Georgian Commerce: The London Docks, Part V

In Roman and medieval times, ships tended to dock at small quays in the present-day  city of London or Southwark an area known as the Pool of London. However, this gave no protection against the elements, was vulnerable to thieves and suffered from a lack of space at the quayside. The Howland Great Dock in Rotherhithe in (built 1696 and later forming the core of the Surrey Commercial Docks) was designed to address these problems, providing a large, secure and sheltered anchorage with room for 120 large vessels. It was a major commercial success and provided for two phases of expansion during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The first of the Georgian docks was the West India (opened 1802), followed by the London (1805), the East India (also 1805), the Surrey (1807), the Regent’s Canal Dock (1820),  St Katharine (1828) and the West India South (1829). The Victorian docks were mostly further east, comprising the Royal Victoria (1855), Millwall (1868) and Royal Albert (1880). The King George V Dock was a late addition in 1921. (London Docklands)

1280px-thames_river_1882

Edward Weller (d. 1884) – A Dictionary Practical, Theoretical, and Historical of Commerce and Commercial Navigation by J.R. M’Culloch – Longmans, Green and Co. London, 1882 “River Thames with the Docks from Woolwich to the Tower” from This map shows all of the main upstream London docks except the King George V Dock, which had not been built. It was to be located to the south of the Royal Albert Dock, which is the large dock at the far right. Public Domain. Wikipedia

800px-London_Dock_Custom_and_Excise_1820.jpg The London Docks, located at Wapping, were the second dock system to be built in London. A large range of items were traded at the London Docks, including: tobacco, marble, bark, rubber, whalebones, iodine, mercury, wool, wax, paper, hemp, coir yarn, rattans, jute, skins, coconuts, sausage skins, rice, fruit, olive oil, fish oil, nuts, sugar, coffee, cocoa, spices, chutney, brandy, wine, rum, and sherry. 

Early on, the London Docks dealt with the tobacco and wool trade. The ‘Tobacco Warehouse’ covered five acres of land and was rented by the government for around £15,600 per year. Making £2.6 million per annum, the ‘Great Wool-Floor’ at the London Dock was famous for its weekly public sales of wool, with some 25,000 bales sold every week. It employed 200 men. The London Dock was granted a monopoly for 21 years that declared that vessels entering the Port of London with cargoes of tobacco, rice, wine and brandy (except vessels from the East and West Indies) were required to unload at London Docks. The vaults at the London Docks held liquor, tobacco and other precious goods in bond. Police guarded the merchandise, which was often opened for inspection. Customs and Excise and merchants held ‘tasting permits.’

Initially, sailing vessels were brought into the London Docks. Fortunately, as the ships changed from sails to steam the docks required little rebuilding to accommodate the ships of the 19th century.  However, as vessels increased in size into the 20th century, the docks struggled to cope. As container ships became more popular, the London Docks became unable to cope with their size.

800px-plan_of_london_docks_by_henry_palmer_1831

A map of the London Docks in 1831 Henry Robinson Palmer – This file comes from the Bodleian Libraries, a group of research libraries in Oxford University. Public Domain. Wikipedia

Port Cities London provides us these facts regarding the London Docks: 

  • The site covered 20 acres of land. A further 12 acres was developed to create a second dock.
  • The head engineer for the project was John Rennie.
  • The cost of the project was £4 million.
  • Rubble and soil was shipped up the river in barges and laid as the foundations for Pimlico.
  • The dock system consisted of two main basins, the Western Dock and the Eastern Dock, with a small basin known as the Tobacco Dock linking the two.
  • The docks were accessed from the river by three small basins, the Wapping Basin (12.19 metres in width) and the Hermitage Basin (12.19 metres in width) linking the Western Dock and the Shadwell Basin (13.72 metres in width) linking the Eastern Dock.
  • There were 6 quays in the docks, able to berth 302 sailing vessels.
  • There was 50 acres of warehouse space, containing 20 warehouses, 18 sheds and 17 vaults. The vaults covered around 20 acres of cellarage, built with ventilated vaulting.
  • A small permanent workforce was formed within 3 months of opening, including a Superintendent of the Dock and a Dockmaster. However, this was supplemented by a large casual workforce, which could number as many as 3000 labourers.
Posted in British currency, British history, buildings and structures, business, commerce, Georgian England | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Bow Street Runners and The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, a 2016 Finalist for the Chanticleer International Book Awards

Jeffers-TMDOMD.jpg In my newest cozy mystery, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, the character of Thomas Cowan makes a repeat performance. Readers met Cowan as a friend of and former sergeant serving under Colonel Fitzwilliam during the Spanish campaign of the Napoleonic Wars in The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy.

Cowan, a former Bow Street Runner and a man of great intelligence,  is essential to solving the mystery plaguing the Darcy family. But what exactly was a “Runner”?

The Bow Street Runners are often referred to as London’s first professional police force. Originally numbering just eight, Henry Fielding founded the group in 1749. Unlike the “thief takers” of earlier days, the Runners followed strict guidelines and regulations. They were attached to the Bow Street magistrate’s office, hence their name. (“Bow Street Runners and the Maritime Police” JaneAusten.co.uk)

From Old Bailey Online, we learn that the Runners were part of Fielding’s innovations in crime fighting. In the 1730s, magistrates in London and Middlesex set up “rotation offices” where the citizens could find a magistrate available at certain hours each day. One such office was Bow Street, near Covent Gardens. Sir Thomas De Veil set up the magistrate’s office in 1739, but the Fielding brothers (Henry and John) took it over after De Veil’s death in 1749. The original men involved with the office were thief takers sent out on retainers. “Runners” was not a name readily accepted by the men. They preferred “Principal Officer” of Bow Street. The most famous of the time were John Sayer and John Townsend, who amassed a small fortune in their service.

The Runners were certainly the first group to  follow a method of investigation. First, the Fieldings considered the thief takers as essential in fighting the crime found in London’s streets. They investigated crimes for the government, protected the royal family, and traveled about the country to examine crimes. A series of mounted and foot patrols covered the London streets on a regular basis, as well as organizing part-time constables to patrol the major roads leading in and out of London to deter robberies, etc. The Fieldings kept meticulous records of criminals and disseminated the information to decrease the chance of repeated crimes.

The Middlesex Justices Act of 1792 founded seven policing offices in the borough, each with stipendiary magistrates and six constables to investigate crimes in the area. The Thames River Police Office at Wapping (the setting for much of the action of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin) opened in 1800. One hundred officers patrolled the docks and ship yards from this office. 

9780199695164.jpg Unfortunately, by the 1820s their reputation stood in disarray. Many individuals within the organization associated with common thief takers and were known to look the other way when a crime was not of notice. The government disbanded them in 1839. [J.M. Beattie, The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

By the beginning of the 1800s, many defendants who appeared at Old Bailey were appended by salaried officers, who testified at the trials. 

Another book I particularly like on the subject is this one: David J. Cox, A Certain Share of Low Cunning: A History of the Bow Street Runners, 1792-1839 (Portland: Willan Publishing, 2010).

 

PoMDC Cover-3 copyThe Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

“Yes, Sir.”

A young clerk rushed forward to greet Darcy, whose arrival set his London household on its ear. After his marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Darcy sold the smaller bachelor Town house he purchased after reaching his majority and acquired the larger one to accommodate what he hoped would be extended family. Yet, until Elizabeth turned his world on its head, Darcy did not realize how much he would enjoy having a loud, noisy family under his roof.

“How may I serve you, Sir?”

Darcy ran his gloved fingers over his lapel.

“Mr. Darcy to speak to Mr. Cowan.”

The clerk presented a proper obeisance. The man glanced at an appointment log lying open upon the desk.

“Was Mr. Cowan expecting you, Sir?” the clerk asked as he ran his finger down the page, searching for Darcy’s name.

Any other time, Darcy would consider the young man’s loyalty admirable, but this matter with Edward wore Darcy’s patience thin.

“Simply inform Mr. Cowan of my desire to speak to him,” he said with practiced authority.

The clerk glanced over his shoulder as if considering a denial.

“Certainly, Mr. Darcy… if you would care to wait.”

The man motioned to a cluster of straight-backed chairs lining a far wall.

Darcy offered a crisp nod of his head. He did not observe the clerk’s retreat; yet, he knew the clever fellow would inform Cowan of Darcy’s presence.

Instead, Darcy assumed a position by the window to look out upon the busy London street. Cowan chose well for his offices, near enough to Mayfair to be accessible to the haut ton, but equally accessible to London’s swelling middle class.

Quick footsteps upon the polished wood floor announced Cowan’s approach.

“Darcy,” the man called with a ready smile, extending his hand in welcome. “What brings you to London? And how is Mrs. Darcy? I pray your lady is well.”

Darcy accepted Cowan’s hand.

“Mrs. Darcy remains her spectacular self. She is in Oxfordshire with my sister. Elizabeth sends her regards.”

Darcy eyed the lingering clerk.

“If you have a few minutes to spare, I have a need of your services.”

Cowan frowned his curiosity.

“For you I will make time.”

He turned toward his clerk.

“When Mr. Leighton arrives, apologize for the delay, and ask the gentleman to wait. Be certain to provide him a cup of tea.”

The clerk blushed.

“Yes, Sir. Would Mr. Darcy also care for tea?”

Darcy shook off the offer.

“I will be quick, Cowan. I realize you are engaged.”

“Never too occupied for you, Darcy.”

His friend directed Darcy’s steps to a small, but comfortable, office at the rear of the building. The room reflected the former Bow Street Runner’s simple, classic tastes. After they settled, Cowan leaned forward.

“What is so pressing, Darcy?”

Darcy removed his gloves and placed them, along with his hat, on the desk’s corner.

“I have a matter of a personal nature.”

After the Runner’s assistance with his family’s debacle in Dorset, Darcy knew he could trust Thomas Cowan.

“Without warning, the major general abandoned his wife and daughter in Oxfordshire. My sister received but one brief note declaring her husband’s desire to return to his military service and instructing Georgiana to seek a homecoming with me.”

Cowan’s scowl deepened.

“I feared for some time that Edward Fitzwilliam would not willingly encounter his ghosts before they came to claim him.”

Cowan retrieved a small journal from his desk. Opening it, he prepared to write.

“I require all the details you possess. After I determine Mr. Leighton’s issues, I will set my resources into action to learn more of the major general’s trail.”

Despite Darcy’s initial anger with the major general for running off to what was a probable drunken pity-laced birl, Darcy experienced a shiver of dread run down his spine. Perhaps something more sinister occurred: Cowan’s remark emphasized Darcy and Elizabeth’s private concerns.

With anxiety lacing his explanation, Darcy summarized what he knew of Edward’s recent activities, belatedly realizing he lacked the details of what occurred between his sister and his cousin.

“Perhaps I should send to Witney for Elizabeth and Georgiana to join us,” he suggested. “My sister could better address your questions.”

In silence, Cowan studied his notes.

“I think it best we leave the ladies in the country for now. I suspect the major general sought solace in London’s pitch, for it reflects his opinion of his worth.”

Although he would not own it, the investigator’s words reinforced Darcy’s notion of the sword of Damocles above their heads.

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Posted in Jane Austen, Regency era, British history, Living in the Regency, Great Britain | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” – Literary References Found Within

Title page from the original 1818 edition - Public Domain - Lilly Library, Indiana University

Title page from the original 1818 edition – Public Domain – Lilly Library, Indiana University

Previously, I looked at the history of the writing of Austen’s “first” and “last” novel. Today, we will spend a bit of time with the themes addressed, literary references, etc. Later, we will have a closer look at the main characters in a spoof of the 18th Century Gothic novel. 

Major Themes
The intricacies and tedium of high society, particularly partner selection.
The conflicts of marriage for love and marriage for property.
Life lived as if in a Gothic novel, filled with danger and intrigue, and the obsession with all things Gothic.
The dangers of believing life is the same as fiction.
The maturation of the young into sceptical adulthood, the loss of imagination, innocence and good faith.
Things are not what they seem at first.
Social criticism (comedy of manners).
Parody of the Gothic novels’ “Gothic and anti-Gothic” attitudes.
In addition, Catherine Morland realises she is not to rely upon others, such as Isabella, who are negatively influential on her, but to be single-minded and independent. It is only through bad experiences that Catherine really begins to mature and grow up.

Northanger Abbey was the first novel Jane Austen wrote. It is also the novel most closely related to the novels that influenced Austen’s reading, and parodies some of those novels, particularly Anne Radcliffe’s Gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho. In creating Catherine, the heroine of Northanger Abbey, Austen creates the heroine of a Gothic novel. Both Austen and Catherine portray Catherine’s life in heroic terms—Austen humorously, and Catherine seriously, especially when she suspects  General Tilney of murdering his wife. Because Austen couches her portrayal of Catherine in irony, Catherine is realistically portrayed as deficient in experience and perception, unlike the heroines of Gothic and romance novels. Catherine fails to recognize the obvious developing relationship between her brother James and her friend Isabella; she fails to recognize Isabella’s true nature until long after it has hurt her brother; she accidentally leads John Thorpe into thinking she loves him; and most significantly, she embarrasses herself in front of Henry Tilney  when he finds out she suspects his father of murder. While Catherine is an avid reader of novels, she is inexperienced at reading people, and this is what causes many of the problems she encounters. By the end of the novel, she has become a much better judge of character, having learned from her mistakes with Isabella and General Tilney. She is also, perhaps, a bit more cynical about people, as Henry is. Ultimately, it is her integrity and caring nature that win Henry’s heart and bring her happiness.(Spark Notes)

Allusions/References to Other Works
Several Gothic novels are mentioned in the book, including most importantly The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe. Austen also satirises Clermont, a Gothic novel by Regina Maria Roche. This last is included in a list of seven somewhat obscure Gothic works, known as the ‘Northanger horrid novels’ as recommended by Isabella Thorpe to Catherine Morland:

“Dear creature! how much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will read The Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.”
“Have you, indeed! How glad I am!—What are they all?”
“I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocket-book. Castle of Wolfenbach, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Necromancer of the Black Forest, Midnight Bell, Orphan of the Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries. Those will last us some time.”
“Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”
“Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them…”
Though these lurid titles were assumed by some to be Austen’s own invention, Montague Summers and Michael Sadleir discovered that they really did exist and have since been republished. [See my post on the Northanger Horrid Novels.]

{BC217015-517C-40C2-A0F1-F08AE347F481}Img400.jpg Jane Austen, who referred to Fanny Burney as “the first of English novelists,” in Northanger Abbey refers to her inspiring novels:

“‘And what are you reading, Miss—?’ ‘Oh! It is only a novel!’ replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. ‘It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda‘; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.”

John Thorpe, who knows little about literature, tells Catherine that he likes The Monk (an over-the-top tale of lurid Gothic horror):

“Novels are all so full of nonsense and stuff; there has not been a tolerably decent one come out since Tom Jones, except The Monk; I read that t’other day; but as for all the others, they are the stupidest things in creation.”
“I think you must like Udolpho, if you were to read it; it is so very interesting.”
“Not I, faith! No, if I read any, it shall be Mrs. Radcliffe’s; her novels are amusing enough; they are worth reading; some fun and nature in them.”
“Udolpho was written by Mrs. Radcliffe,” said Catherine, with some hesitation, from the fear of mortifying him.
“No sure; was it? Aye, I remember, so it was; I was thinking of that other stupid book, written by that woman they make such a fuss about, she who married the French emigrant.”
“I suppose you mean Camilla?”
“Yes, that’s the book; such unnatural stuff! An old man playing at see-saw, I took up the first volume once and looked it over, but I soon found it would not do; indeed I guessed what sort of stuff it must be before I saw it: as soon as I heard she had married an emigrant, I was sure I should never be able to get through it.”

Motifs
Reading 

There are two kinds of reading in Northanger Abbey: reading books and letters, and reading people. Catherine Morland  is young and naïve, and she has a hard time distinguishing between the two types of reading. Before Catherine can really enter the world of adulthood, she needs to improve her ability to read people as well as novels. Throughout Northanger Abbey, Catherine finds herself unable to “read between the lines.” She does not notice the obvious romance developing between James and Isabella, she does not understand why Frederick Tilney gets involved, she has no idea why the General is so kind to her. All of these behaviors and motivations are clear to the reader and to the characters surrounding Catherine. When Catherine finally tries to do some of her own analysis, she gets her perceptions mixed up with those encouraged by her novel-reading: she recognizes General Tilney’s grumpiness and the tyrannical control he tries to exert over his children, but she attributes his attitude to the grisly murder of his wife, since such a plot twist occurs frequently in Gothic novels. One defining moment for Catherine comes as a result of reading text. She receives a letter from Isabella, and its contents open Catherine’s eyes to Isabella’s manipulative, ambitious ways. It would be going a bit too far to say that Catherine is an expert at reading people by the end of the novel, but she does become better at it, and she has learned when imagination can aid perception, and when it can hurt it.

Wealth  
In Austen’s novels, characters are often partly defined by their wealth and status. In Northanger Abbey, several characters are preoccupied with material longings. Isabella wants to marry someone rich, and forsakes James in favor of the richer Frederick. Mrs. Allen is obsessed with clothing and shopping, and when talking to Mrs. Thorpe, she feels less bad about her own childlessness when she notices the shabbiness of Mrs. Thorpe’s clothes. The General wants his children to marry into rich and wealthy families, and his personal obsession is with remodeling and landscaping. While giving a guided tour of Northanger Abbey, the General constantly asks Catherine to compare his home and gardens to those of Mr. Allen, and is always pleased to find that his belongings are larger or more impressive. In her later novels, Austen linked character’s personalities with the particular items they loved. In this early novel, she makes wealth itself the goal and passion of characters like Isabella and General Tilney. (Spark Notes)

 

Adaptations
p10722_d_v8_aa The A&E Network and the BBC released the television adaptation Northanger Abbey in 1986.

An adaptation of Northanger Abbey with screenplay by Andrew Davies, was shown on ITV on 25 March 2007 as part of their “Jane Austen Season”. This adaptation aired on PBS in the United States as part of the “Complete Jane Austen” on Masterpiece Classic in January 2008.

An adaptation of Northanger Abbey stage adaptation by Tim Luscombe, was produced by Salisbury Playhouse in 2009. It is published by Nick Hern Books (ISBN 9781854598370), and was revived in Chicago in 2013 at the Remy Bumppo Theatre.

A theatrical adaptation by Michael Napier Brown was performed at the Royal Theatre in Northampton in 1998

“Pup Fiction” – an episode of Wishbone featuring the plot and characters of Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Historical Reference
The book contains an early reference to baseball. (“…Catherine, who had by nature nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country…”). [Fornelli, Tom (6 November 2008). “Apparently Jane Austen Invented Baseball”. AOL News.]

References to Northanger Abbey
MV5BMTM0ODc2Mzg1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg4MDU1MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_A passage from the novel appears as the preface of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, thus likening the naive mistakes of Austen’s Catherine Morland to those of his own character Briony Tallis, who is in a similar position: both characters have very over-active imaginations, which lead to misconceptions that cause distress in the lives of people around them. Both treat their own lives like those of heroines in fantastical works of fiction, with Miss Morland likening herself to a character in a Gothic novel and young Briony Tallis writing her own melodramatic stories and plays with central characters such as “spontaneous Arabella” based on herself.

Richard Adams quotes a portion of the novel’s last sentence for the epigraph to Chapter 50 in his Watership Down; the reference to the General is felicitous, as the villain in Watership Down is also a General.[Adams, Richard (1975). Watership Down. Avon. p. 470. ISBN 0-380-00293-0. …[P]rofessing myself moreover convinced that the general’s unjust interference, so far from being really injurious to their felicity, was perhaps rather conducive to it, by improving their knowledge of each other, and adding strength to their attachment, I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern…]

Unless so noted, information in this post comes from the script of Austen’s Northanger Abbey or from  Wikipedia.

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , | 4 Comments

What Is Not in Jane Austen’s Tales, a Guest Post from Jennifer Petkus

What’s Not in Jane Austen

rowlandson-duel
It can be hard to find the duel in Sense and Sensibility

After reading and watching countless Jane Austen adaptations, it can sometimes be difficult to separate what Austen actually wrote in those six published novels with what we think she wrote. (Full disclosure: I once embarrassed myself by conflating the events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with the original.)

We’ve populated, expanded and explored the world of those novels so thoroughly that our confusion is understandable. Because of Austen, I’ve read many histories of the period. I know the Industrial Revolution was beginning to transform Britain, but unless you’re a knowledgeable reader and paid attention to John Dashwood enclosing the commons, you’d think it largely absent. I know the Napoleonic Wars were ongoing, but unless you asked yourself why there were all those red coats in Meryton, you’d think Austen had ignored it. Sometimes, though, I could swear there are more explicit references in Austen to these events and I’ve wasted a lot of time looking for what isn’t there. (Yes, there are some references to ship actions in Persuasion and Mansfield Park, but mostly in the context of gentlemanly bragging.)

Let’s look at some specific and then some general examples of what we think is in Austen’s novels, but isn’t.

Caricature_gillray_plumpudding
In the words of Basil Fawlty, “Don’t mention the war!” You can find the Napoleonic War in Austen’s novels, but you have to look.

The atlas
One of the easily understandable misconceptions, especially if you’re as fond of the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson adaptation of Sense and Sensibility as I am, is the atlas business with Edward Ferrars and Margaret Dashwood. It’s such a charming scene and does so much to make us like Edward, that’s it’s hard to remember it’s not in Austen’s story. This, of course, goes back to Dr. Joan Ray’s talk about Sense and Sensibility as the problem novel, inasmuch as Edward as hero doesn’t quite fit the bill. After all, the poor man hardly has a line of dialog in the first 15 chapters of the book, and yet because of various adaptations, we can conjure in our imagination all the conversations that attracted Elinor Dashwood to him. Unfortunately none of those conversations were written down.

The duel
Another thing that’s not in the book is the duel between Colonel Brandon and Willoughby. Sure there’s that line Brandon speaks: “…we met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned unwounded, and the meeting, therefore, never got abroad.” We can infer they met for the purpose of a duel, but it’s hardly clear that it was actually fought. I read Sense and Sensibility the first two times and somehow overlooked the duel and it wasn’t until I read an annotated edition that I recognized the five paragraphs that describe it. If you remember reading about the duel in any depth, I’m afraid you’re wrong.

Conversations between men
Most Janeites know that Austen never wrote conservations that happened solely among men. But we can take that further and say that even though Austen wrote in the third person, she rarely wrote of things outside the immediate experience of her protagonist, once that protagonist has been introduced. The conversation between Fanny and John Dashwood, when Fanny shortchanges her poor relations, happens before we meet Elinor. From that point on, we learn things at the same time as Elinor (although Austen often does draw back from the characters in the final chapter).

I’m pretty sure this is why the duel never gets written down in any detail. It would have happened outside the experience of Elinor and would have involved actions solely among men.

Kissing
There’s no kissing in baseball or Jane Austen, which goes against the expectations of those familiar with filmed adaptations (witness the recent poll in Austen Authors). Most of us feel rewarded when at the end of an Austen adaptation Elizabeth or Anne or Elinor have that one kiss that reminds us of William Goldman’s line from The Princess Bride: “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.” Good luck finding that in Austen. Kisses are for babies or locks of hair; they’re not the stuff of passion. (By the way, I think Sharon Lathan will have a more in-depth exploration of kissing in Austen in an upcoming post.)

Church service
For all the clergymen in Austen’s life and all the clergymen in the novels, I cannot recall any church service that occurs in the novels and the only services that I can recall from any filmed adaptation would be the marriage service. Yes, there are conversations in Mansfield Park about Edmund Bertram’s first sermon, but we don’t get to hear it. I swear I’ve seen or read of shy glances exchanged as the congregation turns to the Book of Common Prayer or sings praise to God, but it’s all in my imagination. Touring the chapel at Sotherton is the only time I can recall her characters being in a place of worship.

Death
Although so much of Austen’s novels are propelled by death and inheritance, there are no examples of major characters dying “on screen.” Despite all the speculation of Mr. Bennet’s impending death, he survives hale and hearty in Pride and Prejudice. A Mr. Dashwood dies at the beginning of Sense and Sensibility, and his death puts in motion the entire story, but we are not invested in him. Similarly, the death of Mrs. Churchill in Emma saddens no one (her husband finally gets to visit a friend!) and certainly not the reader. Mr. Woodhouse, who we do care about, also makes it to the end, despite his fear of chills and cake. Consider what the body count would be had Elizabeth Gaskell written Pride and Prejudice (although again my perceptions are colored by filmed adaptations of Gaskell’s novels).

rowlandson-portsmouth
Fanny Price’s Portsmouth family provides a rare glimpse of children

Children
Children don’t play much of a role in the novels. Margaret Dashwood only has a few lines of dialog in Sense and Sensibility. She does propel the plot, however, when she mentions the lock of hair. Most children are stage props, something for Emma to dandle on her knee.

The Price children in Mansfield Park do have important roles in making Fanny realize just how different she is from her Portsmouth relatives, but except for Susan, I put them on a par with the unnamed Cratchit children. Considering the large number of children in Austen’s life, this is pretty odd and perhaps may be a reaction to the large number of children in her life. Austen may have practiced family planning in her novels, with the Bennets and the Prices being the only sizable families I can recall. None of these families come close to the progeny of the Austen clan.

Tropes
There are few plot tropes in Austen as we modern-day readers might define them. In Northanger Abbey, you will recall, she makes fun of tropes like ruined castles and the mysterious death of the first Mrs. De Winter, I mean Tilney. There are no McGuffins, like letters of transit, a second will or missing family jewels.

There are a number of misconceptions and some false accusations, but I never get the sense that Austen is trying to put something over on the reader. Austen’s plots are not complicated. Only Emma, I think, is somewhat complicated, which is why it is sometimes compared to mysteries or detective fiction.

Character generally rise above, ignore or flout the few tropes that do exist. Henry Tilney ignores his father’s wishes. Edward Ferrars forgoes his status as first born son. The Bennet entail still looms and seems regarded as moot by the end of the book.

Comeuppance
There’s little consequence to being evil (or just plain mean) in Austen’s novels. Her, in my opinion, worst villain, Fanny Dashwood, is untouched by the events of Sense and Sensibility, except perhaps in her disappointment that she has Elinor Dashwood as a sister-in-law — again. Lucy Steele makes out like a bandit. General Tilney is not harmed when he casts Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is definitely pissed off not to marry her daughter to her nephew, but let’s face it, that’s probably a good thing for the gene pool and it puts her daughter into play for so many adaptations. William Elliot in Persuasion is thwarted when Anne reunites with Captain Wentworth, but we suspect he has a backup scheme.

The one exception to this might be John Willoughby, who seems to genuinely pine for Marianne Dashwood — just before he returns to his rich wife and no doubt current mistress. Compare this to Charles Dickens, who often gives his villains their just deserts. Austen is amazingly non judgmental.

Do these omissions matter to the story?
No, of course not. Austen’s genius is that she gives us so much, without having to hit the reader over the head. We don’t care that she really gives only the barest description of any character. Somehow, “fine eyes” is all we need to recognize Elizabeth Bennet.

Recognizing these omissions, however, does give us an idea what is important to her. As much as the church was part of the warp and woof of her life, she was no moralizer. As much as her fortunes were affected by her father’s death, she doesn’t really employ it as plot device. (Yes, Dickens, I’m looking at you.) As much as she must have feared for her nautical brothers and would have prayed for her safety, she doesn’t dwell on the war with France. Fanny Price, after all, is most worried about her brother William’s prospects, even though I’m sure Austen knew her heroine would also have prayed for brother’s safety.

She was a remarkably canny author. She knew her limitations and she knew what she was good at. She knew to reveal Edward Ferrars to the reader only through the conversations between Elinor and Margaret.And that’s why what’s not there is sometimes as important as what is.

61gaooT+TnL._UX250_.jpg Meet Jennifer Petkus: Jennifer Petkus divides her time creating websites for the dead, writing Jane Austen-themed mysteries, woodworking, aikido and building model starships. She has few credentials, having failed to graduate from the University of Texas with a journalism degree, but did manage to find employment at the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper as a cop reporter, copy editor and night city editor before the paper died in 1986. She lives in fear of getting a phone call from her dead Japanese mother. Her husband is the night editor at The Denver Post. Her best friend is a cop. She watched Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon live.

51JSUSe7vQL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  Jane Actually, or Jane Austen’s Book Tour

With the invention of the AfterNet, death isn’t quite the end to a literary career it once was, and Jane Austen, the grande dame of English literature, is poised for a comeback with the publication of Sanditon, the book she was writing upon her death in 1817. But how does a disembodied author sign autographs and appear on talk shows? With the aid of Mary Crawford, a struggling acting student who plays the role of the Regency author who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Emma and Sense and Sensibility. But Austen discovers her second chance at a literary career also gives her a second chance at happiness and possibly even … love.

51e1IHOdkWL.jpg My Particular Friend : A Charlotte House Affair

Miss Charlotte House will not admit impediments to marriage, not even when those impediments include scandal, blackmail and a duel to the death. With the help of her particular friend Miss Jane Woodsen, she deduces all that happens in Bath—both good and ill—and together they ensure that true love’s course runs smooth, even though both friends have suffered tragedies that prevent their own happiness. These six affairs, set in Bath, England, during the Napoleonic War, are inspired by the creations of both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jane Austen.

Posted in Austen Authors, Georgian Era, Guest Post, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era, Regency romance, Tudors | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Ceremony of Quit Rents

Have you ever heard of this tradition? The Ceremony of Quit Rents is the oldest legal ceremony in England (other than the coronation). It occurs between St Michael’s Day (October 11) and St Martin’s Day (November 11). On October 17, 2016, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony has been a tradition since 1211 (four years before the Magna Carta). The city handed over a knife, an axe, six extra large horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England (created by Henry II in 1164 to keep track of all that was owed to the crown. In this case, the Remembrancer has presided over the rent owed on two pieces of property for a very long time—since 1235 in one case, and at least 1211 in the other. Every year, in this Ceremony of Quit Rents, the crown extracts its price from the city for a forge and a piece of moorland. The problem is no one knows for certain where the two properties are located. 

Royal_Courts_of_Justice_-_Wide_Angle_Front

The Royal Courts of Justice via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0

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Horseshoes, 61 nails, an axe and billhook are part of the rent London owes to the Queen. EPICS/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES ~ http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/london-is-still-paying-rent-to-the-queen-on-a-property-leased-in-1211

The first piece of land was known at “The Moors” is was located somewhere south of Bridgnorth in Shropshire. The tenant was one Nicholas de Morrs. He owned 180 acres of land and paid the rent of one sharp knife and one blunt knife. Eventually, the rights of tenancy passed to the City of London and so, the City pays the rent of a blunt billhook, which is a type of agricultural knife and a sharp axe to the Remembrancer, who tests the knives as part of the ceremony. The billhook is used to create a tally mark against a hazel stick or in some instances to hack away at a pile of sticks. This symbolizes making the “mark” representing the payment. The sharp axe splits the tally into two pieces. Each of the pieces serves as a receipt – one for each party in the transaction.  Traditionally, the Remembrancer then remarks “Good service”.

“The second quit rent is for the use of the forge in Tweezer’s (or Twizzer’s) Alley, somewhere near The Strand. It is believed that the first tenant, Walter Le Brun, was a blacksmith who had set up his business near the tilting ground of the Knights Templar sometime around 1235. Again the tenancy was taken over by the City of London sometime during the intervening centuries.” (Historic UK) 

According to Atlas Obscura, “The second rent is for a piece of land closer to home. In the neighborhood of what’s now the Royal Courts of Justice, back in the 13th century, the king held a tournament during which the knights needed help repairing their armor; the man who stepped up to do the work was then given a lease on the land to create a forge. (In a different version of the story, his job was to reshoe the horses of the Templar Knights. It’s possible both stories are true, since with the Temple Church just down the street, those knights would have been the farrier’s most obvious customers.)” The Remembrancer says “Good number” when the rents are paid. 

The giant horseshoes required for the second rents were designed to used during battle or during tournaments where horses were trained to “fight” by using their hooves (i.e., the horseshoes) as weapons against the opponent’s horse. Ironically, the shoes currently used date back to the late 1300s. Therefore, the shoes and nails are loaned back to the City of London to be used in the next year’s ceremony. 

“The Ceremony of Quit Rents is open to the public and includes an address by The Queen’s Remembrancer in his ceremonial robes, full-bottomed wig and tricorn hat. There is also usually a talk on some aspect of London History.” (Historic UK) 

Resources: 

Atlas Obscura 

Historic UK 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Age of Chaucer, British history, buildings and structures, customs and tradiitons, kings and queens, Living in the UK | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Sale! Reduced Price on 25 of Regina Jeffers’s Titles Available Until Sunday! Fill Up Your eReaders!

Sale_Tags.jpgBeginning on this past Monday, twenty-five (25) of my titles went on sale. The sale will continue through Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day.  Fill up your eReaders!!!! There are Austen-inspired titles, romantic suspense, a Regency series, and contemporary choices. Peruse the offerings below. 

 

51NionnWclL._SY346_.jpg  Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes [Austenesque; classics; retelling; Regency era; historical fiction]

FITZWILLIAM DARCY loves three things: his sister Georgiana, his ancestral estate, and Elizabeth Bennet. The first two come easily to him. He is a man who recognizes his place in the world, but the third, Elizabeth Bennet, is a woman Society would censure if he chose her for his wife. Can he risk everything he has ever known to love an impossible woman, a woman who has declared him to be “the last man in the world (she) could ever be prevailed upon to marry”?

Revisit Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice, retold from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Discover his soul-searching transformation from hopeless into the world’s most romantic hero. Experience what is missing from Elizabeth Bennet’s tale. Learn something of the truth of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s pride. Return to your favorite scenes from Austen’s classic: Darcy’s rejection of Miss Elizabeth at the Meryton assembly; the Netherfield Ball; the first proposal; his discovering Elizabeth at Pemberley; and Darcy’s desperate plan to save Lydia Bennet from his worst enemy, George Wickham, all retold through his eyes. Satisfy your craving for Austen’s timeless love story, while defining the turmoil and vulnerability in a man who possesses everything except the one thing that can make him happy.

Kindle      Kobo       Nook

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517vBABpW6L._SY346_.jpg Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion: Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes [historical fiction; Regency romance; retelling’ Austenesque; classics]

(Disclaimer: This is not a new title; it is a reworking of “Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion” from Ulysses Press.)

The love affair behind Jane Austen’s classic, Persuasion, rests at the heart of this retelling from Captain Frederick Wentworth’s point of view.

He loved her from the moment their eyes met some eight years prior, but Frederick Wentworth is determined to prove to Anne Elliot that she made a mistake by refusing him. Persuaded by her family and friends of his lack of a future, Anne had sent him away, but now he is back with a fortune earned in the war, and it is Anne, whose circumstances have brought her low. Frederick means to name another to replace her, but whenever he looks upon Anne’s perfect countenance, his resolve wavers, and he finds himself lost once again to his desire for her. Return to the Regency and Austen’s most compelling and mature love story. Jeffers turns the tale upon its head while maintaining Jane Austen’s tale of love and devotion.

Nook      Kobo      Kindle 

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51amJGdxvML._SY346_.jpg Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Paranormal Adventure [Regency romance; paranormal; Scottish; Austenesque; classics}

[Disclaimer: This work was originally released by Ulysses Press. It has been reworked and self published by the author.]

Vampire Darcy’s Desire presents Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as a heart-pounding vampire romance filled with passion and danger.

Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half human/half vampire dhampir, Fitzwilliam Darcy vows to live a solitary life rather than inflict the horrors of his life upon an innocent wife and his first born son. However, when he encounters the captivating Elizabeth Bennet, his will is sorely tested.

As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a different kind of “pride” and his enemy’s “prejudice,” while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love. Evil forces, led by George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, attack from all sides, and Darcy learns his only hope to survive is to align himself with Elizabeth, who is uncannily astute in how to defeat Wickham, a demon determined to destroy each generation of Darcys.

Vampire Darcy’s Desire retells Austen’s greatest love story in a hauntingly compelling tale. Can love be the only thing that can change him?

“An engaging and romantic paranormal surprise” ~ JustJane1813

“Jeffers ups the ante even more by basing the core of the plot line on the traditional Scottish ballad.” ~ The Royal Reviews

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51UhMSGTs0L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Fault: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary (Fiction/Historical Fiction; Romance; Austenesque; Variation; Regency)

What if an accident prevents Elizabeth Bennet from reading Mr. Darcy’s letter of apology? What if said letter goes missing and ends up in the hands of George Wickham? What if Mr. Wickham plans to use the evidence of both Georgiana Darcy’s ruination and Darcy’s disdain for the Bennets to his benefit? How will Darcy counter Wickham’s plans and claim happiness with the woman he loves?

When he notices his long-time enemy in the vicinity of Hunsford Cottage, FITZWILLIAM DARCY means to put an end to an assignation between ELIZABETH BENNET and Mr. Wickham, but Darcy is not prepared for the scene which greets him in Rosings Woods. Elizabeth lies injured and crumpled beneath the trees, and in order to save her, by Society’s standards, Darcy must compromise Elizabeth. Needless to say, Darcy does not mind being forced into claiming Elizabeth to wife, but what of the lady’s affections? Can Darcy tolerate Elizabeth’s regard being engaged elsewhere?

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51hCXC3Q41L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Pemberley Ball: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary Novella [Austeneque; Regency romance; historical fiction; vagary; multiple endings]

Elizabeth Bennet’s acceptance of his hand in marriage presents FITZWILLIAM DARCY a hope of the world being different. Elizabeth offers warmth and naturalness and a bit of defiance; but there is vulnerability also. With characteristic daring, she boldly withstood Caroline Bingley’s barbs, while displaying undying devotion to her sister Jane. More unpredictably, she verbally fenced with the paragon of crudeness, his aunt, Lady Catherine, and walked away relatively unscathed. One often finds his betrothed self-mockingly entertaining her sisters and friends, and despite Darcy’s best efforts, the woman makes him laugh. She brings lightness to his spirit after so many years of grief.

Unfortunately for ELIZABETH BENNET, what begins gloriously turns to concern for their future. She recognizes her burgeoning fears as unreasonable; yet, she cannot displace them. She refuses to speculate on what Mr. Darcy will say when he learns she is not the brilliant choice he proclaims her to be. Moreover, she does not think she can submit to the gentleman’s staid lifestyle. Not even for love can Elizabeth accept capitulation.

Will Elizabeth set her qualms aside to claim ‘home’ in the form of the man she truly affects or will her courage fail her? Enjoy a bit of mayhem that we commonly call “Happily Ever After,” along with three alternate turning points to this tale of love and loss and love again from Austen-inspired author, Regina Jeffers.

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51ZFir7XyIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Elizabeth Bennet’s Excellent Adventure: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary [Pride and Prejudice, Fiction, Jane Austen, Regency romance, Historical romance, classics, variation]

The Last Man in the World She Wishes to Marry is the One Man Who Owns Her Heart!

ELIZABETH BENNET adamantly refused Fitzwilliam Darcy’s proposal, but when Maria Lucas discovers the letter Darcy offers Elizabeth in explanation of his actions, Elizabeth must swallow her objections in order to save her reputation. She follows Darcy to London and pleads for the gentleman to renew his proposal. Yet, even as she does so, Elizabeth knows not what she fears most: being Mr. Darcy’s wife or the revenge he might consider for her earlier rebuke.

FITZWILLIAM DARCY would prefer that Elizabeth Bennet held him in affection, but he reasons that even if she does not, having Elizabeth at his side is far better than claiming another to wife. However, when a case of mistaken identity causes Darcy not to show at his wedding ceremony, he finds himself in a desperate search for his wayward bride-to-be.

Elizabeth, realizing Society will label her as “undesirable” after being abandoned at the altar, sets out on an adventure to mark her future days as the spinster aunt to her sisters’ children. However, Darcy means to locate her and to convince Elizabeth that his affections are true, and a second chance will prove him the “song that sets her heart strumming.”

Kobo        Kindle      Nook      

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5150exgt9jl-_sx322_bo1204203200_ Elizabeth  Bennet’s Deception: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary (Fiction/Historical Fiction; Romance; Austenesque; Regency Romance; Vagary; Classics)

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy refused to approach Elizabeth Bennet when he observes her upon the grounds of Pemberley? What if Elizabeth permits Mr. Darcy to think her the one ruined by Mr. Wickham? What if love is not enough to bring two souls together?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY’S pride makes the natural lead to ELIZABETH BENNET’S ruination when the lady appears, without notice, upon Pemberley’s threshold to plead for Darcy’s assistance in locating his long-time enemy, George Wickham. Initially, Darcy cannot look beyond the pain of lost hopes, but when Charles Bingley demands that Darcy act with honor, Darcy assumes the task. Even so, the idea of delivering Miss Elizabeth into the hands of Mr. Wickham leaves Darcy raw with anguish. Yet, Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet too much to see her brought low. He sets his heartbreak aside to save the woman he affects, but it is not long before Darcy realizes Elizabeth practices a deception, one Darcy permits so he might remain at her side long enough to convince the lady that only in each other can either find happiness.

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51lEzfOB1xL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary [Fiction; Romance; Regency; Austenesque; vagary; Christmas; holiday]

The Greatest Present He Would Ever Receive is the Gift of Her Love…

What if Mr. Darcy purchased a gift for Elizabeth Bennet to acknowledge the festive days even though he knows he will never present it to her? What if the gift is posted to the lady by his servants and without his knowledge? What if the enclosed card was meant for another and is more suggestive than a gentleman should share with an unmarried lady? Join Darcy and Elizabeth, for a holiday romp, loaded with delightful twists and turns no one expects, but one in which our favorite couple take a very different path in thwarting George Wickham and Lydia Bennet’s elopement. Can a simple book of poetry be Darcy’s means to win Elizabeth’s love? When we care more for another than ourselves, the seeds of love have an opportunity to blossom. 

Words of Praise for Mr. Darcy’s Present…     Jeffers takes a familiar story and reinvigorates it with humor, warmth, and wisdom. – Roses and Lilacs Reviews

Nook       Kobo      Kindle 

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51S9Dyhz5ML._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Bargain: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary [vagary; Austenesque; Regency romance; scams; Ponzi; historical fiction]

Darcy and Elizabeth are about to learn how “necessity” never makes a fair bargain.

When ELIZABETH BENNET appears on his doorstep some ten months after her refusal of his hand in marriage, FITZWILLIAM DARCY uses the opportunity to “bargain” for her acceptance of a renewal of his proposal in exchange for his assistance in bringing Mr. George Wickham to justice. In Darcy’s absence from Hertfordshire, Wickham has executed a scam to defraud the citizens of Meryton, including her father, of their hard-earned funds. All have invested in Wickham’s Ten Percent Annuity scheme. Her family and friends are in dire circumstances, and more importantly, Mr. Bennet’s heart has taken an ill turn. Elizabeth will risk everything to bring her father to health again and to save her friends from destitution; yet, is she willing to risk her heart? She places her trust in Darcy’s ability to thwart Wickham’s manipulations, but she is not aware that Darcy wishes more than her acquiescence. He desires her love. Neither considers what will happen if he does not succeed in bringing Mr. Wickham before a magistrate. Will his failure bring an end to their “bargain”? Or will true love prevail?

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61CiE70JPdL._SY346_.jpg A Dance with Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary [Pride and Prejudice; Regency romance; historical fiction vagary; JAFF]

The reason fairy tales end  with a wedding is no one wishes to view what happens next.

Five years earlier, Darcy had raced to Hertfordshire to soothe Elizabeth Bennet’s qualms after Lady Catherine’s venomous attack, but a devastating carriage accident left him near death for months and cost him his chance at happiness with the lady. Now, they meet again upon the Scottish side of the border, but can they forgive all that has transpired in those years? They are widow and widower; however, that does not mean they can take up where they left off. They are damaged people, and healing is not an easy path. To know happiness they must fall in love with the same person all over again.

Kobo      Kindle         Nook  

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51dJIb7G0dL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Road to Understanding: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary  [Pride and Prejudice; Inspirational Romance; vagary; historical fiction; Great Valley Road; Colonial romance]

DARIUS FITZWILLIAM’s life is planned down to who he will marry and where he will live, but life has a way of saying, “You don’t get to choose.” When his marriage to his long-time betrothed Caroline Bradford falls through, Darius is forced to take a step back and to look upon a woman who enflames his blood with desire, but also engenders disbelief. Eliza Harris is everything that Darius never realized he wanted.

ELIZA HARRIS is accustomed to doing as she pleases. Yet, despite being infuriated by his authoritative manner, when she meets the staunchly disciplined Captain Fitzwilliam, she wishes for more. She instinctively knows he is “home,” but Eliza possesses no skills in achieving her aspirations.

Plagued with misunderstandings, manipulations, and peril upon the Great Valley Road between eastern Virginia and western Tennessee in the years following the Revolutionary War, Darius and Eliza claim a strong allegiance before love finds its way into their hearts.

This is a faith-based tale based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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41DEbC8a+vL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Honor and Hope: A Contemporary Pride and Prejudice [romance; contemporary romance; classics; Austenesque; football; winery]

Liz Bennet’s flirtatious nature acerbates Will Darcy’s controlling tendencies, sending him into despair when she fiercely demands her independence from him. How could she repeatedly turn him down? Darcy has it all: good looks, intelligence, a pro football career, and wealth. Attracted by a passionate desire, which neither time nor distance can quench, they are destined to love each other, while constantly misunderstanding one another until Fate deals them a blow from which their relationship may never recover. Set against the backdrop of professional sports and the North Carolina wine country, Honor and Hope offers a modern romance loosely based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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51Q64wIzdVL.jpg  A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense]

2011 Write Touch Readers’ Award, 2nd Place, Historical Romance

(Disclaimer: This book was originally published under the title The Scandal of Lady Eleanor.)

The men of the REALM have served their country, while ignoring their responsibilities to home and love, but now Bonaparte is defeated, they each mean to claim their portion of a new and prosperous England. However, their long-time enemy Shaheed Mir has other plans. The warlord believes one of the Realm has stolen a fist-sized emerald, and the Baloch intends to have its return or his revenge.

JAMES KERRINGTON, the future Earl of Linworth left his title and his infant son behind after the death of his beloved Elizabeth, but he has returned to England to tend his ailing father and to establish his roots. With Daniel as his heir, Kerrington has no need to marry, but when Eleanor Fowler stumbles and falls into his arms, Kerrington’s world is turned upon its head. He will do anything to claim her.

LADY ELEANOR FOWLER has hidden from Society, knowing her father’s notorious reputation for debauchery has tainted any hopes she might have of a happy marriage. And yet, despite her fears, her brother’s closest friend, James Kerrington, has rekindled her hopes, but when Sir Louis Levering appears with proof of Eleanor’s participation in her father’s wickedness, she is drawn into a world of depravity, and only Kerrington’s love can save her.

The first fully original series from Austen pastiche author Jeffers is a knockout. – Publishers Weekly

Jeffers’s characters stay in the reader’s heart and mind long after the last page has been turned. – Favored Elegance

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51s8f5+1gtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense; adventure; mystery]

After years away from England, members of the Realm return home to claim the titles and the lives they once abandoned. Each man holds on to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love. For now, all any of them can hope is the resolutions of their previous difficulties before Shaheed Mir, their old enemy, finds them and exacts his revenge. Mir seeks a mysterious emerald, and he believes one of the Realm has it.

No one finds his soul mate when she is twelve and he seventeen, but BRANTLEY FOWLER, the Duke of Thornhill, always thought he had found his. The memory of Velvet Aldridge’s face was the only thing that kept him alive all those years he remained estranged from his family. Now, he has returned to Kent to claim his title and the woman he loves, but first he must obliterate the memory of his infamous father, while staving off numerous attacks from Mir’s associates.

MISS VELVET ALDRIDGE always believed in “happily ever after.” Yet, when Brantley Fowler returns home, he has a daughter and his wife’s memory to accompany him. He promised her eight years prior that he would return to make her his wife, but Thornhill only offers her a Season and a dowry. How can she make him love her? Make him her “knight in shining armor”? Regency England has never been hotter or more dangerous.

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 516yYuuIWKL.jpg  A Touch of Cashémere: Book 3 of the Realm Series  [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense/adventure/mystery]

MARCUS WELLSTON never expected to inherit his father’s title. After all, he is the youngest of three sons. However, his oldest brother Trevor is judged incapable of meeting the title’s responsibilities, and his second brother Myles has lost his life in an freak accident; therefore, Marcus has returned to Tweed Hall and the earldom. Having departed Northumberland years prior to escape his guilt in his sister’s death, Marcus has spent the previous six years with the Realm, a covert governmental group, in atonement. Now, all he requires is a biddable wife with a pleasing personality. Neither of those phrases describes Cashémere Aldridge.

MISS CASHEMERE ALDRIDGE thought her opinions were absolutes and her world perfectly ordered, but when her eldest sister Velvet is kidnapped, Cashé becomes a part of the intrigue. She quickly discovers nothing she knew before is etched in stone. Leading her through these changes is a man who considers her a “spoiled brat.” A man who prefers her twin Satiné to Cashémere. A man whose approval she desperately requires: Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick. Toss in an irate Baloch warlord, a missing emerald, a double kidnapping, a blackmail attempt, and an explosion in a glass cone, and the Realm has its hands full. The Regency era has never been hotter, nor more dangerous.

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51Fa-15aWfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense/mystery]

SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, 3rd Place, Historical Romance

“Jeffers’s close look at the dark secrets of Regency society instills a sense of realism.” – Publishers Weekly

After years away from England, members of the Realm return home to claim the titles and the lives they had previously abandoned. Each man holds onto the fleeting dream of finally know love and home. For now, all any of them can hope is the resolution of his earlier difficulties before Shaheed Mir, their old enemy, finds them and exacts his revenge. Mir seeks a mysterious emerald, and he believes one of the Realm has it.

GABRIEL CROWDEN, the Marquis of Godown, can easily recall the night that he made a vow to know love before he met his Maker. Of course, that was before Lady Gardenia Templeton’s duplicity had driven Godown from his home and before his father’s will had changed everything. Godown requires a wife to meet the unusual demands of the former marquis’s stipulations. Preferably one either already carrying his child or one who would tolerate his constant attentions to secure the Crowden line before the deadline.

MISS GRACE NELSON dreams of family died with her brother’s ascension to the title. Yet, when she meets the injured Marquis of Godown at a Scottish inn, her dreams have a new name. However, hope never has an easy path. Grace is but a lowly governess with ordinary features. She believes she can never earn the regard of the “Adonis” known as Gabriel Crowden. Besides, the man has a well-earned skepticism when it comes to the women in his life. How can she prove that she is the one woman who will never betray him? The Regency era has never been hotter.

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51YKc0AyULL.jpg A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense; mystery]

Members of the Realm have retuned to England to claim the titles they left behind. Each holds to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love, but first he must face his old enemy Shaheed Mir, a Baloch warlord, who believes one of the group has stolen a fist-sized emerald. Mir will have the emerald’s return or will exact his bloody revenge.

A devastating injury has robbed AIDAN KIMBOLT, Viscount Lexford, of part of his memory, but surely not of the reality that lovely Mercy Nelson is his father’s by-blow. Aidan is intrigued by his “sister’s” vivacity and how easily she ushers life into Lexington Arms, a house plagued by Death’s secrets–secrets of his wife’s ghost, of his brother’s untimely passing, and of his parents’ marriage: Secrets Aidan must banish to finally know happiness.

Fate has delivered Miss MERCY NELSON to Lord Lexford’s door, where she quickly discovers appearances are deceiving. Not only does Mercy practice a bit of her own duplicity, so do all within Lexington Arms. Yet, dangerous intrigue cannot squash the burgeoning passion consuming her and Viscount Lexford, as the boundaries of their relationship are sorely tested. How can they find true love if they must begin a life peppered with lies?

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51wz7WK6k-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense; mystery]

The REALM has returned to England to claim the titles they left behind. Each man holds to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love and home, but first he must face his old enemy Shaheed Mir, a Baloch warlord, who believes one of the group has stolen a fist-sized emerald. Mir will have the emerald’s return or will exact his bloody revenge.. Aristotle Pennington has groomed

SIR CARTER LOWERY as his successor as the Realm’s leader, and Sir Carter has thought of little else for years. He has handcrafted his life, filled it with duties and responsibilities, and eventually, he will choose a marriage of convenience to bolster his career; yet, Lucinda Warren is a temptation he cannot resist. Every time he touches her, he recognizes his mistake because his desire for her is not easily quenched. To complicate matters, it was Mrs. Warren’s father, Colonel Roderick Rightnour, whom Sir Carter replaced at the Battle of Waterloo, an action which had named Sir Carter a national hero and her father a failure as a military strategist.

LUCINDA WARREN’s late husband has left her to tend to a child belonging to another woman and has drowned her in multiple scandals. Her only hope to discover the boy’s true parentage and to remove her name from the lips of the ton’s censors is Sir Carter Lowery, a man who causes her body to course with awareness, as if he had etched his name upon her soul. Cruel twists of Fate have thrown them together three times, and Lucinda prays to hold off her cry for completion long enough to deny her heart and to release Sir Carter to his future: A future to which she will never belong.

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51iTwdJj5XL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  A Touch of Honor: Book 7 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense/adventure/mystery]

For two years, BARON JOHN SWENTON has thought of little else other than making Satiné Aldridge his wife; so when he discovers her reputation in tatters, Swenton acts honorably: He puts forward a marriage of convenience that will save her from ruination and provide him the one woman he believes will bring joy to his life. However, the moment he utters his proposal, Swenton’s instincts scream he has made a mistake: Unfortunately, a man of honor makes the best of even the most horrendous of situations.

MISS SATINE ALDRIDGE has fallen for a man she can never possess and has accepted a man she finds only mildly tolerable. What will she do to extricate herself from Baron Swenton’s life and claim the elusive Prince Henrí? Obviously, more than anyone would ever expect.

MISS ISOLDE NEVILLE has been hired to serve as Satiné Aldridge’s companion, but her loyalty rests purely with the lady’s husband. With regret, she watches the baron struggle against the impossible situation in which Miss Aldridge has placed him, while her heart desires to claim the man as her own. Yet, Isolde is as honorable as the baron. She means to see him happy, even if that requires her to aid him in his quest to earn Miss Satiné’s affections.

Sacrifice and honor, betrayal and redemption, all make for an exceptionally satisfying romance. A Touch of Honor is a mesmerizing story of extraordinary love realized against impossible odds. – Collette Cameron, Award-Winning Author

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514yJvDdlbL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series  (Fiction/Historical; Historical Romance/Mystery/Adventure; Regency)

Four crazy Balochs. A Gypsy band. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. And a missing emerald.

For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mir sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girl’s child, LADY SONALI FOWLER.

DANIEL KERRINGTON, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, when danger arrives in the form of the Realm’s old enemy, Kerrington ignores all caution for the woman he loves.

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51y7cF2BsVL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel of the Realm Series (Regency romance, Historical romance, Series, The Realm)

The Deepest Love is Always Unexpected.

LAWRENCE LOWERY, Lord Hellsman, has served as the dutiful son since childhood, but when his father Baron Blakehell arranges a marriage with the insipid Annalee Dryburgh, Lowery must choose between his responsibilities to his future title and the one woman who makes sense in his life.

Although her mother was once a lady in waiting to the Queen, by Society’s standards, MISS ARABELLA TILNEY is completely unfit to be the future baroness: Bella is an American hoyden who demands that Lowery do the impossible: Be the man he always dreamed of being.

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41SlfufFlDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  His Irish Eve (Fiction/Historical Fiction; Romance; Regency Romance/Adventure)

When the Earl of Greenwall demands his only son, ADAM LAWRENCE, Viscount Stafford, retrieve the viscount’s by-blow, everything in Lawrence’s life changes. Six years prior, Stafford released his mistress, Cathleen Donnell, from his protection; now, he discovers from Greenwall that Cathleen was with child when she returned to her family. Stafford arrives in Cheshire to discover not only the son of which Greenwall spoke, but also two daughters, as well as a strong-willed woman, in the form of AOIFE KENNICE, who fascinates Stafford from the moment of their first encounter.

Set against the backdrop of the early radicalism of the Industrial Revolution and the Peterloo Massacre, a battle begins: A fight Lawrence must win: a fight for a woman worth knowing, his Irish Eve.

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51pTbYxbmpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  The First Wives’ Club: Book 1 of the First Wives’ Trilogy (Regency romance, historical romance, trilogy, series, mystery, family relationships)

SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, Honorable Mention, Historical Romance

NATHANIEL EPPERLY, the Earl of Eggleston, has married the woman his father has chosen for him, but the marriage has been everything but comfortable. Nathaniel’s wife, Lady Charlotte, came to the marriage bed with a wanton’s experience. She dutifully provides Eggleston his heir, but within a fortnight, she deserts father and son for Baron Remington Craddock. In the eyes of the ton, Lady Charlotte has cuckolded Epperly.

ROSELLEN WARREN, longs for love and adventure. Unfortunately, she’s likely to find neither. As a squire’s daughter, Rosellen holds no sway in Society; but she’s a true diamond in the rough. Yet, when she meets Epperly’s grandmother, the Dowager Countess Eggleston creates a “story” for the girl, claiming if Rosellen is presented to the ton as a war widow with a small dowry, that the girl will find a suitable match.

BARON REMINGTON CRADDOCK remains a thorn in Eggleston’s side, but when Craddock makes Mrs. Warren a pawn in his crazy game of control, Eggleston offers the woman his protection. However, the earl has never faced a man who holds no strength of title, but who wields great power; and he finds himself always a step behind the enigmatic baron. When someone frames Epperly for Lady Charlotte’s sudden disappearance, Nathaniel must quickly learn the baron’s secrets or face a death sentence.

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51onglyxSeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  Second Chances: The Courtship Wars (Contemporary Romance, Psychology, Sexology, Reality TV, Downs Syndrome, Eccentric Hermits)

Rushing through the concourse to make her way to the conference stage, GILLIAN CORNELL comes face-to-face with the one man she finds most contemptible, but suddenly her world tilts. His gaze tells stories she wants desperately to hear. As he undresses her with his eyes, Gillian finds all she can do is stumble through her opening remarks. The all-too-attractive cad challenges both her sensibility and her reputation as a competent sexologist. 

DR. LUCIAN DAMRON never allows any woman to capture his interest for long. He uses them to boost his career and for his pleasure. Yet, Lucian cannot resist Gillian’s stubborn independence, her startling intelligence, and her surprising sensuality. Sinfully handsome, Lucian hides a badly wounded heart and a life of personal rejection. 

Thrown together as the medical staff on “Second Chances,” a new reality TV show designed to reunite previously married couples, Lucian and Gillian soon pique the interest of the American viewing public, who tune in each week, fascinated by the passionate electricity coursing between them. Thus begins an all-consuming courtship war, plagued by potential relationship-ending secrets and misunderstandings and played out scandalously on a national stage. 

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511JFhbIlTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  One Minute Past Christmas: Tale of an Appalachian Christmas Miracle [short story, Appalachia, holidays, Christmas, family relationships, legends]

One Minute Past Christmas is the story of a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, family in which a grandfather and his granddaughter share a special ability — they call it a “gift”– that enables them to briefly witness each year a miraculous gathering in the sky. What they see begins at precisely one minute past Christmas and fills them with as much relief as it does wonder. But they worry that the “gift” — which they cannot reveal to anyone else — will die with them because it has been passed to no other relative for forty-four years.

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I do not own the rights to this book, but Black Opal Books, the publisher, has placed a reasonable price on this eBook. Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy, The Earl Claims His Comfort, will have an Autumn arrival. Read Book 1 now! 

51Qc31W5ZSL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep: Book 1 of the Twins’ Trilogy [romantic suspense; Regency romance; historical fiction; mystery; twins]

SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, 3rd Place, Historical Romance

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?

The story is charming, with interesting and realistic characters, a complex plot with plenty of surprises, and a sweet romance woven through it all. The author has a good command of what it was like to be a woman in nineteenth-century England–almost as if she had been there. She really did her research for this one. – Taylor Jones 

Angel Comes to Devil’s Keep is a well-written tale of courage and sacrifice and what women went through in order to marry well in Regency England. The author did her homework and it shows in an authenticity that we don’t often see in Regency romances. – Regan Murphy

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Black Opal Books        iTunes          Regency Reader

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Note! I do not yet have the rights back for this title, but the eBook version is reasonably priced by Pegasus Books. 

51zxCx1ka8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller; Fiction/Historical Fiction)

2016 Finalist for the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction

2016 Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

2016 Finalist Chanticleer International Book Awards 

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin. Major General Edward Fitzwilliam for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family. Even so, the Darcy’s troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before his cousin is hanged for the crimes and the Fitzwilliam name is marked by shame.

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Posted in Austen Authors, book release, books, eBooks, Jane Austen, publishing, Regency romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mother’s Day Sale on Titles from Regina Jeffers! Fill Up Your eReader with These Regency and Contemporary Novels!

Sale_TagsAs of yesterday, twenty-five (25) of my titles are on sale. The sale will continue through Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day.  Fill up your eReaders!!!! There are Austen-inspired titles, romantic suspense, a Regency series, and contemporary choices. ALL TITLES ARE $2.50 OR LESS. Here are the 13 Regency and Contemporary Titles Available. 

51Q64wIzdVL.jpg  A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense]

2011 Write Touch Readers’ Award, 2nd Place, Historical Romance

(Disclaimer: This book was originally published under the title The Scandal of Lady Eleanor.)

The men of the REALM have served their country, while ignoring their responsibilities to home and love, but now Bonaparte is defeated, they each mean to claim their portion of a new and prosperous England. However, their long-time enemy Shaheed Mir has other plans. The warlord believes one of the Realm has stolen a fist-sized emerald, and the Baloch intends to have its return or his revenge.

JAMES KERRINGTON, the future Earl of Linworth left his title and his infant son behind after the death of his beloved Elizabeth, but he has returned to England to tend his ailing father and to establish his roots. With Daniel as his heir, Kerrington has no need to marry, but when Eleanor Fowler stumbles and falls into his arms, Kerrington’s world is turned upon its head. He will do anything to claim her.

LADY ELEANOR FOWLER has hidden from Society, knowing her father’s notorious reputation for debauchery has tainted any hopes she might have of a happy marriage. And yet, despite her fears, her brother’s closest friend, James Kerrington, has rekindled her hopes, but when Sir Louis Levering appears with proof of Eleanor’s participation in her father’s wickedness, she is drawn into a world of depravity, and only Kerrington’s love can save her.

The first fully original series from Austen pastiche author Jeffers is a knockout. – Publishers Weekly

Jeffers’s characters stay in the reader’s heart and mind long after the last page has been turned. – Favored Elegance

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51s8f5+1gtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense; adventure; mystery]

After years away from England, members of the Realm return home to claim the titles and the lives they once abandoned. Each man holds on to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love. For now, all any of them can hope is the resolutions of their previous difficulties before Shaheed Mir, their old enemy, finds them and exacts his revenge. Mir seeks a mysterious emerald, and he believes one of the Realm has it.

No one finds his soul mate when she is twelve and he seventeen, but BRANTLEY FOWLER, the Duke of Thornhill, always thought he had found his. The memory of Velvet Aldridge’s face was the only thing that kept him alive all those years he remained estranged from his family. Now, he has returned to Kent to claim his title and the woman he loves, but first he must obliterate the memory of his infamous father, while staving off numerous attacks from Mir’s associates.

MISS VELVET ALDRIDGE always believed in “happily ever after.” Yet, when Brantley Fowler returns home, he has a daughter and his wife’s memory to accompany him. He promised her eight years prior that he would return to make her his wife, but Thornhill only offers her a Season and a dowry. How can she make him love her? Make him her “knight in shining armor”? Regency England has never been hotter or more dangerous.

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 516yYuuIWKL.jpg  A Touch of Cashémere: Book 3 of the Realm Series  [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense/adventure/mystery]

MARCUS WELLSTON never expected to inherit his father’s title. After all, he is the youngest of three sons. However, his oldest brother Trevor is judged incapable of meeting the title’s responsibilities, and his second brother Myles has lost his life in an freak accident; therefore, Marcus has returned to Tweed Hall and the earldom. Having departed Northumberland years prior to escape his guilt in his sister’s death, Marcus has spent the previous six years with the Realm, a covert governmental group, in atonement. Now, all he requires is a biddable wife with a pleasing personality. Neither of those phrases describes Cashémere Aldridge.

MISS CASHEMERE ALDRIDGE thought her opinions were absolutes and her world perfectly ordered, but when her eldest sister Velvet is kidnapped, Cashé becomes a part of the intrigue. She quickly discovers nothing she knew before is etched in stone. Leading her through these changes is a man who considers her a “spoiled brat.” A man who prefers her twin Satiné to Cashémere. A man whose approval she desperately requires: Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick. Toss in an irate Baloch warlord, a missing emerald, a double kidnapping, a blackmail attempt, and an explosion in a glass cone, and the Realm has its hands full. The Regency era has never been hotter, nor more dangerous.

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51Fa-15aWfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense/mystery]

SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, 3rd Place, Historical Romance

“Jeffers’s close look at the dark secrets of Regency society instills a sense of realism.” – Publishers Weekly

After years away from England, members of the Realm return home to claim the titles and the lives they had previously abandoned. Each man holds onto the fleeting dream of finally know love and home. For now, all any of them can hope is the resolution of his earlier difficulties before Shaheed Mir, their old enemy, finds them and exacts his revenge. Mir seeks a mysterious emerald, and he believes one of the Realm has it.

GABRIEL CROWDEN, the Marquis of Godown, can easily recall the night that he made a vow to know love before he met his Maker. Of course, that was before Lady Gardenia Templeton’s duplicity had driven Godown from his home and before his father’s will had changed everything. Godown requires a wife to meet the unusual demands of the former marquis’s stipulations. Preferably one either already carrying his child or one who would tolerate his constant attentions to secure the Crowden line before the deadline.

MISS GRACE NELSON dreams of family died with her brother’s ascension to the title. Yet, when she meets the injured Marquis of Godown at a Scottish inn, her dreams have a new name. However, hope never has an easy path. Grace is but a lowly governess with ordinary features. She believes she can never earn the regard of the “Adonis” known as Gabriel Crowden. Besides, the man has a well-earned skepticism when it comes to the women in his life. How can she prove that she is the one woman who will never betray him? The Regency era has never been hotter.

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51YKc0AyULL.jpg A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense; mystery]

Members of the Realm have retuned to England to claim the titles they left behind. Each holds to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love, but first he must face his old enemy Shaheed Mir, a Baloch warlord, who believes one of the group has stolen a fist-sized emerald. Mir will have the emerald’s return or will exact his bloody revenge.

A devastating injury has robbed AIDAN KIMBOLT, Viscount Lexford, of part of his memory, but surely not of the reality that lovely Mercy Nelson is his father’s by-blow. Aidan is intrigued by his “sister’s” vivacity and how easily she ushers life into Lexington Arms, a house plagued by Death’s secrets–secrets of his wife’s ghost, of his brother’s untimely passing, and of his parents’ marriage: Secrets Aidan must banish to finally know happiness.

Fate has delivered Miss MERCY NELSON to Lord Lexford’s door, where she quickly discovers appearances are deceiving. Not only does Mercy practice a bit of her own duplicity, so do all within Lexington Arms. Yet, dangerous intrigue cannot squash the burgeoning passion consuming her and Viscount Lexford, as the boundaries of their relationship are sorely tested. How can they find true love if they must begin a life peppered with lies?

Kindle           Kobo         Nook   

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51wz7WK6k-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; adventure; romantic suspense; mystery]

The REALM has returned to England to claim the titles they left behind. Each man holds to the fleeting dream of finally knowing love and home, but first he must face his old enemy Shaheed Mir, a Baloch warlord, who believes one of the group has stolen a fist-sized emerald. Mir will have the emerald’s return or will exact his bloody revenge.. Aristotle Pennington has groomed

SIR CARTER LOWERY as his successor as the Realm’s leader, and Sir Carter has thought of little else for years. He has handcrafted his life, filled it with duties and responsibilities, and eventually, he will choose a marriage of convenience to bolster his career; yet, Lucinda Warren is a temptation he cannot resist. Every time he touches her, he recognizes his mistake because his desire for her is not easily quenched. To complicate matters, it was Mrs. Warren’s father, Colonel Roderick Rightnour, whom Sir Carter replaced at the Battle of Waterloo, an action which had named Sir Carter a national hero and her father a failure as a military strategist.

LUCINDA WARREN’s late husband has left her to tend to a child belonging to another woman and has drowned her in multiple scandals. Her only hope to discover the boy’s true parentage and to remove her name from the lips of the ton’s censors is Sir Carter Lowery, a man who causes her body to course with awareness, as if he had etched his name upon her soul. Cruel twists of Fate have thrown them together three times, and Lucinda prays to hold off her cry for completion long enough to deny her heart and to release Sir Carter to his future: A future to which she will never belong.

Kindle             Kobo          Nook 

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51iTwdJj5XL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  A Touch of Honor: Book 7 of the Realm Series [historical fiction; Regency romance; romantic suspense/adventure/mystery]

For two years, BARON JOHN SWENTON has thought of little else other than making Satiné Aldridge his wife; so when he discovers her reputation in tatters, Swenton acts honorably: He puts forward a marriage of convenience that will save her from ruination and provide him the one woman he believes will bring joy to his life. However, the moment he utters his proposal, Swenton’s instincts scream he has made a mistake: Unfortunately, a man of honor makes the best of even the most horrendous of situations.

MISS SATINE ALDRIDGE has fallen for a man she can never possess and has accepted a man she finds only mildly tolerable. What will she do to extricate herself from Baron Swenton’s life and claim the elusive Prince Henrí? Obviously, more than anyone would ever expect.

MISS ISOLDE NEVILLE has been hired to serve as Satiné Aldridge’s companion, but her loyalty rests purely with the lady’s husband. With regret, she watches the baron struggle against the impossible situation in which Miss Aldridge has placed him, while her heart desires to claim the man as her own. Yet, Isolde is as honorable as the baron. She means to see him happy, even if that requires her to aid him in his quest to earn Miss Satiné’s affections.

Sacrifice and honor, betrayal and redemption, all make for an exceptionally satisfying romance. A Touch of Honor is a mesmerizing story of extraordinary love realized against impossible odds. – Collette Cameron, Award-Winning Author

Kindle         Kobo        Nook    

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514yJvDdlbL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series  (Fiction/Historical; Historical Romance/Mystery/Adventure; Regency)

Four crazy Balochs. A Gypsy band. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. And a missing emerald.

For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mir sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girl’s child, LADY SONALI FOWLER.

DANIEL KERRINGTON, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, when danger arrives in the form of the Realm’s old enemy, Kerrington ignores all caution for the woman he loves.

Kindle         Nook        Kobo    

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51y7cF2BsVL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel of the Realm Series (Regency romance, Historical romance, Series, The Realm)

The Deepest Love is Always Unexpected.

LAWRENCE LOWERY, Lord Hellsman, has served as the dutiful son since childhood, but when his father Baron Blakehell arranges a marriage with the insipid Annalee Dryburgh, Lowery must choose between his responsibilities to his future title and the one woman who makes sense in his life.

Although her mother was once a lady in waiting to the Queen, by Society’s standards, MISS ARABELLA TILNEY is completely unfit to be the future baroness: Bella is an American hoyden who demands that Lowery do the impossible: Be the man he always dreamed of being.

Kindle       Nook        Kobo    

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41SlfufFlDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  His Irish Eve (Fiction/Historical Fiction; Romance; Regency Romance/Adventure)

When the Earl of Greenwall demands his only son, ADAM LAWRENCE, Viscount Stafford, retrieve the viscount’s by-blow, everything in Lawrence’s life changes. Six years prior, Stafford released his mistress, Cathleen Donnell, from his protection; now, he discovers from Greenwall that Cathleen was with child when she returned to her family. Stafford arrives in Cheshire to discover not only the son of which Greenwall spoke, but also two daughters, as well as a strong-willed woman, in the form of AOIFE KENNICE, who fascinates Stafford from the moment of their first encounter.

Set against the backdrop of the early radicalism of the Industrial Revolution and the Peterloo Massacre, a battle begins: A fight Lawrence must win: a fight for a woman worth knowing, his Irish Eve.

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51pTbYxbmpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  The First Wives’ Club: Book 1 of the First Wives’ Trilogy (Regency romance, historical romance, trilogy, series, mystery, family relationships)

SOLA’s Seventh Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, Honorable Mention, Historical Romance

NATHANIEL EPPERLY, the Earl of Eggleston, has married the woman his father has chosen for him, but the marriage has been everything but comfortable. Nathaniel’s wife, Lady Charlotte, came to the marriage bed with a wanton’s experience. She dutifully provides Eggleston his heir, but within a fortnight, she deserts father and son for Baron Remington Craddock. In the eyes of the ton, Lady Charlotte has cuckolded Epperly.

ROSELLEN WARREN, longs for love and adventure. Unfortunately, she’s likely to find neither. As a squire’s daughter, Rosellen holds no sway in Society; but she’s a true diamond in the rough. Yet, when she meets Epperly’s grandmother, the Dowager Countess Eggleston creates a “story” for the girl, claiming if Rosellen is presented to the ton as a war widow with a small dowry, that the girl will find a suitable match.

BARON REMINGTON CRADDOCK remains a thorn in Eggleston’s side, but when Craddock makes Mrs. Warren a pawn in his crazy game of control, Eggleston offers the woman his protection. However, the earl has never faced a man who holds no strength of title, but who wields great power; and he finds himself always a step behind the enigmatic baron. When someone frames Epperly for Lady Charlotte’s sudden disappearance, Nathaniel must quickly learn the baron’s secrets or face a death sentence.

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51onglyxSeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  Second Chances: The Courtship Wars (Contemporary Romance, Psychology, Sexology, Reality TV, Downs Syndrome, Eccentric Hermits)

Rushing through the concourse to make her way to the conference stage, GILLIAN CORNELL comes face-to-face with the one man she finds most contemptible, but suddenly her world tilts. His gaze tells stories she wants desperately to hear. As he undresses her with his eyes, Gillian finds all she can do is stumble through her opening remarks. The all-too-attractive cad challenges both her sensibility and her reputation as a competent sexologist. 

DR. LUCIAN DAMRON never allows any woman to capture his interest for long. He uses them to boost his career and for his pleasure. Yet, Lucian cannot resist Gillian’s stubborn independence, her startling intelligence, and her surprising sensuality. Sinfully handsome, Lucian hides a badly wounded heart and a life of personal rejection. 

Thrown together as the medical staff on “Second Chances,” a new reality TV show designed to reunite previously married couples, Lucian and Gillian soon pique the interest of the American viewing public, who tune in each week, fascinated by the passionate electricity coursing between them. Thus begins an all-consuming courtship war, plagued by potential relationship-ending secrets and misunderstandings and played out scandalously on a national stage. 

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511JFhbIlTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  One Minute Past Christmas: Tale of an Appalachian Christmas Miracle [short story, Appalachia, holidays, Christmas, family relationships, legends]

One Minute Past Christmas is the story of a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, family in which a grandfather and his granddaughter share a special ability — they call it a “gift”– that enables them to briefly witness each year a miraculous gathering in the sky. What they see begins at precisely one minute past Christmas and fills them with as much relief as it does wonder. But they worry that the “gift” — which they cannot reveal to anyone else — will die with them because it has been passed to no other relative for forty-four years.

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I do not own the rights to this book, which means I do not control the price and sales, but Black Opal Books, the publisher, has placed a reasonable price on this eBook. Book 2 of the Twins’ Trilogy, The Earl Claims His Comfort, will have an Autumn arrival. Read Book 1 now! 

51Qc31W5ZSL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep: Book 1 of the Twins’ Trilogy [romantic suspense; Regency romance; historical fiction; mystery; twins]

SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Awards, 3rd Place, Historical Romance

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?

The story is charming, with interesting and realistic characters, a complex plot with plenty of surprises, and a sweet romance woven through it all. The author has a good command of what it was like to be a woman in nineteenth-century England–almost as if she had been there. She really did her research for this one. – Taylor Jones 

Angel Comes to Devil’s Keep is a well-written tale of courage and sacrifice and what women went through in order to marry well in Regency England. The author did her homework and it shows in an authenticity that we don’t often see in Regency romances. – Regan Murphy

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