A Celebration of Waterloo: The Battle of Salamanca

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July 22, 1812

Both armies were just outside Salamanca. It was hot and humid, particularly after a heavy thunderstorm the night before. Wellington, aware that French reinforcements were expected, was planning to retreat back to Ciudad Rodrigo. Marmont, the French commander, was eager to do battle before the arrival of the reinforcements so that he could claim all the credit for defeating Wellington.

Auguste de Marmont

Auguste Marmont

However, Wellington received reports (no doubt from his Exploring Officers) that French troops were taking up positions on the slopes of two steep hills, the Arapiles (south of Salamanca). Wellington saw the danger immediately and ordered the French repulsed, sending two infantry divisions to take position below the ridge of the closer hill. Having seen the dust in the distance from the supply wagons on their way to Ciudad Rodrigo and believing that the British were in retreat, Marmont didn’t realize that most of Wellington’s troops were still hidden behind the ridge. Wellington ordered up two more divisions from Salamanca.

Cartoon - alava

At midday, Wellington descended the near hill and joined his senior staff for a very late breakfast at a nearby farm where they had a good view of the area. Because of bullets flying from nearby skirmishes, the meal had to be moved to a safer place. Wellington paced the wall of the farmyard, scanning the area with his spyglass. When finally persuaded to eat some bread and part of a roast chicken, he grabbed one of the chicken legs and ate it with one hand while continuing to study the area between the two ridges with his spyglass.

At 2:00, he rose from the table with a whoop of delight, throwing the chicken leg over his shoulder and shouting, “By God! That will do!” and ran to his horse, ordering his men to follow him.

French troops were marching through the gap of the two ridges—exactly what he had been hoping to see. Turning to his Spanish aide-de-camp, Miguel Ricardo de Alava y Esquivel, he remarked, “Mon cher Alava, Marmont est perdu!” (My dear Alava, Marmont is lost!)

Marmont had made a fatal error in judgment and Wellington knew he was in a perfect position to crush the French.

Wellington struck hard and fast, taking the French by surprise. Marmont was badly wounded by an exploding shell and carried to the rear. Other French senior officers were killed or severely wounded, and the French had no chance to re-group.

FrenchchargingasquareThe main battle took less than an hour. It was later said that Wellington had “defeated 40,000 men in 40 minutes.” Wellington himself took a ball in the thigh, but his holster took most of the hit, leaving him with a minor wound.

Unfortunately, most of the remaining French army managed to escape across the Tormes River, due to a failure of the Spanish commander abandoning his post against orders.

The night after the battle, the residents of Salamanca, having seen most of the conflict, came out onto the battlefield with provisions for the men, who had gone without eating and drinking for nearly a day while fighting a battle under the grueling Spanish sun.

Two imperial eagles snatched from the French during the Battle of Salamanca

Two imperial eagles snatched from the French during the Battle of Salamanca

Lost and Found Lady

Catalina lives near the battlefield outside a town called Las Torres. After the battle, she finds a wounded British soldier on the road and takes him to a place of safety where she can tend to his head wound. The British soldier is Rupert Ellsworth, one of Wellington’s Exploring Officers. The pair are immediately drawn to each other, but Rupert knows there’s no future for them, having promised his father he would marry a suitable English girl. A devout Catholic, Catalina is not a whore to be loved and abandoned. Still, Rupert cannot help but wish he could sweep her away from her disagreeable family. After he returns to his company, they both wonder if they will ever see each other again.

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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?

A Celebration of Waterloo: Wellington’s Exploring Officers

All the business of war and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavor to find out what you don’t know by what you do: that’s what I call ‘guessing what was on the other side of the hill.’

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

 The Business of Spying

Up until the early 19th century, spying was considered an odious and ungentlemanly occupation and few officers would agree to do it.

But by the time the 19th century rolled around, with the spreading of Napoleon’s empire on the continent, General Brownrigg, the Quartermaster-General of the British Army, went to the Commander-in-Chief, Frederick, the Duke of York, to propose that army develop a unit called the Depot of Military Intelligence, and it was done. The problem was—nobody wanted to do it.

Wellington’s Exploring Officers

peninsular war map

When General Wellesley arrived in Portugal, he couldn’t find an accurate map of the country and had to write to his brother-in-law to send him one. Realizing that his lack of information about the movements of the enemy, as well as the terrain and countryside, Wellington established a corps of “Exploring Officers.”

Exploring officers had to be fine horsemen, skilled linguists, and able to express themselves in sketching and writing in the most concise terms. With the assistance of local inhabitants, they would map the countryside four miles to the inch. That done, they would move behind enemy lines, learn troop movements and strategic information, and return to disclose this information to Wellington.

Sir John Waters

Sir John Waters of the Royal Scots

John Waters of the Royal Scots was known as a wily and capable man behind enemy lines. However, he was caught by the French and given up for dead by his regiment. When a man dies, his personal possessions are generally auctioned off to his comrades, but Wellington forbade this, saying that “Waters should be back and would want his things.” And he was right. Waters did come back and supposedly did want his things back.

Most exploring officers wore their uniforms, since soldiers caught behind enemy lines out of uniform was immediately shot as a spy. John Grant was one of the few who went in disguise. He became very friendly with the Portuguese people and adopted their local dress, much to the horror of his fellow officers. After the war, instead of being lauded for their risk-taking, these courageous men were shunned by their former regiments as “gadabouts” who were not really engaged in the business of war.

Colquhoun Grant

From Wikipedia:

Colquhoun Grant, Gentleman Spy

Colquhoun Grant, Gentleman Spy

The youngest of eight brothers in a family from the Scots aristocracy, Grant was commissioned into the 11th Foot in 1795. In 1809 he was posted to the Iberian Peninsula under the command of Arthur Wellesley, who in 1810 appointed him to his personal staff as an exploring officer in the Peninsula Corps of Guides, a special reconnaissance unit who spoke the local languages.

Grant was captured by French forces on 16 April 1812. As he was in uniform he was treated as an officer and gentleman by his captors, who offered him parole, which Grant accepted. Grant was invited to dine with Marshal Marmont who hoped to find out more about Wellington, and who was angered by Grant’s reticence. Marmont had good reason to remain suspicious of Grant, as the latter managed to send and receive secret messages while in captivity.

marmont

Auguste de Marmont

Marmont sent Grant to Paris for interrogation. It is clear from Marmont’s correspondence that he had no intention of exchanging Grant for a prisoner of equal rank among the British, as was the custom of the time, considering him to be a spy. Grant, on seeing a copy of Marmont’s letter, decided that it invalidated his agreement to parole and left him free to escape.

Grant was able to avoid recapture by passing himself off as an American officer, and spent some weeks at liberty in the streets and salons of Paris, sending intelligence reports to Wellington. He then escaped to England, rejoining Wellington in early 1814. Promoted to lieutenant-colonel he was appointed commanding officer of the Corps of Guides and Head of Intelligence for the Peninsular Army.

During the Hundred Days Campaign, Grant was working as intelligence officer in France when Wellington put him in charge of his own intelligence operations. Grant sent in a steady stream of reports regarding the build-up of French troops along the border and returned to Brussels in time to take part in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.

Lost and Found Lady

Rupert Ellsworth, the hero in story in the Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles anthology, is an exploring officer in Wellington’s army in 1812 when he decides to disguise himself as a French soldier following the Battle of Salamanca. Unfortunately, he’s not the greatest horseman and falls off the untrained French horse and hits his head on a rock. Fortunately he is discovered soon after by Catalina, a local girl, who takes it upon herself to nurse him back to health. One thing leads to another and it isn’t long before the pair fall in love. But Catalina is not a whore and Rupert has promised his father to marry a “suitable English girl,” so the future for them looks grim. Between one thing and another, the two are separated… to be reunited several years later in Belgium just as another war is brewing. Circumstances for both of them have drastically changed, and Rupert is bound for the battlefield. Will there be a future for them or is it too late?

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles

Release Day Party: April 1, 2015, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. EDT

Rafflecopter: ends April 18

Website: www.beauxballroomsandbattles.com

Facebook Page

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?

Alanna Lucas: When We Dance

Interview with Alanna Lucas

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Alanna: Learn your craft, know your genre, and most important, join organizations. After I joined RWA and discovered my local chapter, everything seemed to fall into place. The support and encouragement from my fellow chapter mates has been an amazing part of this journey.

Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?

author pic copyAlanna: A change of scenery is always helpful. Whenever I am struggling, I try not to dwell on the negative. Instead, I might go for a walk, play a game with my kids, read a book, or listen to music. My current favorite is Imagine Dragons.

Distractions are just as annoying as writer’s block. When my kids are a little too rambunctious and I can’t concentrate, I start blaring classical music. FYI, Beethoven’s 5th is rumbling through the house as I write this.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Alanna: It usually begins with characters and a scene, and then I build the story around them.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Alanna: I am a panster who was learning to be a plotter. After taking several classes and reading numerous books, I have learned to accept and embrace the fact that I am an organized panster!

Susana: In which genre do you prefer to write and why?

Alanna:  I write historical romance. I have always enjoyed researching and learning about different time periods. It seemed only natural to write what I enjoy. There is one downside—it is far too easy to get wrapped up in research and forget what I am supposed to be writing.

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Alanna: Besides the fact that I like to vacuum?

When I am frustrated, I like to rearrange furniture. No, not just rearrange, I pull out the portable drafting table and create scaled floor plans. Time of day does not matter, once I get an idea…watch out! I have even been known to rearrange furniture in the middle of the night.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite?

Alanna: I love Italian food—all of it! If I had to choose one dish, it would be linguine with seafood.

My least favorite food would have to be chutney. Let’s just say it involves a flight and a lot of turbulence :-(

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Alanna: The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Saint Augustine

Susana: What is your biggest adventure to date?

Alanna: Motherhood

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Alanna: You can have the Internet. You can have the TV. But the one thing I don’t want to live without is a bathroom (with indoor plumbing!).

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Alanna: Nothing! :-)

Susana: If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Alanna: This was an easy question—England! I want to visit every museum, every grand estate, have tea, and shop!

Do you believe in love at first sight? 

Alanna will give away one e-copy of Face to Face to a commenter answering the question above.

About When We Dance

Nigel Rochefort succeeds at everything he attempts, but burying his family in scandal and breaking up a wedding while seducing the bride is not quite what he had in mind. Nor was finding true love.

Step by step…

Miss Artemisia Germayne is used to gossip. She is far from the ton’s version of an ideal beauty. Worse still, she cannot dance. But when she finds herself in the uncomfortable predicament of abandonment on her wedding day, embarrassed and humiliated she retreats to the country.

Nigel Rochefort, second son of the Earl of Monfort, has always taken his good fortune for granted, so when the woman for whom he has a secret tendre is about to marry his friend, the only logical thing to do is break up the wedding. But that scandal is only the start. The bride’s sister has also disappeared, and Nigel must first clear his name to assure Artemisia’s affections. As he gives chase, many truths are yet to be learned. This is no simple country dance or game of seduction but an unstoppable waltz of desire—and true love.

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Excerpt

She actually struck him. Nigel could not believe what had just happened. A woman had just struck him. Not just any woman or casual acquaintance, but Artemisia. Not a delicate slap, but a hard punch full of pent up anger. That had never happened to him before. He just sat there…stunned. Did she suspect?

When We Dance_FINAL copyBefore he had the opportunity to reflect further on the question, Lord Germayne made an announcement and swarms of guests brushed past him, giving him curious looks as they filed out of the chapel. His first thought was to stay put and wait for everyone to leave. He was in no mood for inquisitive gossipmongers, but he did not want to be trapped, surrounded by the same gossips in question.

Following the herd of bright dresses and fanciful hats out of the chapel, whispered theories swirled around him as to the whereabouts of Mr. Chartwick. The general consensus was that the groom had cold feet. Nigel knew otherwise.

Nigel was within earshot when Lady Lamden began to weave one of her vicious tales. “…and this is not the only scandal facing Lord and Lady Germayne. Did you notice that Miss Philippa Germayne was not in attendance?”

The pair of gossips stopped walking, and huddled together, too deep in tittle-tattle to notice that anyone was eavesdropping.

Ducking behind a large urn of flowers, Nigel strained to hear the conversation.

“I have it on the best authority that the young lady in question is not indisposed, but has disappeared altogether.”

“Disappeared?”

“She has not been seen since yesterday when she was discovered alone in the park with a certain notorious rake.”

Nigel’s stomach lurched with guilt. He was the notorious rake they spoke of.

About the Author

Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California. From an early age, she took an interest in travel, incorporating those experiences into her writing. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. Alanna Lucas is a member of the Romance Writers of America, East Valley Authors, The Beau Monde, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

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A Celebration of Waterloo: The Romance of Harry and Juana Smith

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:

A Celebration of Waterloo

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 I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me,and to make a long story short, in a bit over two weeks our anthology of nine Waterloo-themed stories will be released to the world.

You are all invited to:

The Inspiration for Lost and Found Lady

In my preparatory reading for this project, I discovered the real-life romance of Harry Smith and his wife Juana while reading Georgette Heyer’s The Spanish Bride. Add to that my deep affection for Spain and the Spanish language, and the result is a story of a romance between an injured British soldier and the extraordinary young peasant girl who rescued him after the Battle of Salamanca.

spain_Cadiz_hervas_map

Henry (Harry) George Wakelyn Smith (1787-1860)

220px-Sir_Harry_Smith

Harry was born in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, the son of a surgeon. He entered the army in 1805 and saw action in South America (1806-7), but it was his service in the Peninsular War with the 95th Rifles as a scout that brought him into prominence, and that’s where he met his wife. Prior to Waterloo, he served in the United States (witnessed the burning of the capitol in 1814), and after Waterloo, South Africa and India.

Juana María de los Dolores de León Smith (1798-1872)

juanasmith

A descendent of Ponce de León, Juana was orphaned at fourteen and, deprived of all family property after the siege of Badajoz in April of 1812, she and her older sister approached the British Army for protection during the atrocious massacre (indiscriminate looting, killing, and raping of Spanish civilians by British and Portuguese soldiers following the heat of battle). It was love at first sight. Despite her youth (and marriage at that age was not uncommon in Spain at the time), Juana and Harry were married four days later, and remained devoted to each other the rest of their lives.

Despite her convent upbringing, Juana insisted on remaining with Harry throughout the war, bearing the privations of army life so cheerfully that she became the darling of the 95th Rifles. Wellington himself familiarly called her “Juanita”.

From The Autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith

Now comes a scene of horror I would willingly bury in oblivion. The atrocities committed by our soldiers on the poor innocent and defenceless inhabitants of the city, no words suffice to depict. Civilized man, when let loose and the bonds of morality relaxed, is a far greater beast than the savage, more refined in his cruelty, more fiend-like in every act; and oh, too truly did our heretofore noble soldiers disgrace themselves, though the officers exerted themselves to the utmost to repress it, many who had escaped the enemy being wounded in their merciful attempts! Yet this scene of debauchery, however cruel to many, to me as been the solace and the whole happiness of my life for thirty-three years. A poor defenceless maiden of thirteen years was thrown upon my generous nature through her sister, as described so ably in Johnny Kincaid’s book, of which this in an extract—

kincaid“I was conversing with a friend the day after, at the door of his tent, when we observed two ladies coming from the city, who made directly towards us; they seemed both young, and when they came near, the elder of the two threw back her mantilla to address us, showing a remarkably handsome figure, with fine features; but her sallow, sun-burnt, and careworn, though still youthful, countenance showed that in her ‘the time for tender thoughts and soft endearments had fled away and gone.’

“She at once addressed us in that confident, heroic manner so characteristic of the high-bred Spanish maiden, told us who they were—the last of an ancient and honourable house—and referred to an officer high in rank in our army, who had been quartered there in the days of her prosperity, for the truth of her tale.

“Her husband, she said, was a Spanish officer in a distant part of the kingdom; he might, or he might not, still be living. But yesterday she and this her young sister were able to live in affluence and in a handsome house; to-day they knew not where to lay their heads, where to get a change of raiment or a morsel of bread. Her house, she said, was a wreck; and, to show the indignities to which they had been subjected, she pointed to where the blood was still trickling down their necks, caused by the wrenching of their ear-rings through the flesh by the hands of worse than savages, who would not take the trouble to unclasp them!

“For herself, she said, she cared not; but for the agitated and almost unconscious maiden by her side, whom she had but lately received over from the hands of her conventual instructresses, she was in despair, and knew not what to do; and that, in the rapine and ruin which was at that moment desolating the city, she saw no security for her but the seemingly indelicate one she had adopted—of coming to the camp and throwing themselves upon the protection of any British officer who would afford it; and so great, she said, was her faith in our national character, that she knew the appeal would not be made in vain, nor the confidence abused. Nor was it made in vain! Nor could it be abused, for she stood by the side of an angel! A being more transcendingly lovely I had never before seen—one more amiable I have never yet known!

“Fourteen summers had not yet passed over her youthful countenance, which was of a delicate freshness—more English than Spanish; her face, though not perhaps rigidly beautiful, was nevertheless so remarkably handsome, and so irresistibly attractive, surmounting a figure cast in nature’s fairest mould, that to look at her was to love her; and I did love her, but I never told my love, and int the mean time another and a more impudent fellow stepped in and won her! But yet I was happy, for in him she found such a one as her loveliness and her misfortunes claimed—a man of honour, and a husband in every way worthy of her!”

“That a being so young, so lovely, and so interesting, just emancipated from the gloom of a convent, unknowing of the world and to the world unknown, should thus have been wrecked on a sea of troubles, and thrown on the mercy of strangers under circumstances so dreadful, so uncontrollable, and not have sunk to rise no more, must be the wonder of every one. Yet from the moment she was thrown on her own resources, her star was in the ascendant.”

“Guided by a just sense of rectitude, an innate purity of mind, a singleness of purpose which defied malice, and a soul that soared above circumstances, she became alike the adored of the camp and of the drawing-room, and eventually the admired associate of princes. She yet lives, in the affections of her gallant husband, in an elevated situation in life, a pattern to her sex, and everybody’s beau ideal of what a wife should be.”

I confess myself to be the “more impudent fellow,” and if any reward is due to a soldier, never was one so honoured and distinguished as I have been by the possession of this dear child (for she was little more than a child at this moment), one with a sense of honour no knight ever exceeded in the most romantic days of chivalry, an understanding superior to her years, a masculine mind with a force of character no consideration could turn from her own just sense of rectitude, and all encased in a frame of Nature’s fairest and most delicate moulding, the figure of an angel, with an eye of light and an expression which then inspired me with a maddening love which, from that period to this (now thirty-three years), has never abated under many and the most trying circumstances. Thus, as good may come out of evil, this scene of devastation and spoil yielded to me a treasure invaluable; to me who, among so many dear friends, had escaped all dangers; to me, a wild youth not meriting such reward, and, however desirous, never able to express half his gratitude to God Almighty for such signal marks of His blessing shown to so young and so thoughtless a being. From that day to this she has been my guardian angel. She has shared with me the dangers and privations, the hardships and fatigues, of a restless life of war in every quarter of the globe. No murmur has ever escaped her. Bereft of every relative, of every tie to her country but the recollection of it, united to a man of different though Christian religion, yet that man has been and is her all…”

The Protagonists of Lost and Found Lady

Rupert Ellsworth, like Harry Smith is an explorer scout with the British Army in Spain. Also like Harry, he’s a younger son seeking to make his own way in life. He might have become a career soldier as Harry did, had his life not taken a different turn in 1812. When he meets Catalina, he’s not looking for love or marriage, and if he were, it certainly wouldn’t be to a penniless Spanish Catholic!

Catalina’s upbringing wasn’t at all like Juana Smith’s. Orphaned at birth, she is taken in by a couple who treat her as an unpaid servant. Her eagerness to learn attracts the attention of a local priest, who takes it upon himself to give her an education comparable to that of an elite gentleman. When she meets Rupert, she is reflecting on her limited options for the future and wondering if she could escape her humdrum life by becoming a nun. At eighteen when she meets Rupert, she’s older than Juana, but, like Harry’s wife, she’s reached a turning point in her life.

What happens when these two meet after the Battle of Salamanca? Hmm…

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Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Kobo

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles

Release Day Party: April 1, 2015, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. EDT

Rafflecopter: ends April 18

Website: www.beauxballroomsandbattles.com

Facebook Page

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?

Holly Bush: Contract to Wed

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Holly will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About Contract to Wed

1891… Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle, but lost the love of his life the day his wife died. Now, his happy, carefree daughter needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens, his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.

Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?

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Excerpt

“Settle down, everybody,” Zeb shouted over the din. “The boss has an announcement to make.”

Max looked around the room at his staff, more than forty of them, without the men working straight through at the wells. Most were like family to him, and many had sons or brothers or wives working here as well. The room quieted.

BookCover_ContractToWed copy“I know most of you are aching to get to the dining room and see what Maria is serving us today,” Max said. “But I wanted to let you know that I have gotten married. My bride…”

The room erupted in shouts and yahoos. The women stood to hug him and kiss his cheek, and the men lined up to shake his hand.

“When is the wedding meal to be held?” Maria asked. “I’ve got much to prepare for.”

Max asked for quiet. “This isn’t exactly that type of marriage. Let me tell you…”

“What do you mean?” Pete, the head ranch hand, asked. “I didn’t know there were different kinds of marriage! Hey, Maria, what type of marriage do we have?”

“The kind where you do as I tell you to, si amor,” she replied with a saucy swish of her skirts.

Max waited till the laughter died down. “My bride is from Boston. She’ll be arriving this Monday on the train and bringing her maid.”

“How’d you meet her, Boss?” someone asked.

“Boston?” someone else said.

Zeb came up behind him and whispered. “Maybe we didn’t think this all through to the end.”

“When did you go to Boston, Boss?

“I didn’t go to Boston,” he said.

“Then how’d you meet her?”

Max pulled off his hat and scratched his head. “Well,” he started

Zeb stepped in front of him. “Doesn’t matter how Mr. Shelby met her, and it’s nobody else’s business. Mrs. Shelby is coming here Monday, and, no doubt, this will be a big change for her. Make sure you’re on your best behavior for her arrival,” Zeb said and turned to Maria. “Let’s you and I have a talk about what needs to be done to accommodate both women.” He looked back across the silent room of workers. “Okay. Let’s eat.”

About the Author

AuthorPhoto_ContractToWed copyHolly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England, and recently released her first Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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The Holyhead Road: The Gunpowder Treason Plot

dust jacket

The following post is the twenty-first 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!

Mr. Ambrose Rookwood

…in November, 1605, roads as we now understand them did not exist; but this same route, or at all events tracks across un-inclosed heaths; even then connected the above-mentioned places [St. Albans, Redbourn, Dunstable, Brick-hill, Towcester, Dunchurch, Coventry, Birmingham, and Shrewsbury] with each other and the capital, and marked the shortest way for those riding post to reach Northamptonshire, or the Counties beyond its borders.

Map: St. Albans – Dunstable – Towcester – Daventry

Mr. Ambrose Rookwood

Mr. Ambrose Rookwood

Early then in the November of 1605, certain elaborate preparations which had been made for rapid travelling between London and Dunchurch, 80 miles down in Warwickshire was the common talk of ostlers and loafers at the chief posting-houses at St. Albans, Dunstable, Towcester, and Daventry. At each of these places, a Mr. Ambrose Rookwood, a young Catholic gentleman of fortune, well known on the road for his splendid horses, had placed heavy relays. The heaviness of these relays excited continual discussion. The confused rumour of the tap-room, fed by chance travellers on the road, decreed presently that these heavy relays were to carry Mr. Ambrose Rookwood down to a great hunting party, to be shortly assembled at Dunsmoor. But when this hunting party was to take place, no one seemed to know, or why the young Catholic gentleman should have made such elaborate preparations to reach it so hurriedly.

An Aura of Fear Pervades London

And so the few intervening days passed till the 5th of November, 1605, dawned grayly over London—amidst torrents of driving rain and wild gusts of a west wind which had gathered strength as the night waned, and by daylight had grown into a hurricane—dawned on a city distracted. Narrow streets were already crowded with excited groups, who whispered, gesticulated at street corners. Some men but half dressed rushed from their houses as if the rumour of some monstrous imminent doom had startled them suddenly from sleep. Others with drawn swords in their hands counselled all men to arm in one breath, and, as now and again a woman’s shriek rose above the press everywhere,—but no fixed rumour prevailed. Only each man eyed his neighbour suspiciously, only a vague feeling as of some nightmare had seized upon London that the past darkness had brought forth a portent.

Mr. Ambrose Rookwood and Mr. Thomas Winter Join the Fray

thomas winter

Mr. Thomas Winter

In the dim twilight of that November dawn Mr. Ambrose Rookwood, the young Catholic gentleman, whose relays of fine horses had excited such discussion on the North-western Road—came out into these distracted streets, in company with a friend—one Mr. Thomas Winter. The two gentlemen walked aimlessly here and there for some time, listening attentively to all that was said on all sides, now joining themselves to a group and adding questions on their own part, to the sort of universal interrogatory which prevailed—now shuddering and passing, on their way wuickly as the unformed phantom of the people’s fear began to grow gradually into defined shape. Then as if fearful any longer of uncertainty, they made with extraordinary coolness towards the Parliament House.

The sun had not yet risen; but in the middle of King Street, Westminster, the two found a guard standing. Permission to pass was peremptorily refused. Then as Mr. Rookwood’s friend stood parleying with the guard a white-faced citizen passed by hurriedly, exclaiming in panic-stricken tones, “There is treason discovered! And the king and lords should have been blown up.”

Flight of the Conspirators

The two gentlemen turned without a word, and made for their horses. The heavy relays on the North-western Road were now to be put to their proper use. But great caution had to be exercised. The appalling news had circulated in the city with the rapidity of poison. Barricades were being hastily erected at the ends of the streets; passengers were being stopped and questioned; any appearance of hurry would have led to instant arrest. It was eleven o’clock therefore before the two gentlemen got clear of London—and they were but just in time; for rumours were already in the air of a proclamation forbidding anybody to leave the town for three days. Once clear of London they rode desperately.

Huddington Court, Worcester

Huddington Court, Worcester

Few incidents I think in history seize the imagination so forcibly as that wild flight of the Gunpowder Conspirators northward. Thomas Winter made for his brother’s house at Huddington in Worcestershire; but Rookwood rode fiercely down the North-western Road to bear the fatal news to the conspirators already assembling on Dunsmoor. Catesby, Piercy, John and Christopher Wright were he knew on the road in front. But the relays already placed for him, and the desperate fear which urged him forwards enabled Rookwood to overtake the others as they were rising the ascent at Brickhill.

In a few words he told them what had happened in London—that Fawkes had been arrested and lodged in the Tower—that at any moment torture might make him give up their names—that the whole scheme had fallen through, and that their only chance of safety lay in instantly joining their friends. From this moment the flight became a stampede. “They devoured the ground,” shouting as they rode through startled towns and villages that they were carrying despatches from the King to Northampton, flinging off their large cloaks, heavy with the rain that still poured remorselessly, that they might add wings even to their precipitate flight. Rookwood rode thirty miles in two hours on one horse. At six in the evening the fugitives arrived at Catesby’s house at Ashby St. Ledgers, about three miles from Daventry. They had ridden the eighty miles from London in seven hours.

Map: Ashby St. Ledgers – Gayhurst

The gatehouse occupied by the Catesbys

The gatehouse occupied by the Catesbys

Here after a brief consultation with Robert Winter, who was staying in the house (it still stands in all its gloomy suggestiveness, this home of England’s most desperate conspirator), they rode off hastily on the same tired horses to join Sir Everard Digby and the pretended hunting gathering on Dunsmoor Heath which the direct road to Holyhead still crosses at the eighty-fifth mile-stone from London.

Sir Everard Digby, knighted by the king three years before he plotted to kill him

Sir Everard Digby, knighted by the king three years before he plotted to kill him

Their further wild course through Warwickshire to Holbeach on the Staffordshire border calls here for no telling, as it is no longer associated with the Road. But so intimately associated with the Gunpowder Treason does the way to Holyhead seem that thought its history is closed so far as the directest route is concerned, the earlier route by Chester has another link to add to its story. A short distance from Newport Pagnell (fifty-one miles from London), stands Gayhurst,the fine Elizabethan house once the home of Sir Everard Digby. Of him a sympathetic historian writes, “His youth, his personal graces, the constancy which he had exhibited whilst he believed himself a martyr in a good cause, the deep sorrow which he testified on becoming sensible of his error, seem to have moved all hearts with pity and even admiration; and if so detestable a villainy as the Gunpowder Plot may be permitted to have its hero Everard Digby was undoubtedly the man.”

Gayhurst House

Gayhurst House

The gray walls of his beautiful Buckinghamshire house were indeed witnesses at all events of some of the most suggestive incidents in the heart-quaking scheme. Fawkes was a frequent guest here—meditating through the prolonged rains which heralded the approach of the destined day, on the state of the powder, by now safely placed under the Parliament House; riding to and fro frequently from London; often an unexpected, always a welcome guest. From Gayhurst, besides, set out that Pilgrimage to St. Winifred’s well, in Flintshire, the motive of which was so much discussed after the discovery of the Conspiracy.

St. Winefride's Well: site of the conspirators' meetings?

St. Winefride’s Well: site of the conspirators’ meetings?

Motives apart however, what is mort important from my point of view is that the company of about thirty persons—all relations of the conspirators; some of the actual conspirators among these, travelled in coaches—proceeded by Daventry to John Grant’s house at Norbrook, a fine melancholy, moated manor once (where is it now?), thence to Robert Winters, at Huddington, and so to Flintshire by Shrewsbury.

holbeche

Holbeche House: where the surviving conspirators were captured

Jane Ashford: Married to a Perfect Stranger

Interview with Jane Ashford

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

Jane: My mother. She was a reader, a writer, and a firm believer in her children’s talents.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

JaneAshford copyJane: I’d have to say they develop together. The personalities of the characters determine where the story can go.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jane: I begin with a rough outline and let it change as I write.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Jane: There’s a monkey.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite?

Jane: I’m a sucker for cookies or pastries, with a nice pot of English Breakfast tea. I’ve never been able to like liver.

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Jane: I live in a small house. The space under my bed is filled with storage bins.

Susana: If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?

Jane: A Polynesian island, Tuvalu. The heroine of one book in my upcoming series grew up there.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Jane: As a lover of words, I’m always being struck by good quotes. One I saw recently that I really like is: “Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”

Susana: What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Jane: Meet all deadlines! : )

Susana: What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Jane: I spent some time alone in the mountains in Montana. An amazing experience.

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Jane: Electricity, I think. I’m kind of addicted to writing on the computer.

Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Jane: I’m having fun with a new series called The Duke’s Sons. It tells the love stories of the brothers introduced in The Bargain.

One reader who leaves a comment about what they like about series books wins a copy of The Bargain.

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About Marriage to a Perfect Stranger

Time and distance have changed them both. Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley married to please their families. Almost immediately, John was sent on a two-year diplomatic mission to China. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other seems to be wrong… It’s disconcerting, irritating, and somehow very exciting.

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About the Author

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Jane’s historical romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

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