Today is release day for the first book in Caroline Warfield’s new series, Children of Empire. I was privileged to be an early reader for The Renegade Wife, and if you don’t already have it, rush out and get it now! Amazon link at the bottom of the page after a word from Caroline, the blurbs, my review and an excerpt.
Caroline, you know I love the book, and now everyone else knows it too, because there’s a quote from me on the front cover. Congratulations, and I wish you every success.
A message from Caroline
Thank you, Jude, for hosting me on my book’s release day. I tend to almost hop up and down with excitement over a new release, and I’m delighted to have the chance to introduce it to your readers. Here are seven things they might like to know about The Renegade Wife.
1. The characters may be familiar. The elders who assemble to brainstorm ways to get Rand and Meggy out of trouble are the heroes of my Dangerous books. Rand himself appears in A Dangerous Nativity as a boy.
2. Meggy, as quickly becomes apparent, is an abused wife. Faced with such abuse, she stands up and takes control. You’ll like her.
3. Rand’s heart isn’t as hard as he likes to pretend.
4. There are children. Somehow my books always have children.
5. It’s the first of a new series, The Children of Empire. This one begins in His Majesty’s colony in Upper Canada. The empire spanned the globe. The next book begins in India.
6. The story is set in 1832, too late to be Georgian and too early to be Victorian. Let’s just call it “historical.”
7. I plan to celebrate the launch with a Facebook party on Sunday, October 16. You’re all welcome to join us. There will be prizes!
A side note (Because Caroline can never resist a side note):
Why “Upper” Canada, you may ask? When the British took Quebec in 1760 the entire territory was called Canada. The Quebec Act made it French in law, language, and religion. The influx of loyalists in the 1780s prompted a need for a colony with English language and law with some religious tolerance, and so they divided into parts up river (Upper Canada, which we now call Ontario) from the parts down river (Lower Canada, or the current province of Quebec). As to the other provinces and eventual union, that’s probably a story for another novel.
The Renegade Wife
Betrayed by his cousin and the woman he loved, Rand Wheatly fled England, his dreams of a loving family shattered. He clings to his solitude in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. Returning from a business trip to find a widow and two children squatting in his house, he flies into a rage. He wants her gone, but her children are sick and injured, and his heart is not as hard as he likes to pretend.
Meggy Blair harbors a secret, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her children safe. She’d hopes to hide with her Ojibwa grandmother, if she can find the woman and her people. She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a quiet, solitary man, a man who lowers his defensive walls enough to let Meggy and her children in.
Their idyllic interlude is shattered when Meggy’s brutal husband appears to claim his children. She isn’t a widow, but a wife, a woman who betrayed the man she was supposed to love, just as Rand’s sweetheart betrayed him. He soon discovers why Meggy is on the run, but time is running out. To save them all, Rand must return and face his demons.
Children of Empire
Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history. The heroes and heroines of Caroline’s Dangerous Series overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Children of Empire.
Jude Knight on The Renegade Bride
I love Caroline’s writing, and was not at all surprised when her Dangerous Secrets won a RONE in this year’s awards. I’ve read each of the Dangerous books, thrilled with their heroine, and fallen in love with their hero.
This is the best yet. Her writing is superb, and her characters are hugely likable (except for Blair and his offsider, who are not). I particularly enjoyed the double vision effect at the beginning: Rand as cat rescuer and altogether nice fellow vs Rand as scary monster.
No spoilers, but suffice to say that Meggy would do anything to protect her children. And with a husband like Blair, they need protection. And Rand is heart-sore and hiding out in the woods, avoiding all people. But the children and then the woman herself get under his defenses.
Can these two damaged souls heal one another? Not if Blair has anything to do with it.
And then there is Charles. Charles is Rand’s cousin; the one that Rand hates even as he loves him. To save Meggy, Charles and Rand have to work together. Charles is every kind of darling, and deserves the happiest of endings. I can barely wait for his book, which is the third of the new series.
I was privileged to receive a beta copy of this book, and am waiting breathlessly for my purchased copy to download so I can read it again.
An excerpt from the book
“Let go of her, Blair, or I’ll shoot you like the dog you are. God knows you deserve it.” For untold minutes all Rand heard was the wind in the trees, and Lena’s whimper behind Pratt’s back. Even Meggy seemed to hold her breath.
Blair let go of her arm so suddenly she stumbled before running back to her children. “The slut and her children are mine, Wheatly, and that makes you a thief.”
“Get on your horse, Blair, and get out of here before I change my mind and shoot you anyway. You too, Pratt.”
Rand kept his pistol aimed at Blair while the men mounted and turn their horses to the lane. Pratt and Martin galloped up the hill and into the woods, but Blair turned half way up and pointed back at Meggy hugging the children in Rand’s doorway.
“They’re mine, Wheatly. I have a writ. I’ll be back with the magistrate and the deputy to have you jailed for resisting. Won’t your fancy relatives like that?” He turned and galloped off.
Rand eased back the hammer of his pistol, when the men cleared the trees. He slid it into a holster, jumped down, and ran to Meggy and the children, pulling all of them into an embrace. Meggy began to weep almost as soon as his hand came around her back, pulling her close with Lena between them and Drew in the crook of his arm.
“You might have killed him, and then where would we be?” she sobbed.
“You would be safe from him.”
“And you would be in jail or worse.”
He didn’t deny it. He kissed the top of her head and down her cheek.