Tea with Harry

A nervous young man stands in the Duchess’s anteroom certain he has fallen asleep over his writing moments ago. His lanky form and khaki pants feel out of place among the finely carved furniture, porcelain artifacts, and gilded wallpaper of an earlier age.

He must be dreaming. He is sure of it.

A rather plain young woman in an antique, but rather business-like looking gown appears in the doorway. “Mr. Wheatly, the Duchess will see you now.”

Duchess? All doubts flee. He is most certainly dreaming. Why does it feel so real?

A dainty grey-haired woman beams at him from a settee when he enters. “Henry Wheatly! How delightful.”

“Harry,” he mumbles. “My name is Harry.”

“Of course! I had forgotten. You look very much like your great-grandfather, by the way.”

He runs a hand over his neck, puzzled. My great-grandfather? She must mean Rand Wheatly, the patriarch who first came to Canada. Can she be old enough to have known him?

“I’m sorry,” the duchess says. “You must be wondering why I summoned you here. Please sit and I will explain.”

“I’m wondering how,” he replies sinking into a small but surprisingly comfortable chair and stretching out his long legs.

A quiet moment passes while the duchess pours tea, fascinating Harry with the grace of her movements. He has seen nothing so graceful at university in Ottawa or even in his father’s house in Calgary, rough western town as it was when he grew up. She made a far lovelier sight than anything his army-training depot had to offer.

“I’m afraid I cannot tell you how I summoned you here,” she says at last. “Just know it is for your own good. I am Eleanor Haverford and I am a friend of your three times great aunt, Catherine, the Countess of Chadbourn.

Harry had been only vaguely aware that nobility lurked on his family tree. That startled him almost as much as the realization that this woman could not have possibly have known them, unless— “What year is it?” he demanded.

“1814,” she replied.

Harry choked.

“Don’t drop your tea dear, I know that shocks you.”

He had traveled back a hundred years. “How—that is, why—and who did you say you are?”

“I am Eleanor, the Duchess of Haverford, and I brought you here to warn you.”

He breathed in deeply and waited.

“I know that you have enlisted in the Expeditionary Force and expect to ship out to France any day. You signed up rather impulsively, I must say. That young woman who snagged the mayor’s nephew and dropped you cold was not worth your life, Harry. She would have made you more miserable if she married you than she did when she ran off. Your heart isn’t broken, it is merely bruised.”

Harry glared at her. “The state of my heart is not your concern, Your Grace,” he spat. “Or whoever you are,” he added under his breath.

The duchess chuckled. “Ah but it is your heart that concerns me. You have a good and tender heart, Harry, full of love and beauty. It shows in your poetry.”

Is there anything this woman does not know?

The woman leaned forward. “You are about to enter a great and terrible war. You are a courageous and valiant soul and will acquit yourself with integrity. But oh! Your heart! The darkness will overwhelm you if you let it. Despair kills, Harry. Never doubt it, particularly in a world where one must fight to stay alive every day. Worse, the darkness could kill that beautiful soul of yours and leave you dead inside even if you survive. Don’t let this happen.”

Harry sat back and studied the woman. “What precisely to you suggest I do about it?” he asked, genuinely curious.

“Stay open to beauty when you find it. Stay open to love. Love terrifies, but it is always worth the risk.”

He snorted. Duchess or no, she was a fool. “Was Lauren worth the risk?”

“Goodness no! I told you. She merely bruised you. When you find the real thing open your heart wide. You won’t be sorry.”

He sighed and put his cup down. “Thank you for your advice, Your Grace.” This old woman has no idea what she talks about. We’ll be home by summer—everyone says so—and I’ll go back to university.

“Please send me back where I belong.” Or let me wake up.

“One more thing, Harry. When the war is over, study law if you wish, but don’t let your father bully you. Do it only if you want it, but never forget you are a writer. Writing may make your heart bleed, but it is what you were born to do.”

A moment later Harry stood in a musty tent, standing in front of a camp desk with a pen in his hand. He looked down on the poem he had begun a moment ago. “What just happened?” he asked into the empty tent.

Never Too Late

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

It’s Never Too Late to find love.

25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

Never Too Late has its own page on the Bluestocking Belles website, where you can learn more about each story and find buy links. (It’s 99c for one more week only, so buy now.)

If you’re an Amazon US purchaser, buy it here.

An excerpt from Roses in Picardy

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.

About the Author

Caroline Warfield has been many things, from poet to librarian, from mother to nun. Now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, she divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy and the prince among men she married. Her new series sends the children of the heroes of her earlier books to seek their own happiness in the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She wishes to inform readers of this post that Harry’s great-grandfather, Rand Wheatly is the hero of The Renegade Wife.

• Website: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaroWarfield
• Newsletter: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/
• Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/warfieldcaro/boards/


Spotlight on Sunday: Caroline Warfield’s 2017 Christmas novella

This beautiful cover for Caroline Warfield’s 2017 Christmas Novella comes with the announcement that the book is available for pre-order from various retailers.

Love is the best medicine and the sweetest things in life are worth the wait, especially at Christmastime in Venice for a stranded English Lady and a dedicated doctor.

About the Book

Lady Charlotte Tyree clings to one dream—to see the splendor of Rome before settling for life as the spinster sister of an earl. But now her feckless brother forces her to wait again, stranded in Venice when he falls ill, halfway to the place of her dreams. She finds the city damp, moldy, and riddled with disease.

As a physician, Salvatore Caresini well knows the danger of putrid fever. He lost his young wife to it, leaving him alone to care for their rambunctious children. He isn’t about to let the lovely English lady risk her life nursing her brother.

But Christmas is coming, that season of miracles, and with it, perhaps, lessons for two lonely people: that love heals the deepest wounds and sometimes the deepest dreams aren’t what we expect.

Pre-order it on Amazon here. ♦ Pre-order it on Smashwords here.

About the Author

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning and Amazon best-selling 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 where she lets her characters lead her to adventures while she nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. She is enamored of history, owls, and gardens (but not the actual act of gardening). She is also a regular contributor to History Imagined, a blog at the intersection of history and fiction, and (on a much lighter note) The Teatime Tattler, a blog in the shape of a fictional nineteenth century gossip rag.

Her current series, Children of Empire, set in the late Georgian/early Victorian period, focuses on three cousins, driven apart by lies and deceit, who must find their way back from the distant reaches of the empire.

Click here to find out more here.


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/


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.


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/


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.



Tea with Esther


Esther Baumann squeezed her fingers together in a futile effort to control her nerves when Miss Cedrica Grenford approached her in the anteroom to the Duchess of Haverford’s drawing room. The woman’s kind eyes behind wire-rimmed spectacles reassured her, however. She took a deep breath.

“Her Grace is so pleased you came,” Miss Grenford told her.

Esther rose to her feet, hoping she did it as gracefully as she intended. This caused Reba, her ever present companion, to do so as well.

“Would you care for refreshments, miss?” the duchess’s companion asked Reba.

esther-baumannEsther put her hand on the woman’s arm. “I’ll be fine Reba. Do let Miss Grenford see to your comfort.”

A moment later the door closed softly behind her, and she found herself alone with the Duchess of Haverford.

“Miss Baumann, how lovely of you to come. Your message requesting an interview pleased me.” The duchess gestured to the seat next to her with a graceful hand. Afte pouring tea, offering biscuits, and making sure of Esther’s comfort she went on, “How may I help you?”

“Oh, you already have, Your Grace. I asked to see you to thank you for your invitation to the Hollystone Hall house party and to give you my acceptance in person.” Esther handed a sweetly scented missive to the woman she admired so greatly.

“I’m delighted you will come! May I hope this means your parents have accepted my invitation as well?” the duchess asked turning the little missive over in her hand.

“I fear not, Your Grace. That is the reason I wished to speak to you face to face. My mother is not well.” Esther felt tears well up. When the duchess reached over an put a sympathetic hand on her arm they spilled over, earning her the use of a lace trimmed linen handkerchief.

After a moment to gather her emotions, Esther went on. “She worries about me attending a house party without her, and I’m loathe to worry her. Still, I want badly to come; my father has arranged for my Aunt Dinah to attend come with me.”

“Please assure your mother I will happily stand in her place while you are my guest, Miss Baumann. Will your father accompany you?”

Esther shook her head. “He tells me the demands of business forbid it.” She stiffened at that and watched for the other woman’s reaction. Many looked down on bankers like Nathaniel Baumann, and Esther would not hesitate to defend him if she had to. She didn’t.

“Men like your father are much needed in these difficult times,” the duchess replied.

Esther had a surge of pride, even greater than her relief at the woman’s sensitivity. “Yes! Even the government—” She snapped her mouth shut, aware she had almost revealed things she should not.

The duchess laughed, leaned closer, and whispered. “Yes I understand your father’s young assistant has accompanied Viscount Rochlin to Spain. Such delicate matters must weigh on Mr. Baumann.”

“How do you know that?” Esther gasped. “Adam left only last week!”

“I fear there is little my son Aldridge doesn’t know, at least a it applies to the country. Adam is it? Well, well.” The duchess’s eyes twinkled. “I will look forward to meeting this courageous young man. Shall I invite him as well?”

“He won’t come,” Esther responded morosely. “Adam… that is, Mr. Halevy, has very traditional views and a narrow circle of friends.”

“Oh dear. That must be difficult for one as outgoing as you,” the duchess replied sympathetically.

Her mood had turned gloomy, an unfamiliar situation for Esther. She took a deep breath and reached into her reticule and retrieved a heavy vellum packet, eager to change the subject. “My father asked me to deliver this to you in person as well.”

The duchess glanced over at Esther once or twice while she opened Baumann’s message. At the sight of the enclosed cheque her eyes grew wide. “My goodness, this is extremely generous.”

Esther grinned broadly. “My father is always happy to contribute. He believes very strongly in education.”

“Does he know our charity supports education for women and girls?”

“Certainly. He is…”

“Learning?” the duchess asked with a laugh.

“Conflicted,” Esther replied. “He will also contribute directly to Mr. Montefiore’s project to build a Hebrew school in London.”

“One that won’t admit girls.”

“No. It won’t.” Esther couldn’t keep the irritation out of her voice.

“You sound unhappy about that. Did you wish for that sort of education?”

“I would have liked to study the Torah at the feet of the rabbis, but I know of no girls who do. ”

The duchess sighed. “Perhaps some do and we don’t know about it yet. She raised her chin and went on, suddenly radiating the power of her position. “It is the same for all girls. We will change that. Maybe not overnight, but it will change.”

The fire in her eyes softened when she looked at Esther. “I will send my gratitude to your father and assure him he is welcome at the house party, even if he can only come for the ball.”

Esther smiled back. The duchess and the banker’s daughter’s eyes met in perfect accord.


It might have surprised Esther to know that some girls did have the opportunity she longed for, as Adam is about to find out.

an-open-heart-fbAn Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Adam Halevy prospered under the tutelage of his distant cousin, powerful banker Nathaniel Baumann. He’s ready to find a suitable wife, someone who understands a woman’s role, and will make a traditional home. Why is Baumann’s outspoken, independent daughter the one woman who haunts his nights?


Amazon UShttp://ow.ly/INwa3049Ey3

Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/ZMuH3049ELM

Amazon Australiahttp://ow.ly/TczG3049EQ2
Amazon Canadahttp://ow.ly/IERm3049EYM

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/664559

Kobo: http://ow.ly/Vx1n304jGzj

Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/LqCI304jGuS

iBooks: http://ow.ly/JcSI304jGWE

About the Author

carol-roddyTraveler, 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.




And meanwhile, elsewhere in the blogosphere…

I am at a two day work conference. Great stuff! I was going to write my Footnotes on Friday blog on the revolution in kitchens in the late Georgian. I didn’t get it done before I left home, so I put all my notes in my bag. But I’ve just arrived at the place I’m staying after a long tiring day, and the post isn’t about to happen.

Sorry, folks. Instead, though, here are two other research posts you might enjoy, if you haven’t already caught up with them.

The first, about rakehells, I wrote for Jessica Cale’s Dirty Sexy History blog.

The second, about the clash of cooking cultures that spelled the destruction of English cuisine (until it was resurrected in the late 20th century), I wrote for Caroline Warfield’s Highlighting Historical.

Enjoy! I’m off to have an early night before another day of conferencing tomorrow.


Running away very very slowly

xa6t0jrcjgosmeiapcjbThis is a rerun of a post I wrote for Caroline Warfield’s Highlighting Historical Research blog, several months ago.

I love research. I even love research when I have a perfectly delightful plot that falls apart when research proves it couldn’t have happened. Working out what might be historically probable instead, or at least plausible, has allowed me to drop down many an exciting rabbit hole into research wonderland.

For example, in my current work-in-progress, A Raging Madness, my hero Alex has a leg full of shrapnel, and is currently helping my heroine to escape from relatives who are determined to lock her up in an asylum for the mentally unwell.

Shrapnel? What kind of shrapnel? What munitions carried shrapnel at that time? What battles were they used in? How were shrapnel wounds treated? What was the long term prognosis? How about complications?

It took me a while to find a suitable battle, but eventually I put Alex the right place to be on the business end of a canister shell, a cannon ball with a weak outer shell filled with scrap metal. When the cannon fired, the shell burst apart, and a broad fan of metal caused devastation among the enemy troops. And, in my case, on the body of the assigned escort of a British diplomat who was observing the battle. (And, no, it was not called shrapnel at the time.)

Ella, my heroine, was the daughter of an army doctor, and I figured she’d solve all of Alex’s problems by removing the shrapnel. But not so. Then, even more than now, removing shrapnel or even bullets (unless they are lead) was a very bad idea.

Even today, going in after a splinter of metal might cause more harm than good, and the world is full of people walking around with bomb fragments buried inside. Back then, with no antibiotics and no anaesthetics, the treatment of choice was to leave the mess alone.

Over time, one of three things would happen. The body and the shrapnel would adjust to one another. The body would reject the shrapnel, moving it piece by piece slowly out to the surface. An abscess would form, and the poisons from the infection would kill the patient unless someone acted to drain the abscess.

Hurrah! I had my intervention. Poor Alex developed an abscess.

But escape? Alex can barely walk, let alone ride. Ella is recovering from addiction to the laudanum that her relatives have been force-feeding her. (Another rabbit-hole: what does laudanum withdrawal look like? Feel like?)

I needed a plausible way for two such invalids to escape.

I chose a canal narrowboat for a number of reasons.

The narrowboats were designed at the maximum size to fit in the smallest locks. An inch too big, and they couldn’t go wherever they needed to for the operator to earn his living. The early designers decided on a boat around seven foot wide, up to ten times as long as wide, and drawing about three feet of water when fully loaded.

The narrowboats were designed at the maximum size to fit in the smallest locks. An inch too big, and they couldn’t go wherever they needed to for the operator to earn his living. The early designers decided on a boat around seven foot wide, up to ten times as long as wide, and drawing about three feet of water when fully loaded.

One: I loved the idea of the villains haring all over the countryside looking for them while they ran away by the slowest form of non-pedestrian transport ever invented.

Two: I’ve always wanted to go on a canal cruise, and this way I got to watch YouTube clips and call it working.

Most of the boat was given over to cargo, covered by canvas. In the cabin at the rear, everything did double service, with fold down beds and tables. Some boats also had a small cabin at the bow.

Most of the boat was given over to cargo, covered by canvas. In the cabin at the rear, everything did double service, with fold down beds and tables. Some boats also had a small cabin at the bow.

Three: By 1807, when my story is set, the canal network stretched from the Mersey (with access to Manchester and Liverpool) all the way to London. Travelling by narrowboat was feasible. Canals were a supremely profitable way to move goods in the early 19th century, and had been for a number of years. At a steady walking speed, a horse could move fifty times as much weight on a boat as it could on a road. The canals provided still water and tow paths to ease the travel, and locks, tunnels, and viaducts to overcome obstacles. Later, canal boats were mechanised, and later still the railways put the canals out of business. But in 1807, Alex and Ella hitched a lift with a charming Liverpool Irishman called Big Dan.

Four: I could put my hero and my heroine in close confines, calling themselves married, for five to six weeks. Not only did they have heaps of time to talk and even to succumb (or nearly succumb) to their

A healthy strong horse was vital. Each horse needed a stall in a stable each night, and copious quantities of high energy food.

A healthy strong horse was vital. Each horse needed a stall in a stable each night, and copious quantities of high energy food.

mutual attraction, they were also in deep trouble (or Ella was) if anyone found out. They used false names. They stayed away from fashionable places. But even so, their novelist made sure that someone with no love for Alex saw enough to cause trouble.

Five: The time frame let Alex develop an abscess and recover from the operation, all before he needed to be on hand to save Ella when rumours spread about the two of them and their canal interlude.

And down the rabbit hole I went.


Love is worth the risk…

The renegade wifeLove is worth the risk…

New cover, new release, new series! Coming in October

The heroes and heroines of Caroline Warfield’s DANGEROUS SERIES overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Warfield’s new CHILDREN OF EMPIRE SERIES. In THE RENEGADE WIFE, first of the new series, reclusive Rand Wheatly finds contentment in his remote cabin in Upper Canada, intent on making his fortune in timber, until his precious solitude is disrupted by a woman running from an ugly past. He quickly realizes she wasn’t what she claims, but now she’s on the run again and time is running out for him to save her.

Caroline is celebrating with a GIVEAWAY on her website.


The harem on wanton weekends

georges-antoine-rochegrosse-french-1859-1938-e28093-harem-girls-in-an-aviaryIf you want a harem, you really need to talk to my friend, fellow Bluestocking Belle Caroline Warfield, aka Carol Roddy, who has just release her book Dangerous Weakness. In Dangerous Weakness, the heroine spends part of her time in the seraglio at Istanbul.

But here’s what I know. The harem in Ottoman society was the woman’s quarters. Muslim men were permitted four wives (if they could afford them). Wealthy men also kept concubines – whose main job was to join their master in his bed.

Those weren’t the only inhabitants of the harem, however. The female relatives of the head of the household lived there, too: his mother, who was usually the head of the harem, his wives, his unmarried sisters, his daughters, and many, many female servants whose job it was to look after the women of higher status.

Concubines were an important part of Ottoman social structure. Wealthy and powerful men married to make alliances between families, and wives were suspected of remaining loyal to their birth family. Slave concubines had no such lineage, and could—so the theory went—be relied on to reproduce without bothersome politics.

And even a concubine could become the most powerful female in the household if the son she bore became the next master. Perhaps, if the household was that of the Sultan, the most powerful female in the Empire.


Cover reveal for Dangerous Weakness, by Caroline Warfield

CarolineToday, I welcome Caroline Warfield to the blog. Caroline is a fellow Bluestocking Belle, and author of Dangerous Works and Dangerous Secrets, both of which I love. And today, she is sharing with us the cover of her next book in the series. Caroline, the stage is yours.

I am delighted to reveal the cover of Dangerous Weakness from Soul Mate Publishing, which will be available for preorder in September. I hoped also to tell you more about the hero, Richard Hayden, the Marquess of Glenaire and heir to the Duke of Sudbury, but characters can be elusive. They often have depths they show only reluctantly, even to their authors. Richard is particularly private about his life. I had to enlist the help of the interview fairies.

We managed to corner him in a reflective mood one afternoon in Saint James Park. When we took a place next to him on the bench and assured him nothing he said would be published until the distant future, he opened up, at least a bit.

  1. What are you most proud of about your life?

Glenaire2“Pride?” he sputters. “I come from a family that has raised it to an art form. My father wraps himself in it like a coronation robe and my mother? My mother floats into any room she enters on a river of pride. No one in the kingdom, she believes, has more consequence than a Hayden, except perhaps the royal dukes, and she isn’t sure about them. Is that what you wanted to know?”

His tone is bitter, as if that kind of pride blights his life. When we suggest that is not precisely what we asked, he looks weary and appears to give the question more thought.

“A job well done gives me satisfaction,” he muses. “You might call that pride. I always put England first. I oversaw intelligence gathering during the Peninsular Campaign. I’ve managed the czar and his entourage, kept the Ottomans from provoking revolution, and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris. I know my duty and I do it, even at personal cost.” A faraway look comes over him. “Even at cost,” he repeats.

He brightens somewhat. “I always do my best for my friends. I’m proud of that. I gathered information that brought Will, the Earl of Chadbourn, and the lady now his wife together. I managed to smooth my sister’s path to marriage with Andrew, though I may have erred earlier in their relationship. I am supporting Jamie, Baron Ross, who has inherited a tainted title and bankrupt estate, although Jamie has made himself scarce lately. The foolish man needs someone to keep him out of trouble. Is that what you had in mind?”
We nod and move on.

  1. What are you most ashamed of in your life?

“Sometimes duty to friends suffers when duty to country demands it. I sent my best friend, Andrew, the brother of my heart, on a dreadful mission knowing he might fall into French hands. He found the vital intelligence but was captured and tortured. By the time we got him out he bore horrific scars, some visible on his person, some deeper.”

We suggest that incident sounded like the cost of duty. Is there nothing else? He looks ashamed for a moment.

“I’ve always treated women with care—with discretion at least. I have never been tempted beyond control until lately. I ruined an innocent. I’m ashamed of that. When I attempted to make it right, the woman threw my proposal in my face. It leaves a scar on my honor.”

Assured this interview will not see the light of day until long into the future he added, “It leaves a scar on my heart as well. I don’t understand it.”

In response to a raised eyebrow he went on reluctantly, “I may have been a touch managing about the matter. I offered to make her a marchioness. Does she need romance too?”

  1. What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

“They call me “the Marble Marquess,” in drawing rooms and gentlemen’s clubs. I must strike people as a cold fish. I can’t think why.”

  1. Do you think you have turned out the way your parents expected?

“I’ve given my parents no reason to criticize. I do my duty by the estate, meeting monthly with His Grace and his man of business to stay abreast of affairs. I create no scandal. I never challenge either of them overtly. When I disagree, I do it discretely and they pretend not to know.”

We suggest that is an odd answer and ask for an example.

My sister, Georgiana, defied them openly and created what they consider a scandal when she published Poetry by the Female Authors of Ancient Greece, and allowed her authorship to be made public. She compounded that by marrying beneath her in their opinion. She ceased to exist as far as Her Grace is concerned. They don’t acknowledge her.”

“I offered to support her, but she refused my help. She married my friend Andrew Mallet and the two of them do very well. I see them often. My parents pretend not to know.”

  1. What is the worst thing that has happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

“I might have said there was no such thing a year ago. Perhaps I would have believed it. Every privilege and deference has been given to me since birth. My family name smoothed the way for me in school, society, and even government. (Although I pride myself in having risen on my own merits.) In an odd way the lack of catastrophe is itself the worst thing. Rank can be a gilded cage. While my friends fought for king and country, I had to play my part behind a desk.”

“Worse, they all married for love, something I was raised to call maudlin. Seeing them now I’m not so certain. Women see me as a title to be coveted, wealth to be acquired, an ornament to be displayed. I can’t help what I am, but I can wish to be desired for myself rather than my prospects. Only one woman I ever met saw beyond those things, and she won’t have me. Lily Thorton’s rejection may be the worst thing. I’m still trying to learn what to do about it. Why can’t women be as easily managed as the affairs of state?”

  1. How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

In recent months I almost allowed myself to be drawn into my parents’ machinations regarding marriage. My mother wants a protégée and my father wants more land, more money, and more prestige—as if he didn’t already have more than he needs. They pressured me about it over dinner last night, each in their own way.”

“It came to me then: I don’t want a future duchess. I want a wife. I want family. I want what my friends have found. I have to try with Lily one more time. If she won’t have me, I have to find another woman who will see me for what I am. I refuse to live my parents’ life.”


Alas poor Richard was unaware at the time of this interview that his efforts to protect her had failed and Lily had already disappeared.  If he wants to try again, he will have to pursue her.

To find out what happens, you will have to wait for Dangerous Weakness.

For Georgiana and Andrew’s story, read Dangerous Works.

For Baron Ross’s story, read Dangerous Secrets.

The Earl of Chadbourn’s story will be in “A Dangerous Nativity,” in Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem available for preorder in October.

And here it is, folks: the cover!

Dangerous Weakness

If women were as easily managed as the affairs of state—or the recalcitrant Ottoman Empire—Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, would be a happier man. As it was the creatures—one woman in particular—made hash of his well-laid plans and bedeviled him on all sides.

Lily Thornton came home from Saint Petersburg in pursuit of marriage. She wants a husband and a partner, not an overbearing, managing man. She may be “the least likely candidate to be Marchioness of Glenaire,” but her problems are her own to fix, even if those problems include both a Russian villain and an interfering Ottoman official.

Given enough facts, Richard can fix anything. But protecting that impossible woman is proving almost as hard as protecting his heart, especially when Lily’s problems bring her dangerously close to an Ottoman revolution. As Lily’s personal problems entangle with Richard’s professional ones, and she pits her will against his, he chases her across the pirate-infested Mediterranean. Will she discover surrender isn’t defeat? It might even have its own sweet reward.

Meet Caroline Warfield

Caroline Warfield has at various times been an army brat, a librarian, a poet, a raiser of children, a nun, a bird watcher, an Internet and Web services manager, a conference speaker, an indexer, a tech writer, a genealogist, and, of course, a romantic. She has sailed through the English channel while it was still mined from WWII, stood on the walls of Troy, searched Scotland for the location of an entirely fictional castle (and found it), climbed the steps to the Parthenon, floated down the Thames from the Tower to Greenwich, shopped in the Ginza, lost herself in the Louvre, gone on a night safari at the Singapore zoo, walked in the Black Forest, and explored the underground cistern of Istanbul. By far the biggest adventure has been life-long marriage to a prince among men.

She sits in front of a keyboard at a desk surrounded by windows, looks out at the trees and imagines. Her greatest joy is when one of those imaginings comes to life on the page and in the imagination of her readers.

Caroline’s social media—use as it suits your purpose

Visit Caroline’s Website and Blog                http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Meet Caroline on Facebook                          https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Follow Caroline on Twitter                            @CaroWarfield

Email Caroline directly                                    warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter               http://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/

Dangerous Weakness Pinterest Board   http://bit.ly/1M1Fgls

Play in the  Bluestocking Bookshop        http://on.fb.me/1I7MRe4


She can also be found on

LibraryThing                    http://www.librarything.com/profile/CaroWarfield

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

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

Bluestocking Belles      http://bluestockingbelles.com/


Caroline’s Other Books (on Amazon)

Dangerous Works    http://amzn.to/1DJj0Hi

Dangerous Secrets   http://tinyurl.com/ph56vnb