Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play
Release Day: December 29, 2020
Thank you so much for having me as a guest today, Regina!
My contribution to the Tragic Characters in Classic Literature Series is a retelling of Macbeth. The real Macbeth had a fairly successful (though of course, bloody) reign in eleventh century Scotland, even making a pilgrimage to Rome.
More dramatic are Shakespeare’s hero and his lady, characters truly unfit to star in a Regency romance novel. Heavens! Not only do they not have a Happily-Ever-After, they both die!
And so, with the complete artistic license and abundance of hubris we series authors are claiming, I set about bringing Lord and Lady Macbeth back from the dead and setting them in Regency England.
Fated Hearts takes place twenty years after Macbeth’s and his lady’s “demise”, i.e., the failure of a disastrous lawsuit, allegations of infidelity, and a divorce that sent Macbeth off to fight in the wars with France and his wife into a hole of depression that has taken years to climb out of.
With Napoleon vanquished, Macbeth is on half-pay in London, seeking employment. His ex-wife has traveled there also, on the chance of confronting him and introducing him to the daughter he disavowed. Meanwhile, an old villain has also appeared to plague them. Older and wiser, they meet again in London in March 1815 during the worst of the Corn Riots, in a week that ends with the arrival of news that Bonaparte has escaped from Elba.
While the hero and heroine were easy to identify, lining up the rest of the characters for my retelling was harder. I decided to dispense with Duncan’s second son, as well as the entire MacDuff family, and, to lighten the tone, I added the characters of their daughter Lucie, and Macbeth’s servant.
Here are the main characters:
Major Finnley Macbeth, Baron of Calder, late of the Highland Regiment that served in the Peninsular War.
Greer Douglas, the former Greer Macbeth, Baroness of Calder. The real Lady Macbeth’s name was believed to be Gruoch.
Lucie Macbeth, their feisty daughter. The real Macbeth had a stepson named Lulach.
Duncan, in my story, is the late Earl of Menteith, who Macbeth sued unsuccessfully twenty years earlier. His son, Malcolm, now holds the title, and is being threatened by the villain.
Giles Banquo, is a cousin to both Duncan and Macbeth.
What about the witches?
Shakespeare’s Scottish play revolves around the characters’ bloody thirst for power incited by the strong paranormal element, the prophesying of the witches. A Romance Hero wouldn’t go about killing people to get his hands on a title—so I decided to give that task over to the villain.
To add in the paranormal element, the backstory includes a “witch” whose prophecy incites the villain, plus our hero has enough of the Sight to sense when the people he loves are in danger.
Those Men in Kilts and other Scottish Issues
Developing the story required some research into the deployment of the Highland regiments and uniforms, an enjoyable rabbit hole with men in kilts! Here’s a link to my blog post on this subject. In short, in Wellington’s Peninsular campaign, the rank-and-file wore kilts but the officers wore trousers.
In my first draft, I referred to the hero and heroine as “lord and lady”. But, I stumbled across some information about the Lord Lyon and Scottish titles and realized I’d better do a bit more research. My discoveries required some revising, but on the plus side, the ways in which Scottish baronial titles can be conveyed worked very well into the story. Wikimedia has a fascinating article on this subject.
Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play
Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.
They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?
A crush was what they called these suffocating occasions, and the term was apt.
Major Finnley Macbeth, Scottish baron and late of his majesty’s Highland Brigade, shifted his weight from the leg that still ached like the devil, and scanned the room for his quarry, an undersecretary in the Home Office who he’d met at the army’s winter quarters in Frenada.
From his spot near a damask covered wall, he measured each breath, trying to calm his rising unease. The heavy scent of perfume mixed with fine beeswax and hothouse florals unsettled more than his stomach. The shimmering silks and waving plumes threatened to stir the disquieting visions plaguing him lately.
Fire, explosions, rain, the screams of men and horse.
He squeezed his hands into fists. These were not the hellish memories of the recent past, dammit, but rattling visions of some battle yet to come.
Or not. Foretelling the future was for Travellers and crones, wasn’t it? Not battle-hardened men like himself.
He inhaled slowly, holding the breath for a count, and then eased the air out. Best keep his purpose in mind—he was here to track down Sir Thomas Abernathy, lately arrived in London, and rumored to be attending this rout.
His gaze swept the room, seeking the distinctive bald pate. In spite of his own forty-three years, his eyesight was still keen enough to make out a sniper or spot the dust of a fleeing stag. Keen enough as well to relish the deep décolletages and clinging, delicate, almost transparent skirts on display this night, a vision far more cheering than the one the Sight was showing him.
A more modestly clad woman stood alone halfway across the ballroom, her back turned to him, surveying the room as he was doing.
A memory stabbed him, laced with an old shame. He’d once known a lass with hair like this, so abundant, so near to black. The lady tonight had crowned all the loveliness with dark feathers, like a glorious cormorant. His hand itched to pull out those feathers and rake his hands through the tumble of hair, as he’d once done…
He caught a steadying breath. It couldn’t be her. He’d simply been without a woman too long.
And these visions plaguing him of he knew not what? That foolishness grew from naught but fatigue, the wages of war, and the steady company of too much death. Napoleon had been defeated. He must put the memories of battle and that more distant passion aside. The lovely lady with feathers atop her head was only a stranger wondering where her man had got to.
Yet he couldn’t turn away. As he watched, she pivoted one way, and then the other, allowing a glimpse of dangling earbobs and a firm chin.
Drawn to her, he stepped out on his bad leg just as she turned.
Pain shot through his hip. The room threatened to fall away but he held onto the pain, let it shore him up whilst he swore a silent curse.
It was her.
Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/bQdyPP
Meet Alina K. Field:
Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a spunky, blond rescued terrier. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY
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The Books in the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit Series:
The Monster Within, the Monster Without by Lindsay Downs – November 7, 2020 (Frankenstein)
I Shot the Sheriff by Regina Jeffers – November 30, 2020 (Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham)
The Colonel’s Spinster by Audrey Harrison – December 8, 2020 (Pride and Prejudice)
Fated Hearts by Alina K. Field – December 29, 2020 (Macbeth)
The Redemption of Heathcliff by Alanna Lucas – January 1, 2021 (Wuthering Heights)
The Company She Keeps by Nancy Lawrence – January 11, 2021 (Madame Bovary)
Captain Stanwick’s Bride by Regina Jeffers – February 19, 2021 (The Courtship of Miles Standish)
Glorious Obsession by Louisa Cornell – February 26, 2021 (Orpheus and Eurydice)