Cover Love

Yes, she’s wearing a mashup of clothing from several different times of the day, but how great is the concept for this cover?! I always love covers that have energy in them. It’s why I like this one so much.

The Gentleman's Deception by Karen Tuft

The Gentleman’s Deception by Karen Tuft

Renowned actress Ruby Chadwick, The Darling of Drury Lane, has long planned and prepared for her final performance. With exceptional beauty comes the unwanted attention of men, and after years of fending off odious suitors, Ruby is ready to leave it all behind in favor of a quiet life. The first step is to reclaim a piece of her past: her true identity as Lavinia Fernley. But leaving town unnoticed proves impossible, and in one desperate moment, she embarks on the greatest act of her life when she throws herself into the arms of a stranger to avoid recognition.

Lucas Jennings is shocked to find the stunning redhead in his arms, but something moves him to play along with her ruse when she calls him her husband. This charade marks the start of an unpredictable journey as he escorts the lovely Lavinia and her traveling companions to Primrose Farm, far from the glaring lights of London. Soon, the tables are turned when Lucas introduces Lavinia to his family—as his fiancée. Before long, their mutual deception begins to feel all too real. But when the truth of her past is revealed, will Lavinia’s dream of a happy ending slip through her fingers?

Regency is NOT Victorian – which is NOT Edwardian!

Santos-Dumont_flight_around_the_Eiffel_TowerSanto Dumont circles the Eiffel Tower on 13 July 1901 in Dirigible No. 5 Paris 1901 airship zeppelin edwardian era.jpg

Paris in 1901 – a time of photography and airships.

All right, I’ve had it. If I see one more book or television show or movie about the Tudors or Marie Antoinette or World War One labelled as a “Regency romance”, I’m going to scream!

Even if you use a slightly extended version of the term “Regency” to describe historical romance books (say, 1800 to 1830), I think it should be made illegal to call stories set a full century before or after the era “Regency romances”.

A popular author’s new historical romance series is allegedly set in the early 1900s, and yet it’s being labelled “Regency” by readers and publishers alike, and fails to include any of the massive changes that happened in the world in those ninety years between one era and the other. I’m seeing this so often in historical fiction that it’s driving me bonkers!

Here’s how it works:

Regency era:

1811-1820

Jane Austen, skinny dresses, Napoleon, and a man too mentally unstable to rule on the British throne.

Mailcoach England 1827

Transport in 1827

First_electric_tram-_Siemens_1881_in_LichterfeldeFirst electric tram- Siemens 1881 in Lichterfelde

Transport in the 1880s

Victorian era:

1837-1901

Trains, photographs, telegrams, telephones, big sleeves and even bigger skirts, Christian morals hiding dirty lifestyles, and a short, (allegedly) grumpy lady on the British throne.

Flatiron_Building_under_construction_II,_New_York_City,_1902Flatiron Building (at the time still called the Fuller Building) in early stage of construction, Fifth Avenue and Broadway, New York City. edwardian era

New York City in 1902

Edwardian era:

1901-1910

Cars, airships, early feature films, and a large, sickly man on the British throne.

Labelling an Edwardian book set nearly a century after Jane Austen died as Regency is like setting a book in 2019 and including the first Academy Awards (with Emil Jannings – born 135 years ago – winning best actor), Stalin’s purges, the birth of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the death of Wyatt Earp. Oh, and while we’re at it, we might as well include the Wall Street Crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, and pretend the internet doesn’t exist. In 2019.

Absurd? Yes. So please, please stop it. The past is a little more complicated – and interesting – than that.

The Week: 2nd – 8th December

It’s nearly Christmas, and I really think I need another month to get organised! The fires here have got worse and worse. The fire has burnt all the way to the sea, and there’s really hot weather on the way in the coming days.

After the strife superstar author Christine Feehan got in, first for filing to trademark common words, and then for defending her actions, she seems to have pulled the application. However, it seems everyone writing vampire fiction could do with reading this:

Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

And this Tweet pretty much sums up the situation:

KJ Charles Twitter Christine Feehan Trademark Carpathian

Virgin River Premiere!

Virgin River TV Series

My review of Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

First appearances deceive in the newest charming and heartwarming Regency romance in the Westcott series from beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh . . .

Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He’s come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to – secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honour means, and how only with it can one find love.

Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

I started Someone to Honour on my Kindle several months ago, ran out of time to finish it before I went overseas, and then finished it in paperback this week, so my experience with the book was a little … odd …

I’ve been enjoying all the unconventional pairings in this series, though this one (despite both the hero’s and heroine’s illegitimacy) is a more standard romance. It’s a quieter book, for the most part, tightly focused just on the main pair and the heroine’s brother, though people who are new to the series will be confused by all of the many, many past characters who appear at the start.

Balogh has played with the legal issues of the time for a few books now (e.g. children weren’t “adopted” in the Regency era), but I had trouble overlooking the historical liberties taken here.

It is inconceivable that the illegitimate son of a washerwoman could pop up to London to pick up a special licence to marry. It was almost impossible for anyone to obtain one, and even though Regency romance authors often have their aristocratic characters do such things, when regular old soldier Gil did it I had to set the book aside for a while.

The other issue with the plot is the battle for Gil to regain custody of his daughter – it’s not how things happened at the time. He was the father! Children and wives were the man’s property back then, which means the entire plot (and the marriage) made no sense whatsoever. (Additionally, there were some Americanisms in the legalese that distracted me.)

I do love Mary Balogh’s books, and I’ve reread all the others in the series, but I struggled to suspend my disbelief for this one.

The Week: 4th – 10th November

Friday afternoon writing view Sonya Heaney Author Coke Cat Coffee Canberra Australia Book 8th November 2019

Friday afternoon writing view: Coke, cat, coffee, Lisa Kleypas book – and the table runner bunched up because a certain grey feline likes to attack it …

My oh-so neat, easy-to-understand, high-tech way of plotting a book! Sonya Heaney Author Historical Romance 7th November 2019

I’m working on a new book! And my plotting process is a mess! This comes after sending my next book off to my editor at the start of the week.

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Remember (2019 Westcott series #7) A novel by Mary Balogh

Premiere Date for Virgin River

Cover Love

The Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft

Cover Love

Christian historical romance continues to come up with innovative cover ideas!

The Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft

The Earl’s Betrothal by Karen Tuft

Out of the war and into another, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves finds the politics of romance to be as uninviting a battle as the one that nearly cost him his life in Badajoz, Spain.

Wounded both mentally and physically from the Peninsular War in 1812, Anthony returns home to find that his older brother has died, placing Anthony next in line to inherit the estate. But he’s not ready for such responsibilities. And when Anthony’s dying father pleads with him to marry and produce an heir to preserve the family title, it nearly sends Anthony over the edge; nevertheless he dutifully faces a long line of hopeful young ladies who await him. No one grabs his attention, though, like Amelia Clarke, his mother’s stunning companion, who is off-limits for the earl. But when Anthony unwittingly puts Amelia in a compromising situation, he dedicates himself to protecting her reputation.

But the horrors Anthony faced while away from home have left him feeling broken and tormented. And Anthony finds himself drawn to Miss Clarke, the only one who can chase away his demons, but he must overcome the hostility of a society driven by class, a jealous duke bent on revenge, and himself—for could Amelia ever really love a haunted man?