Posted in Cover Reveal, Historical Romance, Paranormal, Romance

For the Love of a Pirate Laura Nelson #CoverReveal @Shockaboo @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Historical #Romance #paranormal #gothic #timeslip #FortheLoveofaPirate

A jaded middle-aged woman attends a museum exhibit featuring the wreck of a pirate ship. A dead pirate from the wreck makes spiritual contact with her, pleading for her help to rescue him from purgatory. Along the way, she discovers both their pasts through a series of dreams. Another pirate covets her body for his own nefarious purposes. She becomes determined to rescue the pirate who has become her friend while figuring out how to prevent the other pirate from taking over her body.

Amazon UK

I am 57, and I am a graduate of Augustana College of Rock Island, Illinois. I wrote some in college, then stopped. I took it up again after attending the Real Pirates Exhibit in Denver, Colorado in 2011. I have since written several non-fiction articles about some of the pirates who sailed on the Whydah Galley. In the past few years, I’ve compiled them into two books titled The Whydah Pirates Speak. I have also published several short stories, which have appeared in two anthologies (listed on my Amazon page), and in several magazines. I live in Cochiti Lake, NM, with my three cats. When not writing, I enjoy walking, reading, and Tai Chi.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Would I Lie to the Duke Eva Leigh 5*#Review @EvaLeighAuthor @MillsandBoon Union of Rakes #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview #Cinderella #MillsandBoonHistorical #BlogTour

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Jess is a determined and desperate woman who will do anything to save her family business. She is astute, and knows how society works, and decides to become one of them to achieve her aims. Noel is a carefree, gentleman entitled but not arrogant and he is smitten with Jess.

This is a sensual romance with great chemistry between the couple. The conflict to their happy-ever-after revolves around Jess’s lies when the truth is so important to a man with trust issues. The couple’s dialogue is witty and wonderful and carries the story along to its happy conclusion but only after considerable angst and heartache for the mismatched pair.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel

The Second Marriage Gill Paul 5*#Review @GillPaulAUTHOR @AvonBooksUK @RandomTTours #HistoricalRomance #1960s #1970s #HistFic #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSecondMarriage

JACKIE
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…

ARI
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…

MARIA
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.

Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a modern Greek tragedy, an epic love triangle, played out amidst the political and social turbulence of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

This fictional story delves behind the headlines to the people who make them. Two iconic women, one with an incredible musical gift and the other a magnet for power are drawn to an enigmatic man. One wants his love the other wants his protection. He wants them both surely a recipe for disaster?

Compelling and enthralling, this is an enticing mix of fact and fiction. Flawed, fragile and glamorous characters authentically written with flaws and incredible presence drive this story. Research underpins every scene making them believable and relatable.

Sensitively portrayed tragedy and sensual romance make this a must-read story.

Gill Paul

Gill Paul’s historical novels have reached the top of the USA Today, Toronto Globe & Mail and kindle charts, and been translated into twenty languages.

They include THE SECOND MARRIAGE (titled JACKIE AND MARIA in the US), two bestselling novels about the Romanovs – THE SECRET WIFE and THE LOST DAUGHTER – as well as WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, which was shortlisted for the 2013 RNA Epic Novel of the Year award, NO PLACE FOR A LADY, shortlisted for a Love Stories award, and ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND, about links you might not have suspected between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana.


Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A HISTORY OF MEDICINE IN 50 OBJECTS, and she speaks at libraries and literary festivals on subjects ranging from the Titanic to the Romanovs.
Gill lives in London, where she is working on her tenth novel, and she swims daily in an outdoor pond.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Let Love Find You Johanna Lindsey 4*#Review @TransworldBooks #JohannaLindsey #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT HUSBAND WHEN PASSION RULES YOUR HEART?

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, has been out in London society for three years but has still not found a husband.

When she sets her sights on a wealthy nobleman known to be passionate about horses, she enlists Devin Baldwin, a darkly handsome breeder of horses, to be her riding instructor. Devin is well known for using his expertise to bring about the matching of eligible young ladies to suitable gentlemen…

But Amanda finds herself falling for the matchmaker instead, and her desire for a husband takes her in a wholly unexpected direction…

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second romance I’ve recently read by this author, and it is an enjoyable read. It is character-driven, and the main protagonists are full of passion and secrets. Devin is Regency society’s latest source of gossip, known as Cupid he is an unlikely, but successful matchmaker and therefore, he is welcome everywhere. Lady Amanda is a Duke’s daughter in her third season and desperate to marry for love.

After a few fiery encounters, the couple thrown together by circumstance find they fulfil Devin’s first rule of matchmaking physical attraction. Devin is on a mission, and that doesn’t include falling for Amanda.

Some of the language used in this grates a little, as it isn’t authentic for the period, but the heart of the story overcomes this.

The prologue hints of a poignant mystery which is gradually revealed and gives the story added conflict and depth. The chemistry between Devin and Amanda is steamy, and the ending positively dreamy.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

That Perfect Someone Johanna Lindsey 5*#Review @TransworldBooks #JohannaLindsey #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

LOVE, REVENGE, PASSIONS RUNNING HIGH…

Nine years ago, when Richard Allen’s greedy, ambitious father, the Earl of Manford, betrothed him to Julia Miller, the daughter of London’s wealthiest merchant, he was distraught. The pair can’t stand each other and Richard takes to the sea, determined to live his own life.

In the Caribbean, he joins a band of pirates and adopts the persona of a Frenchman named Jean-Paul. But when he returns to England on an errand for his captain, he finds himself completely smitten with a married woman, Georgina Mallory. She is indifferent to him, yet he persists in seeking her affections.

But when he attempts to woo her at a ball, the last thing he expects is to come face to face with Julia Miller, to whom he is still engaged.

But when Julia tries to wreak her revenge, not all goes quite according to plan…

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I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It’s a few years since I’ve read a book by this author who is a favourite of mine for this genre. This story is part of the Mallory Family series. Familiar characters feature, but they are not a big part of this story. Privateer John-Paul (Richard Allen) and businesswoman Julia are the main characters destined for marriage from her birth.

This archaic contract is the crux of this story and the main point of contention between Richard and Julia. When they meet as adults, their antagonism, falls into a simmering passion and the fun begins. The story is about forgiveness, love, and revenge. The chemistry between Julia and Richard makes this a page-turner. Their conversation makes this novel so entertaining, and their strength of character draws the reader’s empathy, for their situation.

The story explores abuse, lack of choice, social class and the position of women in society in a sensitive way, with a love story that makes it memorable.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance

Someday in Paris Olivia Lara 5* #Review @olilara_writes @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #GuestPost #Romance #Serendipity #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #soulmates #Love #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #SomedayInParis

Finding the one is only the beginning…

1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. But both know their lives will never be the same.

1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – but the way they feel is so familiar…

Over the course of thirty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?

‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’

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My Journey to Publication

In May 2020, Someday in Paris, my debut novel was published. I am still incredibly excited, three months later and find reasons to celebrate every single week— getting amazing reviews from readers and bloggers around the world, seeing my book becoming an international bestseller on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo, getting lovely messages from people everywhere, telling me how much they loved the story and how it moved them and sometimes even impacted them. Am I still sometimes pinching myself that I am now a published author? Constantly!

But how did I get to this point? Definitely not overnight. The road to publication, at least for me, was a rollercoaster that officially took five years and unofficially about nine.

Timeline

I wrote partial manuscripts between 2011 and 2015 (I shelved all of them)

I wrote the first book in 2015 (Someday in Paris)

I edited the first book all through 2016

I started the second book in 2017

I got an agent in 2017

It didn’t work out (long story)

I finished the second book in 2018

I got a new agent in the summer of 2018

I edited the first book for the next six months

We went on submission in the Spring of 2019

I wrote a third book in 2019

I signed a 2-book publishing deal in the summer of 2019

Edited the first book some more

Published my first book in the summer of 2020

I wrote a fourth book in 2020

And voila. Here we are.

So what does this all mean?

I think it means…keep at it and it will happen. I could’ve given up countless times between 2011 and 2019. Countless! The journey to publication for almost all new writers is a sum of rejections, silence, waiting, editing, editing again, writing, writing some more, hoping, trying and trying again. Ups and downs and downs and ups. It was the same for me. When I was at my lowest point in this journey (where my younger self would’ve probably just moved on), I stomped my feet, dried my tears, made myself a strong cup of coffee, opened my laptop and kept at it. Was it worth it? Oh, you bet! Knowing my story is out there for people to read, is worth it. Knowing there will be more to come…so worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s next?

My second book will be published next year. And yes, it is a love story, but that’s all I’m going to say for now (except for the fact that I’m super excited to share it with readers everywhere and I hope they will love it as much as I do). I’m also working on my next book. It is a story that’s been with me for quite a while and I feel I’ve let it ‘simmer’ long enough. I’m loving every minute I get to spend with the characters and taking my time with their story, because I know I will be missing them once I type ‘the end’.

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A magical romantic tale. Full of love, pain serendipity and tragedy. Fate and faith are instrumental in this gently paced tale. It’s perfect escapism to give flight to your belief in magic and romance. Told from two viewpoints its character-driven, but the setting is vital and almost a character too.

Leave your weary cynicism behind and get lost in this timeless love story.

Olivia Lara

OLIVIA LARA was born and raised in Bucharest in a family of book lovers and storytellers. Since university she has worked as a journalist and marketer in Romania, France and the United States. She is currently a marketing executive in San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, young daughter and four cats. Someday in Paris is her first novel.

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Goodreads Giveaway For eBook copy of Someday in Paris – Olivia Lara

Open to US only

Format:

Kindle book

Availability: 50 copies available.

GIVEAWAY LISTED BY

Head of Zeus

Giveaway dates: Sep 07 – Oct 05, 2020

Countries available: U.S.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

The Return of the Disappearing Duke Lara Temple 5*#Review @laratemple1 @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #MillsandBoonInsiders #Historical Romance #RegencyRomance @rararesources #TheReturnoftheDisappearingDuke

A scarred mercenary…Or the Disappearing Duke of Greybourne?

Rafe has spent years running from his true identity. He’s a lone wolf, living far from aristocratic England and his violent father. Then unconventional Cleopatra Osbourne requests his protection as she crosses the Egyptian desert. In Cleo he discovers a fellow outcast—and a fierce desire! Cleo must return to London, and here lies Rafe’s dilemma—because following his heart means claiming the title he’s avoided for so long!

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

This story captures the reader’s attention from the beginning and holds it across the desert and ocean.

Rafe forced out of his home at a young age into a life of danger and loneliness. Scarred emotionally, and physically his world-weary attitude is disturbed by the appearance of Cleo. Cleo needs a protector. Unwittingly embroiled in her father’s crimes, she needs to escape to Cairo. A less than perfect childhood lets Cleo and Rafe break through the barriers the other employs to the vulnerable individual hidden from the world. Amusing dialogue and simmering passion arc between Cleo and Rafe like an electrical storm.

The historical setting is unusual and well researched. The desert journey and ocean crossing allow the couple to get to know each other well, and their love to grow despite the internal conflict and external dangers.

This is a lovely historical romance with relatable characters and an absorbing historical background.

Lara Temple

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual Regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. She lives with her husband, two children, and one very fluffy dog and they are all very understanding about her taking over the kitchen table so she can look out over the garden as she writes and dreams up her Happy Ever Afters.

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Giveaway to Win 3 x E-copies of

The Return of the Disappearing Duke (Open INT)

Click on the giveaway link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for themfulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

A Good Match For The Major Josie Bonham 4*#Review @BonhamJosie @rararesources #RegencyRomance #HistoricaRomance #AGoodMatchForTheMajor #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayMotivation

Pride meets prejudice – can love blossom?

Beautiful young widow, Lady Eliza Wyndham, is determined never to remarry after a disastrous first marriage. The undeniable attraction that fizzes between her and Major Nathaniel Overton terrifies her. She rejects his advances.

With his pride badly dented, Nat vows to forget Eliza until he finds her in danger from an old adversary of his army days. His protective instincts are stirred and he steps back into her life, but will Eliza be prepared to accept his help?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An engaging Regency romance with a mismatched couple who collide in actuality, and find despite their differences a slow and worthwhile attraction. Eliza, grieving for the loss of her mother and damaged by her late husband vows never to marry again. Nat, a career soldier, shies away from Regency society after a mishap in his youth.

Past scandal, a passionate attraction and a dangerous man all contribute to make this an enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Josie lives in the English midlands, surrounded by towns full of history such as Evesham, Stratford-Upon- Avon, Warwick and Worcester. Which is perhaps why her favourite reads are historical. Out of all the periods to choose from the Regency Era stirs her imagination the most. The true Regency lasted from 1811 until 1820 but dates as wide as 1789 to 1837 have been included in the extended Regency period. For Josie the true flavour of this period emerges after the iniquitous hair powder tax of 1795, unsurprisingly, scuppered the fashion for hair powder almost overnight.

Josie has always dabbled in stories but it took the combined efforts of her sister and eldest niece to set her on the path to writing novels. Her Regency romances, with a dash of adventure and intrigue, are the result.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Tuscan Contessa Dinah Jefferies 5*#Review @DinahJefferies @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #TheTuscanContessa #BlogTour #BookReview #HisFic #Italy #WW2

Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan home has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she provides shelter, medical aid and any help she can, keeping her efforts secret from husband Lorenzo – who is also passing information to the Allies.

When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Practical, no-nonsense Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a young partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep.

Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis.

Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?

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I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK -Viking Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An aspect of WW2 history that I’ve not read about before this novel captures the menace of an occupying power and the camaraderie of the villagers. The story focuses on a small village in Tuscany, and its Contessa Sofia. It’s a story of courage, danger and friendship as the Italians fight against the Fascist stranglehold of their country.

The story focuses on the women Sofia the Contessa, Maxine an allied spy and Carla and Anna, who work at the Castello. Their friendship sustains them through terrible times and makes this story memorable and motivational. Vivid, sensual imagery and well-researched, historical detail bring the historical setting to life. The characters are authentic and relatable from the vibrance of the Italian women to the menace of the SS Officers.

This is an emotional story exploring the horrors of war and the human cost. Humorous touches and romance balance the poignancy, making it addictive reading.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Rosemary or Too Clever to Love G.L. Robinson 4*#Review @gl_robinson @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #RegencyRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalRomance #Rosemary

The Ugly Duckling meets the Gothic novel: a plain governess, a romantic Miss, a stern but handsome guardian, involved in a midnight chase, a woman dressed in britches and a gloomy castle. Throw in a bit of Vivaldi and some French philosophy, and you have it all!

If Rosemary can’t control her wayward pupil and prove her worth to her guardian the Earl, her future is bleak.

When Marianne’s father dies, she and her governess Rosemary are forced to go and live with her guardian the Earl of Tyndell. The Earl has strict ideas about how young ladies should behave. He isn’t impressed by the romantic notions Marianne has absorbed straight from the pages of a Gothic novel. And her governess is not only dowdy but perfectly ready to put him in his place, especially regarding his ideas about the education of women. But when the Earl’s interest in Rosemary blossoms just as Marianne falls in love with the last person he would ever agree to her marrying, where will it all end?

Read Rosemary or Too Clever to Love to see how this tangle is sorted out.

In spite of its light-hearted and often humorous tone, this charming novel raises questions about women’s education and philosophy. Book Group discussion topic have been included at the end.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a traditional styled Regency Romance featuring Rosemary. Rosemary comes from a genteel, impoverished background and is forced into service to survive. Marianne her charge becomes the ward of the mysterious Earl of Tyndell, on her father’s death and the two women face an uncertain future.

The novel explores the role of women in Regency society and their lack of power. Rosemary is well-educated, and this makes her unusual in Regency society. The chemistry between Rosemary and Giles the Earl is slow-burning but allows the emotional connection to keep pace with the physical attraction. This is a gentle romance with witty dialogue and unrequited feelings that are enjoyable.

Character-driven this story concentrates on the present with only necessary information on the characters’ backgrounds. The story is engaging and romantic.

Excerpt from Rosemary Too Clever to Love

G.L Robinson

Rosemary and Marianne put on a play Rosemary has written about Mary Queen of Scots in a ruined chapel in the grounds.

On the day of the performance, the footmen had carried all the chairs from the ballroom downhill to the ruins, the maids had swept the chancel of bird droppings and leaves and the cook had finally filled her baking pans when, about midday, they received the devastating news that the two young men would be unable to perform. They had that morning been indulging in their favorite pastime of running along the top of the walls that flanked the Hardcastle estate, when they had been surprised by a pheasant shooting from its covert and had fallen headlong into a large bed of tall stinging nettles. Their hands and faces, and more particularly their eyelids, had been quite viciously stung, and all the application of mashed dock leaves in the world had not reduced the swelling. The doctor had been called and had advised their remaining quietly in their beds with the blinds down and cold compresses on their eyes. He had given them a small dose of laudanum and they were presently sleeping. There was no possibility of their performing that day.

It was impossible to change the arrangements. People would be arriving in under three hours. With Marianne wailing and her head in a spin, Rosemary made a rapid decision. Luckily, she had kept both young men’s costumes at High House, not trusting them to remember them. She sent a note to Mrs. Hardcastle, asking her to send over a shirt and britches, possibly something Jasper had grown out of. She would play the parts herself. When she told Marianne what she had decided, that young lady was torn between gratitude and being scandalized.

“You’re going to appear in public in britches?” she gasped. “But, but… how will you change?” She looked horrified.

“Don’t refine upon it dear,” replied Rosemary with more calm than she felt. It will just be for a moment. I just have to wear the britches for Bothwell. He’s the only one seen in normal men’s clothing. And as for changing, I won’t have to, really. I shall go down to the ruins in the britches under my Darnley shroud, with my cloak over all. I shall go behind one of the pillars and take off my cloak. I can play Darnley, then I have only to remove the shroud to play Bothwell. That’s the only time I’ll be seen in britches. Afterwards I’ll don the apron for the Executioner. It will work, I assure you. The good news is that his lordship told me yesterday he will not be able to see the play, as he has urgent business with one of his tenants. Something to do with flooding after all this rain. I was a little disappointed, but now I’m delighted. Say nothing to him, for heaven’s sake!”

Marianne was sufficiently reassured to be able to face his lordship later without a tremor, and when he offered his apologies for missing the performance, said with tolerable equanimity, “Oh, it’s only a silly amusement for children, after all! You may be happy to be missing it.”

The time for the performance arrived. The performers hid behind the chapel pillars and the audience took their seats. The servants from High House stood behind the chairs. They had been agog at all the preparations and what they had seen of the rehearsals. They had obtained the housekeeper’s permission to leave their posts to watch the play, provided they hurried back to serve the guests at tea.

Rosemary rang a bell she had borrowed for the purpose. When the audience quieted, Marianne came forward and announced the title of the piece, then arranged herself on a low draped table serving as her bed. Her head up, as she had been instructed, Mariah walked across as the silent chorus with her notice, and they were off. Rosemary had powdered her hair and face. She dropped her cloak behind a pillar and stepped forward in her shroud. There was a little stir, as it became clear who was playing the part, but it soon quieted as she spoke out in a low, carrying voice. With a dignified gesture, she accused Mary of murdering her.

The Smythe boy came next and did well, hesitating a little at first, but then speaking out boldly and clearly. During that time, Rosemary quickly stripped off the sheet. As she bent to step out of it and to shake the powder from her hair, she was observed from behind by the Earl, who had completed his business more quickly than expected and had returned with more enthusiasm than he would have imagined to see the entertainment. He strode swiftly down the hill, quite by chance approaching at an angle that allowed him to see behind the pillar where Rosemary was effecting her change. He did not at first realize what he was seeing, but then recognized her and stopped abruptly to admire her shapely derriere as she bent in the rather tight britches, for Mrs. Hardcastle had sent over a pair that Jasper had long outgrown. Luckily, Rosemary did not see him, or she would have hesitated before slipping into the embroidered doublet and jamming the feathered hat upon her head. As it was, she came onto the stage and carried off the part of Bothwell with enormous verve, her tone insinuating and insulting, a complete contrast to Darnley. The audience, by now into the story, certainly recognized her, but they were too entranced by the performance to wonder at it.

It was only as she was leaving the stage that her eye fell upon the Earl and her heart gave a leap. Whether she was glad to see him, or embarrassed that he saw her, she could not afterwards tell, and anyway, she was too busy changing herself into the Executioner to think about it. Queen Elizabeth and her lady made their entrance. After all their histrionics during rehearsals, the twins were inclined to look down and fail to project, until Rosemary hissed at them to look at the audience and for the queen to speak up. Mariah crossed the scene for the third Act, and the trial and execution scenes began.

Without telling the other performers, Rosemary had arranged that there would be a pan of red paint behind the black draped stool that served as the execution block. When the axe, a realistic looking instrument with a blade made of heavy card fitted onto a broomstick, came down to cut the head three times, this, by historical account, being the number of strokes required to sever Mary’s head, it came up with red along its blade. There was a collective gasp, both from the audience and the other actors. Then, before raising the severed head, a gory affair made of papier mâché, she dipped it in the pan too, so that when she held it aloft, it dripped in a lifelike grisly fashion. One or two of the housemaids screamed and the audience murmured in delicious horror.

The performance was greeted with enormous acclaim. The Smythes were delighted with their lad’s performance and, ignoring or forgetting the hours Rosemary had spent with him to get him to stand up straight and enunciate clearly, seemed to think it was all his own doing. Mrs. Pendleton was pleased with her daughters in spite of their lackluster performance, while Mr. Pendleton was pleased with the sight of Rosemary in britches. Like the Earl, he had not failed to notice her bottom. He sought her out, but she, quickly donning her cloak and running up the hill, managed to avoid everyone. She went straight to her bedchamber, quickly brushed the rest of the powder out of her hair and changed into a gown. By the time she came down again, the guests had gathered in the drawing room and the tea was being brought in.

“Ah, Miss Drover,” remarked the Earl, seeing her. “I hope you will act as hostess and pour the tea?” he made no mention of the britches.

Rosemary was both astonished and flattered. She had planned to ask Mrs. Hardcastle to act as hostess. She knew that by asking her, his lordship had elevated her status in the household. She inclined her head and went immediately to the silver pots of tea and hot water. She was glad to do it, less for the distinction it gave her, than because it prevented her having to deal with all the questions and comments that her performance would inevitably bring. She had already noticed Mr. Pendleton eying her with light in his eye she did not like. She heard the word britches whispered around the room, usually with sidelong glances at her, but Mrs. Hardcastle wasted no time in describing the accident that had befallen the two male actors, loudly commending Miss Drover for not allowing it to prevent the play from going forward.

Rosemary kept her eyes on the teapots and the maids distributing the cups, until the novelty of her performance appeared to wear off. By the time she was forced to join the guests, as usual on these occasions, the women were sitting in groups chatting about domestic issues, while the gentlemen stood together, talking of horses, farming or world affairs. However, she was not to escape so easily.

“Here is our heroine!” announced Mrs. Hardcastle, and there was a round of applause.

“Jolly well done!” pronounced the General. “I must say, I didn’t realize it was you under that sheet until later when you appeared in those britches. They never looked better, I dare say!”

The General obviously thought his social standing was so impeachable that he could say what he liked. There was a slightly embarrassed murmur from most of the gentlemen, though Mr. Pendleton was heard to mutter “here, here,” and the ladies had the grace at look at the floor, all except Mrs. Mannering, who looked at Rosemary with patent dislike.

“It’s lucky Rosemary knew all the lines, because she wrote the play,” cried Marianne, instinctively recognizing that her companion somehow needed protection, “and she worked out so quickly how she could play all the missing parts. I think she’s amazing!”

“And I think my fellow actors deserve most of the credit for continuing as if nothing were amiss” said Rosemary, smiling at Marianne and glad to be able to deflect the conversation from herself. “We must thank them all for their hard work and dedication, not excluding the poor young gentlemen who are lying abed and missed it all. Tell us, Mrs. Hardcastle, ma’am, how were they going on when you left?”

Thus she diverted the conversation, and his lordship, who was not enjoying the oblique references to the charms of a woman he unaccountably was beginning to think of as his own, took the opportunity to announce that sherry or Madeira was available for the gentlemen who preferred that to tea. He was certainly one of them.

I’m a product of a convent boarding school in the south of England in the 1950’s and early 60’s. You can probably guess I received an old-fashioned education. I learned a great deal about the humanities and practically nothing in the sciences. I understand Latin, speak French fluently and my German isn’t bad. I read the Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English when I was 16 and Shakespeare is an open book. But the only science I remember is the ditty: Miss Cummings (our teacher) was a scientist, alas she is no more, for what she took for H2O (water) was H2SO4 (sulfuric acid). Not bad, eh? Words to live by.

I met my American husband while working in Brussels (Belgium). Then we moved to Bonn (Germany).  I had three children in a foreign tongue. If you want to know how to say “push” in French and German, ask me!

I’ve lived in the USA for over 40 years, have seven grandchildren and the same husband I started with. We live in a small town in upstate New York but nowadays spend the winter in Florida. I need to sell lots of books so we can buy a waterfront condo! (laughs ironically).

I love my garden, telling my grandchildren stories and eating desserts.  I’d give up a steak for a Key Lime Pie any day!

I began writing Regency Romances just under two years ago after the death of my beloved sister who was in the convent with me all those years ago. We used to read them under the covers with a torch after lights out. My books are dedicated to her.

I’ve so far indie published three.  The third, Rosemary or Too Clever to Love, just came out at the beginning of May.  I’m writing a fourth and editing a trilogy I wrote 18 months ago. I plan on publishing them over the summer.

I love Regency Romances and they’ve always been a guilty pleasure. I was a French professor, and I tell you, after a day of teaching Existentialism, you need a bit of sprigged muslin and some polished topboots to clear your head.  

But more than that, I think they fulfil a need for order and calm that is so lacking in our lives today.  You know that Almack’s is only going to allow entry to men in white britches; you know young ladies may only dance twice with the same man at the ball; you know the couple is going to get together, no matter how mismatched they appear, or how many obstacles are in their path.

There is something soothing about it all.  Of course, it’s escapism and it’s often silly, but it’s always satisfying.

Having been a teacher for 30 years, I find I can’t get away from the urge to provoke discussion. Plus, I belong to three Book Groups. I’ve therefore included Discussion Topics at the end of my last two novels. I hope my readers will have fun with them.