Where there’s a will there’s a way

In last week’s Footnotes on Friday post, I wrote the first post of three on inheritance in Georgian England. Part 1 was about entails and titles. This week, I want to talk about wills. Part 3 will be about dowries, marriage settlements, and jointure (provisions in a will for the widow).

Only certain people could make a will

Then, as today, a will is a statement that says who is to have your property after you die. So the first requirement for our Georgian testators (will maker) is that they had some property (real, personal, or both).

They had to be ‘in their right mind’. If they made a will while insane or drunk, and someone could prove that, the will would be void. So would be the wills of convicted felons, traitors, outlaws, suicides, slaves, prisoners, and people who had been excommunicated’

Married women could only make a will with the consent of their husbands, and that consent could be withdrawn right up until the will was probated.

All other men and women could make wills, as could boys over the age of 14 and girls over the age of 12. In practice, poor people didn’t and those with substantial property to leave mostly did.

Wills were a way to look after the survivors

A will allowed a testator to make sure everyone was looked after, to pay debts (real or moral), and possibly (as we see in many stories) to settle final scores. Many testators specifically said that they’d made a will in order to prevent disputes in the family after their death. A few seem to have intended their grudges to live after them.

Wills were a final chance for the dead to impose conditions on the living, which is a marvelous device for us storytellers. In theory, testators could dispose of their own property however they wished. However, if the will seemed unfair, it might be challenged. As noted above, one ground for contesting a will is that the person made it while incompetent. A potential beneficiary might also contest the will on the grounds that it was made while the testator was under pressure, coercion, or undue influence, or that that the testator was defrauded (for example, into signing the will thinking it was something else).

Certain life events made a will invalid

A will was also invalid if it wasn’t properly witnessed, if a later will could be found, or if the person had married since the will was made. The birth of a child made a man’s will invalid, but not a woman’s.

‘Executing’ the will

The will usually named someone as executor. The executor was a person who would make sure that the testator’s intentions were carried out. Wills involving real property didn’t need to be probated  (‘proved’ in a probate court). Wills involving personal property, including leaseholds on land, did go to the church courts who were in charge of probate from the time of Henry II until 1858, the church courts granted probate or administration, and the will on which A Raging Madness pivots was probated in the Chancery Court in York.

Dying intestate

If a person died without a will, and if there were no deeds of settlement to the contrary, common law took over, and English common law said that an oldest son inherited the real property. If there was no will and no son, the property was divided among the daughters. If not offspring at all (and legal adoption didn’t exist), a set of rules came into play about who got what, with a portion for the widow and the rest divided among other relatives.

Personal property wasn’t covered by primogeniture, and was divided by the same rules if there was no will.

  • one third to the widow, remainder to the children
  • if there were no children, half to the widow, remainder to next of kin
  • if there was no widow, remainder to the children
  • if there were no children, administration could be granted to someone with an interest in the estate (eg, a creditor)
  • if there were no next of kin and no one wished to claim administration the estate would revert to the Crown.

 

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Adversaries on WIP Wednesday

This will be my last WIP extract from A Raging Madness. By next Wednesday, it will be a published book. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a bit about one of my villains. I’d love to see an extract from you about one of your adversaries; not necessarily a villain, but someone that the hero or heroine is in conflict with.

The adversaries in my extract are utterly villainess. My heroine overhears them  plotting to confine her in an asylum for the insane.

“No, Mrs Braxton. Eleanor will not convince them she is sane. I have chosen with care, I tell you. I visited six asylums before this one, and this is perfect for our purposes. The doctor in charge has promised to keep her dosed, and even if he does not, the place itself will drive her insane. If you saw it, heard the noise… Yes, my dear, I can assure you, our plans are sound.”

Constance answered, the whine in her voice grating against Ella’s eardrums. “But what if you are wrong, Edwin? If she convinces someone in authority that she is sane, prison will be the least…”

“No, my dove. Not at all. No one at the asylum will listen to her ravings, and if they did, what of it? Who will they tell? Even in the worst case, all we need do is say her mind was turned after Mother’s death and how glad we are that she is well again.”

“I do not know.” The frown was heavy in Constance’s voice. “But we cannot keep her here. I trust Kerridge, but the other servants may start to murmur. Any one of them might have spoken to that lawyer!”

“The lawyer is gone, my love. He was no harder to send away this time than last.”

“It will drive her insane, you say?” Constance asked.

“It will. I guarantee it. I hesitate to mention it, Mrs Braxton, it not being a topic for a lady’s delicate ears…”

“Spit it out, Edwin. What?”

“My own treasure, I am given to understand that the attendants avail themselves of the, er, charms of the patients and even do a– er– trade with the nearby town. Not, of course, with the approval of the medical staff. No, of course. That would be most unprofessional. But it is most enterprising of them and serves our purposes rather well, dear sister being a comely woman.”

Ella puzzled this out. Surely Edwin did not mean that the attendants forced the women and prostituted them?

“Ah. Very good,” Constance said. “The woman is horribly resilient. Any decent gentlewoman would have succumbed to madness long since with all your brother put her through and what has happened since. But surely even she is not coarse enough to withstand multiple rapes.”

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Tea with Alexandra

When Alex Graham enters the Duchess of Haverford’s elegant salon, she can’t quite contain an admiring gasp. “It’s so…modern,” she says, taking in the plush chairs, the elegant drapes.

Her Grace: Why, thank you my dear. I just had it redecorated—after all, one must keep up with the times, must one not?

Alex (sitting down tentatively on one of the chairs): I suppose that depends on what times, my lady.

Her Grace: Your Grace, actually. But you may call me Eleanor if you wish, and I, in return shall call you Alexandra.

Alex: No one calls me Alexandra—it’s Alex. (She extends her hand. The duchess looks at it with raised brows. Alex drops her hand) No handshakes?

Her Grace: No. (She smiles) Now, I hear you have a hankering for tea. (She gestures at the cups and the pot) As I understand it, tea is a rare commodity in your time.

Alex: Once again, depends on what time.

Her Grace: Ah, yes: you’re the time traveller, aren’t you?

Alex: Most reluctantly. (She studies her surroundings) Imagine if one day you were thrown out of this comfortable existence and sent flying through time to land in the 17th century. That wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

Her Grace: I’d say it depends on where I landed—and with whom. (She winks and hands Alex a cup)

Alex (takes a moment to inhale the aroma of her tea, looking quite blissful while doing so): I landed on a moor in 17th century Scotland. (She shivers) Just like that, all modern amenities were gone. No cars, no washing machines, no hot showers…

Her Grace: Mmm, that does sound awful—even if I have no idea what a car is, and I have laundry maids to do the washing. (Sips at her tea) Was there no compensation at all?

Alex (fidgets): Well, there was Matthew. (Laughs) You know, the first time I saw him, I thought he might be some sort of hermit, a wacko determined to live outside the confines of modern society.

Her Grace: A wacko?

Alex: Someone who’s slightly insane.

Her Grace: Ah. And was he a…wacko?

Alex: No. (She touches the ring she is wearing) No, he was my destiny, my fate—however pathetic that might sound.

Her Grace: It doesn’t sound pathetic to me. But it must have been difficult, adapting to a new life and a new man.

Alex: Tell me about it. It didn’t exactly help when Matthew was abducted and sold as a slave on a Virginia plantation.

Her Grace: Oh, my! How awful!

Alex: Or when he almost got himself killed trying to save his brethren in faith from deportation and death. (She glances at the duchess) Matthew’s sort of devout—well, a very devout Presbyterian, proud member of the Scottish Kirk and all that. (She grins) It causes a lot of arguments between us: he thinks I’m borderline heathen, I consider him far too rigid at times.

Her Grace: I find men of convictions to be rather attractive.

Alex: So do I—until those convictions threatened me and our children. (She sighs, picking at the heavy fabric of her woollen skirts) Ultimately, we were forced to emigrate, which is how we ended up in Maryland.

Her Grace: Is it a nice place?

Alex: If you’re into woods, yes. Neither St Mary’s City or Providence qualify as major must-sees in my book. Small, colonial towns—one with a predominantly Catholic population, the other chockfull of dour Puritans. (She chuckles) Matthew doesn’t like it when I call him dour.

Her Grace: One wonders why.

Matthew: Mayhap because I’m not? (He strides into the room, all six feet and three of him. In breeches and boots, no coat over his shirt, he’s quite the sight) Your Grace. (He bows)

Her Grace: A man with manners—how lovely.

Alex (somewhat sarcastically): Manners and convictions—what else can one ask for?

Her Grace: A fortune, perhaps?

Matthew: No fortune, Your Grace. (He turns to look at his wife) Undying devotion, perhaps? (He takes Alex’s hand and lifts it to his mouth. She blushes, making him smile as he kisses her digits)

Her Grace:  How sweet! Now, where can one read about all this?

Alex: Well, Anna Belfrage has written eight books about our undying, time-transcending love and our various adventures. Mind you, at times I do feel she makes things excessively exciting. (She clasps Matthew’s hand) She puts us through so much loss, so much heartbreak, and sometimes… (Her voice breaks)

Matthew: Shush, lass. (His long mouth curves into the softest of smiles) As long as we have each other, we can handle whatever life—and Anna—throws our way.

Alex (wiping her eyes): Yeah, I guess we can.

Her Grace: Some more tea, my dear? (She pats Alex’s hand) I find it has such a soothing effect. (Addresses Matthew) What are the names of these books?

Matthew: Well, the first one is called A Rip in the Veil, and collectively they’re called The Graham Saga (chuckles) No points to Anna for dazzling creativity there.

Her Grace: Maybe not—but I see the books are available on…Amazon, is it?

Matthew: Aye, they are. They’re also available on other online—odd word, isn’t it?—bookstores. Here’s the blurb—yet another odd word, that—for the first book:

On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears without a trace. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on an empty Scottish moor.  Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.

Due to a series of rare occurrences, Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time. She lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland in this the year of our Lord, 1658.

Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies- what is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what to her mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.

Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.

Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But for all that Matthew quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.

How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?

Her Grace: Utterly Intriguing! Well, my dears, it has been a pleasure to meet you both, but I fear I must prepare for my evening event. (She stands. Matthew immediately follows suit, bowing yet again)

Matthew: The pleasure is ours, Your Grace. (He lifts her hand, kisses it)

Her Grace: Such a charmer! (She smiles and bats her eyelashes) I must congratulate Anna on your creation. For a 17th century devout Presbyterian, you carry yourself well in the salons of the rich and powerful.

Alex (stands up as well): Yes, my man is quite something, isn’t he? (Major emphasis on the possessive pronoun)

And there, dear readers, we leave the salon. But before we go, here’s some additional information about the author:

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with The King’s Greatest Enemy, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power.

When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, chances are she’ll be visiting in the 17th century, more specifically with Alex and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. This series is the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him. A ninth instalment is on its way, despite Anna having thought eight books were enough. Turns out her 17th century dreamboat and his time travelling wife didn’t agree…

Anna can be found on her website, on Facebook and on her blog. Or on twitter and Amazon.

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Spotlight on Nothing But Time

In today’s Sunday Spotlight is Sherry Ewing’s Nothing But Time.

This short Regency novel is the tale of Gwendolyn, married despite her protests to a nasty old man who bullies and abuses her, and cuts her off from contact with her friends. It’s also the story of Neville, the successful investor and rising aristocrat who falls in love, quite against his will, with another man’s wife.

Adultery is a daring topic for a romance. To keep our sympathy, the writer needs to give us extenuating circumstances, and Ms Ewing does so to the max. The story has it all: thwarted love, a villain,  a mad chase north, a heart-wrenching  separation, and a few passionate interludes to give us hope that all will be well.

I liked Gwendolyn’s compassion for her ungrateful spouse, and how hard she tried to be true to the vows she didn’t want to make. But Neville was my favourite of the two. He was not an innocent, but he was in love for the first time, and he was putty in Gwendolyn’s hands, as well as charming, determined, faithful, and brave.

The book was short and the characters only lightly painted. The horrible husband was a caricature, but the boorish elder brother and the mischievous younger one both show promise. I look forward to more stories of the Worth family.

They will risk everything for their forbidden love…

When Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington is forced to marry a man old enough to be her father, she concludes love will never enter her life. Her husband is a cruel man who blames her for his own failings. Then she meets her brother’s attractive business associate and all those longings she had thought gone forever suddenly reappear.

A long-term romance holds no appeal for Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton until an unexpected encounter with the sister of the Duke of Hartford. Still, he resists giving his heart to another woman, especially one who belongs to another man.

Chance encounters lead to intimate dinners, until Neville and Gwendolyn flee to Berwyck Castle at Scotland’s border hoping beyond reason their fragile love will survive the vindictive reach of Gwendolyn’s possessive husband. Before their journey is over, Gwendolyn will risk losing the only love she has ever known.

 

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Neville’s first glance at Gwendolyn

He held her stare. How could he not when he had been admiring her beauty just a short while ago? He did not dally with women whose husbands were living, and certainly not one who was associated with a potential business associate. The last thing he needed was some man breathing down his neck challenging him to a duel, and that most assuredly included her brothers as well as her husband.

To say she was beautiful would not have done the lady justice. She was young, perhaps no more than twenty. Her light brown hair was swept up into a pleasing coiffure and one long curling ringlet cascaded down her left shoulder. He could not tell the color of her eyes from this distance but they were framed in a round face with a clear complexion. Neville should not let his gaze linger on those lips for long. They were meant to be kissed and kissed often.

Something about the lady continued to pull at his heart, and, for the life of him, he could not look away. She seemed sad, and he could only ponder the cause. Why her disposition was important to him he could not say, and yet, he had a sudden desire to sweep her away and fill her days with happiness. He squashed down the notion of what he would like to do with her nights.

They continued staring, one to the other, and he watched in fascination as her chest rose and fell as if she were attempting to catch her breath. Neville had been tempted long enough and he gave into the impulse by offering her the slightest of nods. She must have at last come to her senses at his gesture, for she quickly turned away, but not before Neville witnessed a lovely blush rising to color her cheeks.

Meet Sherry Ewing

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Beau Monde & the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her published work at www.SherryEwing.com.

Website & Books: http://www.SherryEwing.com

Email: Sherry@SherryEwing.com

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Hearts Through Time: http://heartsthroughtime.com

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Who inherits the title and the estate?

The heroine of A Raging Madness is a penniless widow, with no family except her horrible in-laws,  her dead husband’s loathsome half-brother and his even more ghastly wife.

So why was she penniless? She is living in a substantial house on a nice little estate which has been comfortably supporting her, her mother-in-law, and the two villains, as well as a number of students. Who owned it, and why didn’t she?

Down the research rabbit hole I go

In order to know the answer, I had to research inheritance law in the early 19th century. What happened if a man died without a will? What if he had a title? What if his property was entailed. If he left a will; could he leave his wife out of it?

In this post, I’m going to talk about titles and entails. In part 2, I’ll get to wills and widows.

Gervase was a baronet

Ella was married to a baronet who inherited his estate while he was still a boy, and to understand why that matters, you need to know about entails.  Entails were to do with real property (land and buildings), not with titles.

(I’m not a lawyer, and this is all in layperson’s language, so please correct me in the comments if I’ve got anything wrong.)

Your title went to your heir

Who inherited a title was decided by the wording of the document setting up the title in the first place. Mostly, this was ‘heirs male of the body’, which meant the eldest living legitimate male in a direct male line from the most recent of the title holders to have male descendants.

That’s a complicated sentence, so let’s tease it out. If the baronet was married and had living sons (biological—adoption didn’t count), the eldest son would inherit the title. If he had no sons, but grandsons, then the eldest son of the eldest son would be baronet. If he had no male descendants, but his brother had sons, then the heir was the eldest living male descended from the baronet’s father, the most recent of the title holders to have male descendants.

A few titles were set up to go to females if there’s no male heir. If a qualifying heir is thought to exist but can’t be found, the title goes dormant (EDITED I originally said into abeyance, but that’s different. See Nancy’s correction, below). If no heir exists, it becomes extinct. That’s what happened to Gervase’s baronetcy. His son inherited it the moment he was born, since Gervase was already dead, but he died while still a baby.

I’ve posted before about male primogeniture, which was the English system. Primogeniture just means the eldest offspring.

If your land was entailed, it also went to your heir

Most titles, when granted, came with land, villages, and one or more houses or castles. The wealth of the aristocracy was still, in the early nineteenth century, in their land. Not because the real property naturally belonged to the title, but because the aristocracy had figured out a way to stop a careless descendant from getting rid of it all. They could create a agreement that settled the property on the heirs to the title, whether or not those heirs had been born yet. This agreement was called a Deed of Settlement and it meant that the current title-holder had life possession of the property, but that it belonged to the heirs.

This was the fee tail (or entail). By contrast, land owned in fee simple belonged to the current title-holder.

Entails needed to be renewed, generation by generation

In English law, real property was covered by something called the Rule Against Perpetuity. The Rule meant you couldn’t make a will stick if it left your house and land to your own descendants forever and ever. The Deed of Settlement could leave real property to your heir and maybe your heir’s heir.

I’m guessing that Gervase’s grandfather had a conversation with his son (we’ll call him Horace) that went something like this. “Now you’re twenty-one, boy, I need your signature on these documents. It’s the entail. It’ll keep the house and land with the title, so it goes to your son.”

Horace takes a quick look and frowns. How is he to support himself in London if he can’t use the land as a stake in a gambling match or as security for a loan? His father, who had the same conversation with his own father, can see the way the boy’s mind is working.

“Obviously, lad, you’ll need a raise in your allowance, and I’ll pay the lease on your London townhouse.”

Horace looks his father up and down. The old codger is hale and hearty; could live till he was ninety, beyond a doubt. Probably by then Horace will have settled down and will be glad to still have an estate on which to settle his wife and family. He signs the Deed of Settlement, and the land is safe for another generation.

Which is tricky if the heir has only daughters or the title holder dies young

Marry your daughters to someone who could support them

Of course, your heir signs the Deed of Settlement fully confident that he’ll eventually have sons. What if he doesn’t? There he is, with the whole estate tied up in the entail, and five daughters. He’d better find husbands for them all, for the next heir, his second cousin twice removed, won’t want to house them.

Or what if he has a son and then dies before the son is twenty-one? The agreement has to be made between adults. In my story, Horace inherited and then died before Gervase turned twenty-one. The entail meant the property was settled on Gervase by the agreement between Horace and his father, but the entail goes no further than Gervase, the next generation after Horace. Gervase can leave his real property however he likes, or die without a will, in which case the rules of inheritance come into play.

More about that next time.

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Comedy on WIP Wednesday

Who doesn’t enjoy a book full of humour and fun? Even in a story where grim things are happening, humour lightens the moment, whether it is a bit of slapstick or a wry comment. And romances are, by definition, comedic in the original sense of the term. A comedy, as defined by the Greeks, is a story with a happy ending.

So this week, I’m looking for excerpts with your comedic moments. Give us a belly-laugh, a giggle, or an appreciative smile—or even a raised eyebrow.

Mine is from The Lost Treasure of Lorne, a story I’m writing for the patient Teri, who has forgiven me for falling off the face of the planet since Christmas. I’m finishing it this week, Teri, but this is how it starts.

22nd August 1785

His Grace the Duke of Kendal was digging in the moat again. The unusually dry summer had presented an opportunity he could not resist. With the moat almost empty, even the deepest pools came barely to the hem of his kilt, which, apart from the boots that were out of sight under the murky water, was all that he wore.

At not quite forty years of age, the duke was still a fine figure of a man, broad of shoulder, slim of waist, and well-muscled. Even Caitlin Moffat, that stern moralist his housekeeper, paused at the windows of the long gallery to admire the view before she scolded the maids who were doing the same thing and sent them scurrying back to their tasks. Caitlin stopped for one more glance before resolutely turning away and closing herself in the housekeeper’s pantry with her accounts.

The columns of figures were unlikely to drive the sight of a half-naked duke from her mind, but one could try.

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Tea with Xavier

Her Grace of Haverford smiled at the strangely-dressed young man who has suddenly materialised in her private sitting room.

¿Como? ¿Donde estoy?” he said, staring around himself. “I was just locked in a gaol on a ship, en route to New Zealand, and…???”

Her Grace nodded. Such things often happen on a Monday, and the duchess has learned to take them in her stride. “Then I daresay you would like a cup of tea. Or perhaps coffee?” She repressed the urge to sniff. He didn’t smell too fresh, but undoubtedly the chair cushions could be cleaned.

The young man blinked. “Dios mío, but I would die for a coffee,” he said, grateful tears filling his eyes. “I wondered if I’d ever have any again…or if I’d get out of that gaol stateroom alive”

“I am Eleanor Haverford, and you are temporarily in 1811, in England. I do not know how it works, señor, but you will be here long enough for some refreshments, so please, make the most of the opportunity.”

He stared now, then remembered his manners. “Your Grace,” he bowed over her hand. “My Aleksandra told me of you,” he shook his head, “and of your wondrous mansion, and of ‘taking tea’ with you. I’m so pleased to be here…much better than where I was. So to what do I owe this,” he gazed over the spread on the table before him, “unexpected pleasure?”

“I am always At Home on a Monday, my dear. I seldom know who to expect or where or when they will come from, but someone always arrives. It is most fascinating. And some are even hungrier than you!” (And less fragrant, she thought, and did not say.)

“That is hard to believe,” he said, as he stayed his hand from reaching for the little cakes.

“Please, help yourself,” the duchess pours him a coffee and hands him a place. “I hope and trust the food will remain with you on your return, but even if it does not, you will have had the flavour.”

“I apologise for the state of my clothing, I’ve been on a ship for nearly three months. And I’m sure,” he gave her a twisted grin, “that I smell atrocious.”

“It is of no matter. You are Xavier, of course! How is dear Aleksandra?”

Xavier bit his lip. “I was hoping you could tell me. If you can pull me into the past, can you tell the future? I’ve just left 1863.”

An elegant shrug of one tiny shoulder. “I do not control who visits or how, my dear. I am so sorry. You and she are not together then?”

“If together means being together somewhere in the Pacific on the same barque, headed for New Zealand, yes, we are. Unfortunately, the scoundrel of a first mate has likely killed the captain and locked me in the brig for something I didn’t do. I worry about that madman Brockhurst out there, with my wife.”

“Oh dear! But your wife is a very resourceful woman. I expect she has plans of her own.”

“She is fantastic with her shashka, but even she can be overcome by a stronger man or two…especially if they’re armed with laudanum, as well as whatever else they had to hand.”

“You are now many years in her past, my dear,” the duchess said, topping up her coffee. “If I understand how this works, you will be returned to the time you left. Aleksandra will use her wits, and you must trust her. Tell me, what are you doing on a ship? Have you left California for good?”

“We’re headed for a new life in the peaceful country of New Zealand.” Xavier took another sip, and helped himself to one of the little pies from the plate she put before him, before continuing, “My newspaper friend Gustavus von Tempsky says New Zealand is a wonderful place to start a new life.”

The duchess was fascinated. “I know little of New Zealand, except that a savage chieftain from there visited the Court several years ago.”

“We’re heading to meet von Tempsky in the town of Coromandel, where he’s offered us a share in his gold mine. He says the natives of the place, the Maori, and the settlers live in peace and harmony.”

“A town! Things must have changed in the last fifty years! Are there many towns in New Zealand?”

“Ah, yes, there are, and the missionaries have apparently been there since the 30’s. Apparently, the Maori have wonderful crops and farms… it is said they even supply most of the wheat for the settlements in Australia, on their own ships!”

Her Grace leaned forward, her eyes shining. “It will be very different to my England or your California. How exciting for you and your family.”

“It will,” Xavier agreed. “It is meant to be so very green!”

The duchess passed the plates of sweet cakes, each individually iced and topped with a candied flower. Xavier took one.

“Take another,” the duchess recommended. “My chef purchases them from M. Fournier’s , and he makes the finest in London.”

Xavier grinned and put too more on his plate. “Oh, thank you! I’ve not seen a petit four since my graduation from high school in San Francisco!”

He took the first tiny cake in a bite and continued, “So our new life will be wonderful. Once we find von Tempsky, we’ll settle in and have the quiet life we’ve both wanted, which seems to have escaped us in the past, and start a family…” silence…”again,” he adds, in a whisper.

The duchess patted his hand. “You will, I am certain, overcome your challenges and find the happiness you seek. You and Aleksandra deserve it.”

“Thank you. I can only hope you are right.” He stared pensively at his hands.

Her Grace broke the silence. “And how will you and Aleksandra support yourselves in New Zealand?”

“We have adequate funds to support ourselves.” Xavier grinned, suddenly, and added “and we will, of course, strike it rich in the Coromandel mine, like every other miner.”

“Of course!” The duchess returned his grin, then added, her eyes twinkly, “My son would say that the best way to become rich in a gold rush is to sell shovels.”

“Ah, an enterprising son you must have. My mother would have said the same.”

At this description of the Marquis of Aldridge, the duchess laughed aloud. “Enterprising. Yes, some might describe him so. Have some more to eat, Xavier. I am delighted to see your excellent appetite.”

Xavier filled his plate again. “Thank you, Your Grace. It’s been a while since I’ve had anything but hardtack and stale water.”

A SEA OF GREEN UNFOLDING, BOOK THREE IN THE LONG TRAILS SERIES, FOLLOWING THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING.

In the multiply-awarded A Long Trail Rolling, Lizzi Tremayne told the story of Aleksandra Lekarski, a trapper’s daughter who finds herself alone—and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. The tale continues in The Hills of Gold Unchanging

The third story, A Sea of Green Unfolding,picks up Aleksandra and Xavier in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1862, Rancho de las Pulgas, San Francisco Bay Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho. Their friend, von Tempsky, invites them on a journey to adventure and a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. They reach Aotearoa, only to discover the place is a turbulent wilderness—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun.

This is the third novel in the series of historical romantic suspense sagas following Aleksandra and Xavier from the wilderness of 1860 Utah to Colonial New Zealand.

With Book One, A Long Trail Rolling, Lizzi Tremayne was: Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings; Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award; Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel plus third in Koru Long Novel section; and finalist in the 2015 Best Indie Book Award.

In the story, tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho de las Pulgas. Von Tempsky invites them on a journey to a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. When they reach Aotearoa, they disembark into a turbulent wilderness—where the wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun. It will be released in May 2017 and is available for preorder on the regular sites.

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Sunday Spotlight on The Reluctant Wife

Caroline Warfield writes a superb book, and has had me as a devoted fan since Dangerous Works, the first in her Dangerous series. The Reluctant Wife is her best yet.

The hero, Fred, is one of the boys from Dangerous Nativity, all grown up and following his boyhood dream of being a soldier. But his dreams have turned sour. We meet him in a village in Benghal, drinking his sorrows after the sudden death of the local woman who was his housekeeper and mistress.

No better able to bear injustice and bullying than he was as a child, he has spoken for those without a voice, protected those without power, and been rewarded by demotion and sidelining. In his eyes, he’s a failure; a failure, furthermore, faced with responsibility for his two mixed-race daughters.

The heroine, Clare, bursts in on his life at that moment. She is the sister of his supervising officer, who is a pompous idiot, and bears deep scars of her own. In India only to get her brother’s signature on papers that will give her financial independence, she is still grieving the loss of her only child, and sees herself as a failed wife, and a failed mother.

From the first, Clare understands that what the girls need is their father.  Fred takes some more convincing: across the Indian Ocean and the Egyptian desert, and on into England, where he and Clare must confront their doubts and fears, as well as facing down a bully from Fred’s past in India; a bully who means murder.

Fred’s cousin Charles, Duke of Murnane, has an important role to play in this book, and we see some more healing from the damage his wife did years before to the relationship between Fred, Charles, and Fred’s brother Rand (hero of The Renegade Wife). Charles stars in The Unexpected Wife, due out later this year, and I can hardly wait.

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y4BGMX1/

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Research and The Reluctant Wife

My guest for Footnotes on Friday is Caroline Warfield, who will talk to us about the different types of research that inform her wonderful books. And continue scrolling for a giveaway and an excerpt of her next release.

Research represents one of the vital tools of a historical novelist. We’re frequently asked to share our research when we discuss our books. I’m always bemused by that. Which research?

Early in the process, academic research is important. I need to understand the era, the setting, the historical figures, the circumstances and a general picture of people’s lives.  A stack of books glares at me from across the room as I type this.  East Asia the Modern Transformation, my Fairbank-Reicshauer survey text from college is buried under two works on the East India Company.  The Reluctant Wife is set in India, but that one is finished. The work-in-progress, The Unexpected Wife (due next October) takes the hero to Canton, China where he will encounter—surprise—the East India Company. Again. This kind of research mostly sets the mood and enlightens the setting. It isn’t terribly helpful on a daily basis.

Some details are tough to get at. Tomes on the company, and even forays into the internet, weren’t much help with details of daily life. I got stuck on uniforms and military life on the edges of the Bengal Presidency. A friend connected me to her father-in-law who provided pages of wonderful detail. I may have only used bits and pieces but those bits make the story much more alive and, I can only hope, more authentic.

Once writing is underway, the questions we didn’t anticipate crop up left and right. What is the punishment for counterfeiting coins in 1832?  (severe, possibly capital) How would the heroine treat burns in 1835? (with honey) How could the hero tell if a dead assassin was hindu or muslim? (circumcision) When was foxglove found to be useful for heart failure? (before 1800) For those, I scurry to the Internet, usually successfully.

There is another sort of research that enlivens my work, however. Fiction, regardless of historical era or setting, is about people, and romantic fiction is about relationships. My books are all embedded in family—the families of origin of the hero and heroine, and the family they form when they finally come together. For that, my research is all around me. Family is the great school of life. Families mold us for better or for worse. They lie under our character, conflicts, and motivation good and bad. They  provoke the strongest of all human emotions, both negative and positive. Reasearch? I’d say so—if we’re paying attention.

What do you think?  How much real information do you look for in what is, after all, a novel? Is the human more or less important?

The Reluctant Wife

Children of Empire, Book 2

Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance  *  Heat rating: 3 of 5 (two brief -mild- sexual encounters)

ISBN:  978-1-61935-349-9 * ASIN:  B06Y4BGMX1 * Page count: 275 pages

Pub date: April 26, 2017

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y4BGMX1/

About Caroline Warfield

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Website http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/

Good Reads http://bit.ly/1C5blTm

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Twitter @CaroWarfield

Email warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Giveaway

Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, first book in the series, to one randomly selected person who comments. She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/

The prequel to this book, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

Excerpt

Clare briefly explained what she had learned about the inaugural run of a mail steamer to the Suez.

“What is the advantage?” he asked.

“It cuts four months off the time we would spend cooped up on a ship,” Clare answered.

“Camels,” Meghal declared. Her eyes widened as a new idea struck. “And crocodiles.”

“The disadvantage?” he asked, barely controlling his laughter.

“Goodness, Fred. I would have to disembark with two children, travel overland to Cairo, travel by river barge down the Nile and the Mahmoudiyah Canal to Alexandria before embarking on yet another steamer for Falmouth or Southampton while managing luggage and keeping your daughter from wandering off with the first interesting band of Bedouins she encountered.”

“But Papa can help with the luggage, and I promise not to follow any—what are Bead-oh-ans?”

Clare’s face registered the shock he felt. Neither one of them had mentioned his plans to his daughters. Clare raised a brow and shrugged, obviously unwilling to rescue him.

You’re on your own, Wheatly, he thought as he tried to put words together while Meghal smiled hopefully at him.

“I thought you knew, Meghal. I’m not going with you. You will have to take care of Miss Armbruster for me.” She will like the idea of caring for everyone, he thought, pleased with himself for coming up with that.

His daughter’s instant response disabused him of that notion. “Why?” she demanded, the universal challenge of children everywhere. Before he could think, she stabbed him in the heart and twisted the knife. “Don’t you care for us?”

“Of course, I do! Never think that.”

“Where will we go? Who will take care of us? Do we have to live with Miss Armbruster?” Meghal colored and turned to Clare. “I’m sorry, Miss Armbruster. Ananya and I like you, but you aren’t family,” she said. “We need family.”

Fred seized on her words. “That’s just it. I’m sending you to family. Your Aunt Catherine and your cousins will be happy to have you come and stay with them while I”—he clenched his teeth—“while I find work so I can send her money for your care.”

Meghal sank back in the chair, outrage still rampant on her face.

“Meghal, I can’t care for you if I can’t work.”

In lieu of an answer, she jumped down from her chair and hurried to the bedroom, returning with her beloved box. Fred groaned. I should never have read them to her. She dug down under her cousins’ missives and pulled up ones she knew were from his sister.

“My aunt wants you to write to her. She would be dee-lighted to see you if you come to England. She would help us, and the earl who is a farmer would too,” Meghal announced, folding her arms across her chest and thrusting out her lower lip. “We can come back after we see them. You must come.” She leaned forward when another notion flitted across her expressive face. “We could go by Egypt if you come. Please come,” she wheedled.

 

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Uncertain love on WIP Wednesday

Unrequited love.

He loves me, he loves me not. It’s not just a rhyme to chant while picking petals off a daisy or counting cherry stones; it’s an essential tool of the romance writer’s arsenal. We love to give our hero or heroine a bit of uncertainty to raise the stakes, and if each doubts the feelings of the other, all the better.

Do you have an extract to share in the comments where your hero or heroine thinks about or expresses their uncertainty? Or perhaps another character loves the hero or the heroine, and is doomed to disappointment? My expert is from A Raging Madness.

He was very tempted to kiss her but feared to change their relationship. Change it more. They were friends again, as they hadn’t been since she was a young girl and he a cheeky subaltern missing his home and his family.

But she loved him. One should not treat those one loves. That’s what she’d said. Those one loves. Loved how, though? As a friend? As a—Heaven forfend—as a brother?

Even if her love included the large measure of lust that coloured his for her, she had never been available for dalliance. If he tried a kiss, he would be lucky to get away with a slapped face. At worst, she would assume he was courting her. How he wished he could! For the first time in his life, he was experiencing the joys of that happy state, all but the physical intimacies, and he wanted them to go on forever.

But he had no place asking Ella to wed him. All he could offer was a broken crock of a man, made ugly with scars, subject to nightmares, prone to shedding splinters and lumps of metal from his leg.

A bored and useless man, at that. He had been a career officer. What was he now? He had investigated the Chirbury estates as a favour to his cousin, removing the land agents in two of them and buttressing the third with an assistant. But for all it proved to be necessary, the task had started as make-work, and his pride would not let him accept more.

He had no idea what to do with himself, and he certainly would not inflict himself on someone he was fast coming to love.

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