Great news! The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews will be on sale from June 4-June 10, 2018 for 99 cents. This historical romance, set in Victorian England, is a delightful read. Mimi is celebrating the release of the audiobook on June 11, so this is a special opportunity to get the printed copy for a great price. Mark your calendars so you won’t miss out!
On the English Historical Fiction Authors, I wrote on a famous, doomed beauty, painted by Thomas Gaineborough and others…
“The Honourable Mrs. Graham” is the name by which a portrait of Mary Cathcart Graham by Thomas Gainsborough is known. It is a beautiful portrait of a lovely woman painted in 1775, which was displayed in the Royal Academy in 1777. Gainsborough painted her more than once. She was also painted by the Scottish painter David Allan, who had been patronized by her father. Her face has appeared on biscuit tins and even in an advertisement for a Maidenform bra in the 1950’s. In her short lifetime, Mrs. Graham was known for her intelligence, her beauty and her kind nature. There was also a touching romance and tragedy in her story….
To read more, visit the English Historical Fiction Authors blog Here
It’s Christmas time, and books make fantastic gifts. Author Felicia Rogers is offering a holiday special of her novel, The Ruse, just in time for a last-minute gift, or for one’s self if looking for something to read when it’s too wintery outside! Felicia is a new author for me as well-we’re all for a treat! She has provided the post below-take a look…
The Ruse, Andrews Brothers, Book One
The fix is in…but her heart can’t be fooled.
Luke Andrews, Baron of Stockport, is in trouble. He needs a wealthy bride to secure future funds for his financially shaky estate, but the belle of the London season is a spoiled terror with an arrogant father. They’d try the nerves of a saint and Luke can’t quite bring himself to make an offer he knows he’d regret.
Meanwhile, Luke’s half-brother Chadwick never could resist a good game of Faro, or anything else, for that matter. With the baron away, Chadwick will play — gambling the estate’s remaining funds into oblivion. He needs to devise his own scheme to replace the money he’s lost, before his brother returns.
In Stockport village, Brigitta Blackburn doesn’t have two sticks to rub together — literally. With the estate in financial distress and rents high, food and wood are scarce. When she sneaks onto the baron’s land to steal some firewood, she’s caught, hauled before the play-acting “baron,” Chadwick, and offered a solution to her plight… and his.
But Chadwick’s ruse embroils them all. How can Brigitta accept what she thinks to be true, when she really yearns to follow her heart?
–a traditional Regency novel
Buy it Now:
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/lt2lwkn
On sale for 0.99 from Dec. 24th to Dec. 29th!!!
See what one reader said about The Ruse:
By Kivey on Amazon: I honestly LOVED this book it was so awesome. Luke is a hunk and his brother well you all will see if you read it :). This book was very suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat and laughed the heroine is just sooooo spunky. She is truly one heroine I wouldn’t want to mess with.
Fountains bubbled and birds landed in the baths. Luke took the long trail and walked by the fishing pond and hunting grounds. A rock jutted out from the mountain and Luke paused, blocking the sun from his face.
From his high perch, the ruins of Stockport Castle tumbled across the green below. He remembered being a lad and staring at the ruins while holding tightly to his father’s hand. His father’s vivid descriptions had almost made him feel as if he’d walked through the hallowed halls that lay destroyed.
Reality of how things that stood the test of time could still plunge into nothingness gnawed at his innards and he wished his father was around to offer wisdom.
Downhearted, he shoved his hands in his pockets and turned. Upon approaching the manse, he knitted his brows. A line of people gathered. Behind them, carriages lined the road almost as far away as the village.
He strode toward the crowd and joined them. Raindrops fell and he tugged his top hat lower. The throng groaned and waved umbrellas aloft. Before them the manse doors parted and they entered the east wing of the estate.
Tourists dressed in fine frocks with plumed hats filed into the main room, staring avidly about at his home. An individual Luke had never seen acted as a guide, lifting his hands and pointing at one side of the curved staircase. There a woman of refined grace descended.
The guide announced, “Introducing Baroness Stockport, Brigitta Andrews.”
Luke blinked rapidly as the woman turned, smiled, and waved. The crowd returned her actions. She continued to descend until she reached the landing, where she stopped.
From the opposite set of stairs, his half-brother Chadwick, dressed in regal attire, descended. The red coat emphasized his broad shoulders, which he held back. His face scrunched, he didn’t look at the crowd, but instead focused a look filled with unrequited hatred toward the woman on the landing.
The guide lifted his hand toward Chadwick and said, “Introducing the Baron of Stockport.”
Luke covered his gasp and huddled deeper into his coat. What is the meaning of this?
Before any further thoughts could drift through Luke’s mind, Chadwick stopped in the middle of the stairs and shouted, “And just what do you think you’re wearing?”
The woman bristled. “I’m wearing the yellow today, my lord.”
“The yellow? Blah. I’ve told you I detest yellow. Get thee upstairs and change this instant.” He pointed his finger above and the lady cocked a brow and glared.
“You will not tell me what to do! I’m the baroness and I can do as I please. If I want to wear yellow, then I shall wear yellow!”
Chadwick didn’t waver and Brigitta hitched her skirts and ran upstairs. Chadwick faced the crowd and apologized for his wife’s behavior before casually turning on his heel and leaving himself.
Shocked, Luke blindly followed the crowd. The guide led them through the entire east wing. They studied the wall of family portraits, swooned over the ancient family heirlooms, and ended with a riding tour of the grounds.
With each new sight his ire increased. While he’d been strangled initially by feelings of cold, blind rage, the trip on horseback through the grounds cooled his temper and now he was naught but confused.
The event ended and the visitors left in their carriages. Discreetly, Luke sneaked into the house through a downstairs window and raced on tiptoe to his chambers. He sat at a desk and pondered until his head ached. Finally, he pulled the servant’s rope that led directly to his personal valet’s room. He paced, his mind jumbled with nonsensical thoughts. The door opened and he blurted, “Jarvis, I have a problem.”
The valet entered and closed the door. A blank stare covered his face as he blurted, “My lord, we weren’t expecting you. Welcome home.”
“There is something foul at play here.”
Jarvis squinted, lifted his nose, and sniffed.
“Not an odor, Jarvis.”
He lowered his chin. “Excuse me, your lordship, but I fail to understand your meaning.”
Without pretense, Luke said, “In the east wing, Chadwick is pretending to be me!”
“Are you sure?” asked Jarvis, his voice lending to a squeak.
He rounded on the servant. “Yes, I’m sure! They called his name as the Baron of Stockport and last I checked that was me!”
Buy The Ruse on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lkdksyd
Buy The Ruse on Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/lt2lwkn
Felicia Rogers is an author of eight novels and two novellas. When she’s not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.
To find out more information about Felicia Rogers use the links below. She loves hearing from readers.
It is my great pleasure to introduce the lovely and talented author Lucinda Brant, who will be posting her Tasty Summer Reads blog as my guest today. Lucinda writes Georgian historical romances with wit and adventure, and crimances (crime with lashings of romance). Her latest release SALT REDUX is the sequel to the internationally best selling SALT BRIDE, and is a 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist. You can read more about Lucinda on her website www.lucindabrant.com And now for Lucinda…
Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!
New release: SALT REDUX: Sequel to SALT BRIDE
Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After
Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile
Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache
Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge
The time has come…
How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life he has always wanted when a lurking evil consumes his thoughts and haunts his dreams? What will it take for good to triumph over evil?
For readers who enjoyed Salt Bride, the story continues…
2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist
Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?
I drink coffee; lots of it! Making a cup of coffee gets me up out from in front of the computer screen. I have a Nespresso machine. I take my coffee black with one teaspoon of raw sugar. I usually just drink the coffee but occasionally I will indulge in a snack, usually a piece of the latest cake I’ve made – some faves are Zucchini and Carrot cake, Pear, Raspberry and Pistachio bread, Orange, Almond and Coconut cake.
2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?
I use an A5 20 ring binder full of notes for each WIP. I get dressed for work each day in my writing PJs. I buy my “writing” PJs from www.peteralexander.com.au which have funky designs for summer and winter. Ah, the life of the full time writer.
3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?
I’ve been cooking now for a long time, so don’t follow recipes but my taste buds! But I am new to making cakes. My daughter, who has moved out of home, was the cupcake and sweets maker. So I will follow a recipe when making a cake or dessert.
4) What is next for you after this book?
I’m currently writing book 4 in my Roxton series, DAIR DEVIL, which begins on the night before book 3 ends. It’s about a minor character in book 3 Alisdair (Dair) Fitzstuart, heir to the earl of Strathsay, and Aurora (Rory) Talbot, granddaughter of England’s spymaster general. It should hit the cyber shelves before Christmas.
5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?
My books have elements of naughty, but if you mean the mechanics of sex, then no. But there is enough sexual tension to get all hot and bothered, that’s for sure!
And now for the really tasty part: the recipe!
Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry and Almond Warm Summer Salad
(sorry, but I don’t use precise measurements – but this is easy to do!)
About 20 Brussels sprouts topped and chopped in half
a quarter of cabbage (any kind) chopped
a big handful of dried ready to eat cranberries
a big handful of slivered almonds
Rice Bran oil to mix
Steam Brussels sprouts in microwave until tender but firm (but not mushy)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat with oil
Place in an ovenproof dish and heat in a moderate oven until Brussels sprouts have caramelized
Serve as an accompaniment to lamb, chicken or beef.
I have tagged author Prue Batten to carry on the hop. Prue Batten writes Historical Fiction and Fantasy. Her fantasy novel A Thousand Glass Flowers received a silver medallion in the 2012 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her latest book is the second in her Gisborne saga Gisborne: Book of Knights.
I’ll now have you hop on over to Prue Batten’s blog! http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/
Other Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop participants are: Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/
Anna Belfrage http://www.juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/ or http://www.juditharnopp.com/
As part of her Verity’s Lie blog hop, I am delighted to announce my very first guest poster! Author Grace Elliot is joining us today, with a fascinating post about coffee houses in the Georgian era. Grace is the successful author of historical romance novels, including her new book Verity’s Lie, and a regular contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog in addition to maintaining her own blog. Be sure to check out the links below after enjoying her post. Take it away, Grace!
Coffee Houses – the Georgian Equivalent of Facebook?
by Grace Elliot
In the 18th century coffee houses were big business – much like today! A bit like the roll social media plays in the modern age, coffee houses were places for like-minded people to meet and debate issues or conduct business. In the previous century King Charles II recognised and was intimidated by the potential within coffee houses to organise rebellion and tried to ban them as:
“places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty [Charles II] and his Ministers”
Their history is such that it took just over two decades from coffee being available outside the Ottoman Empire, for a rash of them to appear all over Europe. England’s first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1652, and by 1675 there were over 3,000 countrywide! Indeed, coffee houses were the fore-runner of the private gentlemen’s clubs that became so popular in the late 18th century.
The popularity of coffee houses lay not so much in the hot beverages they sold, but as a meeting place. Each house had a distinctive clientele who gathered there to hear the latest news or gossip. By 1739, in London alone there were 331 coffee houses catering for various political groups, lawyers, doctors, stockjobbers, writers, artists or the like. A Frenchman, Antoine Prevost, visiting London commented that coffee houses were “the seat of English liberty”, a place “where you have the right to read all the papers for and against the government.” They also served another social function as a place to have mail delivered, to collect lost property or read newspapers.
One of the most famous coffee houses was Garraway’s, near the Royal Exchange in London. In the 1800’s you could purchase four ham sandwiches and a glass for sherry for two old pence, or feast on a pot of tea, six slices of bread, two crumpets and a muffin for a cost of ten pence plus a two pence tip for the waiter. But, men went there to do business, rather than dine. At Garraway’s people of quality met to buy and sell books, paintings and shipments of tea, coffee or wine. This was done by the famous “inch of candle” sales – a bizarre system of auctioning goods where the successful buyer was the last person to place a bid before a candle stub burnt out.
Coffee houses were great social levelers when men of different classes could meet. It was not unusual for a physician to meet his patient there, or a lawyer his client. Added to that the coffee houses were often gloomy, poorly lit places with smoky atmospheres – they were the perfect places to meet people without arousing suspicion.
In my latest historical romance, Verity’s Lie, the hero wishes to intruct a spy, so what better meeting place than a coffee house!
Excerpt from ‘Verity’s Lie’.
Needham’s Coffee House was a place of business rather than pleasure, and the rooms were decorated accordingly. In the hearth hung a cauldron of coffee from which the servers filled their jugs. Clean sand on the floor, and a candle lit each wooden table; the patrons preferring their transactions to be conducted in the anonymity of gloom.
Ryevale entered this thick atmosphere of tobacco, coffee and coal smoke, the sickly smell catching at the back of his throat. Like so many shadowy monoliths, an assortment of merchants, lawyers, physicians and stock-jobbers sat hunched around tablets, deep in conversation.
Giving his vision time to adjust, Ryevale ducked to avoid a beam and crossed to his favorite corner booth with a view of the door. Sitting, he placed a document on the table and ran a finger down a column of figures, as if there to meet to his broker.
“Coffee, my lord?”
“Thank you, Williams. Most kind.”
“Very good, I’ll see to it myself.”
Williams was Needham’s proprietor; a man both unobtrusive and tight lipped, his character reflected in the coffee house’s reputation for discretion. A well-dressed man wearing a pristine white neckcloth slid into the seat opposite, a copy of the Spectator clamped under his arm. His skin glowed with the freshly scrubbed appearance of a man come directly from the barber, a man who took pride in his appearance. Ryevale looked up and nodded.
“Coffee for me as well, Williams.”
“Of course, Mr. Hanley.” Williams melted backwards.
“Good of you to come at short notice. I appreciate it, Hanley.”
A serving wench brushed past the table, casting doe-eyes at Ryevale, who smiled back absent-mindedly.
“Anything in the news?” he asked, nodding to the Spectator.
“The usual from abroad: Napoleon’s antics on the run…another ambush…that sort of thing.” Hanley had a cultured voice with an aristocratic twang.
“How is business?”
“Stocks are booming, despite the unsettled situation.”
Hanley grinned. “After inside information?”
Williams approached with a coffee jug and two cups. “Here we are, your lordship, Mr. Hanley.”
“Thank you, Williams.” Ryevale pressed a shilling into his hand.
“My lord.” Williams discretely withdrew.
Once alone with no one to overhear, Hanley leaned across the table with a glint in his eye.
“Enough small talk. I take it you need information?”
Hanley smiled as he poured the coffee. “Good. Town has been dull lately; a diversion would be welcome.”Author biography and links:Grace Elliot
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.
Verity’s Lie – Synopsis:
Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. So if Lord Ryevale can lie, so can she… with disastrous consequences.
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Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’ http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
Grace on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot
Grace’s author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Elliot/e/B004DP2NSU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
I love old books. The paper is thicker and has a certain feel to it. They have a scent and a weight in the hands, a feeling of substance. The covers may be leather or cloth, and they impart a dignity to the volume. Somehow old books just seem to have a significance that the newer volumes, however beautiful the cover or dust jacket may be, just don’t match.
The picture above is the cover of a copy of Marmion by Sir Walter Scott. It is difficult to say for sure, but I think it must have been originally white, with gilding in the tooled designs surrounding the center illustration of the young woman in the garden. There is no page giving printing or publishing information. It is a small book, of a size to slip easily into a small purse (or even a reticule) or pocket. It was obviously a dainty item, I think intended to be a gift for a special young lady.
It did not surface until after she had passed away, so I could not ask my grandmother how she came by it. There may be a reason why the page with publication data is missing-might there have been an inscription that was too sensitive to keep? Possibly a romantic gift from someone, kept after the romance had ended? It was hidden away so I suspect it was a keepsake from long ago. I can picture her taking it out occasionally, turning it over in her hands, reading a passage here and there. I hope it brought a smile. I treasure this little book because, as battered and worn as it is, it still has a faded loveliness, and because it was obviously important to my grandmother. It’s inspiring to think what might have been…
From February 10-16, 2013, I am participating in the Hearts Through History Blog Hop. There are 24 blogs involved, each with a special giveaway in honor of Valentine’s Day! (A list is at the end of this post.) Our blogs will feature our favorite romantic anecdotes.
One of the most romantic real-life love stories is that of poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, a love story that began through poetry and grew in their letters. During their correspondence after their meeting, before Elizabeth consented to their elopement and marriage, Robert wrote, “…Will it help me to say that once in this Aladdin-cavern I knew I ought to stop for no heaps of jewel-fruit on the trees from the very beginning, but go on to the lamp, the prize, the last and best of all?….” [Letter dated September 16, 1845] They finally married secretly on September 12, 1846 at St. Marleybone Church, almost a year to the day. I am not, in general a fan of poetry, but their correspondence and poems, when read together, are simply exquisite. To be the prize… (Sigh!)
My favorite fictional romantic anecdote comes from Jane Austen’s Persuasion. The letter written by Captain Wentworth to Anne Elliot is one of the most beautiful love letters. “…You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago….” The ultimate second-chance-at love story. Who could possibly resist?
What is your favorite romantic quotation or anecdote?
It is easy to enter the giveaway; just leave a comment for a chance to win! The giveaway will close on February 16, and the winner will be drawn by February 20, 2013. I will post the name of my winner on this blog. (Please leave contact information if you want to receive an e-mail!) The prize will be a signed hardback copy of HEYERWOOD: A Novel, with some special surprise treats to enjoy with it. This giveaway is open to the US, Canada, UK and Europe.
Be sure to enter on each blog for a chance to win the prizes. Visit each of the blogs featured, so that you won’t miss out! The list of participants follows: