Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Regency History: When was the London season?

Regency History: When was the London season?: The first quadrille at Almack's from The Reminiscences and Recollections of Captain Gronow (1889) Many a Regency heroine has gone ...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#Review WHAT A RAKE WANTS #3 Spies of Mayfair


    (The Spies of Mayfair, #3)
    Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
    Cover Blurb:
    King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued. After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy. When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.
    This is the third book in The Spies of Mayfair series. Once again, Maggi Andersen pens an entertaining romance set against a background of intrigue.

    Flynn was born and raised at Greystones Manor, the family home in County Wicklow, Ireland. After his mother ran off with her lover, he was left in the care of his father, a drunkard with a violent temper. He understood why she had left his father but not why his mother had left him behind. He was condemned to a miserable childhood without parental love, only relieved when he was sent away to be educated in Dublin. As soon as he was old enough, Flynn turned his back on his father and Ireland and left for England. He soon gained a reputation as a rake but is also employed as a highly valued spy for the King George IV.
    Flynn is surprised when the beautiful, widowed Lady Brookwood refuses his advances. Women usually fall at his feet, so he is intrigued by her. When he discovers that the lady is in danger, it stirs protective instincts he has never felt for any woman before and emotions he has always kept under control.

    Althea was married at seventeen, a marriage arranged by her father. She wanted to make the marriage work, only to be met with nothing but callous treatment from her husband. She takes no pleasure in his lovemaking and, when he accuses her of being cold and unresponsive in bed, she comes to believe that the fault lies with her. After her husband is killed in a duel, she enjoys her freedom and has no wish to remarry or take a lover. She has no intention of being subject to another man’s will ever again.
    So Althea is determined to resist Lord Montsimon, however handsome and charming he may be. However, when he is adamant that she is in danger and insists on protecting her, she begins to see that he is much more than his rakish exterior suggests
    Every time Flynn spoke, I could hear that soft Irish burr in my head. Add to that his easy charm, his sense of humour and his willingness to take in a stray, “not at all handsome” dog called Spot and how could I not adore him?  When he and Althea are forced to share a bedroom (all very innocent), he has rather a unique way of dampening his ardour…
    …he began to recite the lines of Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner under his breath.
    I liked Althea as well. I understood her desire to be independent and admired her determination to solve her own problems. However, once she is aware that the danger is real, Althea is sensible enough to appreciate having Flynn around.
    A vision of Montsimon replaced her anguished thoughts, his compelling grey eyes, his elegant features, and the confident set of his shoulders. She was suddenly terribly pleased to have him as her friend.
    I liked how the romantic relationship between Flynn and Althea grew slowly, from their initial, verbal skirmishes…
    “Are you deaf? Put me down!” She struggled to free herself.
    “Can’t I’m afraid. At your present snail’s pace, my lady, we would be lucky to reach the carriage by breakfast.
    ….to the genuine friendship that developed between them and falling in love seemed a natural progression as they come to like and trust each other.
    There are some amusing moments when Althea and Flynn have to pose as husband and wife and Flynn’s rakish tendencies come to fore.
    “You can’t go about the house like that! Don’t you have a nightshirt?”
    He tucked his arms beneath his head. “Don’t use ’em.”
    You might have made an exception,” she said crossly while inspecting his wide chest.
    “Now it’s your turn,” he invited with a lazy, seductive grin.
    She put her hands on her hips. “You are not going to watch me.”
    “I rather thought I would. There’s a dearth of entertainment in the country. Even the newspapers are old.”
    I cheered for Althea when she decides to consummate their relationship and finally dispels all her fears of intimacy.
    The letter from Flynn’s mother was so poignant but it helped him lay the ghosts of his past to rest and it was such a lovely touch that his mother should provide the solution to the remaining obstacle in his path to marrying Althea.
    I thought the mystery aspect was rather weak but it was secondary to the charming romance anyway. I did enjoy seeing previous heroes Guy, Baron Fortescue ( A Baron in Her Bed) and John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn ( Taming a Gentleman Spy), Flynn’s former associates and friends, who provide extra muscle when it comes to tackling the villains.
    I like how real historical figures and events are woven into the story giving an insight into the personal and political machinations surrounding King George IV’s reign.
    My verdict: A delightfully entertaining story.
    REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
    Read April 2015
    The Spies of Mayfair series (click on the book cover for more details):
    A Baron in Her Bed (The Spies of Mayfair) by Maggi Andersen Taming a Gentleman Spy by Maggi Andersen What a Rake Wants by Maggi Andersen

    I would like to thank the author, Maggi Andersen, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Friday, April 3, 2015

English Historical Fiction Authors: An Interview with Prinny's Taylor

English Historical Fiction Authors: An Interview with Prinny's Taylor: by Charles Bazalgette We are fortunate today to have secured an interview with Louis Bazalgette. However, since he died 185 years ago we h...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Author Empi Baryeh's Blog: Prah and Constantine Review: Lady Honor's Debt (Th...

Author Empi Baryeh's Blog: Prah and Constantine Review: Lady Honor's Debt (Th...: So I made a silent resolution to read a lot more books than I did last year, and I thought it would be a great idea to do monthly reviews. I...

Constantine: #AtoZ - Letter B & Prah & Constantine Revew

Constantine: #AtoZ - Letter B & Prah & Constantine Revew: Born Free " Born Free " is a  popular song  with music by  John Barry , and lyrics by  Don Black . [1]  It was written fo...

Nana Prah's Blog: Prah and Constantine Review: Lady Honor’s Debt by ...

Nana Prah's Blog: Prah and Constantine Review: Lady Honor’s Debt by ...: This month we have a lovely surprise for you. Ms. Empi Baryeh is reviewing this month’s book with us. You might know her as the author o...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review LADY HONOR'S DEBT (The Baxendale Sisters)

Great review: This is a sweet romance...the plot is unique and delightful, it is refreshing to read something a little more intricate. This was a wonderful, compact story that was enjoyable to read. This reader looks forward to reading the next installment in this delightful series! InD'Tale Magazine. 


Freedom. That’s all Lady Honor Baxendale wants—for her sisters and for herself. Honor has a bold plan to become financially independent, using a skill she learned at her father’s knee. She seeks the help of a solicitor and is pleased with her choice…as long as she can resist the solicitor himself.
Lord Edward Winborne has been happy to come to the aid of his four sisters in the past. But when a neighbor’s daughter, Lady Honor Baxendale, requests his help for a dangerous scheme she has in mind, he feels it his duty to dissuade her. When that fails, he wants to protect her, and then somehow finds he wants to do more. Much more.

Enjoy a Taste:

The unseasonably warm spring day matched Edward’s mood as he walked along the leafy street to his office in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. He was pleased to put his filial visit to Brandreth Park behind him and hoped that his mother had lost interest in him now that his sister Sibella was about to give birth. He metaphorically rolled up his sleeves, ready to tackle the cases awaiting him. Entering his rooms, Edward greeted his clerk, Roland, and drew him into a discussion of matters awaiting his perusal. He headed into his office. “Coffee, Roland.” The room had that reassuring smell of weighty legal tomes and old files of completed matters resting in pigeonholes along the walls. He sat in his leather chair, which was warmed by the sun. With a sigh of satisfaction, he began to sort through the correspondence stacked neatly on his wide oak desk. Edward had only dealt with one letter when Roland entered with his coffee.
“There’s someone here to see you, my lord.”
Edward tapped an impatient finger on the open file before him. “I have no appointments this morning.”
“The lady has asked for a moment of your time.”
“You know I never see anyone without an appointment.”
“Yes, but the lady is an acquaintance.” Roland shuffled his feet. “I’m sorry, my lord. She refuses to leave. She insists you’ll see her.”
He shut the file and sighed. “Her name?” “Lady Honor Baxendale.” Edward’s eyebrows rose. The last lady he expected to see. He smoothed his hair and stood. “Ask her to come in.”
Lady Honor walked into the room, bringing with her the scent of violets. “It’s very good of you to see me, my lord.” She handed her pelisse to Roland with a purposeful gesture, which suggested her stay would be a lengthy one.
Edward sighed inwardly. “Not at all. Please have a seat. May I offer you coffee or tea?” “No, thank you.” She wore a drab-colored walking gown and a plain bonnet. Not much improvement there. “I did not expect to see you in London, my lady,” Edward said, tactfully refraining from adding “in my office.”
“My stepfather has agreed to Faith staying in town for the Season. My mother and I are here to chaperone her.”
“Lady Faith mentioned she wished to attend balls and dances. I am pleased for her.” He was pleased. He liked Faith. “Thank you.”
“Does that mean her engagement to Lord Gillingham is no longer forthcoming?” She settled her skirts around her. “That is so.”
“Then what might I do for you, my lady?” His gaze came to rest on her eyes. Hazel? Brown? Dashed glasses reflected light. How shortsighted was she? Ladies so seldom wore glasses; even his mother refused to be seen in them. “You have a problem?” Lady Honor clasped her hands in her lap. “I wish you to find someone for me.”
 The request seemed so incongruous that Edward found himself staring. He gathered his wits. “Someone you know has gone missing?”  

LADY FAITH TAKES A LEAP (Book 2) is coming soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Cato Conspiracy

February 1820 Dancing around the maypole on Mayday, 1820. On top of the maypole are the heads of:
John Thomas Brunt (1782–1820);
William Davidson (1781–1820);
James Ings (1794–1820);
Arthur Thistlewood (1774–1820);
and, Richard Tidd (1773–1820).

The Cato Conspiracy, although not as prominent in history as the Peterloo Massacre and the Spitalfields riots, has been remembered for its absurdity and the horrible ending the conspirators faced.  

What followed was dissenting public opinion regarding the punishment of the conspirators. While some supported the high-ended attempts to ensure that the Spencean Philanthropists were found guilty, others remained conflicted due to the demand of parliamentary reform. The conspirators were called the Spencean Philanthropists, a group taking their name from the British radical speaker, Thomas Spence. The group was known for being a revolutionary organization, involved in minor unrest and propaganda.
Beneath the romance of the Regency, the dandies, the poets, the glamor of Prinny’s 
court, the conspiracy reveals the real characters of the age. 

 Arthur Thistlewood was one of its leaders. A Republican, who supposedly had lost a fortune before serving as an officer in the French Republican Army, he was a magnificent swordsman. A loudmouthed, taciturn man, said to be rather naïve. He had come to London in the autumn of 1819 during the disintegration of the radical movement, and involved himself in the Spitalfields riots.  Disappointed by the result, he still managed to convince himself that one violently dramatic blow against authority would raise the country. He gathered around him a small group of simple-minded working men. They met in a barn in Cato Street, off the Edgware Road, to decide upon a target.  The second in command, George Edwards, put up most of the suggestions. Thistlewood rejected them because they involved the death of innocent persons. A grand cabinet dinner was finally agreed upon, which was thought to offer them the best opportunity. Angered by the Six Acts and the Peterloo Massacre, as well as with the economic and political depression of the time. They planned to assassinate a number of cabinet ministers, overthrow the government and establish a "Committee of Public Safety" to oversee a radical revolution, similar to the French Revolution. According to the prosecution at their trial, they had intended to form a provisional government headquartered in the Mansion House.
But the men were betrayed by Edwards, a government spy and agent provocateur. There was to be no cabinet dinner; the announcement of it had been planted in the press to deceive the conspirators. While they gathered together, the men were arrested. Thistlewood resisted and ran his sword through one of the Bow Street Runners.
Liverpool’s government faced a general election in March, and this sensational affair at the end of February was just what they needed.
At the trial in April, one of the men, Ings, a butcher, cried out: “I am like a bullock drove into Smithfield market to be sold. Lord Sidmouth knew all about this for two months.”
Thistlewood, Ings, Brunt, Tidd and Davidson were sentenced to be publicly hanged (and then have their heads cut off) on 1 May. Another five were transported. In court, while the Lord Chief Justice was pronouncing his doom, Thistlewood took snuff and gazed indifferently around the courtroom.  

William Davidson
Brunt, a shoemaker, boldly informed the court that when his weekly earnings went down from 3 or 4 pounds to ten shillings, he began to look about him, and what he found were “men in power, who met to deliberate how they might starve and plunder the country.” (A not unreasonable comment on Liverpool’s government)
Ings’ last letter to his wife before he was hanged stated “…I must die according to the law, and leave you in a land full of corruption…”
The men were hanged on the first day in May 1820, a fine morning. It was successful as a May-day spectacle. Even the poorest seats fetched half-a-crown, and those with a good view paid three guineas.
Ing sang Death or Liberty at the top of his voice on the way to the gallows and Thistlewood responded: “Be quiet Ings; we can die without all this noise.”
Bucks of the first head, Thomas Raikes and his friend Lord Alvanley, who never liked to miss anything, attended the ceremony. But Raikes wrote afterwards: “It was the first execution I ever saw, and shall be the last.”

My Regency romance series is set during these years of unrest. Some Amazon reviews.

"This was an exciting read with plenty of humorous moments and entertaining interactions. Certainly, I’m looking forward to the Earl of Strathairn’s story!"

"...a spellbinding regency romance filled with mystery and suspense!"

"What a Rake Wants well-researched and a gripping novel which compelled me to read as fast as I could until I reached the satisfying conclusion with a deep sigh of satisfaction."

Knox Robinson Publishing.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Regency History: Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint – exhibition...

What a treat to have seen this! Reblogged from Regency History by Rachel Knowles. 

Regency History: Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint – exhibition...: Mrs Mary Robinson by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1783-4) © The Wallace Collection; Photo © Andrew Knowles Last week, I visited a relatively li...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Regency History: Royal residences of the Georgian kings

Regency History: Royal residences of the Georgian kings: 12 royal residences (details of each picture below) Brighton Pavilion George IV made the Royal Pavilion at Brighton his summer reside...

Reblogged from Regency History. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015



(The Spies of Mayfair, #2)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
Cover Blurb:
John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then, weak fool that he is, he kissed her…
Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago — when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss…
I thoroughly enjoyed this second book in Maggi Andersen’s The Spies of Mayfair series with its engaging story, appealing characters and delightful romance. There is also mystery, drama and intrigue.
John Haldane, Earl of Straithairn:

Somehow, the surge of adrenaline and sense of living on the edge banished the anguish he carried. And nothing else had thus far come close.
John is a man of action rather than words and, after returning from the Napoleonic Wars, he can’t contemplate hours of debating in the House of Lords. So he inhabits the dark and dangerous world of spying in an attempt to uncover Napoleonic sympathisers threatening to destabilise the British Government. The intelligence work has also given him a purpose in life that he found missing after his return from the war. It also helps keep at bay the terrible wartime memories that continue to haunt his dreams.
John and Sibella have shared a close friendship but his feelings have deepened beyond friendship. But he knows that, in his line of work, death could be lurking just around the corner and he is determined to remain single. His resolve is further strengthened when a close colleague is murdered leaving behind a wife and child. He could never subject a wife to such pain and so he keeps his feelings in check.
Lady Sibella Winborne

No wonder her mother was giving any likely candidate for her hand a push. Unfortunately, Mama didn’t push; she shoved.
Whilst her mother has been occupied with bringing out the last of Sibella’s three sisters and enjoying her grandchildren, Sibella has managed to avoid several suitors over the years since her own come out. However, at the age of twenty six, she is in danger of being left on the shelf and her mother is now pressurising her to marry.
John Haldane, a family friend, is the only man she has ever desired but he has a strong aversion to marriage. Believing John will never be hers and longing for a home of her own and a family, she may be willing to settle for her brother’s choice of suitor, the polite and well-mannered Lord Coombe.
Sibella and John’s story has all the elements I look for in  a romance:
A protective, caring hero:
He fought the strong pull of attraction; he could not bend. His life was too dangerous; he would never risk Sibella. She was far too precious.
A strong-willed, intelligent heroine:
But now, after that kiss! She’d find a way to make him face the truth. They were after all, perfectly suited.
Delicious sexual tension:
With a swift movement, he cradled her face in his hands; his lips, firm but gentle, covered hers, stifling her gasp of surprise. Coherent thought slipped away as his arm encircled her waist and pulled her hard against him. His hold tightened and the kiss deepened, teasing her lips and stealing her breath.
A few stumbling blocks along the way:
“I don’t enjoy having to say this to you John, but it befalls me as head of the family. Sib has a love of home and hearth. She looks for a husband who will sit by the fire with her at night. That isn’t you, is it?”
“She deserves the best, and no, it isn’t me, Chaloner.”
And somewhere, a ruthless murderer lurked, well-armed and with some evil design to bring chaos to England
Of course, this is a romance, so assuredly there will be a Happy Ever After…
Moments later, Straithairn slipped the gold band on her finger. He exhaledon a long sigh of contentment.
She was his.
Once again, Ms Andersen has woven true historical events into the story, creating a real sense of the era with its political and social unrest.
A charming romance and a touch of intrigue combine to make Taming a Gentleman Spy a wonderfully entertaining story.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Regency Romance New Release From @MaggiAndersen Features Quick, Fun Romp Between Lord And Lady

"Lady Honor's Debt"
Maggi Andersen

**Baxendale Sisters (Book 1) - 5 Stars!!**
Click image to view on Amazon

"A fun, light read of a heroine who needs rescuing and a hero who is up to the challenge..." -BookTalk With Eileen

Freedom. That’s all Lady Honor Baxendale wants—for her sisters and for herself. Honor has a bold plan to become financially independent, using a skill she learned at her father’s knee. She seeks the help of a solicitor and is pleased with her choice…as long as she can resist the solicitor himself.
Lord Edward Winborne has been happy to come to the aid of his four sisters in the past. But when a neighbor’s daughter, Lady Honor Baxendale, requests his help for a dangerous scheme she has in mind, he feels it his duty to dissuade her. When that fails, he wants to protect her, and then somehow finds he wants to do more. Much more.

Connect with Author Maggi Andersen

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Through to the second round of the Emerald Pro!

I'm delighted that my contemporary with romantic elements has made it through to the second round of the Emerald Pro under my new pen name, Morgan Cole.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

On sale! New Release! Lady Honor's Debt $0.99 Get it before the price goes up!


Freedom. That’s all Lady Honor Baxendale wants—for her sisters and for herself. Honor has a bold plan to become financially independent, using a skill she learned at her father’s knee. She seeks the help of a solicitor and is pleased with her choice…as long as she can resist the solicitor himself.
Lord Edward Winborne has been happy to come to the aid of his four sisters in the past. But when a neighbor’s daughter, Lady Honor Baxendale, requests his help for a dangerous scheme she has in mind, he feels it his duty to dissuade her. When that fails, he wants to protect her, and then somehow finds he wants to do more. Much more.

Barnes & Noble

Webpage I have a fabulous new website created by Victoria Vane. Check it out!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Release: Lady Honor's Debt - The Baxendale Sisters Book #1

Enjoy an excerpt:

Highland Manor, Royal Tunbridge Wells, 1822

 Lady Honor Baxendale left the cook in the kitchen, mulling over the receipts for the following week’s dishes. Her mother was lying down in her bedroom suffering from one of her megrims. Mama’s nerves had worsened of late, especially since Honor’s stepfather had developed such a bad temper.
 The house seemed to be constantly in an uproar.
 Honor searched for her younger sister, Faith, and found her curled up in the corner of the cerise-striped chintz sofa in the morning room, beside the canary in its gilded cage.
 “You might take a walk in the sunshine, Faith. It does lift one’s spirits.”
 After Honor opened the French windows, a perfumed breeze swept in to ruffle the curtains. Beyond the terrace, the azalea bushes flaunted their mass of pink and mauve blossoms. “Why not go outdoors on such a beautiful day?”
 Faith gestured to the bird which chirped and hopped about. “I am talking to someone who will listen.”
 Honor joined her on the sofa. “I am listening. Don’t I always?”
 “Yes. But you cannot help me with this, Honor.”
 “You’ve been so horribly bored shut away in the country, dearest. Have you asked Papa to take a house in London for the Season?”
 “This morning. I begged him, but he was deaf to my pleas. He means to marry me off to Lord Gillingham. And I have no say in the matter.”
 Honor drew in a breath. “With me still unwed, I had hoped he’d give you one Season, at least.”
 “It’s business. One of us must marry a Gillingham.”
 “I’ll talk to him.” Honor doubted anything she said to her stepfather would hold weight. She was aware that she wasn’t in his favor.
 “It won’t help,” Faith said in a doleful tone. “His mind is made up.”
 “You get on well with Lord Gillingham.” Honor tried to sound positive while appalled at the notion. She would have to think of a way to prevent it. “He’s a personable man, is he not?”
 “He’s an amusing partner to sit beside at dinner, but I don’t love him.” Faith poked a restless finger through the bars of the cage, and the bird hopped along the perch to inspect it. “You are fortunate, Honor. Papa doesn’t force you to marry.”
 “I am a lost cause. I would not like to see you become one.”
 Faith gave a watery sigh and sniffed. “I shouldn’t like that. Just think, if tragedy hadn’t befallen you, you would be happily married now, with children of your own.”
 “Yes, dearest.” Honor patted her sister’s hunched shoulder. She couldn’t shrug off the guilty feeling. She’d been glad when her stepfather failed to consider her attractive enough for his business partner’s son. But Faith should not be denied the excitement of London, with its routs, balls and soireés. Faith was so pretty. She would cause quite a stir, and would enjoy the whirlwind of a Season so much. Honor’s mind skittered away at the thought of her own Season, some years ago, which had ended in disgrace. Faith’s come-out would be far more successful. Why couldn’t her stepfather trust her to find a suitable husband? He seemed too panicked to consider things carefully.
 “I shall speak to Mama. We might wrangle a Season out of Father yet.” Honor opened the birdcage and removed the water tray to refill it.
 “You are wasting your time.” Faith stood and picked up her shawl. “If anyone needs me I’ll be on that walk.”
Released  1st April