Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It Started at Waterloo

It Started at Waterloo
The more I learn about the battle, the more there is to learn! I have two novellas coming out in June, so I hope you'll indulge me by letting me talk about them. First is "It Started at Waterloo."
Waterloo was where a lot of modern surgical practices started. So many things were discovered, and not least was the beginnings of proper clinical practice. Unfortunately, much of the surgery practiced during the campaign was of the "cut and run" variety. Limbs were lopped off on the premise that it was better to save the person than save the limb. The surgeons became proficient at quick surgery, so as to minimize the effects of shock, but many patients died, nevertheless.
I don't go into too much detail in "It Started at Waterloo," because after all, this is a romance, rather than a treatise, but I do indicate how difficult it was for the surgeons at the battle. My hero is a civilian surgeon, of which there were quite a few. He didn't join the army, because then he might have had to admit his real name, and he prefers to operate under a less exalted one, but when the war is over, he finally has to face the prospect of his new life, even though his greatest desire is to continue his surgical career.
His new wife has no choice but to work with him. Thrust into an unfamliar situation, she has to cope as best she can.
It Started At Waterloo
Does she love him enough to let him go?
After three straight days working beside surgeon Will Kennaway to treat the wounded of Waterloo, Amelia Hartwell collapses on the nearest bed to sleep. Surely she can be forgiven for not caring that the warm body sleeping next to hers is Will’s.
Amelia’s status-hungry mother, however, couldn’t be more pleased to have an excuse to get the painfully shy, socially awkward Amelia married off, albeit to a less-than-ultra-rich husband.
Will doesn’t keep his title a deep, dark secret. His little-known earldom simply affords him the financial freedom to focus solely on healing the sick. But now that he has a wife to think about—and to admire, thanks to her unstinting bravery at Waterloo—he reluctantly takes up the mantle of earl to do his duty.
Missing her meaningful work as a nurse, Amelia finds herself floundering in society’s glaring spotlight, wondering if Will regrets being forced to marry. Perhaps it might even be better to give him his freedom, even if doing so will break her heart…
Product Warnings
Steamy, battlefield kisses under a tent canvas lead to steamy scenes in the bedroom.
 
You can pre-order the book at Samhain here, and it will be on sale at Samhain and all other outlets on June 16th

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Seaside Writing Retreat!

From September, writers and history lovers will have the opportunity to book a gorgeous Regency seaside villa in Lyme Regis for their writing retreats. Belmont, which once belonged to Mrs Eleanor Coade, has been renovated by the Landmark Trust and will be taking bookings from July.

Eleanor Coade was born in 1733 and built up a hugely successful business manufacturing Neo-classical statues, architectural decorations and garden ornaments. These were made from high quality stone and graced such buildings as the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and Carlton House in London. Latterly her business was by Royal appointment to George III and the Prince Regent.

Eleanor came from a line of successful businesswomen. Her grandmother Sarah Endmarch ran a textile business in Devon and her mother, also called Eleanor, ran a linen business in London. In contrast to the successful female entrepreneurs in the family, Eleanor’s father went bankrupt twice. She however, went from strength to strength, managing her own artificial stone factory in Lambeth. As a proponent of women’s rights she left sums of money to female friends in her will as well as to charities, stating that her friends’ husbands had no control over the money she had bequeathed.

Eleanor’s uncle gave her Belmont, a two-storey Georgian seaside villa built in 1774. It is lavishly
decorated with Coade stone from her own factories. After years of decay, the house has been painstakingly restored to feature its original elegant Georgian windows, a parlour with sea views and a first storey sitting room with an iron veranda accessed in the Georgian style via a sash window.


Eleanor was not the only famous resident of Lyme to live at Belmont House. John Fowles wrote and published The French Lieutenants Woman whilst living there. It was his wish that the house be restored so that other writers could stay there and be inspired!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Foundling Museum: the children’s story

Recently, I visited the Foundling Museum which celebrates the history of the Foundling Hospital founded in 1739 by the redoubtable sea captain, Thomas Coram, who was horrified by the sight of starving and abandoned infants on the streets of London. Without clean drinking water or a proper sewage system, the streets, particularly in the poorer districts, were filthy and disease-ridden. 75% of the children died before they were five and, amongst the poor, it was 90%.

 
Thomas Corum (1668-1751)

The problem was twofold: first the Elizabethan Poor Law, set up to relieve poverty at parish level, was woefully inadequate to deal with a city of over a million inhabitants. Second, contemporary social attitudes saw poverty as a sign of moral weakness and helping abandoned babies as encouraging immorality. 

In order to set up a Foundling Hospital, Coram needed a Royal Charter, as well as enough money to build, equip, and run it. It took him seventeen years of dogged persistence to get it.

 
The original Foundling Hospital, 1745

Coram’s story deserves a post of its own, but, as a novelist, I found myself thinking about the abandoned infants, how did they fare? What exactly happened to a baby whose mother couldn’t support it?

Under the Foundling Hospital’s early 19th century guidelines, the foundling had to be illegitimate, under two months old, and healthy. The mother must be Protestant and to have been of good character before her fall. It was felt that ‘in addition to the protection of the Child, they had an opportunity of saving the Mother from shame, and of enabling her to return to her proper Situation in life, which the acknowledgment of an illegitimate Child would prevent her from doing…’

The mother left a token, often a swatch of material, but sometimes, a coin, a bracelet, or even, in one case, a hazelnut, to identify her child if she were ever in a position to take her child back. 



Two of the tokens

The Hospital billet book noted each baby’s possessions and any distinguishing features. For example, (I have italicised the hand-written notes beside the typed clothes list) Mary Lamas, baby No. 10,125, admitted in 1758, had a ‘white sarsen ribbon’,  a cap ‘with a muslin border’, a plain biggin (a child’s cap), a forehead cloth, a gown ‘blue and white checke’ (sic), a blanket ‘bound with white ferret’ (narrow woollen tape), a neck cloth, a roller (a bandage), a waistcoat ‘diaper’  (linen cloth woven with flowers), shirt ‘Irish trimmed’ (linen), and two clouts (nappies – also ‘Irish’.) It noted that the baby was female and had been christened. Interestingly, what the billet book didn’t note that she was black.

 


Female Orphans by Emma Brownlow, 1860s

Every baby was given an identity disk which they wore at all times, and a new name to signify a fresh start. Some of the names chosen were questionable, to say the least; for example, Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel. The real life Warbeck and Simnel pretended to be the ill-fated Princes in the Tower. Both were caught; Simnel was pardoned and made a scullion in Henry VII’s kitchen and Warbeck was hanged - hardly role models for the unfortunate boys given their names.

Two other foundlings were named Tom Jones and Sophia Western after the hero and heroine of Henry Fielding’s picaresque novel, Tom Jones. There was also an Oliver Cromwell and a Julius Caesar. It seems as if the authorities had no objection to a little levity at the foundlings’ expense.

 
The Foundling Museum today. It incorporates the original Court Room, Picture Gallery and the Boys’ Staircase.

So, the child was renamed. What happened then? The babies were sent to respectable foster parents in the country and had a wet nurse until they were weaned. A lot of care was taken over this and a local reputable person kept an eye on them. In most cases, this was the nearest the child ever got to having a proper home.

When they were five, they returned to the Foundling Hospital and sent to either the boys’ wing or the girls’ wing. They were also inoculated against smallpox – very forward-thinking at the time, but practical, too. A child who had been vaccinated would be valued more when he or she went out into the world.  

 
The Boys’ Staircase

Their education was far in advance of what most working-class children received. Both boys and girls were taught to read and write and they learnt practical skills too, like needlework. They were expected to contribute towards the running of the Hospital – their work was on sale to visitors, for example, and older children helped to dress the little ones, did the cleaning, drew water, and tended the vegetable garden.

Their diet, comprising meat, potatoes, dairy products and bread was certainly adequate, if monotonous. Fruit and vegetables were not, at that date, considered important, so scurvy, poor eye-sight and rickets were common.

 
Handel by Louis François Roubiliac, 1739

But it was the inclusion of music that made the Foundling Hospital’s education special. One of the Hospital’s first patrons was the composer Handel whose annual benefit performance of The Messiah was a Society highlight. And, from the 1760s on, all musically gifted children were taught choral singing. The standard was extremely high and they gave successful benefit concerts in the chapel. Musical boys also had the opportunity to learn a brass instrument; later, many of them went into the army via regimental bands.


 

Subscriber’s ticket to a concert at the Foundling Hospital

The creation of the Picture Gallery became an important and elegant venue for the Hospital to entertain the aristocracy – their potential patrons. The first artist to donate a painting was William Hogarth, who gave his magnificent portrait of Thomas Coram. He also persuaded other eminent artists to donate their own paintings; and the spectacular rococo plasterwork in the Court Room was donated by the plasterer, William Wilton.

 

The Picture Gallery

The musical and artistic life of the Foundling Hospital ensured that it swiftly became the place to see and be seen in. Aristocratic ladies and gentlemen of the 18th century prided themselves on their Sensibility. Supporting Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital meant that they could express their finer feelings, and, at the same time, enjoy Mr Handel’s music or admire the latest works of art in the Court Room and Picture Gallery.

 

Court room. Note the appropriate picture, ‘Suffer Little Children’, and the plasterwork 

But what about the children? They left the Hospital at fourteen. Boys either joined the army or navy, or became apprentices. The girls mainly went into carefully vetted domestic service – no bachelor households! - though a few were apprenticed as calico printers. Foundling children had the reputation of being humble and hard-working, and were welcomed by prospective masters or employers, and inspectors followed their progress to ensure that they were treated properly. It is pleasing to note that the Hospital looked after disabled children throughout their lives.

 


‘Leaving for Work’ by Emma Brownlow, 1860s

However, in spite of the undoubted excellence of the Foundling Hospital’s charitable work, one cannot help feeling sorry for the children. By modern standards, their emotional needs went unrecognized. They were not encouraged to value themselves and they must have become institutionalized; they always wore the regulation uniform, for example. Still, I like to think that a spirited child could find some way to emerge with a sense of their own worth.

Nowadays, The Coram Foundation continues to work with and for children in need. To find out more, go to www.coram.org.uk

Elizabeth Hawksley  

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Inspiration can come from anywhere!





 

A very short blog this time, because I seem to have been doing non stop promotion for A LADY FOR LORD RANDALL, the first book in the Brides of Waterloo Trilogy (books 2 and 3 are by Annie Burrows and Louise Allen respectively). So it is most likely that you have heard something about this series!




So just a little trivia for you about how I created Lord Randall. Inspiration can strike any time, anywhere and Randall "grew" from a variety of sources –I imagine him looking like a young Peter O'Toole and in temperament he is serious, uncomfortable around women (think of Gregory Peck's Hornblower).


   



I was also inspired by a song that sums up his character perfectly – "I Won't Send Roses" from the musical Mack & Mabel, based on the true story of Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, who became one of the biggest film stars of the early 20th century. Mack is a grumpy authoritarian character and he tries to warn Mabel not to fall in love with him. The link is here to Robert Preston singing if you want to hear it.

Randall is a tough, no nonsense career soldier who commands an artillery unit made up of villains and criminals. He has, quite literally in some cases, whipped them into shape and turned them into a crack fighting force. As Annie Burrows puts it, a Dirty Dozen in breeches! Such a unit needs a strong leader and Randall has no time for anything but his job. That is, until he meets Mary, a fiercely independent schoolteacher who is opposed to everything Randall stands for. 

The action takes place in the weeks leading up to the battle, but we also follow Randall onto the battlefield itself, while Mary must remain in Brussels waiting for news.

 Annie Burrows' book, A MISTRESS FOR MAJOR BARTLETT is published in June, and Louise Allen's A ROSE FOR MAJOR FLINT is published in July.

Happy Reading!

Sarah Mallory
www.sarahmallory.com

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Fabulous Treasure!


The other week I was driving up to Scotland – a journey which takes almost six hours from my house – and wanted to have a break halfway to stretch my legs, so I had a great idea.  I remembered that a few years ago, in 2009, there was a lot of talk on the news about a treasure found in a field in Staffordshire by a man with a metal detector.  It became known as the Staffordshire Hoard and consisted of over 1600 items made of gold, silver and garnets.  The main part of this hoard is now in Birmingham, but some of it is in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, which was on my way so I decided to stop there – I can never resist treasure of any kind.  And I am so glad I did as it was simply amazing!

Displayed in a special room with a time line for the Saxon period, dates of important events, explanations and even a mock-Saxon hall complete with chieftain’s chair and a pretend hearth, it's a very interesting exhibition, although there was only a small percentage of the items from the hoard.  But what there was almost took my breath away as the objects were so beautifully crafted.

Found not far from an old Roman road, the so called Watling Street, the treasure is thought to have been buried in the 7th century.  The entire hoard was mostly made up of fragments of things – sword hilts, parts of helmets, fittings from horses’ harnesses and the like, but the objects were not haphazard, they'd been collected together on purpose.  Although the metal was twisted or bent out of shape, as if someone had just gathered it as scrap metal, that doesn't seem to have been the case, even if it's what the owner intended to use it for – simply sell the pieces for their value as metal and precious stones.  It was almost exclusively warrior’s gear, so may have been collected from a battle field or taken as loot after a victory in battle.  No one knows and as there is no other find like it to compare it to, perhaps we will never find out why it was buried.

The museum curators have now straightened out some of the items and even the ones that are still twisted were impressive.  The craftsmanship is exquisite, with some of the filigree gold work so tiny and fine you can barely see it with the naked eye.  At the museum there were magnifying glasses to help you see better, but it made me wonder how on earth the goldsmiths had managed to make these items in the first place.  They must have had amazing eyesight!

A lot of the decorations featured animals, which had special meaning to the Saxons:  birds like eagles or Odin’s ravens symbolising victory, boars possibly for protection, horses which were invaluable to them and snakes for healing and magic.  There was a small golden snake which I found absolutely gorgeous and wouldn’t have minded owning myself!

I particularly liked the items that were set with garnets though – the deep, sparkling red a wonderful contrast to the gold around them.  The Saxon goldsmiths had a special technique to make them glitter even more – underneath each stone they put a sort of waffle-patterned foil which reflected the light.  The warriors who owned the swords and other things with this type of decoration must have been very rich indeed and I’m sure they treasured their possessions.  These were weapons meant to impress and they still do.  In one corner of the room stood a warrior figure, complete with Saxon clothing, and I could see him in my mind running into battle with his beautiful sword and seax (knife) or sitting by that hearth polishing them.

The so called Dark Ages were obviously anything but and the people who lived then appreciated the beauty of the things their extremely skilled craftsmen made.  This unique hoard is helping us to understand more about the Saxons and I, for one, am totally in awe.  They were quite simply astonishing and I am now very tempted to write a novel set in this era!  It will have to join the queue though ...

Christina x



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Scandal at Pemberley

http://amzn.to/1zFlqSz (uk)http://amzn.to/1DHctvY (.com)
The second installment of my 'At Pemberley' series is now published on Amazon. I'm hoping to add to this series every year and the next book is already in the planning stage.
This book features Mary Bennet and so I have decided that because of her reprehensible behaviour Mary shall not get a book of her own. (You will have to read the book to see what she gets up to.)
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Although this is the second volume in this series it is, like the fist one, 'The Ghosts at Pemberley', a stand alone title

Blurb for A Scandal at Pemberley.
A Scandal at Pemberley is Georgiana Darcy and Major Jonathan Brownstone's story. The major is to be groomsman for his best friend, Adam King, when he marries Kitty Bennet at Pemberley. Georgiana is about to embark on her first Season, but after meeting Jonathan she is having doubts about going. As Lizzy is expecting twins Darcy can't accompany his sister but is happy for his new brother-in-law to stand guardian in his stead. 

When George Wickham arrives uninvited at Pemberley, he sets in motion a chain of events that could cause a scandal from which none of the family would recover.

Fenella J Miller

Monday, April 13, 2015

Waterloo in a nutshell



I’ve been taken up with two anniversaries that fall this year. The first one is the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.
Although I tell people I write books set in the Georgian period, my real speciality is the earlier period, the 1750’s. So when I was asked to write a couple of novellas to help commemorate the event, I had a lot of research to do. And what fun it was! Of course I do have quite a lot of information on the Regency, since I’ve written books set in that time before, but the details of Waterloo, the nitty-gritty, are fascinating. The letters, records and accounts are legion, especially in this bicentenary year.
At university I had to read Thompson’s “Europe Since Napoleon,” which is still as interesting as it ever was, but my real interests lay in the lives of the people, how it affected them and what they did afterwards.
So I plunged into letters and newspapers. Utterly riveting. I could have read for a long time, but I had books to write!
I decided on a medical theme. The first book has more of a medical background, concerned with a surgeon and his nurse who are forced by circumstances into marriage. But with similar ideals it was only a matter of time before they found their way into each other’s hearts. The second is about a war hero who has what we would call PTSD, a little understood condition at the time. Just because they couldn’t put a name to it, didn’t mean they didn'tt experience it. From the Berserkers of the Dark Ages to the present day, traumatic events have triggered unfortunate responses in some people. So how did they cope with it back then, after Waterloo? Mostly by telling people to pull themselves together, which was no help at all.
I thought it might help to have a quick overview of the battle, and why it was so important. With the plethora of books to commemorate the battle, most either concentrate on a small part of it or go into huge detail, which might be fascinating for me, but isn’t necessarily what the regular reader, somebody who wants a general background, might be looking for. I just ask for some indulgence from my fellow historians, who will doubtless wince at my ruthless elimination of events in my attempt at a broad overview.
Waterloo was a terrible battle. There were thousands of men on each side, with their women, children, camp followers and support staff like medics all waiting anxiously for the outcome. The figures often given are 68,000 British and Allied troops against 74,000 French, and the official date is 18th June 1815.
But like most messy events involving real people, this doesn’t tell anywhere near the whole story. There were skirmishes before and after, for instance. Nobody shouted “Start!” and “Stop!” at the beginning and end. In charge of the armies were the Duke of Wellington, a brilliant strategist who had turned the fortunes of the Peninsula War around, and Napoleon, a self-aggrandising man, but also brilliant. There are no reliable recorded instances of Wellington meeting Napoleon. That leaves the field nicely free for the novelist because there were many chances for them to do so. The other intriguing thing is that Waterloo was the first time Wellington and Napoleon faced each other on the field of battle.
Wellington was cold in his interpersonal relationships. He hated war, and tried to minimize losses to his men. Napoleon threw men at the enemy, treating them as disposable cannon-fodder.
The battle was further complicated by a torrential downpour the day before, that turned the battlefield into a churning mass of mud and made the quick charges that the Hussars specialised in even more difficult than they were already.
On the 15th June, Napoleon took position by ejecting the Allies at Charleroi, but although Wellington knew of it, he wasn’t yet sure that this was the main thrust of Napoleon’s army, so he kept a watching brief on it. He didn’t want to commit his army before knowing that another flank wasn’t going to attack from somewhere else. He was also waiting for Marshall Blucher and his troops to arrive for the main engagement. The Prince of Orange’s army was involved in the skirmishes before and during, but not the main battle itself.
He heard about the attack on the 16th June, at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. The speed of Napoleon’s advance shocked him into taking action. Wellington’s army could be overrun.
The start of the battle was signalled by a fight at the crossroads of Quatre Bras. In a way this indicated how the rest of the battle would go. A narrow victory for the Allies at a terrible cost. First the French won, then when Wellington sent reinforcements, the Allies won.
By the end of the 17th, the British army was in position, with Blucher around 7 miles away.
On the late morning of the 18th, the French attacked the house at Hougoumont, where Wellington had stationed some of his vanguard. The other fortified position, at the farmhouse at La Haye Sainte, was attacked a few hours later. The French managed to cut it off from the rest of the army. By around two pm, it looked like the French were winning.
Then the British cavalry moved in. Although Napoleon’s army had the superior reputation, the mud helped to make things a bit more equal. No horse, however skilled, can move fast when its hooves are deeply embedded in thick mud.
After that, came the infantry’s turn. When Napoleon attacked, Wellington formed the infantry into squares, with the cavalry in the center.
Then Wellington regained the farmouse at La Haye Sainte and the tide started to turn. The Prussians arrived and helped to reinforce an exhausted British army.
Napoleon finally committed his precious Imperial Guard. This was his last throw. By the time dusk had fallen the French army was in disarray and the day was won.
But as I said earlier, they didn’t just stop. It was a bit like putting out a big fire. They had to set a watch and cover the skirmishes and final flickerings of the great French army.
Like Wellington said, it was a damned near-run thing.
On the 24th June, Napoleon abdicated, and a few weeks after, was once again in custody, this time until the day he died.
After Waterloo? Britain went into economic depression, a lull that was only redressed when the middle class began its inexorable rise to wealth and influence. Lines and frontiers were redrawn. After Waterloo, nothing was ever the same again.

Lynne's books, "It Started at Waterloo" and "Dreaming of Waterloo" will be out in June, in time for the commemoration of the battle. 
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5465/it-started-at-waterloo
"Dreaming of Waterloo" is part of a box set, and will be out soon.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Janice Preston - From Wallflower to Countess

 We are delighted to welcome Janice Preston to the blog. She is here talking about her new Regency romance, From Wallflower to Countess. Over to you, Janice!



I am grateful to the regular contributors to Historical and Regency Romance for inviting me onto the blog to talk about my second Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, From Wallflower to Countess, which is out now.

I first met the hero, Richard, Earl of Stanton, several years ago when he was a drop dead gorgeous secondary character in my first ever attempt at writing a Regency romance. That attempt has not yet seen the light of day, but I always knew Richard would have his own story one day. I had no idea which lucky lady would share his journey until, one day, he ran up the stairs in his shirtsleeves and came face-to-face with an unprepossessing but sparky spinster who had absolutely no intention of ever getting married, preferring instead to focus her energies on her charity work.
One year on from that meeting, Lady Felicity Weston’s fear of unrequited love is as strong as ever but her future looks bleak when her widowed mother remarries. She begs her mother to find her a quiet, unremarkable gentleman with whom she might be content, little realising she will end up with Richard, Society’s most eligible bachelor and darling of the ton.

I had great fun writing about the arranged marriage between Richard and Felicity and how they help each other reveal and eventually resolve their emotional conflicts on their journey to true love.

Here is an excerpt:

‘This is ridiculous. You are right. If we are to wed, we need to understand one another. And I admit I have doubts. Not about you. Well, that is…’ She paused, her brows drawn together in a frown. ‘No, that is untrue. It is about you, but it is about me, also. You and me. Together. You see, I hadn’t thought…I never presumed to be presented with such a…such a…catch, if you do not object to my calling you that?’
Richard bit back a smile. He had been called a catch many times, he was aware, but never to his face before. And never by an earnest-faced female who appeared to believe herself unworthy of a ‘catch’ such as he.
‘You may call me what you will,’ he said, ‘as long as you promise not to use such insultingly offensive terms that I shall be forced to take umbrage.’
She laughed, revealing a glimpse of white teeth. ‘Umbrage? I always thought that to be a state applied to elderly dowagers. Do you sporting gentlemen consider it a fittingly masculine trait, my lord?’
This was better. The spirited girl he remembered from last year had surfaced, her face alive with laughter, her eyes bright.
‘Perhaps umbrage does not quite convey the precise meaning I hoped,’ he conceded. ‘Which word, in your opinion, should I have used, if I am to portray a suitably manly image to my future wife?’
Disquiet skimmed her expression, then vanished. Had he imagined it? Was it the bald reminder that she would be his wife that had disturbed her? Her countenance was now neutral, but her eyes remained watchful and she made no attempt to answer him.
‘Would you have preferred me to use “offence” perhaps, or “exception”?’ He leaned closer to her, and said, ‘I do not, you notice, suggest “outrage” for that, I fear, would not meet with your approval any more than “umbrage”. It is too synonymous with spinsters, would you not—?’
Felicity stiffened. ‘Do not make fun of me, sir. I may be a spinster and, therefore, in your eyes a poor, undesired thing, but I have feelings and I have pride.’
‘Felicity, I promise I intended no slight. The thought never crossed my mind that you might think I was making fun of you. I was…I was… Oh, confound it! Come here.’
He had run out of words. He clasped her shoulders and drew her close. A finger beneath her chin tilted her face to his. He searched her eyes. They were shuttered. She was rigid in his arms. Was she scared? Had she never known a man’s kiss? The thought, strangely, pleased him: knowing his wife had never experienced another man’s touch. But he must take care not to frighten her. He lowered his head, slowly, and put his lips to hers.
He almost recoiled in shock. He had expected ice. What he felt was fire.


If you’re interested in finding out more about me and my writing, please visit me on www.janicepreston.co.uk, where you can also read Chapter 1 of From Wallflower to Countess.

Thanks, Janice! The book looks wonderful. We're sure our blog readers will enjoy it.





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