Writing Inspiration: Victorian Queanbeyan

The Landowner's Secret and The Artist's Secret by Sonya Heaney Brindabella Secrets Series Covers

Thanks to Nichole Overall, an author and historian of the Canberra and Queanbeyan region, I’ve finally seen a Victorian-era photograph of The Dog and Stile, the pub that is in the background of my Brindabella Secrets series (book one is currently on sale for $1.99 for readers in Australia and New Zealand!).

The Dog & Stile Inn of 1841, oldest surviving building in Queanbeyan (officially that's The Oaks of 1838 in Oaks Estate, now Canberra), on Macquoid St (named for Supreme Court Sheriff Thomas Macquoid owner of Tuggeranong H

The photograph is from the mid-1800s, and the building still stands in Queanbeyan, New South Wales (but no longer operates as a public house). You can see what it looks like now at the link to Nichole’s account.

Mary Balogh Series Information

someone-to-love-westcott-1-by-mary-balogh-australian-cover

All right, so I’m VERY late to this party, but during one of my procrastination sessions yesterday afternoon I came across a blog post from Regency romance author Mary Balogh that explains in quite a lot of detail what is going on with her current Westcott family series, and her plans for future books. It also explains her motivation behind the novella she published last year.

(On a side note, the model on this cover looks a bit like the woman on my cover for The Artist’s Secret!)

I thought it was an interesting read for Balogh fans.

You can read the post HERE.

The Landowner’s Secret only $1.99 on Kobo!

Readers in Australia and New Zealand! In addition to The Landowner’s Secret being discounted on Kindle for the month of May, the price has now also been dropped on Kobo.

Kobo Australia

Kobo New Zealand

You can read the first two chapters HERE.

The Landowner's Secret May 2020 Price Promotion

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

The Landowner’s Secret Price Promotion!

Beginning today, and lasting until the end of May, The Landowner’s Secret will be only $1.99 on Amazon for readers in Australia and New Zealand. Book description below the image.

The Landowner's Secret May 2020 Price Promotion

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.
It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

On this day: French women finally vote

After decades of campaigning, the women of France voted for the first time on the 29th of April, 1945, when municipal elections were held. Legislation for women’s suffrage had been passed in October the year before.

While late, France wasn’t the last European country to grant women the vote. Women’s suffrage came even later in Italy, Greece, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra and Switzerland. Liechtenstein was the last to adopt equal voting rights – only in 1984.

This image from May of 1935 is of French suffragette Louise Weiss demonstrating alongside women holding papers saying The Frenchwoman Must Vote.

Suffragettes in France demonstrate in May of 1935. French women didn't win the vote until the mid-1940s. Louise Weiss along with other suffragettes in 1935. The bold text on the newspape

Out Now: Heiress for Hire (A Duke’s Heiress #1) by Madeline Hunter

Heiress for Hire, the first book in the Duke’s Heiress series by Madeline Hunter is out today. I’ve only read one page so far, but I’m excited to start a new series by a favourite author!

Heiress for Hire (A Duke’s Heiress #1) by Madeline Hunter

Heiress for Hire (A Duke's Heiress #1) by Madeline Hunter

Minerva Hepplewhite has learned the hard way how to take care of herself. When an intruder breaks into her home, she doesn’t swoon or simper. Instead she wallops the rogue over the head and ties him up—only to realise he is Chase Radnor, a gentleman and grandson of a lord, and a man who makes it his business to investigate suspicious matters. Now he’s insisting that Minerva has inherited a fortune from his uncle, a wealthy Duke. Only one thing could surprise her more: her sudden attraction to this exasperating man . . .

Chase can’t decide whether Minerva is a wronged woman or a femme fatale. Either way, he’s intrigued. Maddeningly, with her unexpected inheritance, she has set up a discreet detective business to rival Chase’s own. She may be the perfect person to help him uncover the truth about his uncle’s demise. But as proximity gives way to mutual seduction, Chase realises he craves a much deeper alliance . . .

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas UK Aus CoverChasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) (2020) (The sixth book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas US Cover 2019

Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything – or anyone – is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife – and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love – the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants – or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas

This book was my top recommended read in this piece I wrote for romance.com.au a few weeks ago.

I read Chasing Cassandra when is came out in March, and then read it again (and again). Lisa Kleypas is an author whose books I really love, and she also writes stories set in the Victorian era (my favourite, and also the era my books are set). I love her mix of humour and drama and history, and this was a lovely finish to the series.

Up until now I wasn’t sure how the pairing of Cassandra Ravenel and Tom Severin was ever going to work. Tom, in particular, was such a complicated character, one who is ruthlessly ambitious to the point he’d stab his friends in the back and not understand why that was a bad thing to do.

In the end these two ended up being some of my favourite characters in the series—and one of my favourite pairings. I like that Kleypas chose to not have them constantly locking horns. The way their relationship developed was a surprise—a good one.
And then there’s Bazzle the little street urchin Tom accidentally adopts, starting him off unnecessarily sweeping his office. He was one of the best things about the book!

This has been a fun series. In a time when there’s such a push for historically ambiguous historical romances, Kleypas manages to keep her books entertaining while also taking us to Victorian Britain.