Regency Summer Escape
Arietta Richmond, Regina Jeffers, and Victoria Hinshaw
Three wonderful Regency Summer stories! Will the Lord win his Lady by summer's end?
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This anthology contains:
Her Summer Duke by Arietta Richmond
A Lady promised since childhood, now questioning her feelings, a Duke also promised, and questioning his desire for love, a noblemen turned to the sea, now desperately in love, a cousin doubting her own betrothal, a confusion of suitors, and unexpected triumph of love.
Lady Margaret Caulfield is somewhat spoiled, and newly come out into society, finds that she suddenly doubts everything – about love, and about her future. Promised since childhood to the man who saved her life when she was ten, she had not questioned it – until she met a man at a Masquerade Ball, and immediately fell in love with him.
Captain Lord Adam Halstone is barely accepted by society, and only then because he is the second son of a Duke – for he has done the inexcusable, and not only invested in trade, but chosen to work as a ship’s Captain. Love is not something that he has considered, yet when he meets a green eyed beauty at a Masquerade Ball, he finds himself utterly in love.
But Lady Margaret must contend with her uncertain feelings for the Duke she is promised to, who himself is coming to doubt the wisdom of the promise he made eight years before. And matters are complicated by others who would also seek Lady Margaret’s hand, should she cry off from that promise.
In the end, will love triumph? Or will duty bind each of the players in this tangle to an unhappy future?
Courting Lord Whitmire by Regina Jeffers
At a bend of the path, an unexpected meeting. She is all May; he is December. But love knows not time.
At twenty, Miss Verity Coopersmith has not met a man for whom she feels anything and expects she never may. Mostly, she is content with her lot—that of taking care of her often distracted aunt and uncle and supporting her younger brother, Robinson, until he can reach his majority and assume the barony.
Andrew, Lord Whitmire, at forty-two, is a widower newly come into his inheritance, with a fifteen-year-old daughter to contend with whom he has spent little time since her birth. He does not expect love or happiness ever to be part of his life. Duty must suffice.
But when Andrew and Verity meet on a muddy lane in the rain, life is irreversibly changed for both of them.
Sarah’s Summer Surprise by Victoria Hinshaw
Miss Sarah Kinnard is the youngest of ten children, and when her father’s death and her mother’s grief delayed her London Season, she found herself with no options but to accompany a friend to the countryside, or to play nursemaid to her sisters’ children. The countryside seemed an excellent choice – until she met the man responsible for the renovations of the manor house at which they were staying. The man who, just by his presence, made her feel things that she had never felt before.
Captain Benjamin Lockhart took on the role of renovation manager to give himself something to do, as he healed after the war. It was a new life that he found comfort in, until the arrival of Miss Kinnard, when he found himself desiring more from life than he had ever considered before.
Can the restoration of a long-abandoned manor house also restore the joy of life and love for two souls somewhat abandoned by their families?
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Excerpt from Courting Lord Whitmire:
Before Andrew could respond to such a wild assertion, the unthinkable happened. From somewhere off to his right, an explosion occurred, and, instinctively, he dived for the hard floor of the balcony, taking Miss Coopersmith down with him. Covering her with his body, he clasped his hands on the back of his head to protect it and waited for the debris to rain down upon them. However, nothing happened. The ground did not tremble beneath him, nor did another round of explosions follow closely after the first.
He held his breath, fearing even to breathe. At length, a soft hand caressed his cheek. “My lord? Whitmire? My lord, do you hear me?”
Slowly, he opened his eyes to discover the concerned expression upon the face of the woman who had executed havoc upon his dreams. “Forgive me, Miss Coopersmith,” he murmured in embarrassment.
Again, the lady’s fingers stroked his cheek. “Forgive you, my lord? Should I forgive you for placing yourself between me and what you perceived as danger?”
Andrew attempted to make sense of what had occurred, but his heart still raced in anticipation. “There was an explosion,” he said lamely.
“I know.” She continued to speak in quiet tones. “You were very brave.”
“Perhaps today,” he spoke in sorrowful tones. “But I was not always brave. I was not the brave one at Waterloo,” he confessed. Odd that he would tell another—someone who was essentially a complete stranger what he had never spoken to anyone. Was not confession a weakness? And he had never considered himself weak. He had always thought to suffer his own punishment in silence, but he said, “I sidestepped a French officer charging at me, pulling him from his horse and dispatching him to his God. Then, I turned to view my end. I froze in place.”
Despite his best effort, tears formed in his eyes. “Robert was close by, as he always was when we were in battle, literally, fighting all comers, back-to-back, and he knocked me from the way. A cannonball. Hit him, not me.” Again, he had no idea what had driven him to speak so intimately to her—of all people—of that fateful day. Without knowing the reason of it, he had accepted the fact she would not judge him. Looking into her eyes, he could do nothing less than to confess the secret of his soul.
“Oh, my darling,” she whispered, before tugging him into a loose embrace. She rested on the base of the balcony with him now bent over her. “You were not to blame. You simply did not recognize the vagaries of Robert’s personality. It is said within the family that Robert was excessively merry, followed by periods of equally excessive unhappiness.”
Andrew lifted his head a few inches, so he might look more fully upon her. “Are you saying Robert meant to die that day?” An image of Robert on that fateful day flashed before Andrew’s eyes. His friend had taken more than the usual number of chances during the battle. Andrew had always thought his friend was as sick of the fighting as was he, but Miss Coopersmith was suggesting something he had never considered. Part of him wished to permit himself absolution, while part of him rebuked the idea.
“No one will ever know, but even Uncle Spenser has considered the possibilities aloud. We all knew Robert did not wish to return to England. As the battle turned toward a British victory, perhaps he made his decision. My brother would be next in line: The title would not suffer. Then again, it might simply have been Fate, or his faithfulness to you, but my cousin’s death was not your fault.”
“I wish I could be so certain,” he murmured. He might have returned home after Waterloo if he had not set himself a penitence to pay for what happened on the battlefield. How could he claim both his title and happiness if he was the reason Robert Coopersmith was dead? He may have been able to salvage a relationship with Matilda and nurse his father during the former viscount’s last days, but he could not allow himself to assume a normal life when the world, as he knew it, was no longer normal.
“If it is forgiveness you seek, you will find it among those gathered at Cooper Hall,” she assured.
Unfortunately, before he could claim the lady’s hand in forgiveness and lift her from the floor, the sound of voices approaching from the distance had Andrew scrambling to his feet. Spotting Spenser Coopersmith leading a group of visitors toward the house restored his sensibilities. When Coopersmith waved, Andrew warned the lady, “Do not move until your uncle and his guests pass. It would not do for you to be seen in a disheveled state.”
“Am I disheveled?” she asked in that now familiar tone that said he was acting his age, which he most assuredly was.
He studied her and, for a moment, wished to see her thusly arranged beneath him. Nevertheless, he said, “You know my opinion of your comely face. Now, be still until they pass below us.”
He returned his attention to the party crossing the side lawn. From her place stretched out on the balcony floor, she said, “Uncle Spenser enjoys setting off one of the small cannons he secured from the days of Charles II.”
Andrew did not turn to look at her for fear of drawing the attention of those approaching the house; yet, he smiled. “I managed to draw that conclusion,” he said from the corner of his mouth. “Your uncle still carries the rammer.”
Miss Coopersmith giggled, a sound he found delightfully uplifting. “At least, my uncle only uses the small cannon for his lectures. He owns one of the large ones that some say required sixteen horses to move into place, but it remains at the smaller estate outside of Manchester. Can you imagine your reaction if he possessed cannonballs for such a weapon?”
Andrew waited until the last of the visitors were from view before he answered. He extended his hand to assist Miss Coopersmith to her feet. “I would have responded the same, except a man of my ‘advanced years’ might not have survived the shock of large guns being fired once again in Worcestershire.”
The lady brushed off her dress and moved a few curls into place. At length, she looked upon him to pronounce in a voice of reason. “I would never wish you to know troubles, my lord, but I would be proud to accept your protection any time you care to extend it.”
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What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
I do not know whether to call my book choice as “binge-worthy,” for that term customarily is associated with “binge watching” videos, but I can honestly say the book that has sustained me throughout my life is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I was 12. I have read it, at least, once per year ever year since. I will be 72 in September. You do the math.
Obviously, Pride and Prejudice has set the template for the romance genre. Its “happily ever after” (HEA) is a must in a romance. However, deeper down, Pride and Prejudice speaks eloquently of life in the early 1800s. Although Austen wrote her masterpiece with a quill pen dipped in ink, her characters translate to the present time. Their foibles are those of modern-day people: pride, gullibility, prejudice, deceit, honesty, opinionated, etc. We may have more gadgets nowadays, but our value systems have not changed. I suspect Austen’s greatest tale will be around for another two hundred years.
What makes this a binge-worthy book?
Reality TV did not invent people seeking the spotlight. Pride and Prejudice has its own version of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in the Bennet family. The actions of Mrs. Bennet and Miss Lydia are all that is scandalous, and Mr. Bennet’s whimsical indolence would make excellent reality TV. People would become obsessed with cheering on Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, who could “simply die” from second-hand embarrassment each time their family acts out. Even though most people consider the novel a romance, in truth, the deepest bonds of affection are those between siblings, which makes for excellent TV watching.
And, if you are not by nature a romantic, then check out the “comedic” elements in the story. Austen has a dry wit that shows itself well-versed in human imperfections. She was a keen observer of those around her and used those observations well in her tales. [If you are interested, check out my blog post on The “Comedy” in Jane Austen’s Novels. You may find the link HERE.
And if reading Pride and Prejudice is not your cup of tea, try one of the many movies and TV adaptations of the tale. The 1940 version with Sir Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson does a terrible job at telling the tale, but it worth the watch for the “Gone With the Wind” costumes and Olivier’s continual smirk. You might love the Bollywood version, called Bride and Prejudice, which adds lots of music. Trust me, there is something for everyone. Just recently there was a modern TV version of the tale, which is set in Atlanta and uses an all African American cast. Heck, there are episodes of the “Wishbone” cartoon dedicated to Austen, as well as Hallmark stories and a version that mixes in zombies. There is an Austen tale for everyone. NOTE: If you are interested, here is a complete List of Jane Austen Adaptations: Film, TV, Web, and Stage (up through January 2019). I am certain you will find something entertaining, and then you may be like many JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) readers and “cross over to the dark side” and actually read the novel.
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Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys”.
Social Media Links:
Every Woman Dreams: https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com
Austen Authors: http://austenauthors.net
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Jeffers/e/B008G0UI0I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1479079637&sr=8-1