Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Release: Woodland Daughter

Woodland Daughter is set in Yorkshire in 1902, Queen Victoria has died and the new century has brought in many changes, including another Boer War in South Africa, which features a little in this story.


Blurb
A new century brings change to the carefully ordered world Eden Harris maintains, change that threatens all she holds dear. Despite years of devoted service to the Bradburys, the leading family of the community, Eden hides a secret that would affect them all. When an enemy returns, her world is shattered and her secret exposed. Torn and provoked, she strains to protect her family until a devastating accident leaves her alone and frightened. As the threat against her grows, Eden takes her precious daughters and flees from the only place she's called home, to live amongst masses in York. Her attempt to start anew is not so simple as the past haunts her, and the one man she thought lost to her so many years before, returns to claim what has always been his. Eden must gather her strength and look into her heart to accept what the future offers. Can she find the happiness she longs for?

Excerpt.
Joel rested his body against the ship’s rail, bracing himself for the slightest pain in his shoulder. With one arm in a sling tucked beneath his uniform jacket, he was careful to keep out of the way of people. The slightest touch could have him sweating in pain. The sea breeze lifted the hair on his forehead and neck, cooling him slightly. He needed a haircut, but he’d wait until he’d reach England before attending to that.
Below him on the deck, he watched the crowds scurrying about like ants. Soldiers, nurses, travellers, ship crew, dock workers all hurried back and forth. Behind him, from within the ship, came the noise of eager travellers settling in for their ocean journey.
He stared out into the distance, where Table Mountain dominated the view. He was sad to be leaving Africa. He’d come to think of it as home in a way. The sights and sounds, the heat and people were familiar now. Of course nothing competed against Bradbury Hall, but he’d been in Africa for seven years. It was a long time. The army had replaced his family. He’d learnt to rely on his fellow officers to ease the loneliness, and at first it had worked well. The adventure and excitement kept his mind from thinking of home. But lately, for the last year and a half, a yearning to return home had claimed him and not let go.  
The ships funnels belched smoke and the boarding siren wailed. Under his feet he felt the deck shudder as the enormous engines surged with power. Anticipation welled. He was going home. Despite the ache in his shoulder, he smiled. Time to start a new phase of his life. Time to reaffirm the links with his family, the estate, old friends, and… Eden.
He was conscious of the changes awaiting him back home. Much had happened in his absence. Not long after he joined the regiment, his mother died. That had been a blow, but on the whole he had managed to keep the family and home intact in his mind. When he’d left England, his father had been alive, Charlie well, Annabella cheeky, pretty, naive and Eden… Eden had been beautiful, a free spirit of the woodland where she lived.
What awaited him now?
The ship eased from its berth and glided out into the harbour. The breeze sharpened and Joel turned away from the rail. He glanced at a crippled solider standing near the door leading into one of the saloons. The soldier swayed on his crutches, one leg gone in battle.
“Major Bradbury?”
Joel checked his step and hurried over to steady the man with his good arm.
“Thanks, Sir.” The solider smiled.
“Stevens, isn’t it?” Joel mused, helping the man to lean against a wall and out of the way of other passengers.
“Stevenson, Sir, Corporal Dave Stevenson.” He leaned against the support and breathed out slowly. “I still haven’t got the hang of these things yet.” He held up the crutches.  
Joel grinned. “I think it might be an art that takes practice, Corporal.”
Dave took of his hat and wiped the seat off from his forehead, his fair hair stuck to his head. “Do you mind, Sir, if I sit down? This leg isn’t used to holding all the weight and gets a bit shaky, like.”
“Of course, man, sit.” Joel again aided Stevenson in lowering to the deck. There were no chairs about and after a moment’s hesitation, Joel join him and gently eased his backside down, careful not to jar his shoulder. “We should have gone inside, it would be more comfortable.”
“Sorry, Sir, but I’m no sailor. Once inside my stomach has a mind of its own. I’m better out here.”
“Well, I’ll keep you company for a while until dinner is announced. My stomach is the opposite of yours. Once on the ocean I’m always ravenous. I do nothing but eat.”
“You might struggle with a knife and fork, using only one hand.”
Joel chuckled. “Yes, true. So far I’ve had only soup and sandwiches.”
Stevenson laid his crutches beside his good leg and gazed out through the iron rail. “So, we’re going back home to England. I’ve been away three years. I should be happy to be going back, but I’m not as excited as I should be, I don’t think.”
“It affects men in different ways.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, Sir, how do you feel? Was your clipped wing the reason for you to go home?”
“Yes. My shoulder stopped a bullet.” He glanced down at his padded and bandaged left shoulder. “Normally they’d take it out and I’d be back in the mix of things, but this Boer bullet went in at an angle and wedge itself deep. The surgeon managed to get it out, but he wasn’t sure what damaged had been done. Only once the swelling has gone down and the soreness gone, will I know what strength remains in the arm.”
“Does your family know about it yet?”
“No, not yet. It didn’t seem worth writing when I was going home anyway. What about your family?”
“Oh aye, they know. I’ve been in hospital a while, long enough for letters to go back and forth.” Stevenson bent up his leg and rested his elbow on it. “They say they don’t care if I come home missing a leg, as long as I’m coming home to them. I’m an only child see, and I used to help my father run our grocers shop.”
“Will you do that again?”
“I guess so. Funny how things change, isn’t it. I hated working in that shop as a lad. All my friends would be out playing football or cricket and I’d be stuck behind a counter. The first opportunity I got to leave I took, and that was the army.” He tapped the toe of his boot on the deck. “Now, I can’t wait to get back there. I miss me mam and dad, and me gran, who lives with us. My mam makes the best jam roly-poly you’ve ever tasted. Dad brews his own beer in the back shed and Gran used to be my partner in cards.”
“There’s nothing better in this world than returning home to a family that loves you.” A picture came into Joel’s mind of the estate in autumn, the tall graceful trees, their leaves turning gold and amber, the squirrels scurrying around in the wood, collecting the last of their booty, harvest time and bringing in the hay, the smell of open fires as the gardeners raked up and burnt the fallen leaves.
He leaned his head back and smiled in remembrance. “I long to go riding with my brother. We used to ride for miles. Sometimes we’d stop at a pub and have an ale and a hot pie smothered in gravy.”
“Me mam has written of a neighbour’s daughter, Vera, who she hopes I’ll one day marry. I’m not so sure what Vera has to say about it though. We got along all right before I went away, but…well, I’m not as I once was.”
“If this Vera is a decent woman, she’ll not mind.”
“Maybe.” Stevenson lifted his face to the breeze. “Will you have a girl waiting for you at home, Sir?”
Joel’s stomach clenched. “Perhaps. I’m ready for a family. However, I’ve been away longer than you, and I’m not sure what to expect when I arrive home.”
“None of us are, Sir, none of us are.”   
A group of children ran by, the shoes thundering on the timber deck. One cheeky boy paused and waved to Joel and Stevenson before scampering off again. A harassed nanny tried to catch up as she wheeled a pram after them. Joel watched until they turned a corner at the bow of the ship and were out of sight. His heart constricted, thinking of the boy’s lively face. A son. He wanted a son so badly it hurt. A boy to teach all the things his father taught him, to hunt, to fish, to ride, to play sports. He thought of Charlie. Two sons perhaps. Two fine boys to grow up together like he and Charlie did.
Emotion clogged his throat and he coughed to clear it.  He’d been away from home too long…

Buy in ebook or paperback from all online retailers such Amazon USA and Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook, etc. 

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Launch-The Rebel's Daughter by Anita Seymour


The Rebel’s Daughter


Released by Books We Love on Amazon 
Helena Woulfe, the daughter of a wealthy Exeter nobleman leads a privileged life, however, when rebellion sweeps the West Country, her family is caught in its grip. After Monmouth’s bloody defeat in battle at Sedgemoor, Helena sets off for Somerset to find the three missing members of her family.
 
With the Woulfe estate confiscated by the crown, Helena and her younger brother Henry hope the anonymity of the capital city will be more forgiving to the children of a convicted rebel. However, Helena finds her search for security and respectability in London are threatened by someone who wishes harm to a traitor's daughter.
Review by Diane Scott Lewis - Anita Seymour writes with a sure hand; her knowledge of the seventeenth-century, battles and customs, sweeps you into the era. Helena is a strong, yet vulnerable character you will be intrigued to spend time with.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Duke's Mysterious Lady by Maggi Andersen

I've finally decided to tackle publishing my backlist. The first is a Regency novel, THE DUKE'S MYSTERIOUS LADY. 
(A reissue of Rules of Conduct)

AMAZON BUY LINK
SMASHWORDS

Viola, so named by her benefactor, Hugh, Duke of Vale, has lost her memory, along with her respectability, after being found unconscious near his estate dressed in a male servant’s clothes. She is a mystery unto herself, with her knowledge of books and Latin, and her skill at the pianoforte.
Thanks to the duke’s kindness, Viola has found a temporary home with his nanny in a cottage on his estate, while danger lurks in the shadows and darkens her dreams. She must leave beautiful Vale Park before Hugh marries Lady Felicity Beresford, the neighbor’s daughter; their marriage arranged when they were children. And before Viola and Hugh succumb to an impossible passion.

As the announcement of Hugh’s engagement draws near, he tries to accept the inevitable, he must marry a woman he doesn’t love. He is intrigued by Viola. Who is she and what has driven her to such an act? As the Bow Street Runners work to find the answers, Hugh grows more deeply and dangerous drawn to the mysterious lady. 


 Review of the original book:


"This is one of those stories that you just can't help but like...The characters were memorable and the plot solid. I totally enjoyed every page and found the ending well worth the journey. It was one that I can see re-reading many times before /if I get tired of it.
 Ms Andersen has done a great job in creating a wonderful tale that kept me interested and involved. I look forward to reading more from this author." Seriously Reviewed.

 Excerpt:
 
Viola opened her eyes and wriggled her toes, luxuriating in the comfort and warmth of the feather bed. Dawn light filtered through the lace curtain of the attic window. For a brief moment, she felt cocooned, safe from the world, but then the worry of her lost memory niggled at her. It was as if a veil had been draped over her mind, hiding the past from view, and she was helpless to do anything but wait for it to lift. She tensed, was something portentous hiding beneath the veil? When it did lift what would she discover?
            She couldn’t bear lying there worrying about it. The cock crowed in the home farm. It was still very early. The faint voices of the farm hands reached her, herding the cows in for milking.
            Curious to see more of her temporary home, she climbed from the bed and poured icy water into a bowl from the pitcher on the table. She splashed her face and shuddered. Wide-awake now, she quickly dressed. Opening her door, she hesitated. Was it wise to walk about the grounds alone? She pushed commonsense aside, eager to see more of Vale Park. Ignoring the inadequacy of her house slippers and the thin gown, she wrapped the shawl Nanny had given her around her shoulders, crept down the stairs, and out into the brisk air.
            She followed a meandering path that led around the cottage down through a meadow of bright yellow buttercups, to a river. The wide stretch of water flowed swiftly away through the meadows, its far side rimmed by forest.
            Flocks of birds swooped overhead. The peace and beauty of her surroundings revived her and she bent to pick a wild rose. The pink flower had a delicate perfume, a surprise in such a hardy, prickly plant. She stood, pressing its petals to her nose, the scent a wistful hint from her past that unsettled her. Somewhere, she had seen these flowers before. Her attempts to remember brought such anguish, she almost cried out.
            She swung round at the sound of hoof beats, as a horse galloped around a copse of trees. The rider pulled on the reins and cursed as the horse reared. Viola stepped back off the path and lost her footing, falling hard onto her bottom in a patch of dewy grass. Two hounds bolted out of the bushes. One was upon her in an instant, nuzzling and licking her face.
            “Oh, don’t,” she cried with a laugh, attempting to push it away.
            “Down, Henry!” His Grace growled from atop the tall bay, and the dog returned to his master’s side.
            “What the devil are you doing out so early?” The duke leapt down. “Are you hurt?”
            “Only my dignity, I’m afraid.”
            He grasped her arm and pulled her to her feet as if she weighed no more than the fluffy head of a dandelion. His hands lingered on her back as if to steady her, but it seemed to have the reverse affect and she almost stumbled. Aware her face was probably as pink as the rose Viola held, she threw the flower away and tried to brush down her skirt.
             The duke’s gaze took in her sodden slippers and shabby dress with the damp patch where she’d fallen onto the ground. He brought with him the bitter truth of her predicament, leaving her feeling grubby and foolish, her brief delight in the morning ruined.
            “I apologize for startling you. I never meet a soul on this path. What are you doing wandering around so early?”
            “I thought it lovely, with the sleeping world awaking to a new day.” How lame her words sounded.
            “Have you remembered anything?”
            “No, nothing.” No doubt, he thought her foolish; perhaps he hoped this madwoman would disappear back to where she came from. Viola wrapped the shawl around herself more closely.
            “Come, I’ll walk back with you.” He led his horse along the lane and in a short while, the cottage appeared through the trees. “I assume you’re feeling better?”
            “Yes, thank you. Nanny’s been wonderful. She is well versed in herbs. Nanny gave me something that made me sleep like a baby!”
             “Ah, yes. I well remember her potions. I’ll never forget some of the foul brews I was made to swallow as a child.”
            He looked down at her with a devastating grin. “I’m sorry you had to endure them.”
            Viola couldn’t help responding to that grin. “You don’t look at all sorry, Your Grace.”
            The duke laughed. “I’m sure they are beneficial.” He turned back to the path. “We must make you well quickly, Miss Viola. There may be a family which is worried about you.”
            His words tumbled her back into reality. She trembled with frustration. If only she could remember. How long would it be before she outlived her welcome?
            They arrived at the cottage gate.
            “I’ll leave you to Nanny.” Mounting his horse, he raised his hat. “Do take care of yourself. You don’t want to be laid up too long with Nanny in attendance.”
            Viola certainly did not. He rode off with his dogs running behind him, and she turned to walk along the garden path where roses, delphiniums, and hollyhocks waved tall heads above the rhubarb and the cabbages. Her feet were so cold that she could hardly feel her toes.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kitty McKenzie's Land re-release

After a bit of a delay, I've managed to get the sequel to my novel, Kitty McKenzie, re-released.
Titled, Kitty McKenzie's Land, the story continues of Kitty's new life in Australia after leaving England to follow the man she loves. But not all goes to plan.

This story was previously published in 2006, so it's been a while since it's original 15 minutes of fame. I'm hoping this time around, the story reaches new audiences and readers enjoy the two books about Kitty and her extraordinary life.


Blurb
1866

Kitty McKenzie's path has taken her from the slums of York to the inhospitable bush of colonial Australia. Yet, when she believes her dreams will never be attained, she is shown that sometimes life can be even better than what you wish for.

Kitty McKenzie is gifted land in the far north of New South Wales. Life at the northern property is full of hardships as she learns how to become a successful landowner.

However, Kitty’s strength of will and belief in herself gives her the courage most women of her time never realize they have. A decided thorn in her side is the arrogant and patronizing Miles Grayson, owner of the adjourning run. He wants her gone so he can have her land, but he wants her even more.

Available 0.99c as an ebook in several formats.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

‘Perdita’ - Fashion icon.

Mary Robinson - portrait by Hoppner



Mary Robinson would never have been seen out and about looking anything but at her most elegant, although her style, at least in her early years, was less flamboyant than most. On her first visit to Ranelagh she wore a simple Quaker gown which ensured that she was noticed. It was of light brown lustring with close round cuffs. She left her auburn curls unpowdered, upon which she pinned a plain round cap and white chip hat, without any ornament.


Later, when she became famous as mistress to the Prince of Wales, she set tongues wagging by entertaining lavishly, and sending female hearts beating with envy. Every new gown she wore, the very latest Paris had to offer, was imitated and emulated to the smallest degree. And ever the actress, she loved to drive about Hyde Park in her new blue and silver phaeton, drawn by milk white ponies, playing to the crowds. Sometimes she would be very simply attired wearing a straw hat tied at the back of her head in the style of a paysanne, at others painted, powdered, patched and rouged to perfection as any fashionable leader of the ton should be.

Charles James Fox and Mary

A courtesan, demi-rep, or member of the Cyprian corps, as they were sometimes known, was expected to dress at the height of fashion, own at least two carriages, and live in the most fashionable part of town. In the eighteenth century they were rather looked upon as celebrities. But this hedonistic lifestyle required high finance, supplied by a man of considerable wealth in return for her exclusive attention.

Unfortunately, Mary Robinson never did succeed in finding a man rich enough to afford her, and as a consequence of her love of spending she quickly fell into debt. Not that her concerns over lack of money ever taught her prudence. She considered her high living standards as necessary for her status. The £5,000 that she managed to squeeze out of the young Prince George after their brief affair ended, helped a little. She believed this allowance to be well deserved as she had given up her career on the stage for him. And of course credit was easily available in anticipation of more from the Prince once he came of age.

Money sometimes came her way if her husband had a win at cards at Brooks’s. And famous artists such as Hoppner, Sir Joshua Reynolds and George Romney would paint portraits of her without charging a fee as they could sell print copies to the masses because of her beauty and status as a fashion icon.

Banistre Tarleton - portrait by Reynolds




A new love came into her life and Mary and Tarleton were very much the celebrity couple. Banistre Tarleton, a hero of the American War of Independence, with his famously cropped hair, looked exceedingly handsome in his hussar uniform of blue jacket, waistcoat and leather boots that fitted as tight as silk stockings. Mary was proclaimed as a fashion icon by Lady’s Magazine, who even named a hat after her. ‘The Perdita’, as it became known, was a chip hat with a bow tied under the chin and pink ribbons puffed around the crown. It proved to be immensely popular.





On her return from France in January 1782, Mary wore one of her Paris gowns of white satin with purple breast-bows for the opera. Her head-dress was a cap composed of white and purple feathers entwined with flowers and festooned with diamond pins. According to the Herald she looked supremely beautiful, so lovely that the audience lingered to watch as she stayed to select a box to rent following the performance. Later, her decoration of the box caused a flurry of gossip in the newssheets as she upholstered the chairs in pink satin, and lined the walls with mirrors.

Mary Robinson- portrait by Romney

Mary became famous for her gold clocked stockings and a cataract muff. This was also French with long-hairs that hung down like a waterfall. And then there were her gold-clocked stockings for which she was dubbed ‘Lark-heeled Perdita’. She caused a sensation by wearing the Chemise de la Reine to the opera. This was a simple muslin gown adapted from that worn by Marie-Antoinette. It had three-quarter length puffed sleeves and frills around the neck. Falling simply and gracefully it clung deliciously to the figure without hindrance of hoops or pads. It soon became all the rage among aristocratic ladies, not just with the Cyprian Corps, including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. It did, however, result in some criticism from the press, as it made it much more difficult to judge a lady’s status by her appearance.

Despite the fact that Mary considered herself to be intellectually superior to most courtesans, and infinitely more sensitive, she was considered to be very much the leader of the Cyprian corps. But no one, not courtesan nor aristocrat could rival her beauty or style. Her life might have been considered utterly scandalous, but in her prime she remained very much the centre of attention.

The story of Mary Robinson, also known as Perdita

Available from Amazon

Or on special offer from Sainsburys 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Could the daughter of Downton Abbey cope?

Imagine the daughters of Downton Abbey losing their home, their parents, their wealth, their status, their friends.
This is what happens to the characters in my historical novel, Kitty McKenzie.
Kitty has lost everything, and as the eldest daughter, she has to now provide and care for her younger siblings, a task she has no experience or knowledge of how to do. From a life of privilege she is faced with all kinds of adversities to overcome.
How will she manage to cope with these new challenges when the only decisions she used to make was what dress she needed to wear and what book to read after dinner?
How was she to create a home for them all, and an income?
She never realised that buried deep inside her was an inner strength that would come to the fore and allow her to manage, even prosper, in an alien world of the working class.

Could Mary or Edith from Downton Abbey have coped so well? I'd like to think they would.




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Re-Releases

It's always nice to see an older book being released. It gives me the sense of renewal and that hopefully my book just might reach a new audience and give readers some hours of enjoyment.

The very first book I wrote, To Gain What's Lost, has been re-released under my new pen name of Annemarie Brear. It's available in ebook, paperback and now large print.

I loved writing this book. At the time (1997) I had no idea about the art of writing, I simply just let it pour out of me and got it down on paper. The story was huge, enormous. It took me two years to finish it and was obviously in need of serious editing. Eventually it was cut down in word length, edited, chopped, re-written and finally allowed out into the world a few years later.

Now, it's been given another chance to shine. I do hope you like it.



Blurb:
She thinks her life has changed for the better, her dark secrets hidden, but little does she know… The daughter of a wealthy landowner in Yorkshire, England in 1864, Anna Thornton leads a privileged life. But she is not content. She wants her life to mean something and longs to be accepted for the free-thinking, independent woman she is. When the dashing, adventurer Matt Cowan sweeps her off her feet, she thinks she has finally met her soul mate. However, he’s not the man he seems to be. After he sails for South America, leaving her behind in England, Anna discovers she’s preg¬nant. Heartbroken she flees her family home, determined to keep her child’s illegitimacy a secret. He has a few dark secrets of his own… 
Brenton O’Mara is a strong, independent man who wants to make his own way without relying on his father’s wealth. He comes to Anna’s new home looking for work and convinces the reluctant woman to hire him. But Anna's wary of men, of love, and treats him as nothing more than the penniless laborer she believes him to be. Then, just when Anna seems to feel she is getting on with her new life, and Brenton believes he has a chance with her, the past rears up to confront them. 

Can Brenton and Anna learn to trust each other, or will they let yesterday destroy tomorrow?

So you can grab a copy in the normal online places.
ebook, at:
Smashwords
Amazon Kindle
and large print at Amazon.UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gain-Whats-Lost-Large-Print/dp/1626941556/ref=cm_wl_huc_item

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Historical Belles and Beaus: Historical Romance ~ Reluctance, by Jen Black

Historical Belles and Beaus: Historical Romance ~ Reluctance, by Jen Black: Frances Bowes, Lady Rathmere, is the heroine of RELUCTANCE.  Married young, nine years a widow, now in her mid-twenties, she lives happ...

Historical Romance ~ Reluctance, by Jen Black

Frances Bowes, Lady Rathmere, is the heroine of RELUCTANCE. 

Married young, nine years a widow, now in her mid-twenties, she lives happily in full control of her fortune and sees no reason to endure marriage again.

Jack Slade, Marquess of Streatham, is the hero. Wracked with guilt over his wife’s death in childbirth, he flees London for his run-down estate in the north swearing celibacy for the rest of his life though still only in his mid-twenties. He believes he cannot allow his progeny to kill another innocent woman.
Frances, Jack and Charles Devenish were childhood playmates. Charles and Jack have maintained the friendship at school and in London, but Frances and the other local residents have not seen Jack since he was eleven years old.

When the story opens, Frances saves a stranger − Jack − from drowning. Discovering him ungrateful, she assumes him an insufferable idiot and forgets him. A week later, conscience pricking, he arrives unannounced at her Cousin Mary’s birthday luncheon in order to apologize for his rudeness.

This charming and thoughtful Regency story is set in the north of England away from the constraints of the ton and society’s expectations. When a handsome soldier arrives in the locality, he manages to destroy any peace of mind Frances had, and almost ruins her cousin Mary’s reputation. When his attentions became unbearable, there seems only one way out of the tangle.


Read RELUCTANCE by Jen Black and return to a very different world.

available here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Reluctance-Jen-Black-ebook/dp/B007ROL46Q/ref=la_B003BZ8JNQ_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393083978&sr=1-6

Monday, February 10, 2014

Broken Hero re-release

I'm enjoying re-releasing my old back list into ebook formats on Smashwords.com and Amazon sites.

The latest one I've put online is my World War II novel, Broken Hero.


Blurb:
Audrey Pearson's life changed dramatically when WWII broke out and her large home, Twelve Pines on the East Yorkshire coast, became a convalescence home for wounded soldiers. Her life is no longer lavish with entertainment, beautiful clothes and surrounded by a loving family. Soldiers, physically and mentally wounded now fill her home. The smell of disinfectant replaces her mother's perfume and gone are the friends and acquaintances - instead nurses roam the hallways. 
Captain Jake Harding, a doctor training in psychiatry arrives at Twelve Pines. Audrey immediately finds herself attracted to the Captain, but he is remote towards her. Puzzled by his cold behaviour, Audrey tries to learn more about the handsome Captain. He reveals that he's lost a wife and baby in childbirth and refuses to ever remarry. 
However, despite this, Audrey believes she can change his mind and make him aware he doesn't have to spend his life alone.The ice around Jake's heart begins to melt. For years he has rejected the possibility of finding love again because of the pain it caused him before, but the beautiful Audrey shows him her love and she needs someone to love her in return. 
Could he honestly walk away from her, from the love that could be his? 


Available for Kindle and all other online forms of reading devices.
Amazon USA $1.99
Amazon UK £1.25
Other formats at Smashwords.com $0.99

Friday, January 3, 2014

Smugglers in Northumberland ~ a historical romance


For an ex-duchess, obeying orders proves difficult. But Melanie has little choice. Scarred and cheated out of her widow's entitlement, she accepts a post as housekeeper in remote Gavington House where widowed Lord Jarrow rears his young daughter. He has secrets, and Mel's curiosity will not let her rest until she has discovered what it is that occupies both him and his friend Mangerton. Soon she is embroiled in lying to the Excise men and dealing with gunshot wounds in the middle of the night… amzn.to/ZLEeT1


Excerpt
‘Circumstances change, sir. A new master appeared, with staff of his own.’ In a way, that was true. Her step-son, the new duke, had summoned his lawyer friends and cheated her out of the dower house and everything else to which she had been entitled.
A grim smile touched the corners of Lord Jarrow’s mouth. ‘Well, at least your mistress was prepared to give you good references. These are excellent.’

‘Thank you, sir. I hoped they would serve.’
His eyes narrowed, and Melanie’s stomach clenched in response. Her tone had been a little too pert. Lord, it was so difficult to strike the right balance. Dipping her head, she surveyed her clasped hands and waited to see what direction he would take. Be subservient, she told herself. Think subservience, and you will practice it. If you do well, you will be his housekeeper, and have the security of a roof over your head.

‘Gavington is perhaps not what you expected,’ he said slowly, sitting forward with his forearms on his desk. ‘The house is virtually closed. I keep few staff, only those necessary for the comfort of myself and my daughter. I do not welcome visitors. Now you have seen how isolated we are, do you still wish to be considered for the post?’

‘Of course, sir.’
‘Why?’
Jolted, she met his quizzical glance. ‘Why, sir?’

‘It is a simple question, Miss Grey. Why do you, a young and attractive woman, wish to disappear into the countryside when you have had command of a house such as Rockford?’ He looked down at her reference ‘Why, there must have been forty staff there when I visited Middlesex three years ago. Here, we have less than six.’


Dear God, he’d been to Rockford House! Three years ago? She blinked, frantically searching her memory. Had he been a guest at dinner? No, she would have remembered him. But if he’d paid a call on the duke in the estate office at the far end of the west wing, she might never have seen him. That must be what had happened. Thank goodness he showed no sign of remembering her.

Available on Amazon Kindle: Here
This title was formerly on sale as Victorian Beauty but I decided neither  the title not the cover gave a true flavour of the story, so in the middle of December 2013 I sat down at the computer, linked to Amazon Kindle and changed both things. It was easier than I expected, and I only wish I'd done it sooner!

Uploaded by Jen Black

Monday, December 9, 2013

NEW RELEASE! TAMING A GENTLEMAN SPY - The Spies of Mayfair Series, Book Two

Out in e-book! Print released in February.
AMAZON

Reviews: This book hit all the happy places for me: great characters, a touch of intrigue, family, the royals and even a villainous suitor! Gaele.
Will Sibella forget this man who gave her this sweet kiss? Will she choose the man of her life by listening to her heart or her reason? All these questions will be answered when you read this novel. Ms. Andersen's style of writing kept my interest throughout the whole book. I recommend this novel. 
Nicole Laverdure


BLURB: John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then weak fool that he is he kissed her... Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago -- when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella's many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe's suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn't feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss...


Excerpt:


Linden Hall Yorkshire, 1818

            “I trust we’ll bag a few birds on the moor tomorrow, Chaloner.” John Haldane, the 4th Earl of Strathairn, glanced at the guests enjoying the Hunt Ball in his ballroom. Bright chatter rose in the warm smoky air as decorative ladies mingled with the more soberly dressed gentlemen. “My chef plans a grouse dish flavored with juniper berries for our dinner.”

            “Excellent.” The Marquess of Brandreth raised his glass. “We will be out at the crack of dawn, I daresay.” He took Strathairn’s arm and drew him into a quiet corner. “I don’t wish to strain a friendship I value, John, but I must offer a word of advice.”

            “Oh?” Strathairn eyed him warily. He had liked Chaloner better before his father died. The man seemed to lose his sense of humor after inheriting the title.

            “You are often seen in Sibella’s company. Don’t get too fond of her.”

            Strathairn moved his shoulders in a shrug of anger. He glanced over at Sibella in her white muslin, talking earnestly to Mrs. Bickerstaff. “Your sister is intelligent and good company. I enjoy our conversations. Nothing strange about that.”

            “I struggle to believe it is just that. I may not be privy to the details of the work you perform for the military, but rumors do float about the House of Lords. You must admit that due to those circumstances alone, you would not make her a good husband.”

            Chaloner’s determination put him in mind of a robin with a worm. Useless to argue. With a sigh, Strathairn acknowledged that he only strove to protect his sister from possible hurt. “No need for concern,” he said. “I have no wish to marry your sister, or anyone else for that matter. I do intend to ask Lady Sibella to dance, though. Unless you think my waltzing with her will ruin her reputation.”

            Chaloner huffed out a laugh and rubbed the back of his neck. “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t enjoy having to say this to you, John, but it befalls me as head of the family. Sib has a love of home and hearth. She looks for a husband who will sit by the fire with her at night. That isn’t you, is it?”

            “She deserves the best, and no, it isn’t me, Chaloner.”



After a fruitful day in the fields shooting grouse, Strathairn and his guests made their way over the lawns to the Hall.

            The gamekeeper, beaters and handlers departed for the stables with the hounds while servants came to take the birds to the kitchen.

            On the terrace, Lady Sibella, in a gown the color of lilacs, sat playing cards and drinking tea with the other women in the late afternoon sun.

            Strathairn mounted the steps, carrying his shotgun over his shoulder, intent on returning it to the gunroom. “I trust you ladies enjoyed your day?”

            “We did, my lord.” Lady Sibella’s sister, Viscountess Bathe, smiled. “Or at least those of us who have not lost our pin money at whist.”

            “I see you had a successful day, my lord.” Lady Sibella eyed his gun with a faint shudder.             “I saw your kill on its way to the kitchens.”

            He smiled. “I hope you’ll enjoy our efforts once served in a tasty sauce.”

            “I expect I shall. It’s contrary of me, isn’t it?” Lady Sibella frowned up at him. “But please don’t suggest that all women are so.”

            He eyed the expectant faces of the other ladies and held up his hands with a laugh. “I wouldn’t be so bold.”

            “Perhaps you would like a cup of tea, Lord Strathairn.” Lady Sibella gestured to the teapot a servant was refilling with hot water. “You must be thirsty after your arduous day.”

            She well knew how much he hated tea, for he’d been forced to drink it at a morning call at their house in Eaton Place. She had naughtily offered to pour it into a potted plant when her mother was distracted by another guest.

            Her playful smile was delicious, and he couldn’t help grinning back. Aware of the sharp-eyes on him from around the table, he shook his head. “I’m afraid I must decline for I’m not fit for company. But, thank you.” He bowed and entered the house leaving them to resume their card game.

            Strathairn cleaned his gun and left it on the rack in the gunroom. He’d enjoyed Lady Sibella’s friendship like no other lady of his acquaintance. Her humor seemed so in tune with his and he often found she understood his thoughts before he expressed them. Damn Chaloner, he was such a stickler for convention.



 My book is set in 1819 during a period of great unrest in England. The result of the unpopular Corn Laws brought people together in St. Peter's Field. A riot ensued. Named for Wellington's Waterloo, the Peterloo Massacre shocked England and the government during . Here's more about it:
St Peter's Field
After the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century, Manchester began expanding at an astonishing rate in the 19th Century as part of a process of unplanned urbanization.  In August 1819 on a cloudless, hot summer’s day, a peaceable crowd of some 60,000 to 80,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Field (an open piece of cleared land alongside Mount Street) to hear orator, Henry Hunt speak and to demand reform of parliamentary representation. What happened next was as unnecessary as it was shocking. Cavalry charged into the crowd with sabres drawn, and in the ensuring confusion, 15 people were killed and between 400 and 700 injured.
In March 1819, Joseph Johnson, John Knight and James Wroe formed the Manchester Patriotic Union Society. All the leading radicals in Manchester joined the organisation. Johnson was appointed secretary and Wroe became treasurer.
The local magistrates were concerned that such a substantial gathering of reformers might end in a riot. The magistrates therefore decided to arrange for a large number of soldiers to be in Manchester on the day of the meeting. This included four squadrons of cavalry of the 15th Hussars (600 men), several hundred infantrymen, the Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry (400 men), a detachment of the Royal Horse Artillery and two six-pounder guns and the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry (120 men) and all Manchester's special constables (400 men).

Map of the Peterloo Massacre
At about 11.00 a.m. William Hulton, the chairman, and nine other magistrates met at Mr. Buxton's house in Mount Street that overlooked St. Peter's Field. Although there was no trouble, the magistrates became concerned by the growing size of the crowd. Estimations concerning the size of the crowd vary but Hulton came to the conclusion that there were at least 50,000 people in St. Peter's Field at midday. Hulton, therefore, took the decision to send Edward Clayton, the Boroughreeve and the special constables to clear a path through the crowd. The 400 special constables were therefore ordered to form two continuous lines between the hustings where the speeches were to take place, and Mr. Buxton's house where the magistrates were staying.
           Shortly after the meeting began, local magistrates called on the military to arrest well-known radical orator, Henry Hunt who was asked to chair the meeting, and several others on the hustings with him, and to disperse the crowd. Arrested along with Hunt for inciting a riot and imprisoned was Samuel Bamford, who led a group from his native Middleton to St. Peter’s Field.
Bamford emerged as a prominent voice for radical reform.
Hunt became MP for Preston 1830-33.
To understand what happened in Manchester one must look at the period of economic upheaval between 1783 to 1846, when Britain shifted from being a predominantly agricultural and commercial society to being the world’s first industrial nation. Many of the most contentious political issues of the day, corn and currency laws for example, were really questions of whether government policy should be directed towards encouraging this shift, or trying to reverse it.
Original blue plaque replaced in 2007

 Accompanying the economic changes was the most sustained and dangerous cycle of revolutionary discontent and working-class protest in British history. This prompted a few political concessions on the part of the governing aristocracy, but more significant was the emergence of governmental machinery designed to maintain law and order, which in turn led unintentionally to the foundation of the modern centralized and bureaucratic state.
The power of the Crown declined significantly. Although George III (until he became incurably mad in 1810) George IV, William IV, Victoria, and her consort Albert, could all influence the course of political intrigue, the monarch’s power to control the policies of the state was severely reduced.
As the scope and scale of government business increased during the long French wars, less and less passed through the monarch’s hands. Except possibly where foreign policy was concerned, the Crown was being reduced to little more than a figurehead of state. Effective power remained in the hands of a territorial aristocracy, whose representatives still dominated both Houses of Parliament. They faced an active and vociferous radical movement, particularly strong in 1792 and in the economically depressed years after the end of the war in 1815, when a period of famine and chronic unemployment came into being, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws.
Postwar adjustment brought depression, with agrarian disturbances, machine-breaking and revival of popular reform agitation. Two meets at Spa Fields 1816 and an attack on the Prince Regent led to suspension of Habeas Corpus and restrictions on public meetings.
 Historian, Robert Poole has called the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester one of the defining moments of its age. It left an enormous psychological scar on a polity which prided itself on its ability to contain discontents. Yet the aristocracy survived, largely because the middling ranks, terrified by the violence of the French Revolution, rejected any sort of revolutionary radicalism.
The Peterloo Massacre called on the Government in 1819 to pass what is known as the Six Acts which forbade training in arms and drilling, authorized seizure of arms, simplified prosecutions, forbade seditious assemblies, punished blasphemous libels and restricted the press.
Resource: The Cambridge Historical Encyclopedia of Great Britain and Ireland.

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