Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Victoria Hinshaw and Folie Bleue

Last summer I stood in the Duke of Wellington’s home, Apsley House, in London, and gazed at the painting of his annual Waterloo Banquet. Held each year on the anniversary, June 18th, it was attended by his officers and other luminaries including, from time to time, the Regent or King and the Prime Minister.

I thought about the all-male event and of all the wives who would remain at home, but who were every bit as much concerned with the battle. What would they do as they recalled the time of the battle in 1815?

Waterloo Banquet by William Salter, 1836, Apsley House

Waterloo Banquet by William Salter, 1836, Apsley House

About Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, , 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.

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Excerpt

Aimée is conversing with a British officer, Captain Robert Prescott. They have just been introduced by her cousin, a cavalry officer in the Service of the Prince of Orange.

…I don’t know how long we sat there, but other strolling couples seemed to be heading back to the parade ground when I became aware of my surroundings again.

He noticed too. “I should return you to your family, for I am sure they wonder if I have carried you off.”

“Oh, yes. Tante will worry. “

“Your aunt would never have allowed you to accompany me if she knew I was English, I assume.”

I agreed.

“May I call upon you tomorrow?”

“I would be honored,” I replied. “But I think it would be preferable if we met in the park, as if by chance. My aunt might not approve of your call, but I would very much like to see you again.”
“She does not like the British?”

“She is like so many in Bruxelles, not taken with the new nation they are part of, and not really eager for Napoleon’s return either. Most are as placid as can be with any future that comes along. But I also fear she they would not approve of my associating with the Englishmen.”

“Even if I were to become an aide-de-camp to the Duke, I suppose?”

“Especially then, they would disapprove. Or perhaps not, for I know they are curious about him and might ply you with questions.”

“Well, no chance of that. My cavalry regiment has an Englishman with a Dutch-sounding name as our commander. General Vandeleur. They might like that fellow’s name.”

“Or perhaps not. Many here are not warm to the Dutch. They are very opinionated you know. They like no one but themselves. They have been ruled by this one and that one – the French, the Austrians, and none have cared for the benefit of the local people. Napoleon viewed them as sources of money and men for his wars. And still will, when and if he gets here. In the interim, they don’t like being ruled by the House of Orange either.”

“What a mess your Empereur has made of Europe. Or am I stamping on your toes there? Perhaps you agree with your aunt?”

About the Author

portrait copyVictoria Hinshaw lives in the Regency. Really. Most of the year, her residence is high above the shore of Lake Michigan in the Regency House in Wisconsin though she spends the winters in Naples, Florida. Her novels, formerly published with Kensington Zebra, are now available also as e-books. She is an eager traveler, especially to England, though she loved her last trip to France where she visited Josphine Bonaparte’s estate, Malmaison, outside Paris. The house is now a museum and has wonderful gardens full of roses, though whether any of them are descendants of her originals we cannot tell.

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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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