, which enabled the marrying couple to skip the banns, get married outside a church, and marry after noon.

However, there was a more dramatic way to circumvent the Marriage Act of 1753: Elope. The Hardwicke Marriage Act was only law in England. Scotland didn’t adhere to such strict marriage regulations, and towns along the Scottish/English border became a popular place to elope, (especially if the bride or groom was under 21 and didn’t have parental consent). Today people fly to Vegas; in Regency England they rode four days (or more) from London to Gretna Green, Scotland. Or Coldstream Bridge, Lamberton, Mordington, or Paxton Toll.

Blacksmith's shop in Gretna Green

For those wealthy, law abiding citizens not wishing to circumvent the Marriage Act or do something so extreme as to marry out of doors, the place to get married was St. George’s, Hanover Square. Interestingly enough, St. George’s is not located on Hanover Square itself, but a block or two away. It was located in the fashionable place for the ton to live when in London: Mayfair.

The church held about 1,000 weddings per year in Regency times, which comes out to three weddings per day. And remember the majority of these weddings had to take place between 8:00 am and noon. Can you imagine getting married there? Maybe, if you were lucky, you would have had the church for a whole hour before getting get kicked out so the next bride in line could have her turn. Which makes me equate St. George’s to a modern day Las Vegas wedding chapel.  The record for marriages at St. George’s was set in 1816, with 1,063 weddings, including nine on Christmas Day.

The Most Fashionable Regency Wedding Church
Where everyone wanted to get married

So there you have it, Wedding Hotspots in Regency England, and the reason why those places were so hot: The Hardwicke Marriage Act.

*******

A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. Naomi writes bold, dramatic stories containing passionate words and powerful journeys. Her debut novel, Sanctuary for a Lady releases in April of 2012.

Originally posted 2012-02-06 06:00:00.

Retro Read: The Country Gentleman by Fiona Hill

The Country Gentleman by Fiona HillAnn Guilfoyleis a wealthy and independent young woman in Regency England, with her life planned before her. She opens her drawing room to what she considers the creme de la creme of thinking people and she intends to marry the exact right man. Then financial tragedy strikes and she finds herself 200 miles from London trying to settle herself into country life, a fate worse than death for a woman who considers herself sophisticated and intellectual. She thinks she can only mock thegentleman farmer Mr. Highet and his “gargantuan” mother. In short, Ann is a snob who thinks this country gentleman beneath her, yet when a different tragedy strikes, this one of the heart, she accepts his offer of help and her attitudes and heart begin to change.
This is not a story full of suspenseful, page-turning moments. The pace is almost as leisurely as the country life about which Hill writes. Yet the way in which Ann grows as a woman is so heart-warming, along with the love story, I have always listed this book among of my top fifty Regencies and worth the reread from time to time.
You will likely only find this sbook in llibraries or used bookstores. I’ve seen it for as little as $.01, which is a pity, and it is a quarter of a century old, definitely among the clean, sweet traditional Regencies of old, with an author who is a master character-driven storyteller.

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.

 

Barbara Cartland’s “Curse of the Clan” Set in 1822

100_8609Dame Barbara Cartland wrote over 723 books.  Known for setting her novels in the Victorian era, she was an exceptionally popular novelist, peaking in the 1970s.  (I remember my mother reading her novels.)  After recently picking up two Cartland books at a used book sale, I was pleasantly surprised to find  The Curse of the Clan (published in 1977) to be quite satisfying.

Imagine my further delight that the novel is set in 1822.  Set in the late “Regency” to be sure, the tale follows an orphan who is elevated to the title of Scottish Duchess.  Her fearsome, yet handsome husband marries her to gain revenge upon a neighboring clan who foisted an adulterous, now-dead, wife upon him.

The story boomed along with vivid action and upon reflection, would make an excellent movie, if historical films were popular. The scenes at the orphanage, a carriage accident (which affected the plot), a shooting attack, revelation of her true parentage, then the winning over of the husband…all would make for a delightful, picturesque movie.
I got a real kick out of finally trying a Cartland book, and wouldn’t hesitate to read more –especially if I can ferret out which were set in the early 1800s.

Have you read any of Barbara Cartland’s books? What do you think?