It is always an exciting moment for an author when their new book is published, so I hope you will forgive me for indulging in a little fanfare today! I’d like to introduce my heroine, Pru.
Who doesn’t like a bit of gossip? Pru, for one
Prudence Clifford is one of the main characters in my latest Regency, The Night She Met the Duke. It hits the shelves at the end of this month.
So, here’s a little bit about Pru and her story.
Meet Prudence (or Pru)
Pru is a confirmed spinster, living a quiet life in Bath with her aunt. She likes her books and her charitable works. In her opinion she is too tall, her mouth is too wide and she is dull. She knows the last is true because she overheard a gentleman telling his friends that she was “as dull as her name”. It was unkind and, as we find out as the story unfolds, untrue.
A chance meeting with Garrick Chauntry, Duke of Hartland, turns Pru’s ordered world upside down. Not that she knows it at the time. She never expects to see him again, until her aunt receives an unexpected invitation to go to London for the summer.
In the capital she discovers that Garrick is a social pariah and her strong sense of justice means she cannot sit by while he is vilified by society. Pru abhors gossip, but Garrick has lived with the scandal too long to care. He would be content to retire to the country, only he cannot allow an obstinate, headstrong young woman to fight his battles for him!
Pru’s story starts in a quiet Street in Bath
However most of the story is set in London. Why? Because there was a lot going there in 1814!
In June the Allied Sovereigns arrived in England to celebrate (prematurely) the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was also one hundred years since the House of Hanover ascended the British throne, which provided the Prince Regent with an excuse for even more festivities. The capital was bursting with visitors, all come to watch military reviews and balloon ascensions, to dance at the magnificent balls and enjoy the celebrations taking place in the London parks. What better backdrop for Garrick and Pru’s romance?
It is not only the great and good who crowd into London; ordinary citizens are there also, along with the mob. They are all there to watch the pomp and ceremony, to cheer the Duke of Wellington and the Tsar of Russia, and to boo their favourite villain, the Prince Regent.
The cartoon below by George Cruikshank is a little later than the setting for my story, but reports from the Sovereigns’ visit indicate that Tsar Alexander was extremely popular with the crowds, while poor Prinny was already suffering from a bad press.
Rumours and Reputations
Pru and Garrick’s story is played out against this dangerous, glittering background, where reputations are easily lost and occasionally restored.
In order to prepare for doing a little marketing of this book I decided it would be a good idea to read one of my author copies and in doing so I realised that there is a strong element of adventure in this book. It is full of conspiracies, intrigue, spies and abductions.
There is even a tiny nod towards the Ladies of Llangollen.
And a happy ending?
Finding a way through all their difficulties was never going to be easy for my star-crossed lovers, but Pru and Garrick have friends to help them, including more than one indomitable female. (I just love strong female characters!) It is a lively romp through Regency London, but the over-arching story is of course a romance and I hope I have included plenty of that, too.
Following on from Sophie’s recent post about 2023 being the year of the RomCom, I wonder if my book might fit into that category, too?
The Night She Met the Duke is pure escapism, I admit it, but who doesn’t need a little of that at some point in their lives?
As Sophie said, We need the love.