The Holyhead Road: Three Notable Coaching Accidents

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The following post is the twenty-second of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is replete with commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

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As soon as 1742, the North-western Roads were already famous for speed.

…it came to pass in 1754 that a company of Manchester merchants, having considered how Time flew, and to what a degree the success or non-success of commercial speculation coincided with the flight of Time, bethought them how most nearly in their passage to and from London they might fly themselves. To which end they started a new sensation called a “Flying Coach.” And they carefully put forward in a well-weighed prospectus the claims of their invention to the title, stating that there was non nonsensical pretence about the thing this time, but that in point of honest fact they seriously contemplated running their machine at the accelerated speed of five miles an hour; and that however incredible it might appear, the coach would actually, barring accidents, arrive in London four days and a half after leaving Manchester!

Before the days of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)

Bar-room_Scene,_William_Sidney_Mount,_1835

Bar-room Scene, William Sidney Mount, 1835

The first casualty to be noticed on the North-western Road occurred… so near to London indeed as Finchley Common (which is about a mile and a half beyond Highgate Archway), though the cause of the accident, the first cause, originated at a place called Redbourn, twenty-one miles down the road. And in this wise: Owing to an obstruction below Dunstable—in point of fact to heavy snow-drifts—four or five coaches started together thence. They all went at a fair pace, not racing, but passing each other at the different stages, till they reached the Green Man at Fincley, where according to immemorial prescription the four coachmen alighted for a drink, or rather for four. And now “a change came o’er the spirit of the scene.” In other words, one “Humpy,” so called either from his driving the Umpire (but I hope not) or from his having a hump on his back, which is more probably, was discovered to have taken too much spirits. For he was very noisy and shouted and hallooed at the top of his voice, though at what it is impossible to conjecture. However, the old coachman who tells the story… suspected that something would happen. So he kept behind, and waited to see what he would see. He first of all saw one of the three coaches by a fence opposite a public-house… he saw a coach lying on its side—the Manchester Umpire in fact—the coach of the too demonstrative Humpy… The forepart of the coach was broken, the luggage was scattered all over the road, also the passengers, who, thus agreeably circumstances, improved the shining hour by bewailing their bruises and cursing the conduct of Humpy. This was rather unchivalrous of them as it turned out, thus to rail against; for Humpy was also on his back perfectly helpless, “like a large black beetle,” moaning and groaning most hideously, and certainly more injured that anybody else… From Humpy himself therefore no explanation of how things had occurred was naturally forthcoming. But there were not wanting men unkind enough to allege that this complete turnover resultted from now more intricate a fact than that of the miserable Humpy having his leaders’ reins wrongly placed between his fingers, which was done when he took them from his box-passenger, after the last, the fatal, brandy and water. The natural but very embarrassing consequence was that when Humpy suddenly discovered that he was too near the fence, he pulled the wrong rein, and there they were—on their backs in the road.

No speed limits either?

'The Opposition Coaches', 1837 (1927).Artist: Charles Cooper Henderson

The Opposition Coaches, 1837, Charles Cooper Henderson (1927)

A more serious accident than this, inasmuch as one of the unfortunate passengers was killed, happened to the Holyhead Mail, a little further down the road, a mile indeed on the London side of St. Albans. This arose from the exciting but highly dangerous pastime of racing. The Holyhead Mail, via Shrewsbury, attempted to pass the Chester Mail by galloping furiously by on the wrong side of the road. The coachman of the Chester Mail resented the indignity, and pulled his leaders across his rival’s—a heap of stones conveniently placed by the road side did the rest of the business, and in a moment converted two spick and span turn-outs, full of passengers more or less alive and alarmed, into a mass of struggling horseflesh, splintered wood and groaning wounded. The inquest on the victim of this rivalry among coachmen was held at the Peahen inn in St. Albans, and a verdict of manslaughter was returned against both artists. Abundant subsequent opportunity was afforded them of meditating on their sins, for they were kept in irons in St. Albans for six months before they were tried at Hertford—in which town they enjoyed a further twelve months’ imprisonment in the county gaol.

Duty wins over heroism (unless the ladies are attractive)

The Louth Mail Accident

The Louth Mail Accident

A snow effect is the next coaching incident to be chronicled in this neighbourhood of St. Albans, richer surely in its agreeably diversified crop of casualties than any other place in England. The North-western coaches… seem to have got the full benefit of the historic snow-storm of 1836. This visitation lasted the best part of a week and has never been equalled in England before or since. The drifts in some hollows were said to be twenty feet deep—which caused some passengers not unnaturally to report that they were “mountains high,” and some coachmen to state that the snow in some places was higher than their heads as they sat on the box. “Never before,” writes a correspondent of the Times of that day (quoted by Captain Malet in his Annals of the Road)—“never before within recollection was the London Mail stopped for a whole night at a few miles from London, and never before have we seen the intercourse between the southern shores of England and the metropolis interrupted for two whole days.”

White Hart Inn, St. Albans

White Hart Inn, St. Albans

…many mails and coaches remained hopelessly stuck, able neither to get up the road nor down it—a state of affairs which must have caused many passengers to use srange words, and the landlords of the Angel, White Hart, and Woolpack to make hay while the snow fell. And some people were not so fortunate as to be stuck fast in a picturesque place where there was something eat, as Burdett, the guard of the Liverpool Mail, was able to testify. For on Tuesday, December 27, of this memorable year, this guard from his vnatage point, beheld a chariot buried in the snow and without horses, safely at anchor at about a mile on the London side of St. Albans. And he had no sooner seen it—and two elderly ladies inside it, who rent the welkin with clamorous cries for help—than he found, by being suddenly precipitated head firstinto twelve feet of snow, that his coach had got into a drift too. Having recovered his perpendicular, and emptied his mouth, a natural curiosity prompted Burdett to cross-examine the ladies on their somewhat forlorn position. They told him that their post-boy and left them for St. Albans to get fresh cattle, and had been gone two hours—no doubt having elected to get brandy for himself instead. Meanwhile, there they were—and in a very deplorable plight surely. But will it be believed that this heart-moving vision of beauty in distress did not move the guard of the Liverpool Mail in the least! No! He proceeded stolidly in the plain path which is duty’s—a fact whih tends to the suspicion that the ladies cannot have been beauties. But whether they were or no, Burdett, after having heard their story, turned a deaf ear to their appeals for help. He just helped his coachman, his passengers, and his four horses on to their feet—(for the horses too had assumed a recumbent position)—and having extricated his mail, by the help of his tools, curses, and other expedients not mentioned in the text, pursued his journey to London, leaving the chariot and the ladies to their fate.

Mail Coach in a Snowstorm c.1835-40 by Charles Cooper Henderson 1803-1877

Mail Coach in a Snowstorm c. 1835-40, Charles Cooper Henderson

Angelina Jameson: A Lady’s Addiction

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Alcohol abuse in the Regency era

The heroine of my book A Lady’s Addiction has a problem with alcohol. Anna used it to self-medicate, to deal with the disgusting attentions from her husband. Now a widow, Anna struggles to rid herself of her nightly ritual of drinking a bottle of wine to dull her senses.

The term alcoholism wasn’t around in the Regency era and wasn’t coined until 1852. Reformers labeled those who often drank in excess as habitual drunkards. At the time habitual drunkenness wasn’t seen as a disease. I portrayed Anna as an alcohol abuser not an alcoholic. She uses alcohol to de-stress. If she continues on this path she would most likely become an alcoholic.

Anna’s drink of choice was wine. Wine was plentiful in upper class Regency households. Wine was a gentlemanly drink. It was imported and expensive, perfect as a posh drink for the upper classes. During the years of war between France and England it was harder to get French wine. The English turned to new favorite wines from Spain, and Portugal. These wines were Madeira, Malaga, port, or sherry. The hero in my book refers to Portuguese wine in the first chapter.

During the Gin Craze in 18th century London binge drinking became a huge social problem. Gin was cheap and readily available to the lower classes. The heavy consumption of alcohol continued during the Regency. In the Reminisces of Captain Gronow, the author stated: “Drinking was the fashion of the day.”

It is well known that George IV drank heavily. Did George’s excessive drinking reflect current fashion or set it? I think both. Drinking played an extremely important social role in eighteenth century England. Anyone who reads Regency historical novels has heard of gout. The high consumption of port and fortified wines led to the upper class disease of gout.

What about women drinking in the Regency era? While there are many cartoons and articles from the Regency showing excess drinking by men, it was much harder to find information about those Regency women who may have abused alcohol. Lady Caroline Lamb was known to be addicted to alcohol and laudanum near the end of her life. It is taken for granted that women of society drank to relieve the boredom and monotony of their lives. Women drank wine with their meals and drank sherry in the drawing room after dinner. It is not hard to imagine women overindulging with all the alcohol surrounding them.

What do you think of a romance heroine dealing with alcohol abuse? Would you prefer the hero to be the one dealing with such a struggle? One reader who leaves a comment on this blog post will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.

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About A Lady’s Addiction

Anna, a widow battling alcohol addiction is convinced she is worthless unless she bears a child. She hires a lover to prove she is not frigid and may marry again and have children.

Devlyn, sterile from an accident, has returned from an assignment for the Foreign Office and inadvertently becomes Anna’s lover.

Anna and Devlyn join forces to protect an innocent child from a blackmailer. Can they come to terms not only with their feelings for each other but whether they will allow society to dictate the true significance of life?

Excerpt

She couldn’t remember the question she’d asked. His nearness unsettled her. Her entire body had flared into wakefulness the moment he entered her room. Cecily could be right; this man might be able to help with her problem.

Tonight she would play a part. She would emulate the sophisticated façade her friend Cecily Pickerel displayed. The scandalous nightgown underneath her thin robe was in fact a gift from Cecily. She would never have had enough courage to buy such a shocking garment for herself.

“You are discreet?”

“What is your name?” Franco asked, ignoring her question.

Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered Cecily telling her she needn’t share personal information. She would never see this man again. He didn’t move in her circles. With the slightest of shrugs, she answered truthfully, “Anna.”

“Anna,” he said in a husky rasp. The way her name rolled off his tongue sent the lightest frisson along her skin. “It is a graceful, pretty name. It suits you.”

“There is no need to flatter me.” She felt heat on her cheeks. “It is a common enough name.”

“Despite our current situation, my dear, I do not believe you are at all common.”

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About the Author

Untitled2I joined the US Air Force to see the world. My dreams of visiting the United Kingdom were fulfilled when I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk, England. Five years later I returned to the states having acquired a wonderful husband and a love of all things British. I began writing as a hobby when my husband was remote to Honduras for a year. I found RWA and a local New Mexico chapter, LERA, and my hobby developed into a dream of sharing my stories with others. I currently live in the great state of Alaska with my wonderful husband and our two teenage boys.

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A Celebration of Waterloo: The Prince of Orange

The young Prince of Orange

The young Prince of Orange

About the Prince

William Frederick George Louis was the son of William I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmina of Prussia. When his father proclaimed himself king in 1815 (16 March), he became Prince of Orange. After his father’s abdication in 1840, he became King William II of the Netherlands.

Avid readers of Regency historical fiction might recognize him as the rejected suitor of Princess Charlotte. The Prince Regent arranged the match, but his estranged wife opposed it, and when Charlotte finally met him, she did as well. Whether the problem lay with his personal qualities or the necessity of having to live in the Netherlands or both, the young princess eventually had her way, and married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield (later King of Belgium) in 1816.

PRINCE OF ORANGE ON HORSEAt the age of two, William fled with his family from the French to Prussia, where he had a military education and served in the Prussian army. Then he studied at the University of Oxford, where he was quite popular and nicknamed “Slender Billy” by the English public. As a result of his ex-patriot upbringing, there were complaints when he eventually returned to the Netherlands that he seemed more foreign than Dutch.

William joined the British army and became aide-de-camp to Wellington in the Peninsular War in 1811 when he was only nineteen years old. In 1815 he joined the Allied Coalition for the final confrontation with Napoleon at Waterloo, where he commanded the I Allied Corps, which was a conglomeration of armies from Britain, Hanover, the Netherlands, Nassau, and Belgium.

This mishmash included many Belgian soldiers who had formerly fought in Napoleon’s Grand Armée—some of whom wore the same uniforms. A source of confusion? Indeed yes, but what was worse was that some allegiance to France still remained, as well as a very real fear of fighting against their former emperor. Communication between all these nationalities was also a problem. Wellington knew he had a problem there, but with rumors abounding of the swelling numbers of Napoleon’s troops, he couldn’t afford to be too selective as he was hastily assembling his own forces.

The Controversy

At 23, the Prince was considered by many to be too young to have the rank of Major-General and given an entire Corps to command. It was said that he was assigned this position because Wellington desperately needed the 30,000 Dutch-Belgian troops and that his son’s promotion was the price of the Dutch king’s cooperation.

The traditional (i.e., British) view was that 200 of the Dutch-Belgian troops took off in the opposite direction when faced by the French. Non-British sources protest, however, that newly-arrived British infantrymen, confused by the similarity of the French and Dutch uniforms, opened fire on them both, causing the Dutch-Belgians to lose a large number of horses, which caused these unmounted soldiers to fall back and not be available for active duty.

From The Cowards at Waterloo (a Dutch account of the battle: http://www.napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/Waterloo_Cowards.html)

Unfortunately most of the British accounts have tended to magnify out of all proportion the accomplishments of the very modest numbers of British soldiers. These authors are unashamedly biased, their troops are super-human, the Duke practically a deity. Below is a fragment of hugely popular in English speaking countries book “Waterloo” by Cornwell (the adventures of super-soldier Major Sharpe). The readers are fed with some colorful descriptions of Belgian cowardice and ‘Dutch courage’. The Belgians and Dutch flee without fight, their commander Prince Orange is “little Dutch boy” etc. In contrast the British soldiers are all-conquering heroes, and their commanders are either tough as a nail or geniuses (or both).

Where does the truth lie? Probably somewhere in the middle. The Prince of Orange acquitted himself well in the Peninsula as aide-de-camp to Wellington, and he was certainly not the first young man his age to have such a high rank. The language problem throughout the conflict was not limited to his troops, and wasn’t his fault. Prejudice on both sides had to be a factor as well. Just as there are some who say the Prussians under Ziethen did come through in the end and should be given some credit for the victory. It’s hardly surprising that the British accounts give the British the lion’s share, but at the same time it’s advisable to take some conclusions with a grain of salt.

Lost and Found Lady

With that in mind, I had just read Bernard Cornwell’s Waterloo prior to writing this story, so my portrayal of the Prince of Orange and the Dutch-Belgian troops conforms to the traditional views. So keep in mind when you read it that the Prince was likely not a cartoon-character of a man at all, in spite of the way he has been characterized over the years.

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Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?

About Lost and Found Lady

On April 24, 1794, a girl child was born to an unknown Frenchwoman in a convent in Salamanca, Spain. Alas, her mother died in childbirth, and the little girl—Catalina—was given to a childless couple to raise.

Eighteen years later…the Peninsular War between the British and the French wages on, now perilously near Catalina’s home. After an afternoon yearning for adventure in her life, Catalina comes across a wounded British soldier in need of rescue. Voilà! An adventure! The sparks between them ignite, and before he returns to his post, Rupert promises to return for her.

But will he? Catalina’s grandmother warns her that some men make promises easily, but fail to carry them out. Catalina doesn’t believe Rupert is that sort, but what does she know? All she can do is wait…and pray.

But Fate has a few surprises in store for both Catalina and Rupert. When they meet again, it will be in another place where another battle is brewing, and their circumstances have been considerably altered. Will their love stand the test of time? And how will their lives be affected by the outcome of the conflict between the Iron Duke and the Emperor of the French?

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Amy Quinton: What the Duke Wants

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Amy Quinton will be awarding a heart shaped enamel, kiln fired copper charm on a leather corded necklace (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. Prize is designed and made by Keri Sereika at Pink Lemonade (http://www.pinklemonade.typepad.com/) Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

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About What the Duke Wants

Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

England 1814: Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin, she isn’t: reserved (not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants), sophisticated (highly overrated), or graceful (she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face). But she is: practical and in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

The Duke of Stonebridge is an agent for the Crown with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter, he is always: logical (men who follow their hearts are foolish) and reserved (his private life is nobody’s business but his own). And he isn’t: impulsive or in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and restore his name? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

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Excerpt

A knowledgeable lady understands that, typically, the best way to make a good first impression is not to fall bottom first into a puddle of mud. Alas, Grace Radclyffe, with her inclination towards unfortunate mishaps, found this knowledge to be generally useless in the reality of her everyday life.

Therefore, despite the uncomfortable feeling of wetness seeping through her gown and the faint-though-nearby sound of dripping mud, she did what any sensible lady of good upbringing would do in less than ideal circumstances. She cursed. With conviction.

BookCover_WhatTheDukeWants copy“Bloody hell. Not again.”

So maybe she didn’t say that. But it was something she occasionally thought in her mind, though only in her mind.

In actuality, she chuckled lightheartedly (because it’s always best to set yourself and any potential rescuers at ease in awkward situations) and graciously procured the proffered handkerchief dangling over her left shoulder. Then, after clearing the mud from her face so she could actually see and with cheeks tinged only slightly from embarrassment (because, really, that kerchief hadn’t been dangling over her shoulder on its own), she peered up to thank her would-be rescuer and

Gasped. Out loud.

For staring down at her with one eyebrow lifted in question, were a pair of eyes—emerald green eyes to be more precise. The most deeply penetrating emerald green eyes she had ever seen in all of her near twenty-one years.

About the Author

AuthorPhoto_WhatTheDukeWants copyAmy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her English husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

Amy has lived in or around the Charleston, SC area her entire life. When she’s not home, at the beach (weather permitting), or camping in and around the Great Smoky Mountains (Check out Mile High Campground and Devils Fork State Park!), she loves to visit the United Kingdom. She loves the history, the culture, and the people—hence her love for Scottish and Regency Romances. She especially loves to visit the Isle of Skye—in the Highlands of Scotland—where the scenery is both rugged and breathtaking.

Amy graduated from the College of Charleston, a liberal arts college located in beautiful, historic Charleston, SC. She worked 10 years in the computer industry as a software designer before becoming a full time mom and now, a full time novelist.

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Jillian Chantal and Jeremiah’s Last Charge

Thanks, Susana, for allowing me to come by and share a little about my story for the Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles anthology. When I first started thinking about what I wanted to focus on in my style, I knew I wanted a sassy, feisty heroine because they are always fun to write. Of course, when I chose such a heroine, I knew she would have to get in some kind of trouble and what better scandal than to make a spectacle of herself at Lady Richmond’s ball?

I also wanted a hero who could bring balance to the heroine’s life. Jeremiah is a strong, silent type but I think they go well together. She takes him out of his comfort zone and he reins her in. Well, no, not really. He doesn’t. Ha ha.

One of the things I’ve always found intriguing about the run up to the battle is the fact that Lady Richmond had this gala right on the eve of the engagement and Wellington was encouraging her to go forward. Of course, today, we know he was doing that so people wouldn’t panic and try to evacuate thus clogging the roads and holding up the troops. Jeremiah wonders about the Duke’s motive in allowing the ball to occur in this story. He thinks they should be readying for battle, not flirting and dancing but he’d never question his commanding officer.

About Jeremiah’s Last Charge

A chance encounter during the battle of Quatre Bras changes Captain Jeremiah Denby’s life forever. A member of Wellington’s staff, he fulfills his duties to king and country through the surrender of Boney at Waterloo but then must decide how to reconcile his new life with his old.

Emmaline Rothesay has a battle of her own to fight. To her lady mother’s dismay, Emmaline has had her eye on Captain Denby as a potential suitor. Now that his changed circumstances after Waterloo could cause a scandal, Lady Rothesay is even more set against any relationship her daughter desires with the man. Emmaline finds herself at war with her mother and maybe even the captain himself.

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Excerpt

“Napoleon is on the march. He’s outside the city. The Prince of Orange has already left—before supper even—and the rest of the men will be reporting to their units soon.”

Emmaline gasped. “Outside the city?” Her gut clenched. This was way too close. Being this near to a battle site was horrifying. Her eyes darted around the room until they found Captain Denby. She turned her gaze to the others standing beside her. “I’ll be right back.”

She strode off with Lydia behind her asking, “Where are you going?”

Not responding to her friend, Emmaline made a beeline toward where Jeremiah stood with two other officers in the same regimental uniform as he. Once she reached him, she touched the sleeve of his coat. “May I speak to you for a moment?”

“I’m sorry, Miss Rothesay, I’m on my way out.”

“It’ll just take a second.”

He turned to his companions. “Excuse me.”

Leaving Lydia behind, Emmaline pulled Jeremiah to one side and once they stood close to the wall she pulled her lace-edged hanky from her where she’d tucked it in the end of her sleeve and tried to hand it to him.

“What’s this?” He stared at it as it hung in the air between them held up by her index finger and thumb.

“Back in the middle ages and in the time of Henry VIII, a knight asked a lady for her colors to wear into the joust. For good luck, you know. I’d like you to wear mine in the battle ahead.”

“Do you think it proper? We hardly know one another.”

“Proper or not, I’m offering this to you as a token of good will and my hope that you will survive the next days. Surely you won’t turn me down?” Tears welled in her eyes, blurring her vision. Had she misunderstood the way he’d looked at her? Did he hold her in no regard at all?

Jeremiah’s face turned red. Emmaline couldn’t tell if it was from embarrassment or anger. A little intimidated, she took a half step back and almost collided with one of Lady Richmond’s friends.

AuthorPicAbout the Author

Jillian Chantal is multi-published in the romance genre. She’s a lawyer by day and writer, amateur photographer and history buff by night. Jillian lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Florida and loves her little slice of paradise. But not too much to enjoy world-wide travel every chance she gets. After all, a writer and photographer needs new and exciting places to go and capture in order to stay fresh, right? And there’s nothing quite like seeing historical places in person, is there?

Jillian loves to hear from readers.

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:

A Celebration of Waterloo

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June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Heather King and Copenhagen’s Last Charge

Copenhagen. The very name of the Danish capital conjures exotic images of a bustling, modern city with an infamous red light district; a centuries-old port, evolved from a fortification built in 1167 to protect a ferry crossing; battles on the high seas and an international political centre.

It was also the name of a horse.

That horse was not just any old horse, though. He was the famed mount of a revered general. He was the war horse of no less a personage than the Duke of Wellington and carried his master throughout the whole of the Battle of Waterloo.

Copenhagen’s story begins at the siege of the city which gave him his name. His dam was the half-bred mare, Lady Catherine, bred by Thomas Grosvenor and, it is believed, ridden by him during that conflict. Lady Catherine’s dam was by the Rutland Arabian, ‘out of a hunting mare not thorough-bred’ according to The General Stud Book and was put to the successful racehorse and stallion, John Bull. This meant that although John Bull was full Thoroughbred and Copenhagen was sired by Meteor, second in the Derby of 1786 and son of the legendary Eclipse, Copenhagen was not eligible for the General Stud Book because of his grand-dam’s hunter blood. Lady Catherine is the only half-bred mare included in the stud book ‒ in deference to his honourable military career.

Meteor was tiny by today’s standards, measuring about fourteen hands, but Copenhagen took after his grandsire in colour, height and temperament. Foaled in 1808, he was chestnut (as was his father), stood about fifteen hands high (a hand is four inches, a horse being measured to the base of the neck where it joins the body) and could be bad-tempered, being prone to lashing out with a hind leg. He is described as being muscular and compact, having two white heels, a hollow back and poor shoulders… and, conversely, as being a handsome horse. He was painted by Thomas Lawrence and Samuel Spode as a rich, dark chestnut, but with dissimilar white leg markings. In the Spode painting, he has one white sock on his near (left) hind leg. There are no obvious white markings on his legs in the Lawrence depiction and in a painting of the pair at Waterloo by Robert Hillingford, he would appear to have four white socks. We shall never know, now, which is the most accurate, but one thing is certain. The stallion had a quality which drew the eye and fired the imagination.

In all three paintings, he is a striking individual, his proud bearing, fine legs and sturdy conformation clearly reflecting his Arabian bloodlines. The qualities of the ‘Oriental’ horse were appreciated by the knowledgeable cavalry soldier, for on campaign, horses may receive little in the way of fodder while enduring the harshest of conditions. Toughness was a prime requisite. Wellington is quoted as saying of his famous horse: ‘There may have been many faster horses, no doubt many handsomer, but for bottom and endurance I never saw his fellow.’ Such stamina is the hallmark, not only of the Thoroughbred, but of the three Arab stallions from whom the breed evolved.

However, the Duke of Wellington and his illustrious horse had yet to meet. Despite his lack of a full pedigree, Thomas Grosvenor had bred Copenhagen to race, but although a quick colt, he had not inherited either Meteor’s or Eclipse’s speed. He did not run as a two-year-old and his two seasons were undistinguished at best, resulting in only two wins. He retired from racing in 1812, at the end of his four-year-old season and was sold to Sir Charles Stewart, (later the Marquis of Londonderry) who took the stallion to the Peninsula.

Not a favourite of the future Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles fell foul of the Field Marshal on several occasions, finally, so the story goes, being reduced to tears for remarks made in the Morning Chronicle. Soon after, Stewart was offered a post as Minister to Prussia – possibly through the good offices of his half-brother and Foreign Secretary, Lord Castlereagh. However that may be, towards the end of 1813, Sir Charles, being short of funds and no longer in need of a stable of horses, sold Copenhagen and one other to Colonel Charles Wood (or Colonel Alexander Gordon) on behalf of one Arthur Wellesley.

When Copenhagen arrived in the Marquis’ stables (Wellington was not made a duke until 1814) he caused no small amount of concern. Not only was his temperament uncertain, he had a particularly unusual idiosyncrasy. All horses will lie down in their stable, given that the bed is deep enough and they are comfortable in their surroundings. However, they eat standing up; hay from a hay rack or net, feed from a manger or bucket. Copenhagen had a hearty appetite, for corn feed especially, but he would eat it whilst lying down. Until they determined that there was nothing wrong with their expensive new charge, he no doubt gave the Marquis’ grooms many a sleepless night!

A true horseman, Wellington quickly realized that his chestnut charger needed plenty of occupation. He already maintained his own pack of hounds as well as a pair of hunters for his leisure hours in the Peninsula, since his battle horses were not suitable for the sport. Copenhagen, on the other hand, revelled in the work and the freedom from his stable. The discipline of standing quietly and then galloping when hounds set off developed the five-year-old’s fitness and hardened his legs and tendons. Days in the field developed a relationship between horse and rider which was to be indispensable. The two seasons Copenhagen had spent on the race courses of England had accustomed him to noise and clamour. The pieces of the jigsaw were fitting together to create a legend; a horse whose name would go down in history.

In her diary, Lady Frances Shelley states that: ‘On the day before the battle, the Duke rode Copenhagen to the Prussian headquarters, to ascertain whether he might depend on old Blücher’s co-operation.’ This belief is also reflected by the Reverend Charles Young, who was staying with the Rt. Hon. Henry Pierrepoint in 1833 when the Duke himself apparently related the tale. The Duke is reported to have said, ‘Before ten o’clock I got on Copenhagen’s back… I never drew bit, and he never had a morsel in his mouth, till 8pm, when Fitzroy Somerset came to tell me dinner was ready in the little neighbouring village – Waterloo.’ He went on to claim that he sent Fitzroy Somerset off on an errand, ‘ordered Copenhagen to be re-saddled’ and himself rode out some fourteen miles and back to confirm how matters stood. Some modern historians believe this tale to be a fabrication and that an aide-de-camp made the journey and returned with the message promising assistance from the Prussians. It is a more likely version of events, but if not… the possibility of having carried his master another twenty-eight miles on top of his day’s work and then be ridden the following day during the battle itself, adds to Copenhagen’s considerable lustre and reputation for bottomless endurance.

What is irrefutable fact, however, is that while Napoleon rode probably three or four horses during the battle and covered considerably less ground, the cranky chestnut stallion was Wellington’s sole mount for the whole of that long, momentous day – a stretch of almost eighteen hours. Calm and composed amidst the smoke and mayhem of the battlefield, the very sight of the powerful horse and his rider cheered the Allied forces into greater endeavours and helped them stand firm when the odds were against them. It is little wonder that the illustrious pair were fêted by all and sundry when they finally arrived home victorious.

In due course, the Duke moved to Paris and thence to Chambrai in his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Occupation, taking Copenhagen with him. He rented a house in Mont St. Martin and took his old friend hunting when his duties permitted. Wellington held house parties, mock battles and military ceremonials, and both man and horse enjoyed the attentions of the ladies, both English and French.

This continued when the army at last returned to England, the Duke acquiring Apsley House from his brother. Wellington kept and rode Copenhagen in London until he became too busy, when he sent him to his Hampshire home, Stratfield Saye.

Copenhagen enjoyed a peaceful retirement and was finally laid to rest with full military honours in his paddock near the Ice House. Mrs. Apostles, the Duke’s housekeeper, planted the Turkey Oak which now casts shade over the stallion’s grave. The marble stone was laid some years following the Duke’s death, by the second Duke.

I will be telling Copenhagen’s story in more detail on my Blog A Regency Reticule, later in the year. http://regencywriter-hking.blogspot.co.uk

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy meets a broodingly handsome Light Dragoon at the Duchess of Richmond’s grand ball, she little expects that in the early hours of June 19th she will be accompanying him around the streets of Brussels after the Duke of Wellington’s horse, Copenhagen.

Lieutenant James Cooper is surly and unhelpful, but Meg senses the Dragoon will need her help to catch the valuable horse before he injures himself. As they bicker their way around the narrow streets in Copenhagen’s wake, a strange empathy develops as gradually glimpses of the man beneath start to be revealed. Meg finds herself drawn to that person, but when they finally return the horse to the Duke and Cooper assumes the credit, Meg is so incensed she vows to have nothing further to do with him.

Fate, it seems, has other ideas…

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Excerpt

Something was about to unfold, Meg thought, barely suppressing a shiver of apprehension. All these handsome, jolly young men were dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves with a new fervour which was almost a desperation… She must make sure to tell Papa how much she loved him.

“Georgy, my dear. Why are you not dancing?” Wellington, spotting them, had come forward, a charming smile curving his lean lips. In an aside over his shoulder, he said to Richmond, “If you could lay hands on that map, I should be obliged.”

“Oh, your Grace, please allow me to present to you my good friend, Miss Margaret Lacy.”

Heart pounding, Meg sank into a deep curtsey, but was both surprised and reassured to perceive a twinkle in the Duke’s eye when he helped her to rise and then carried her hand to his lips. She felt the burn of his swift appraisal bloom in her cheeks.

“I am charmed, Miss Lacy. Would you be related to Major-General Sir Vincent Lacy?”

“He is my father, sir.”

“Ah. A fine officer and a gentleman.”

Meg dipped her head. “Thank you, your Grace.”

Wellington wagged his finger jovially. “No need for ceremony, my dear young lady. I have every respect for your father. He is also a consummate horseman.”

Georgy took Meg’s arm, infinitesimally drawing her closer to the Duke.

“Meg – Miss Lacy – has inherited her papa’s skill, sir. She has a high regard for Copenhagen. Might we be allowed to visit him in the stables?”

One of the family’s black-liveried footmen appeared at the Duke’s elbow and bowed, presenting a piece of folded paper on a silver salver.

“Excuse me, ladies.” Wellington took the missive and glanced at its contents. “And risk dirtying your pretty gowns? I shall not hear of it.” He nodded to the man. “Have someone send to the stables. I wish my horse brought up at once.”

The Field Marshal was a particularly imposing gentleman, Meg decided, considering him from the corner of her eye while he paused to comment in the ear of one of his aides. It was more than just his proud bearing and handsome features; he possessed an air of invincibility and self-belief which to some probably appeared to be arrogance. To her, it was more the attitude of a man – a general – who knew what he had to do and was determined to do it. If anyone could stop Napoleon Bonaparte, then surely it was he.

They paused at the top of the steps at the main entrance. Meg had noticed a considerable number of the guests slipping away; certainly the company in the ballroom had thinned. Unbidden, a thought for the brooding Hussar popped into her head and she offered a silent prayer for all those who were about to fight. The image of the dark-visaged young man lingered… and then she realized he was real.

Standing in the road at the bottom of the steps, he held Wellington’s famous war horse, Copenhagen, by the bridle. The near-thoroughbred, chestnut stallion was equally as imposing as his master. He stood just over fifteen hands at the base of his neck, but with his head held high and ears pricked in a state of readiness, he seemed far bigger. A trumpet sounded in the distance and he neighed, an ear-splitting vibration of notes that had Georgy covering her ears. Even the horse was challenging the French Emperor. Copenhagen skipped sideways, his iron-shod hoofs clattering on the cobbles. The young man, who was now clad in a navy coat with buff facings, cursed and pulled at the reins, his boots clutching ineffectively for a purchase on the uneven surface…

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

About the Author

Heather King newHeather has always been a dreamer, going off for hours into a make-believe world peopled by imaginary characters. From the age of about seven, when she won a third prize for a story written at school, she has enjoyed writing almost as much as reading. Devouring a book in one sitting is nothing new to her. Already keen on history, when she read her first Georgette Heyer Regency novel in her teens, she was at once hooked on the era and the genre.

Nowadays she divides her time between her animals, beta reading/critiquing for other authors, writing historical romantic fiction and short stories for magazines. Writing as Vandalia Black, she has recently released a collection of Vampire Romance short stories which includes a novella set in the English Civil War.

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Other Releases

An Improper Marriage

Marriage to dull ironmaster Jeremiah Knight would be awful enough, but when Eleanor Honeybourne discovers an injured man at a ball, she uncovers a web of intrigue that puts her own and her stepfather’s lives at risk. Meeting again her childhood hero, Charles Ribblesford, she is forced into a situation which could well spell her ruin, unless they can solve the mystery and unmask the villain.

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The Middle Of The Day

Lottie Morgan loves all things Regency, but would she like to live in the early nineteenth century, married to a baron? A strange thing happens while she is visiting Berrington Hall; she finds herself confronting George, Lord Rodney and she is a newly-wed!

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Writing as Vandalia Black:

Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee And Other Stories

This collection of fourteen tales brings together irresistible heroes and memorable heroines who battle against demons, muggers, lost loves, loneliness and unholy thirst to find their true loves. Tortured and honourable vampire heroes and one lady for whom the search for her mortal love has lasted centuries, will sweep you away into a paranormal world where eternal love means exactly that.

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Téa Cooper and The Caper Merchant

Truth is Often Stranger Than Fiction

I have to admit to being in two minds about the Beaux, Battles & Ballrooms project when Susana asked me if I would like become involved. Not because I have anything against Regency romances or the Duke of Wellington for that matter. Generally I write Australian historical romances – oz-itoricals as they are sometimes called. This would be very different.

Apart from anything else I didn’t even know if there had been any Australians at the Battle of Waterloo and I wanted a link to Australia. I knew that many Waterloo veterans had settled in Australia after the battle but had any Australians fought at Waterloo?

teawaterloo2_2672458b copy

Battle of Waterloo

I started digging around and imagine my delight when I discovered that there was one, and only one Australian at the Battle of Waterloo.

His name was Andrew Douglas White. He didn’t become the hero of my story, The Caper Merchant, but I felt it gave me license to involve an Australian.

And so the fictitious Samuel Blue, the hero of The Caper Merchant, was born. He inherited some of the irreverent, larrikin aspects of the Australians I have come to know and love.

But let’s leave fiction for a moment and let me tell you about Andrew because, as always, truth is stranger than fiction!

Andrew Douglas White was born in Sydney Cove in 1793 when the Australian colony was only five years old, the bastard son of a convict mother. His father, John White was chief surgeon on the expedition to establish the convict settlement at Botany Bay. His mother a convict, Rachel Turner, sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of some clothing. She arrived in Sydney Cove in 1790 and served her sentence as Surgeon White’s housekeeper.

Sydney 1796

Sydney 1796

In 1794 the married John White returned to England but continued to support Rachel and his Australian son. In 1800 Andrew, then aged six and a half, was sent to England to join his father, step-mother and half-siblings.

Andrew was educated in England and joined the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant in 1812. He went to Flanders in late 1813 as part of the British force and remained there serving as a junior officer on the Royal Engineer Staff at Waterloo. He survived the battle unscathed and returned to England to receive his Waterloo medal in 1816.

But the story doesn’t end there.

In 1823 Andrew returned Sydney and to the mother he could barely remember. The reunion was obviously a successful one, as he gave her his most prized possession, his Waterloo medal. She treasured it until her death.

Needless to say Andrew’s story set my mind racing and I’m currently working on a story called The Great Platypus Hoax—nothing to do with the Battle of Waterloo but it seemed such a shame to waste all the wonderful stories I had unearthed.

And Susana, thank you for your invitation to join in this great project. It’s been a fascinating ride!

Photos: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

waterloo_cover_best web

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure but when the Dark Lady wanes into solitude and looks to the shadows life can take an unexpected turn.

For Pandora Wellingham the astrological predictions couldn’t be more fortuitous, especially if they enable her to spread her wings and escape the domineering control of her godparents. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon, she believes her stars have aligned.

Career soldier Samuel Blue has lived much of his life in the shadows embroiled in the cloak and dagger world of ciphers and intelligence. It is during such a mission on behalf of his country that he meets the beautiful Pandora and inadvertently compromises her. But no matter how much he yearns to remain longer to secure the affections of the stargazing girl who has captivated his heart, Samuel has no time to dream of love and happy endings. He has information to deliver that may prove vital in the upcoming confrontation in Belgium.

Samuel’s journey takes him from the ballrooms of Grosvenor Square to the battlefield of Waterloo, with the sinister caper merchant dancing hot on his heels to prevent him from completing his mission. The stakes are high, and now that Pandora is in the picture, they’ve mounted even higher.

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Excerpt

The evening of Thursday, 8th June 1815

Grosvenor Square, London

“Dora, are you touched or simply playing the fool?”

Pan-dora. My name is Pandora.

“I believe you are doing this on purpose. Since your father’s death you have done everything in your power to make my life a misery.” Aunt Audra’s reddened nose disappeared behind a pathetic scrap of lace. “What are we to do?” The peacock feathers attached to her over structured hair wilted in sympathy. “Everyone saw you. It is scandalous, simply scandalous.”

“Just a dance,” Pandora muttered under her breath. A waltz—nothing more than a waltz. It wasn’t as though they were the only couple on the dance floor.

A muted squawk of horror burst from Aunt Audra. “You hadn’t been introduced.”

In actual fact they had, although not in the manner Aunt Audra would have preferred. From all the fuss and commotion it appeared no one knew very much about Captain Samuel Blue other than the obvious. Tall, exceptionally good looking with his loose black curls and startling blue eyes, and from his dress uniform and the easy length of the body inhabiting it, a cavalry officer.

“When I suggested you enter the marriage mart I did not, in my remotest dreams, imagine you would disgrace yourself with the nearest available young man.”

Stifling a yawn, Pandora moved to the window and gazed out onto the terrace and the gardens where couples strolled along arm in arm. The sky, an inky velvet cape, arched above the vista. Soon the moon would rise. The new moon in Gemini. Her moon. A time of promise and rebirth.

Not if Aunt Audra had any say in the matter. “I have no idea what we are going to do.” She wrung her hands performing an admirable impersonation of Lady Macbeth.

Pandora clenched hers and restrained the desire to cover her ears. She knew what she would like to do. Somehow now didn’t seem the best moment to suggest repeating the entire waltz all over again. The dizzying sensation when he’d put his arm around her waist and drawn her to him before sweeping her across the room still made her pulse pound. Distinctly more scintillating than any of the dance lessons she’d received from the odious Monsieur Cagneaux.

With a crack like gunshot the door flew open. “What is all this nonsense?” Her uncle rested his vast bulk against the timber panels, preventing interruption.

Pandora sucked in a steadying breath. No one would be coming to her rescue. An entire battalion would find it difficult to dislodge him.

“I hope, young lady, you are feeling suitably ashamed.”

She swallowed back an honest response and bowed her head. Aunt Audra’s tears were an almost daily occurrence and easily ignored. However her godfather, the esteemed Lord Harold Smotherington, in full flight, commanded her full attention.

“Well?”

She lifted her shoulders and offered a conciliatory smile.

“Don’t you shrug at me, you silly little chit. Whatever possessed you?”

Aunt Audra emitted another strangled sob and dabbed ineffectually with her sodden handkerchief.

“For goodness sake, Audra, pull yourself together. I have made arrangements. Someone must institute recompense.”

Made arrangements? Recompense? What in heaven’s name had happened?

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have anymore after?

About the Author

TeaCoopersmall copyBest-selling Australian author Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, New South Wales. Although Téa was born and raised in England the majority of her books, both contemporary and historical, are set in Australia, the country she now calls home. When she isn’t writing Téa can usually be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. She is a member of Romance Writers Australia and Hunter Romance Writers and is a 2014 finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards for her historical romance, Jazz Baby.

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