Handfasting as a Means to Marriage in “Lady Chandler’s Sister” + a Giveaway

Although Sir Alexander Chandler and Miss Alana Pottinger do not come to their Happily Ever After in Lady Chandler’s Sister through handfasting, it is a subject of discussion. They met in Scotland, and handfasting was a more common practice there. But what was handfasting?

hf3 Historically, marriage toward the latter part of the medieval period in Scotland could be executed by the exchange of consent between a man and a woman. This was what we say in the modern setting, i.e., “I Edward take you Margaret to be my wife.” During the medieval times, witnesses were not necessary to make the marriage valid. Basically, this marriage by consent held true from the early 1200s to the Reformation. This was a practice of canon law, essentially the Roman Catholic Church, not civil law. Oddly, this practice went against the earlier precepts of parental consent and the marriage only being binding after it was consummated. However, the Catholic church argued that these “clandestine” marriages, as they were termed, were as legal and as binding as were those performed by a priest.

Some of these practices changed with the Council of Trent (1563). Roman Catholic law then insisted upon a priest performing the marriage for it to be legal. However, Scottish Reformation did not get around to “reforming” the marriage laws as quickly as did other Protestant countries. Both the Protestant Kirk and Scottish civil law did not change. Consent between the couple remained as the basis for a legal joining. That being said, the Protestant Kirk did not approve of “clandestine” marriages, any more than did the Catholic contingent. Many Scottish Protestants attacked the practice, calling it a form of “fornication” and declaring it illegal.

So, how does this apply to “handfasting”? In late medieval Scotland (and northern England), “handfasting” was a term for “betrothal.” In A. E. Anton’s “‘Handfasting’ in Scotland” (The Scottish Historical Review, October 1958), we learn:

“Among the people who came to inhabit Northumbria and the Lothians, as well as among other Germanic peoples, the nuptials were completed in two distinct phases. There was first the betrothal ceremony and later the giving-away of the wife to the husband. The betrothal ceremony was called the beweddung in Anglo-Saxon because in it the future husband gave weds or sureties to the woman’s relatives, initially for payment to them of a suitable price for his bride but later for payment to her of suitable dower and morning-gift. The parties plighted their troth and the contract was sealed, like any other contract, by a hand-shake. This joining of hands was called a handfæstung in Anglo-Saxon, and the same word is found in different forms in the German, Swedish and Danish languages. In each it means a pledge by the giving of the hand.

42de8778344bbcd5a555f3be0709922f “… The joining of the hands became a feature of betrothals in Scotland and in England during the medieval period. A Scottish protocol narrates that on 24 July 1556, the Vicar of Aberdour ‘ministrat and execut the office anent the handfasting betwix Robert Lawder younger of the Bass and Jane Hepburn docter to Patrick Errl Botwell in thir vordis following: “I Robert Lawder tak thow Jane Hepburne to my spousit wyf as the law of the Haly Kirk schawis and thereto I plycht thow my trewht and syklyk I the said Jane Hepburne takis you Robert Lawder to my spousit husband as the law of the Haly Kirk schaws and therto I plycht to thow my trewth,” and execut the residew of the said maner of handfasting conforme to the consuetud usit and wont in syk casis’ What this ‘consuetude’ was may be gathered from a protocol on the sponsalia of David Boswell of Auchinleck and Janet Hamilton, daughter of the Earl of Arran. After the consents had been exchanged ‘the curate with the consent of both parties with their hands joined betrothed the said David and Janet who took oath as is the custom of the Church’. In fact, the ceremony of joining hands became so closely associated with betrothals in medieval times that in Scotland, and apparently the north of England, the ordinary term for a betrothal was a handfasting. The use of the term in this sense persisted in Elgin as late as 1635.”

One catch in all this is the idea that if a couple had sex after becoming handfasted, they were no longer betrothed, but rather legally married. Handfasting could result in marriage if the couple made their consents to marry or if the pair enjoy conjugal relationships. If they did not exchange consents and did not have marital relationships, they were not married (simply betrothed, which means the betrothal could still be broken).

Resources:

For more on Handfasting, visit Sharon L. Krossa on Medieval Scotland   

“Handfasting History” 

“History of Marriage in Great Britain and Ireland”  via Wikipedia ~ 

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Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE: BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 25, BLACK OPAL BOOKS PUT ANGEL COMES TO THE DEVIL’S KEEP AND THE EARL CLAIMS HIS COMFORT ON SALE ALSO. 

Now for the Giveaway! Leave a comment below to be in the mix for the one of two eBook copies of “Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy.”  Winners will be announced April 7. 

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Posted in Black Opal Books, book release, British history, eBooks, George IV, Georgian England, Georgian Era, giveaway, historical fiction, marriage, marriage customs, marriage licenses, real life tales, Regency era, Regency romance, romance, Scotland, suspense | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clandestine Weddings and the Release of “Lady Chandler’s Sister” + a Giveaway

Clandestine/Irregular Weddings in Scotland

DavidAllan-highlandwedding1780.jpg A clandestine wedding plays a key role in solving the mystery that occurs in my latest Regency romantic suspense, Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 the Twins’ Trilogy. But exactly what constituted a clandestine or irregular marriage during the Regency Period?

A clandestine/irregular marriage is what we today might call a “de facto” (describing practices that exist in reality, even if not legally authorized) wedding or even a “common law wedding.”  Irregular marriages were considered legal in Scotland up until the mid 1900s. The laws in Scotland varied greatly from other European countries. Marriages in the European Catholic countries were only legal if they were conducted by a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. In England, marriages were only legal if conducted by an Anglican clergyman. The Hardwicke Act of 1753 saw to that. A couple wishing to marry in England agreed to both a religious sacrament and a legal contract. English couples had to have the consent of one or both parents if they were under the age of 21, and the wedding ceremony had to take place in a parish church and conducted by a man ordained by the Church of England.

But in Scotland, we have a totally different structure. A regular marriage did not require a church as the setting for the wedding or parental consent. It did require the proclamation of the banns in the parish church and an authorized clergyman from the Scottish Church.

Four forms of irregular marriages were considered valid marriages in Scotland until 1 July 1940. An irregular marriage could be considered valid (1) if there was mutual agreement between the man and the woman, a declaration of per verba de presenti—declaring before two witness to take someone as one’s wife or husband, (2) if there was a public promise of per verba de futuro subsequente copula followed by consummation, (3) if the marriage was contracted by correspondence, or (4) if there was cohabitation and repute.

The first two conditions were abolished by the Marriage (Scotland) Act of 1939. All four forms included the agreement of the couple to be married and some form of witnesses or evidence offered as proof of the agreement. Any citizen could witness a public promise. Thus, the reason many English couples rushed to Scotland to be married by a “blacksmith.” The marriage did not actually have to be performed by a blacksmith, just by a citizen of a Scottish border town or village. A marriage of cohabitation and repute was still acceptable until the 2008 Family Law (Scotland) Act. “Repute” was the part upon which divorces were granted or not. This was a common law marriage, and Scotland was the last of the European countries to abolish it. For this law to apply, the minimum time the couple had lived together continuously had to exceed 20 days. Until this act, the only regular marriage available in Scotland was a religious marriage. Irregular marriages were not socially acceptable, and many people who decided to contract them did so where they were relatively unknown.

annesley-elopement.jpgAccording to Eleanor Gordon in “Irregular Marriages: Myth and Reality,” “The distinctive marriage arrangements of Scotland and England had very real consequences, most notoriously, the vogue for runaway marriages to Scotland, particularly Greta Green and other border towns, by young English couples seeking to avoid the need for parental consent for their marriage and to take advantage of the more flexible and informal marriage laws. Although Lord Brougham’s Act of 1856 attempted to stem the flow of young couples across the border by extending the residential qualification so that one of the parties had to be resident for 21 days, Gretna marriages continued to excite the disapproval of the authorities on both sides of the border into the twentieth century. Indeed it was the resurgence of these border marriages that prompted calls for reform of the marriage laws in the 1920 and 1930s. Although Dr. James Stark, Superintendent of Statistics under Scotland’s first Registrar General, William Pitt Dundas, described Scotland’s marriage laws as simple in comparison with “the complicated marriage laws of England,” they were in fact characterized more by ambiguity and uncertainty than clarity.For example, there were innumerable legal wrangles about whether particular situations demonstrated sufficient proof of exchange of consent as well as general misunderstanding of the nature of consent required, that is whether it needed to be expressed, written or tacit. Indeed when Scotland’s marriage laws were reviewed in both 1868 and 1935, it was the legal ambiguities surrounding irregular marriage that was one of the key reasons proffered for abolishing it.” [W. D. H. Seller, “Marriage by Cohabitation with Habit and Repute: Review and Requiem?” in D. L. Carey and D. W. Meyers (eds.), Comparative and Historical Essays in Scots Law (Edinburgh, 1992): 117–36.]

If contested, marriage by cohabitation was never legal in England. The fact was that most of the marriages by cohabitation or that of wife selling were invalid made little difference to the majority of the populace. Such distinctions only mattered when a child was declared legitimate or not and when a parish had to decide whether or not to give assistance to a woman in need. A couple who were married by cohabitation were, generally, not considered “respectable.” To be valid a marriage had to be started with a wedding in front of a clergyman. That is why so many went to the Fleet to get married by clergymen debtors. Women who lived with their betroths or declared themselves married without more than consummation, in England, found themselves unable to claim any property, any money or any benefits for themselves or the children because they were not considered legally married.

The world wars of the 1900s put a greater demand upon having a regular marriages. Inheritance and widows’ pensions required proof of a marriage beyond two witnesses marking a public commitment between a man and a woman. Registry offices served the need to legitimatize a marriage.

Nicol Warren on the Family Ancestry Detective Website suggests, “The National records of Scotland holds some irregular marriage information, on their website they have a pamphlet that gives the contact details of local society’s that may have more specific records. At the time of the marriage records may have been kept by priests and the couples, however it’s the kirk sessions where couples come before their local parish church that are the most kept records of an irregular marriage. With the birth of the first child meant paperwork would become an important part of legitimising the birth and registration generally happened hastily around that time. Kirk sessions like the South Leif kirk sessions recorded 1500 marriages. With the digitalisation of records all the time, it is always good to search through paid subscription sites to see whether the information is there.”

http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/birth-death-and-marriage-records/irregular-border-marriage-registers

In this example from 1773 (National Records of Scotland reference OPR 818/2) a couple made a public acknowledgement of their irregular marriage and paid a fine of a guinea to the poor. The entry is followed by a note of the kirk session’s concern at the frequency of irregular marriages in the parish and their decision to increase the fine!

irregular-marriage-from-1773-reference-opr-818-2-small.jpg

Resources:

Gordon, Eleanor. “Irregular Marriage: Myth and Reality.” Journal of Social History, Volume 47, Issue 2, 1 December 2013, pp. 507-525https://academic.oup.com/jsh/article/47/2/507/1325355/Irregular-Marriage-Myth-and-Reality

Leneman, Leah, and Rosalind Mitchison. “Clandestine Marriage in the Scottish Cities 1669-1780.” Journal of Social History. Oxford University Press. Vol 26, No. 4 (Summer 1993), pp. 845-861https://www.jstor.org/stable/3788783?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Nicol Warren. “Irregular Marriages in Scotland.” The Family Ancestry Detective. 31 March 2015. http://familyancestrydetective.com/irregular-marriages-in-scotland/

“Old Parish Registers – Marriages and Proclamation of Banns.” National Records of Scotland. © Crown copyright, 2014. https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/birth-death-and-marriage-records/old-parish-registers/marriages-and-proclamation-of-banns

Images

The Elopement, or Lovers Stratagem Defeated. Courtesy of the British Museum. from All Things Georgian https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/an-irregular-marriage-arthur-annesley-powell-did-he-go-willingly/

Irregular Marriage from The Family Ancestry Detective http://familyancestrydetective.com/irregular-marriages-in-scotland/

Old Parish Registers https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/birth-death-and-marriage-records/old-parish-registers/marriages-and-proclamation-of-banns

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Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE: BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 25, BLACK OPAL BOOKS PUT ANGEL COMES TO THE DEVIL’S KEEP AND THE EARL CLAIMS HIS COMFORT ON SALE ALSO. 

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! I have two eBook copies of Lady Chandler’s Sister available for those who comment below. Winners will be announced on April 7. 

Posted in Black Opal Books, book release, British history, eBooks, George IV, Georgian England, Georgian Era, giveaway, historical fiction, Ireland, marriage, marriage customs, publishing, real life tales, Regency romance, research, romance, Scotland, suspense, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Scottish Smugglers and the Release of “Lady Chandler’s Sister, Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy” + a Giveaway

tempuspaperback Most of the smuggling trade was found in England’s southern shires, but that did not mean such was the only area of Great Britain with a sturdy smuggler contingent. The movement of goods from coast to coast was only a matter of 154 miles at its widest point (Buchan Ness to Applecross. The furthest one can be from the sea is 40-50 miles, and at its narrowest Scotland is only 25 miles wides (from the estuaries of the rivers Clyde and Forth. It is only 275 miles from its northern borders (Cape Wrath) to Mull of Galloway in the south. (RampantScotland.com) Obviously, these distances played into the success of Scottish smuggling. 

Scottish whisky was the product of choice for smugglers, but it was not the only one, for the excise officers tracking down smugglers in Scotland also had their hands full with illegal imports coming in along Scotland’s 6200 miles of coastland. Illegal distilling whisky was simply one of their responsibilities. 

Smugglers’ Britain tells us, “Most of the stilling went on in the glens, where there was a plentiful supply of the clean fresh water, needed for the soaking of the grain prior to malting. After several days soaking in a burn, the grain was spread out on a warm floor, and allowed to sprout. Roasting and grinding of the sprouted grain made the malt, which was mixed with hot water to create the wort. After fermentation, the wort was boiled in a copper container, and vapour condensed in a spiraling tube, called the worm, to make the spirit.

“All this was legal (though taxable) until 1814, when small stills of less than 500 gallons were prohibited. The response from the highlanders was, needless to say, not very sympathetic, and much of the public fury was vented against the officially approved distillers, who were hugely outnumbered by illicit manufacturers. In 1778 there were 8 legal stills in Edinburgh — and an estimated 400 working without payment of duty.”

dirks_cave

At Wigtown Bay, you can visit the cave used by the real-life Dirk Hatteraick. ~ http://www.smuggling.co.uk/gazetteer_scot.html

 “Not all the illegal hooch was consumed locally: much of it was moved south of the border, often in very odd containers. ‘Belly canteens’ for the transport of spirits held two gallons and were made of sheet iron. They gave the female wearer a convincing if somewhat rigid appearance of advanced pregnancy.  Another container was made to look like a passenger riding pillion behind the horse-borne smuggler — a leather head made the illusion complete.” 

anti_smuggling_poster The union of England and Scotland, which occurred in 1707, played a role in the growth of Scotland’s smuggling trade. Before the union, duties on goods north and south of the border varied greatly. The Scots had, generally, smuggled highly-taxed goods into England. With the union, taxes on many goods rose sevenfold in Scotland. 

Coast to coast smuggling of expensive foreign goods did not occur on the same scale in Scotland as it did in England. Instead, Scottish smugglers transported staples required for household use. Salt, used to preserve meat and fish, etc., came in from Ireland along the western coast of Scotland. 

Scotland became sort of a warehouse for goods from the Continent, especially tea and tobacco.  “The clan system, the powerful Scots church and Jacobean sympathies further united the population behind the smugglers, and made it unlikely that a free-trader would be found guilty in a jury trial. Even when the customs men managed to secure a conviction, the fines were paltry.” (Smugglers’ Britain)

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Available Now: 

Lady Chandler’s Sister, Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE: BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 25, BLACK OPAL BOOKS PUT ANGEL COMES TO THE DEVIL’S KEEP AND THE EARL CLAIMS HIS COMFORT ON SALE ALSO. 

 

Posted in book excerpts, book release, British history, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Great Britain, historical fiction, Living in the Regency, political stance, real life tales, Regency era, Regency romance, romance, suspense, trilogy, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Smuggling as a Plot Point in My Latest Release, “Lady Chandler’s Sister, Book 3 of the Twins’s Trilogy” + a Giveaway

anti_smuggling_poster.png One of the “cottage” industries of the late 1700s and early 1800s in England and Scotland was smuggling. This was not just a single individual stealing a keg or two and then selling it to his neighbors; these were operations where large volumes of contraband were moved about the southern counties of England and from coast to coast in Scotland. It is said that many of the villagers in Kent used gin to clean their windows, for it was so plentiful in the area. It is believed that 80% of the tea drunk in England at the time had not had a duty paid upon it. 

The typical smuggler at the time worked hard to transport their bounties inland. If one thinks of the White Cliffs of Dover, he might have a better idea of the obstacles smugglers encountered. Once the ship was captured, the goods had to be carried, literally, by men up steep cliffs to a waiting caravan of carts and ponies to take the goods inland. Sometimes, the barrels and tubs were strapped to a man’s back if there were no animals to be had. Whole communities depended upon the smuggled goods, and, upon occasion, they would take up arms to reclaim the items seized by the revenue men. 

Smugglers-1030x727.jpg

Smuggling was the result on tax laws placed upon the populace to pay for the wars in Europe and the American continent. Smugglers’ Britain tells us, “18th century taxation fell into two categories, each administered and collected by a separate government department. Customs duties had a historical precedent in that the English Crown had for centuries claimed a proportion of all cargoes entering the country — or a financial levy in lieu of the fine wine or bolts of fabric. In 1688, though, the customs duties were streamlined and restructured into a form that would — in theory at least — generate more revenue for the exchequer.

“The other type of duty had its origins in the Civil War: a tax on land took the place of two older taxes — wardship and the parliamentary subsidy — and a new tax, excise, was levied specially to pay for the war. Excise was a tax on domestic consumption, and during the years of the civil war it covered many different items, but its scope was reduced ten years later to cover just chocolate, coffee, tea, beer, cider and spirits. However, after 1688 it was progressively widened to include other essentials such as salt, leather, and soap.

smugglers_cartoon_1788_riot.jpg

“The separation of these two taxes mattered not a jot to the common man, who knew only that he had to pay more for what he bought. And as the 18th century progressed, the slice taken by the exchequer increased sometimes steadily and progressively, sometimes by leaps and bounds, as the conflicts with France ebbed and flowed. By the middle of the century, the tax on tea was nearly 70% of its initial cost, and the double burden of customs and excise duties was widely resented by a rural population often close to starvation.

“Collection of the customs duties was haphazard and bureaucratic and was largely based on a system, established in the 13th century, of custom houses at ports around the coast. In the ensuing centuries a creaking and corrupt hierarchy had grown up around the custom houses. The collectors and comptrollers of customs and their multitude of functionaries were primarily concerned with taxation on the export of the wool that made England wealthy. However, when the dawn of the 18th century heralded heavy taxation on imports, the system was ill-fitted to combat the spirited efforts of large numbers of Englishmen determined to defraud the King.”

Introducing… 

Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy

LCS eBook Cover-01

Book Blurb: 

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE: BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 25, BLACK OPAL BOOKS PUT ANGEL COMES TO THE DEVIL’S KEEP AND THE EARL CLAIMS HIS COMFORT ON SALE ALSO. 

 

Excerpt: Alexander had spent a half hour with the Ladies Swenton, Remmington, and Berwick, learning what he could of what their husbands had shared with them, which was surprisingly more than he expected. It appeared Remmington, as well as Berwick and Swenton, confided much of their governmental business to their wives, treating the women as their partners in life, rather than the customary role of dependents. He wondered, not for the first time since learning the truth of his short courtship of Sorcha Pottinger, how he had wooed the woman and how he had treated her. Evidently, he had not made her aware of his search for Remmington’s “twin,” which was the real reason for his being in Scotland last August. Had he been ashamed of his impetuous actions? Was that the reason he had never escorted his wife to London to meet the rest of his family? The reason he had denied her existence, even to himself?

He now wondered how they had come together. Where had they met? What brought them together? How had their relationship progressed so quickly? Had he been sober or deep in his cups when he proposed their joining?

Before he departed Swenton’s estate, Lady Remmington had handed him a note from her husband. In it, Remmington had described their suspicions of smuggling upon Lord Angus’s part, and his friend cautioned Alexander to consider Lord Kavanaugh’s part in all that had occurred regarding Alexander’s accident. At the time of Frederick Troutman’s revenge against Remmington and the Davids’s family as a whole, Remmington had assumed the role of guardian of Kavanaugh’s daughter, Deirdre, when the Irish lord had disowned the child after Lady Kavanaugh, the former Miss Delia Phillips, had delivered a son. Kavanaugh had beaten his wife so often she died after delivering an heir for Kavanaguh. Remmington had taken offense, because his lordship had once thought to make the former Miss Phillips his wife. It was all a very convoluted affair, but Remmington had used his vast influence as both an English earl and a long-time agent for the Home Office to ruin Kavanaugh financially. His friend meant to remind Alexander that there was more than one player in this drama and how the McGinthurs had employed a man they suspected to be Kavanaugh’s illegitimate son in Sorcha’s abduction, and this likely pointed to a closer connection between Lord Lachlan and Kavanaugh than they originally thought. Alexander’s friends suspected Kavanaugh had become the Irish supplier of the contraband the McGinthurs moved about from port to coastal port in Scotland.

As he fell asleep that evening, still some five hours from the Scottish border, Alexander wondered if he could reach Sorcha in time to prevent her from giving herself to Lord Lachlan. He did not yet know how he would explain her and Greer to his superiors and to London society, but he could work out the details when she and the boy were safely in his arms again. If worst came, he would resign his position with the government. “After all, it does not matter how we were joined, but rather that we are joined. Marriage is forever. Moreover, I have neglected my country estate and my personal life for too long.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY: I HAVE TWO eBOOK COPIES OF “LADY CHANDLER’S SISTER” FOR THOSE WHO COMMENT BELOW. THE GIVEAWAY WILL END AT MIDNIGHT EDST ON  APRIL 1. 

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Celebrating the Release of “Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy” with an Excerpt + a Giveaway

Today, I celebrate the release of Lady Chandler’s Sister, the third book in the Twins’ trilogy, a romantic suspense set in 1820 England, five years after the end of the Napoleonic War and the first year on the throne for George IV.  An overview on Wikipedia provides the following events of importance for 1820. 

  • 29 January –  George IV of the United Kingdom ascends the Throne on the death of his father George III (after 59 years), ending the period known as the English Regency, which began in 1811 when Prince George served as Prince Regent for his ailing father
  • 30 January –  Captain Edward Bransfield of the Royal Navy in the Williams is the first person positively to identify Antarctica as a land mass
  • 23 February – a plot to murder the Cabinet, the Cato Street Conspiracy is exposed
  • March – the Tory party majority increases in Parliament 
  • 1–2 April – a Proclamation, signed “By order of the Committee of Organisation for forming a Provisional Government”, is distributed in the Glasgow area, beginning the “Radical War”  in Scotland. The following day, around 60,000 – particularly weavers – stop work across a wide area of central Scotland. Disaffection spreads to the West Riding area of Yorkshire 
  • 5 April – Radical War: Troops capture radicals at Bonnybridge
  • 8 April – Radical War: Radical prisoners from Paisley are freed from jail in Greenock after militia have killed eight of the crowd.
  • 1 May – the Cato Street conspirators are the last to suffer decapitation following their hanging for treason outside Newgate Prison in London  
  • 11 May – launch of HMS Beagle,   the ship that will take the young Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage at Woolwich Dockyard 
  • June – Pains and Penalties Bill put before Parliament to deprive Caroline of Brunswick, George IV’s wife, of the title of Queen Consort. The bill is withdrawn after her public trial.
  • 26 July – opening of Union Chain Bridge across the River Tweed between England and Scotland. It spans 449 ft (137 metres) and is the longest in the Western world at this time. It is the first wrought iron vehicular suspension bridge of its type in Britain.  
  • 30 August – Radical War: Radical leader James Wilson, a Strathaven weaver, is executed for treason on Glasgow Green for his part in the rising 
  • 8 September – Radical War: Radical leaders John Baird and Andrew Hardie are executed at Stirling for their part in the rising
  • The Rockite movement has taken root in Ireland. In early 1821,it was probably William Courtenay’s lack of interest in his 34,000-acre estate around Newcastlewest in County Limerick that helped light the spark that became the explosion of Rockite violence. Alexander Hoskins was appointed as agent to look after the Courtenay estate. Living like a lord and behaving like a mafia boss, Hoskins evicted many tenants and treated others harshly, to the extent where he could only go about his business with a police guard. Nevertheless, his enemies succeeded in murdering his son, Thomas. (Irish Examiner)

These are all important facts, for our hero of the story, Sir Alexander Chandler, is the head of one of the offices overseeing sedition, treason, and the like for the Home Office. The problem is Sir Alexander suffered a traumatic “accident” some six months prior, and he has no memory of what occurred upon a lonely Scottish road. 

LCS eBook Cover-01

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

NOTE: BEGINNING TODAY, BLACK OPAL BOOKS WILL PLACE ANGEL COMES TO THE DEVIL’S KEEP AND THE EARL CLAIMS HIS COMFORT ON SALE ALSO. 

Excerpt from Chapter 1: 

December 1821

“Sir Alexander?” his assistant shook Alexander’s shoulder, and his head jerked up in alarm. “It is I, sir. Bradley.”

Alexander’s conscious mind accepted control, and he left the now familiar, yet constantly disturbing, dream behind: There had been a girl, and she was screaming for his assistance, but somehow he was restrained, and then there was the combined sound of horses shrieking in pain and of the ripping of wood about him. After that, all turned black. He had thought the images of what had occurred in Scotland would no longer haunt him, for it had been months since they had flashed before his eyes at the most inopportune moments or had crept into his always restless sleep. Today, for a brief second, he could hear the cry of men in pain and see the blinding flash of light hitting the silver encrusted knob on the top of his walking cane—the one supposedly no one had seen after the accident, the harsh white light spinning in tight circles as the cane flipped end-over-end. The walking stick had been a gift from his father on Alexander’s sixteenth birthday, and it grieved him to have lost it. “I apologize, Bradley,” he murmured, as he sat straighter. “I have had very little sleep of late.”

“Perfectly understandable, sir.” Bradley retrieved the displaced papers from Alexander’s desk. “The months since George IV’s coronation in July and the passing of the Queen Consort in August have been filled with more dissent than any of us would like.”

Alexander ran a hand through his hair to set it in place. “We must not forget, Bradley, without the dissent, there would be no need for our services in the Home Office.”

His assistant moved toward the door. “Then we must say a prayer for more economic, social, and political distress.” Sarcasm marked Bradley’s style, which was one of the reasons Alexander had employed the man. Although their relationship was relatively new by the standards of those customarily employed by the Home Office, Bradley kept Alexander sane by pointing out the absurd.

“I do not think we must beg our dear Lord for additional turmoil,” Alexander cautioned. “Humanity is quite adept at creating opposition.”

Bradley caught the latch. “Your coach will be at the main door in thirty minutes, sir. You are to have supper at the Duke of Devilfoard’s house this evening. His Grace will frown upon your being tardy.”

“The only thing upon which Devilfoard does not frown these days is his grandson. You would think Devilfoard fathered the child rather than Lord Malvern.”

“His Grace can name the future of the dukedom. It is the way of the aristocracy,” Bradley observed as he made his exit.

Alexander sighed heavily. For more than a year he had felt the emptiness in his life, and paying attendance upon Devilfoard and Malvern would only exacerbate the depth of loneliness marking his days. He supposed his regrets had something to do with losing his most cherished companions to blessed matrimony. He was a single in a world where a man of his age was expected to marry. Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, Alexander’s long-time chum from their years at university, had known marital felicity for two years, and Malvern and his marchioness had produced the duke’s grandson and secured the dukedom for two more generations. Alexander expected tonight’s supper would include an announcement of another McLaughlin making an appearance sometime in the new year.

“And Remington will know fatherhood in the spring and perhaps a son upon which to bestow the earldom,” Alexander spoke his qualms aloud as he rose to look out his window upon the patch of brown below. “My most loyal friend Levison Davids has claimed his marital comfort in the form of Miss Comfort Neville, an aptly named and compelling woman, and the earl has never appeared more content. Where does that leave me? An empty Town house and country estate. My mother serving as my hostess when matters require me to entertain. I cannot recall the last time a woman of merit piqued my interest. Hard to appreciate a woman’s finer qualities when I spend my days, and many of my nights, analyzing the possibility of sedition against the Crown.”

With a shrug of resignation, Alexander retrieved his coat and hat. He had chosen this life when he had refused to sell out his commission in the army and had returned to England in those final days of the Napoleonic action to serve his country in a different manner. For years he had known satisfaction in his life, but, of late, the promise of “completion” remained elusive.

“It has something to do with what occurred in Scotland,” he whispered to the icy pane, as he shot a final glance toward the bit of December sunshine searching for a place to mark its arrival. Nothing had been the same since the day he nearly died on a back road in Scotland. Perhaps if he could remember what had occurred—whether his injuries had been a result of a freak accident or whether they were from something more sinister—he could move forward. For now, he was simply treading water. Not drowning in misery, nevertheless, not moving forward in his life.

He took out his pocket watch to check the time. He would be early for his coach if he went down now, but Alexander thought it would do him good to claim a bit of fresh air, not that London was known for its clean air; yet, he would be away from his office desk and the doldrums haunting him there.

“When you finish transcribing the letter to Lord Liverpool, you are excused for the evening,” he instructed as he passed Bradley’s desk on his way out of the suite of rooms housing his division of the Home Office.

“The letter is complete,” Bradley assured him. “I am simply waiting for the courier from the Prime Minister’s office.”

Alexander nodded his understanding. “I have an early appointment tomorrow. I shan’t be in until ten.” He left Bradley making notations in an appointment ledger.

Reaching the outside, Alexander paused to suck in a fortifying breath before crossing to a spot upon the walkway paralleling the building. Before he settled his back to the wall, he examined the area. He had always been careful, which had proven providential while he was on the Continent serving under Wellington, but since that maddening incident in Scotland, he had come to take extra precautions.

Nothing appeared from place, although the street was always busy with tradesmen, gentlemen, and those of the canting crew. Cautiously, he glanced to his left to notice a woman’s approach. She held the appearance of intent upon her features, and the idea of his being her “intent” sent a shiver up his spine. He stirred restlessly. He thought to leave. To return to the safety of his office. The need was absolute and unquestionable, but he made himself remain in place, shoving aside the panic of a few seconds prior.

She was not dressed in the first tier of fashion nor was she of the working class. It was as if she were a woman from time—but whose time—the cut of her dress beneath her cloak appeared to be of the fashion of some twenty years prior, and Alexander experienced a twinge of regret at not holding the lady’s acquaintance. It would do him well to speak to such a breathtakingly beautiful woman. To engage her in conversation and to enjoy a few minutes respite from his recent downheartedness. Instinctively, he swallowed hard against the rising interest gnawing at his chest.

“Pardon, sir,” she said in a voice that could likely tame a wild beast, and he was instantly prepared to do her biding.

“May I be of service, miss?” he asked dutifully before shooting a glance to the street behind her. There was no sign of a maid or a companion, and he wondered if she meant to proposition him. Was she a lightskirt? He customarily did not lie with those of the demimonde, but he might make an exception in her case. There was something about her that had his body on alert.

She did not respond. Instead, her gaze boldly met his. She was taller than he had expected, and at such close proximity, he could easily view the myriad of emotions crossing her features. “I’ve a small matter of which I’ll be requiring your assistance,” she announced.

There was a soft Scottish burr lacing her words, and Alexander experienced an odd sense of danger scrambling up his spine. The flash of light from the dream raised its ugly head again and stole away the image of her person for what could not have been more than a second, but which felt much longer. He blinked several times to bring her again into focus. Performing a variety of duties for the Crown, he had spent much time in Scotland, and he recalled them all except what was reportedly the two in the last seventeen months. Somehow, they were connected, but from what he had learned of the first journey to Edinburgh, there could be no connection. Unlike the first, which was meant as a holiday of sort, the second one had been shorter and more violent. After a carriage accident and a long recovery in an Edinburgh hospital, he now sent men to perform the duties he would have customarily assumed. Rather than performing the tasks himself, several of his best men completed the investigation into those who had attacked Lord Remmington. Yet, Alexander was never satisfied with the outcome of the investigation or the resulting all-encompassing fear he felt with just the mention of the word Scotland. He could not shake the feeling that something was missing from the findings, something that had left him more than a little disenchanted. He was a man who routinely turned every stone, and there was a gaping hole in his memory that taunted him.

Even as he opened his mouth to speak to her, the memory flitted just out of reach, drifting closer and then darting away. He swallowed a second time. “Have you no servant, ma’am?” he asked. Was she a married lady or not?

“Maude waits beyond.” She gestured toward an older woman whom he had not noted previously, a fact that had him again examining the area for dissidents. The older woman, who held a bundle close to her chest, stared at him, refusing to lower her gaze, something few in service dared to do, and Alexander could not help but tense when she shifted the weight of whatever she carried. Was the item a well-concealed weapon? His gaze swept the area for others whose attentions were squarely upon him, but he found none. He wished to view his carriage’s approach, for danger crackled upon the crisp December air, and he suspected he would require the assistance of Mr. Clarence, his coachman, and Roberts, his footman.

“Should I hail you a hack?” The words came out gruffer than he intended.

She fixed her eyes upon him. They were the most enchanting shade of green he had ever beheld, but even as he thought so, another’s eyes appeared in his memory, not green, but hazel, yet equally as enticing. He gave his head a hard shake to clear his thinking. Beyond the color, the woman’s eyes were marked by frantic weariness—dark circles marred the pale skin of her cheekbones.

“I thought…” She never had the opportunity to explain what she thought, for a gunshot rang out, and the bullet ricocheted off the brick some two feet above his head. Alexander caught the woman to him, shoving her to the ground to shield her with his body. Pure chaos filled the air. Screams. People running. The braying of a donkey. A dog barking repeatedly. He waited for another attack. His nerves taut. His mind racing as if it were a thoroughbred set free at the Derby. But other than the cries of those upon the street, there was no second round.

He turned his head to look upon the scene. People had halted their flights, and although apprehensive, they looked around for the source of the threat. “I believe we are safe,” he said with more calm than he felt. Gently, he assisted the woman to her feet. “Are you injured?” Again, she possessed no opportunity to respond. A dozen of his agents rushed from the building.

“Are you well, sir?” Eaton asked as his men took up a protective stance.

“Just a bit dusty. The bullet struck the wall above my head. Mark a sighting and have our men work their way backward to discover where the culprit stood when he took the shot. Ask those still about what they know. Was it an accident or purposeful?”

“Yes, sir.”

The woman turned to grasp his lapels in tight fists. “Attack?” she pleaded. “Why would anyone…” She spun frantically in a circle, searching the crowd. “Maude? Where is Maude? Greer? Please God!”

He caught her shoulders and turned them to where the older woman crouched in the doorway of a nearby building. The one called Maude still clutched her bundle close to her chest. He spoke softly in the lady’s ear, “Permit me to see you from the area. Do you have a coach nearby or do you require public transportation?”

He should have known that the day would prove foul. The mood that had taunted him throughout the long hours he had been enclosed in his office should have warned him this day would not end well. For a third time, he never learned her response. A second shot off to his right had him catching the woman’s hand to drag her along behind him. Reaching the point where her maid hid in the shadows, he called, “Follow us. I have a coach up ahead.” He could see Mr. Clarence pulling up on the reins as the matched horses balked at the onslaught of people running at them. Reaching the coach, Alexander jerked open the door before lifting the woman to shove her inside. He turned to see the older woman struggling to keep up with them.

The younger of the two knelt at the opening. “Hand it here,” she instructed as the elder thrust the bundle into her mistress’s arms.

With that, Alexander lifted the maid into the coach. “Find us a means from this place,” he ordered Clarence, before following the ladies inside. “Roberts, be at the ready.” His coach lurched forward before moving cautiously through the throngs.

While the women huddled together, he slid across the seat to peer out the window as his men stopped his coach’s progress when they noted his crest on the side. Eaton appeared at the opening. “Discover anything?” Alexander demanded.

“Harmon caught the shooter,” his agent reported.

“Pass along my gratitude to Mr. Harmon,” Alexander ordered. “Place the assailant in a cell. Once I have seen the ladies to safety, I will return.”

“Aye, sir.” Eaton stepped back to motion Alexander’s carriage through the barricade his agents had formed outside the Home Office.

He settled back into the squabs to look upon the pair on the opposing bench. The elder woman sat with her arm about the other while the bundle rested upon the younger’s lap. The elder held a resemblance to the younger, and he realized the pair were more than mistress and servant, as he had first assumed. There was a relationship he had not expected.

“I must apologize for my earlier rough handling of your person,” he said dutifully. “I doubt you expected such ill treatment when I offered my assistance.”

“I would have expected nothing less than honorable care from a man of your consequence,” she stated.

He frowned. What did this woman know of his consequence? “Where might I have Mr. Clarence set you down?” he asked, but his mind was already thinking upon his return to his office to learn more of the shooter’s motives.

The two women exchanged a questioning glance. “We’d not thought of rooms, sir. We did’nae consider the need.” The younger woman’s accent proved more pronounced than he previously thought. Her hands stroked the bundle upon her lap. He belatedly realized whatever she carried inside was wrapped in an exquisitely trimmed blanket.

“I find it is my turn to know confusion,” he admitted. “You are newly arrived in London?”

“Yes.”

“Have you no relations with whom you may reside? What of your bags? Surely you own more than the clothes upon your back?” he studied the woman more carefully. Had she approached him in hopes he would choose her for his mistress? Newly arrived in the Capital? Was she seeking a protector? More than one country miss was known to apply her skills at seduction. It was the way of the City.

“The coachin’ inn’s mistress promised to store our bags till we discovered a place to stay. Aunt Maude and I did’nae know where we should begin our search,” she answered readily, which was at odds with how stiffly she held her shoulders. “We’ve only one relation in the Capital.”

“I am more than familiar with all the areas of London,” he offered. “Without wishing to speak an offense, perchance if you could describe what type of lodging you require, I can be of assistance.”

Another worried glance passed between the women. “We’ve vary few funds, sir,” the one called Maude disclosed. Her accent was thicker than her niece’s.

He glanced out the window. Mr. Clarence appeared to be circling the streets framing the Home Office. Alexander had yet to provide the driver with directions for the women. “I find I must again break with propriety,” he stated. “I do not understand how two women could consider the idea of coming to London being the best for their futures.”

“It be necessary,” the younger of the two declared. “Our choices be few. The road south was the only logical one.”

He despised enigmatic answers. Yet, before he could demand an explanation, Maude caught the younger’s arm. “Be you injured,” she said anxiously. “Why did’nae you speak of it?”

Alexander’s gaze narrowed upon the blood oozing from the woman’s forearm. He snatched his handkerchief from an inside pocket and shifted to where he could tend her. “Any injury is dangerous,” he grumbled as he wrapped the cloth about her arm. He knew personally how even the smallest cut could be as dangerous as a sword through one’s chest. It had taken him some two months to heal from the injuries he sustained in Scotland. “We must have it examined. It does not appear as if the bullet pierced your skin. Likely a piece of the brick cut you.” He tapped upon the hatch. When his coachman responded, he instructed, “Chance Hall, Clarence.”

“There is no need,” the woman protested.

“There is a need,” he corrected. “My mother is in residence, and you have your aunt. I can afford to see you settled for a day or two.”

Exhaustion claimed her features. “If you insist,” she whispered, but there was a hint of indecision in her tone.

He sat back upon the bench. Why had he volunteered to assist the woman? To go so far as to take her into his home? Demme! He did not even know her name! It was not as if he thought to claim this stranger to wife, which would be the only reason an established bachelor would escort a female into his home to take his mother’s acquaintance. He cursed the fact he possessed a strongly developed sense of protection. Such was why he had known success in his role at the Home Office, but this was a whole different matter.

Instead of looking upon her again, Alexander chose to stare out the coach’s window. He knew the lady studied him, and he considered rescinding his invitation, for deep in his soul he knew this encounter was more than it appeared. Yet, there was no means for a gentleman to withdraw an offer of charity. Perhaps his mother would insist he place the women in a hotel instead of housing them at Chance Hall. If so, he could save face while avoiding what he feared was some sort of deception being practiced against his person.

Within minutes, Clarence eased the coach to the curb before Chance Hall. Roberts opened the door and set down the steps. Alexander exited and turned to assist the women down. He expected the younger, but found himself assisting “Aunt Maude,” who turned to accept the bundle. The way each woman reverently passed the covered treasure spoke of its importance in their lives. From its size, he expected the covered package held a cherished clock or sculpture. Perhaps they thought to sell it in order to stake their time in the City. The manner in which they passed it from one to the other said the item was quite fragile.

“Roberts,” he instructed, “fetch Doctor Dalhauser. The lady was injured in today’s incident.”

His long time footman cocked an eyebrow, but said, “Yes, sir,” before he darted along the street to bring the physician. He understood his servants’ curiosity, for Alexander rarely took an interest in any woman. He had no time for performing the pretty to woo a potential bride. And this particular lady was definitely not from his circle of acquaintances.

Once the elder held the covered bundle safely, the younger permitted him to lift her down. Despite fearing she executed some sort of duplicity, Alexander permitted himself the pleasure of leaving his hands upon her waist a little longer than necessary. He noted the blood still seeped from her wound when she placed her hand upon his shoulder for balance. There was a chance the injury was deeper than it first appeared. Even so, he admired how she played off the pain and the wound’s insignificance. Most women he knew would be in hysterics.

“Please. Let us go inside.” He noted the flakes of snow peppering the cobblestones. “The streets will soon become impassable.” He caught Maude’s elbow to steady the woman upon the steps so she would not drop her possession. “Clarence, I mean to return to the office before dining with Devilfoard tonight. Return in an hour.”

“Aye, sir.”

His coach edged its way toward the mews behind the row of upscale houses. Alexander suspected more than one of his neighbors had spied upon him and the two unfashionable ladies he escorted inside. His name would be upon the lips of multiple Society hostesses this evening.

Once within, he assisted the younger of the two with her cloak while his butler did likewise with the elder. “Mr. Tyler,” he instructed, “the ladies will join us this evening. Prepare two rooms.”

“Oh, no,” the younger lady protested. “One room will be sufficient. Aunt Maude and I will share the quarters.”

Alexander thought to object, but he permitted the woman her manipulations. Why should he care if she and her aunt would know less than a pleasurable rest? “As you wish,” he said politely before instructing his waiting servant, “Roberts is fetching Doctor Dalhauser for the lady.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Is my mother in her favorite drawing room?”

“Yes, sir. Lady Chandler asked on the time of your arrival only a quarter hour past.”

Alexander nodded his understanding. His mother thought his choice to join the Home Office foolish for a man who had inherited a wealthy baronetage. She thought he should be overseeing his country seat rather than planning a means to protect the British government. She often expressed her dismay at his sense of duty to country and lack of duty to his title. It was not as if Alexander ignored his responsibilities to his manor house, the farms, or his cottagers, for he oversaw every detail personally. Ignoring his obligations was not in his nature. He simply preferred, at least until the last few months, to reside in London and be about the government’s business rather than to live at his manor house.

“Show Dalhauser in when he arrives.”

He escorted the ladies into the drawing room before it dawned upon him that he could not provide his mother their identities.

“Alexander,” his mother called from a chair before the hearth. She had yet to look in his direction. “I feared you would be tardy for your evening with the duke and duchess. I asked your man…” The words died upon her lips when she viewed his company.

“Good evening, Mother,” he said with more calmness than he actually could give credit. He had never accepted anyone into his home until he was well-acquainted with the person. His mother would pronounce this situation extraordinary. Against his careful nature, he had invited two strangers into his private quarters. Two women who could rob him or worse. He wondered if his mother had not the right of his lack of intelligence of late. “I brought two guests.”

“I can see that,” his mother countered. She rose gracefully. “Perchance you would care to make the introductions.”

He shot a glance to the women, who stood some two feet removed. The younger’s urgent gaze said he should know her identity, but for the life of him, he did not. Hers was not a face he thought anyone could easily forget. If he had ever taken her acquaintance, he would remember her. “I fear I …” he began.

Sadness crossed the lady’s expression, but she responded as if nothing unusual had occurred. “I believe Sir Alexander still plays the role of Galahad. I had a most unfortunate accident earlier. Your son insisted I be treated by his physician.” She gestured to her arm where his handkerchief encircled it. “I’m Miss Alana Pottinger.” He noted how her aunt’s head did a double take, but the older woman recovered her expression quickly. “My aunt, Mrs. Steele, and I be newly arrived in London.” Although the lady pronounced the necessary words, Alexander had the feeling something was not quite right. Had she just practiced some sort of fabrication?

“From Scotland?” his mother inquired with a lift of her brow.

“I suppose my accent appears more prominent in an English drawing room. My father was Scottish, and I was raised in Scotland, but my mother was a gently bred English woman.”

“My question was not offered as an offense,” his mother said in apology. “It is just that my son…”

Alexander interrupted. “Please come in where it is warmer. You will discover Lady Chandler is very fair spoken. My mother prefers I not take myself off to Scotland again. The last time I was there, I had a carriage accident that laid me up for several months.”

This time it was the younger who reacted; she reached up as if to cradle his cheek in comfort—studying him with what appeared to be turbulent emotions, but then thought better of her actions and hid her hand behind her back.

Once more, anxiety skittered up his spine. Although concerned, he did the proper thing: He settled the pair in opposing chairs near the fire. “May I take your package, ma’am?” he asked the elder with an encouraging smile. “I will place it here upon the floor at your feet.”

Miss Pottinger’s aunt hesitated before relinquishing the bundle into his grasp. It was lighter than Alexander had expected. “Be gentle,” Mrs. Steele cautioned.

“Absolutely,” he assured the woman before gingerly placing the bundle upon the floor.

At that moment, Mr. Tyler showed Dalhauser into the room. “Heard of your skirmish today,” Dalhauser announced without preamble. “Roberts assured me you were not again my patient.”

“Was there an altercation, Alexander?” his mother questioned in sharp tones. “I do not like all these demands for reform.”

Alexander attempted to soothe her worries. “It was just a man deep in his cups. Mr. Harmon easily captured him. Nevertheless, the scoundrel wounded Miss Pottinger. Permit Dalhauser to tend the lady. I expect both Miss Pottinger and Mrs. Steele could do with tea after their ordeal.”

“Certainly.”

While his mother arranged for the tea service, he moved closer where he might view Dalhauser’s work. Studying the surgeon’s long fingers, without thinking, Alexander rubbed the furrow marking his brow. Such was a nervous habit he had yet to conquer. The lady looked up into his eyes, and for an elongated second, time held its place. Nothing stirred. Not the crackle of the fire. Not even the sound of his breath or hers. Then she schooled her features. Her anxiousness settled into a deliberately constructed calm, all the fears she had displayed not a second prior were gone, wiped away and replaced with delicate perfection. Instinctively, his brow crinkled in annoyance. He certainly did not require another responsibility in his already demanding life, but he held the distinct feeling he had inherited one. The problem was he possessed no idea whether the lovely Miss Pottinger was friend or foe.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! I have 2 eBooks of Lady Chandler’s Sister available to those who comment below. Winners will be announced on Sunday, March 31. 

Posted in Black Opal Books, book excerpts, book release, British history, eBooks, excerpt, George IV, Georgian England, Georgian Era, giveaway, Great Britain, historical fiction, history, marriage, marriage licenses, political stance, publishing, Regency era, Regency romance, research, romance, Scotland, suspense, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Irish Agrarian Societies: the Rockite Movement and the Release of “Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy”

The third book in my Twins’ Trilogy, Lady Chandler’s Sister, leads us along a dark path in British history. The book culminates in early January 1822, which was when the Rockite movement had set its sights on having its demands taken seriously. 1821 – 1824  was a time of sustained agrarian violence. They were named after their mythical leader, “Captain Rock.” SJ Connolly in “Mass Politics and Sectarian Conflict, 1823-30” [in WE Vaughan (ed.) A New History of Ireland, V: Ireland Under the Union, 1: 1801-70, Oxford, 1989, page 81] says the Rockite movement was “primarily a pragmatic, even conservative, movement, concerned with limited and specific economic-based goals, including the regulation of rents, wages and tithes, the protection of poor tenants threatened with eviction and wider access to land for tillage.” 

However in an essay from Rebecca Preston, the author proposes “that the Rockites were significantly influenced by contemporary politics and played a central role in pre-Famine Irish political life.” She goes on to argue, “that the Rockite movement had a strong political dimension as they were perceived as a political threat by the British Government and were partially motivated by political grievances. It is acknowledged that the Rockites were not solely motivated by political agitation — the movement encompassed a multifaceted agenda. The myriad motivations, however, including economic, ideological, political and religious, were interconnected and contributed to the politicisation of the Rockites.” 

In the three years in which they operated in the six southwestern counties of Ireland, up to 1000 “accused” were beaten, 93 murdered, with 16 of those coming in an arson incident at Mullinghone in County Tipperary.

51C+HH-ecRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg  In Captain Rock: The Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821 – 1824, James S. Donnelly, Jr., provides the reader with incident after incident of the aggression displayed and the government’s reaction. The book includes incident after incident of arson, murder, rape, mutilation, and names some 400 atrocities. The book’s description on Amazon reads:

“Named for its mythical leader “Captain Rock,” avenger of agrarian wrongs, the Rockite movement of 1821–24 in Ireland was notorious for its extraordinary violence. In Captain Rock, James S. Donnelly, Jr., offers both a fine-grained analysis of the conflict and a broad exploration of Irish rural society after the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

“Originating in west Limerick, the Rockite movement spread quickly under the impact of a prolonged economic depression. Before long the insurgency embraced many of the better-off farmers. The intensity of the Rockites’ grievances, the frequency of their resort to sensational violence, and their appeal on such key issues as rents and tithes presented a nightmarish challenge to Dublin Castle—prompting in turn a major reorganization of the police, a purging of the local magistracy, the introduction of large military reinforcements, and a determined campaign of judicial repression. A great upsurge in sectarianism and millenarianism, Donnelly shows, added fuel to the conflagration. Inspired by prophecies of doom for the Anglo-Irish Protestants who ruled the country, the overwhelmingly Catholic Rockites strove to hasten the demise of the landed elite they viewed as oppressors.

“Drawing on a wealth of sources—including reports from policemen, military officers, magistrates, and landowners as well as from newspapers, pamphlets, parliamentary inquiries, depositions, rebel proclamations, and threatening missives sent by Rockites to their enemies—Captain Rock offers a detailed anatomy of a dangerous, widespread insurgency whose distinctive political contours will force historians to expand their notions of how agrarian militancy influenced Irish nationalism in the years before the Great Famine of 1845–51.”

An article in the Irish Examiner, a review of Donnelly’s  book tells us, “In February 1822, a special commission in Cork charged 200 with Rockite or similar Whiteboy activity. Mercifully, only 15 were hanged. In the same month, the Insurrection Act introduced a sunset-to-sunrise curfew and summary justice for lawbreakers, of whom up to 330 per year were being transported in convict ships to Australia.

“Incidences of murder, arson, rape and mutilation are recorded by Donnelly in some detail, often gruesome. As a result, the comprehensive index, which names locations of more than 400 atrocities, gives modern residents anywhere in the southern counties a glimpse of their localities’ Rockite history and how much blood was spilt.

“Perhaps the most telling symptom of the near breakdown of rural Irish society in the 1820s was the 50,000 applications to a scheme of assisted emigration to Canada.

“Donnelly has theories aplenty for the historians and sociologists – for which the ordinary punter is advised to have their dictionary at hand. But what sets his book apart for non-academic readers are the reports from officials and information gleaned from newspapers, depositions and other sources. The author uses them to drill down to local level and bring us into a countryside riven by atrocities which are the symptoms of a non-functioning powder-keg society which was always just a spark away from igniting.

“Well before the trouble, trends were beginning in Irish agriculture which eventually set the scene for the rural protest movements of the late 18th and early 19th century. As livestock farmers expanded and took up more acres, a landless class of poor peasants and labourers also expanded.

“While better-off landowners were thriving from the mid-18th century to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1813, inflation was slowly crippling the poor. While the landed elite were building their Georgian townhouses and Palladian mansions, the landless and land poor were falling behind.

“According to Donnelly, by 1841 there were 50,000 rich farmers averaging about 80 acres; 100,000 comfortable farmers averaging 50 acres; 250,000 family farmers averaging 20 acres; and 1.3 million poor peasants who laboured for the landowners and rented potato plots from them. The system offered the poor peasants just enough food, employment and land to ensure that their birth rates outstripped the rural Catholic middle class and that the rural social structure became more and more imbalanced with each year. At the top of the scale, absentee landlords worried little about the trouble brewing in Ireland, as long as sufficient rent came through to fund their high life in London.”

Other Sources: 

An Irish Apocalypse? 

Captain Rock: the Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824 

Captain Rock and the Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824

Ireland’s Forgotten ‘Rockite’ Rebellion 

Irish Immigration to Britain 

Political Dimension of Irish Rockite Movement

Whiteboys and Ribbonmen 

Arriving March 25, 2019

Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book Three in the Twins’ Trilogy

LCS eBook Cover-01

 

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Babe Galloway, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

 

Posted in book release, British history, eBooks, George IV, Georgian England, Great Britain, historical fiction, Ireland, Living in the Regency, publishing, real life tales, Regency era, suspense, trilogy | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Irish Agrarian Societies: The Ribbonmen, Part of the Plot of “Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy”

Whiteboyism, the subject of Monday’s post, essentially ceased to operate toward the end of the eighteenth century, although it never truly disappeared, for it resurrected its head in the Munster region (Counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford) in the early nineteenth century. Unlike the whiteboys who proceeded them and the Rockites that followed, the Ribbonmen were more working class—farm laborers. Neither was it based in Catholic consciousness nor nationalism, but rather it acted as a force with which to be reckoned in defense of the rural poor. 

Grain prices dropped nearly 45% between 1814 and 1815. Therefore, farmers could no longer pay their rents to landowners, for the price of rents had been set when grain earned a higher wage. Laborers were ultimately thrown off their lands. Complaints also occurred to threats of evictions. 

One must remember during the early part of the 1800s, there were three major famines in Ireland: 1814 to 1816, 1821-1823, and 1831-1834. 1816 is often referred to as the Year Without Summer, and devastation hit Europe, England, the United Stares, etc.

Some experts point to an event on an estate in County Limerick as the impetus for the formation of the Ribbonmen. Supposedly, the new agent attempted to evict a large number of tenants who had fallen behind in the payment of their rents, but the truth is it was a combination of things: closing of common grazing grounds, the decline in grain prices, and another poor potato crop. Prior complaints had carried for the tithe wars as their banner. Meanwhile, Ribbonism, whose supporters were usually called Ribbonmen, was a 19th-century popular movement of poor Catholics in Ireland. The movement was also known as Ribandism. The Ribbonmen was active against landlords and their agents, and opposed “Orangeism, the ideology of the Protestant Orange Order. 

“The society was formed in response to the miserable conditions in which the vast majority of tenant farmers and rural workers lived in the early 19th century in Ireland. Its objective was to prevent landlords from changing or evicting their tenants. Ribbonmen also attacked tithe and process servers,  and later evolved the policy of Tenants’ Rights. The existence of “ribandmen” was recorded as early as 1817. The name is derived from a green ribbon worn as a badge in a button-hole by the members.

“Depending on the district, the society was variously known as the Fraternal Society, the Patriotic Association or the Sons of the Shamrock. The Ribbonmen’s organisation was similar to that of the Whiteboys or the Defenders of earlier periods. They were organised in lodges, and during the 1820s were in contact with certain organizations of Radicals in England.

“The ideology of the Ribbonmen supported the Catholic Association and the political separation of Ireland from Great Britain, and the rights of the tenant as against those of the landlord. The Ribbonmen were involved in violent (and sometimes deadly) riots with the Orange Order in the north of Ireland, and elsewhere used violence to resist paying tithes to the Protestant Church of Ireland. As the agitation for Catholic Emancipation grew, the tension between Ribbonism and Orangeism increased.

“On 26 July 1813 the Battle of Garvagh in County Londonderry  took place. Up to two hundred Catholic Ribbonmen attempted to destroy a tavern in Garvagh where the Orange Lodge met. They were armed with sticks and bludgeons, but Protestants were waiting inside armed with muskets and repelled them. One of the Ribbonmen was killed and the rest couldn’t gain access to the tavern and dispersed. The clash was commemorated in the song “The Battle of Garvagh.” [Ribbonism] [Murray, A.C. (1986). “Agrarian Violence and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: the Myth of Ribbonism”. Irish Economic and Social History13: 56–73.]

Pat Feeley tells us in his article Whiteboys and Ribbonmen, that Ribbonism leaned toward agrarian issues, not sectarian or political ones. When the price of cattle and other livestock rose in the pre-Famine years, landlords, many of them absentee ones, reduced the number of tenant farms and laborers – requiring less and less tillage. Most of the outbreaks of violence was between laborers and farmers. Feeley tells us, “Ribbonism spread through the rich farmlands of the Golden Vale, through the midland counties and into Roscommon and East Galway. It was not found in the western coastal districts where the farms were poor and the class divisions not so pronounced…. Violence was employed on a calculated, specific basis, in contrast to the gratuitous bloodletting of the faction fights and the sectarian riots. Victims were carefully selected for some infringement of the Ribbon code. Attacks were always clearly linked to a specific code — a particular eviction, a rise in rents, a protest against labourers being hired from another county. There was rarely much difficulty in ascribing a motive; the perpetrators took pains to publicise the reasons for the violence as a warning and a lesson to others. Violence was preventive or deterrent.” 

Other Sources: 

An Irish Apocalypse? 

Captain Rock: the Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824 

Captain Rock and the Irish Agrarian Rebellion of 1821-1824

Ireland’s Forgotten ‘Rockite’ Rebellion 

Irish Immigration to Britain 

Political Dimension of Irish Rockite Movement

Whiteboys and Ribbonmen 

 

Arriving March 25, 2019 

Lady Chandler’s Sister: Book 3 of the Twins’ Trilogy 

LCS eBook Cover-01

Sir Alexander Chandler knows his place in the world. As the head of one of the divisions of the Home Office, he has his hand on the nation’s pulse. However, a carriage accident  on a deserted Scottish road six months earlier has Sir Alexander questioning his every choice. He has no memory of what happened before he woke up in an Edinburgh hospital, and the unknown frightens him more than any enemy he ever met on a field of battle. One thing is for certain: He knows he did not marry Miss Alana Pottinger’s sister in an “over the anvil” type of ceremony in Scotland.

Miss Alana Pottinger has come to London, with Sir Alexander’s son in tow, to claim the life the baronet promised the boy when he married Sorcha, some eighteen months prior. She understands his responsibilities to King and Crown, but this particular fiery, Scottish miss refuses to permit Sir Alexander to deny his duty to his son. Nothing will keep her from securing the child’s future as heir to the baronetcy and restoring Sir Alexander’s memory of the love he shared with Sorcha: Nothing, that is, except the beginning of the Rockite Rebellion in Ireland and the kidnapping of said child for nefarious reasons.

An impressive ending to the beautifully crafted Twins’ Trilogy – Starr’s ***** Romance Reviews

Love. Power. Intrigue. Betrayal. All play their parts in this fitting conclusion to a captivating, romantic suspense trio. – Bella Graves, Author & Reviewer

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PVT5GQ9/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553390378&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1091376581/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=lady+chandler%27s+sister&qid=1553430979&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-chandler-s-sister

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1131002644?ean=2940161421314

Posted in book release, British history, Church of England, estates, Georgian England, Georgian Era, history, Ireland, Living in the Regency, political stance, real life tales, research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,