Heather King

Review – Chains of Fear by Heather King

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When diplomat Sir Julian Templeton falls over a stricken gentlewoman, he little expects to end up marrying her. Neither does he anticipate the pitfalls he must negotiate, nor the shifts he must make, in order to win his bride’s love and trust.

Impoverished and desperate, Miss Helena Dorking reluctantly accepts the handsome stranger’s offer of help after she is left for dead in the snow. When, on finding his mother unexpectedly from home, Sir Julian honourably offers marriage to save Helena from ruin, she has little choice but to accept him. Yet how can she be the wife he wants and needs? How can she overcome her fears and allow herself to love him?

Somehow Julian must find a way to cut the chains which bind Helena to her fear so he can win her heart.

My View

I got to say that this is good, really good, it’s got a real vintage feel about it from the style in which King writes to the language. This is a charming ‘Marriage of Convenience’ story on the surface it does appear to be a very basic story but the further you delve into it, it is soon apparent that Chains of Fear is much more than that.

After she is forced to leave her position due to an incident Helena Dorking is now running away, she has very little to her name but what she holds and a few coin’s stitched into her cloak. She is desperate and scared, so she takes the risk of traveling on the coach alone, after stopping at a road side inn she is robbed and left for dead in the snow. Only to be rescued by a handsome as sin devil with voice like chocolate – I love that description of his voice!

Helena is a proud young woman, in fact that pride not only gets in her way it stops her from accepting the simplest of gifts or kindness. I can so relate to her she is used to doing things her own way, for herself, voicing her own views and suddenly she needs to rely on another. She definitely has trust issues and by going by what she has been through that is understandable. I found to be a very likable character, she isn’t the smartest cookie and actually very naïve, but she is a lovely down-to-earth young lady who is actually very funny once she lowers those defences.

Sir Julian is a proper gentleman, when he literally trips over a body in the snow, only to find it to be the young woman who had caught his attention in the inn, he can’t leave her. He tries to arrange a room for her at the inn, but the landlady is a brutal woman who think’s that poor Helena is good for nothing, which leaves Julian in a bit of a sticky spot. He can’t leave her alone, so he decides to do the honourable thing and take her home for his mother to look after.

Which is easy said than done, firstly it’s trying to persuade nervous and skittish Helena to go anywhere with him – the carriage ride to his house is a hoot, at one point she gets out of the carriage, falls on the ice and shoots herself with his pistol. – Once at his home he realizes that his well laid plan isn’t going to work as he find’s his home empty. Desperate not to cause scandal with having a single lady in his house alone and save her reputation, he does the decent thing and offer’s her marriage.

Julian is a wonderful character, not only he is rather easy on the eye, with his smooth as chocolate voice and penetrating brown eyes. He is quick-witted, charming and very protective. There is a predatory aura about him, even Helena pick’s up on it as soon as she meet’s him when she describes him as a lion. He is charismatic, smooth and confidant. He swears he’s no gentleman, even though he act’s just that, I like him is every inch the gentleman no matter what he thinks. He is good and kind, he goes above and beyond her Helena.

Their relationship is hard won on both sides, even though there is a mutual attraction, she is very taken with the tall dark and handsome man who as literally swept her off her frozen feet, but she does find it difficult to let him get too close. I love their bantering, it’s fast and witty, they have a great chemistry I love how their personalities seem to bounce off one and other.

One of the things I love about King’s work is her attention to detail, every scene is rich in historic detail. Everything is captured in absolute detail like a photograph, her descriptions of the most ordinary thing’s like the décor and chimney soot gives the story life. Chains of Fear is an engaging, atmospheric and lovingly written story of moving on, dealing with inner fear and being able to trust again. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it flows nicely from scene to scene the story is strong and articulate, I particularly like how the characters develop throughout the book.

A highly enjoyable read!

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for any honest review.

Chains of Fear can be purchased from Amazon.

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What Is It About Historical Romance by Heather King

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There are many reasons why I love reading and writing historical novels. Firstly, I love history. Secondly, I am just a big softie and like nothing better than a Happy Ever After ending. I should like, therefore, to say a big thank you to Frankie for inviting me to contribute to her blog.

I began by making a list of things which draw me to my favourite era, the Regency. As it grew, just for fun I thought I would make it a Romantic Fiction ABC. Here, then, is my Top Twenty of why I love Historical Romance novels.

Architecture

I just love Georgian architecture, whether as a London town house or a beautiful country mansion. There is something hugely romantic about the arrangement and shape of windows, pediments and porticoes; of marbled floors and the symmetry of rooms around a central entrance hall; of rococo plaster work on ceilings and mantelpieces, and – far from least – the glorious richness of murals and ceiling paintings.

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Breeches and Top-boots

Some ladies find attraction in Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Boss. Not so this romantic author. For me, men in breeches, neckcloths and elegant coats, with top-boots or Hessians, have a swoon factor the half-naked men depicted on some modern covers just don’t have (not that I don’t appreciate a manly chest, you understand!) The sight of Richard Armitage’s Mr. Thornton will always win the heart over his be-stubbled Guy of Gisburne. Although… ahem.

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Mr. Darcy’s outfit from the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice © Heather King

Carriages

There is just something about a four-in-hand and a beautifully turned out equipage that modern cars cannot emulate. Although they were nowhere near as comfortable to travel in (and I appreciate many will disagree with me), cars have nothing to compare with the jingle of harness, the stamp of a shod hoof, the snort of the proud ‘cattle’ poled up. Flying feathers, tossing manes, swinging tails; the glorious, pungent smell of sweat glistening on warm equine hides… ah, sweet bliss to the horse fan!

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The Edinburgh – London Mail, J.F. Herring Snr.

Dresses and Drawers

What can be more romantic than beautiful gowns with frills and flounces? I will confess they have never been my idea of comfortable clothing, but I love to see them and certainly wouldn’t mind possessing an elegant riding habit. I love to read a book where the author has taken the trouble to describe what characters are wearing. For me, that is part of the magic of historical fiction – to be carried away to another time, to escape reality for a while. I hope I succeed in sweeping my readers away to the world my characters inhabit.

Elegance

The Georgian era is renowned for its elegance. Georgette Heyer’s heroes appreciate a well-turned ankle, do not leer over some Page 3 girl. Beautiful porcelain, cut glass and tableware; delicate fans, with their own discreet language; pretty frills and fichus; embroidery, lace and silks; the smooth rotation of a perfect waltz… the instances are many. When I have time, reading a well-written novel or watching an historical drama takes me away from the ordinariness of everyday 21st Century life and allows me the illusion such elegant living has not gone for good.

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Brisé Fan

Furniture

Having longed for a Hygena bedroom in my youth, I now appreciate the beauty of hand-crafted wood and especially that of the Georgian age. I love most old furniture, even utility stuff made during WWII. I should love to have a big kitchen with Welsh dressers, solid oak tables and cupboards. Part of the romance of the Regency era, though, is the elegant mahogany and marquetry you find in many a National Trust property. One day, I have promised myself, I will have Georgian-style winged armchairs and elegant side-tables!

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Dining Room, Hanbury Hall © Heather King

Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer is the reason I am writing this blog. Had it not been for discovering her books when I was about eleven or twelve, I probably would not be where I am today. She is the Queen of Regency and although she dismissed her novels as ‘fluff’, you would be hard put to find better written romantic novels. I love her style and wit, her masterly descriptions and the sense of fun her novels convey. When you laugh out loud at a book, it can only be a winner. May I proffer humble thanks, ma’am.

HEA

I admit it. I am a sucker for a happy ending. While there can be an emotional satisfaction in a sad conclusion to a story, if that is what the plot demands, I do like to see my characters happily settled at the end of a novel and I prefer to read books with either a happy ‘ah’ ending or a witty one. Georgette Heyer was particularly adept at the latter and it always left me with a warm feeling. I try to do that with my own stories, because romantic historical fiction should be about escapism. We have enough reality in this modern world.

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Interiors

I love visiting a stately home and seeing a room decorated as it would have been in eras gone by. It is fascinating, especially when it is done in Regency style. Old buildings have an amazing atmosphere. Although a ruin, Witley Court in Worcestershire has the most wonderful feel of secrets and ghosts from times long past. Many years ago I was lucky enough to visit Salzburg in Austria, where the fortress is alive with the spirits of previous centuries. (No, I’m no madder than any other writer, honest!) I try and convey this to my readers through my writing, because for me, romance is not only about the love story.

Jane Austen

What Regency author doesn’t love Jane Austen’s works? She was, of course, writing about her own time and did not invent the Regency genre. Georgette Heyer can be credited with that. However, Jane has bequeathed us so many gems of insight, custom and historical detail. From her works we know the modern delight in contracting words in dialogue (one of my bête noirs in historical novels) is not accurate. She gave us the wicked romp in Lydia and the serene beauty in Jane. She gave us the intelligent, independently minded heroine in Elizabeth and the interfering one in Emma. She also gave us the toe-curling Mr. Collins, the wonderful Colonel Brandon and the worst marriage proposal in English literature! Thanks to Auntie Beeb and Andrew Davies, though, I can no longer read Pride and Prejudice without thinking of Colin Firth and that scene…

LOVE

Love. One of the strongest emotions, it comes in so many forms: Love of life, a subject, a place, a view; love of family, of friends, of pets… and of that one special person in your life. Love is all you need sang the Beatles and they weren’t far wrong. Love makes the world go round. Within the pages of novels from the Circulating Libraries, ladies of the Regency found solace from their humdrum lives and loveless marriages. Nowadays, we buy romance novels by the zillion, just for the sheer pleasure of that perfect, joyful connection with another person. There are few more satisfying feelings than reaching the end of a wonderful book with a happy ending. That warm, fuzzy sensation is love in itself.

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Manners and Courtesy

I am a traditionalist, and appreciate it when a gentleman holds open a door for me or a child says please and thank you. I’m aware I am a dying breed and yes, I am perfectly capable of opening my own door, but it is nice to have it done for me. It is nice when a gentleman helps you out of a car (or down from a carriage!) It is nice to be escorted on a proffered arm and treated with old-fashioned courtesy. It is particularly nice when the gentleman next door mows your front verge with his ride-on mower to save you having to struggle with your old electric one! I love that about Regency novels, that even when people were insulting each other, it was couched in such a manner as to be civil, rather than screaming abuse heavily littered with profanity.

Names

There have been lots of great names throughout the centuries which are now virtually obsolete. Joscelin, for a man, is one of my favourites and finally found its owner in the hero of Carpet of Snowdrops. There is a certain romantic beauty in many old names, I feel… although perhaps not Godfrey, Wat or Alf!

Original

Heroines must have something about them. They must be strong and engaging and preferably have some trait or quirk which makes them unique. That strength need not mean they are independent and headstrong, but that they can deal with whatever ‘life’ throws at them in a fashion which is enjoyable to read. They must also behave in a manner befitting the era they live in. If a Regency heroine talks and behaves in the manner of a modern miss, it throws me out of the story. It is part of the charm and romance of an historical novel to discover how the heroine can claim her hero without overstepping the bounds and mores of the time.

Posting Houses and Coaching Inns

I just love old inns, especially if they still have their original stable yards! I am fascinated by the history of them; the stories of past landlords and noble (or well-known) patrons, of smugglers and highwaymen, of ghosts and crimes. I am also fascinated by the growth of such buildings and how they became famous. Romance comes in so many forms.

Rakes and Rogues

What reader of historical romance doesn’t love a rake or a rogue? With a nod to Frankie, this article would not be complete without them! I admit I do have a soft spot for one – provided he has some redeeming features, loves his lady and is reformed (or at least faithful) by the end of the book. He must be tender as well as masterful and recognize his shortcomings. After all, a gentleman with experience is better set to please his bride! Perhaps my favourite literary rake is Damerel in Georgette Heyer’s Venetia.

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John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, a most infamous rake.

Social History

Well-written and well-researched novels are a fascinating window on the way people lived in a previous time – and what a great way to learn! This is one of the best of the many facets of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen novels: the historical detail. I love to know what people ate, drank, slept in, sat on, used, wore and did for recreation and entertainment. I’m just a nosey so-and-so!

Tattersall’s

As a horse lover, a visit to London isn’t complete without a look-in at Hyde Park Corner and a walk down Rotten Row. The most famous horse sales and bloodstock agency in the world began life here, founded in the 1770s by Richard Tattersall. The Duke of Kingston’s former groom and trainer rented land behind St. George’s Hospital, close to the Corner. It quickly became the place to be seen among gentlemen with an interest in equestrian matters, as well as the place to buy and sell horses. A weekly sale was held and ‘Black Monday’ became the not always humorous nomenclature for Settling Day. It meant the ruin of many an aristocratic name. Tattersall’s is one of the must-see places for young Johnny Raws from the country in any Regency novel.

Vauxhall Gardens

What can be more romantic than a trip down the river to Vauxhall for the characters in an historical novel? Picture the shadowed paths, the tree-lined walks, the music playing and figures bedecked in their finery, flitting like butterflies and chattering like sparrows. It is the perfect setting for a clandestine meeting, a risqué masquerade or an elegant concert followed by supper and a romantic walk along the lantern-lit paths. Such intrigues can be envisaged, such dastardly actions performed, and all for the stroke of pen or press of keypad… Vauxhall was made for romantic fiction!

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Entrance to Vauxhall Gardens, Thomas Rowlandson

Witty Dialogue

Of all the elements of good Regency fiction, possibly the one I like best is the witty dialogue. While Jane Austen had an acerbic wit, Georgette Heyer was the grande dame of the concept in her novels. I laugh aloud when I am reading her books and that does not happen with many authors. I love it when I find someone who writes with that same sense of humour. Of course, beside JA and GH, the rest of we poor mortals can but aspire.

This is one of my favourite quotes and comes from Faro’s Daughter, first published by Wm. Heinemann Ltd. in 1941.

“You will find it very inconvenient to keep me in your cellar indefinitely, I imagine, but I must warn you I have not the smallest intention of leaving it, except upon my own terms.”

***

“But you cannot let the race go like that!” cried Deborah, aghast.

***

“Oh, have you backed me to win?” he said mockingly. “So much the worse for you, my girl!”

© Heather King. All photographs © Heather King, Other images Public Domain

About The Author

heather KingHeather King has made up stories since she was a small child. History lessons at school were rarely dull and the discovery of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels in her early teens set her on a lifelong love of that era. A confessed romantic and bookworm, writing gives her a chance to indulge all these passions – and call it work!

She has her own voice, but likes to follow traditional Regency precepts and pen uplifting stories with witty dialogue, engaging characters and bags of emotion.

Visiting her Dark Side as Vandalia Black, she writes Vampire and Paranormal romance. She is the author of ‘Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee and Other Stories’ which includes a novella set in the English Civil War.

When not looking after her two hairy ponies, three cats and boisterous Staffie X, or frowning over keypad or notebook, she likes nothing better than to curl up with a good book.

Website / Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Amazon / Goodreads

New Review – The Missing Duke (Heart of a Hero Series #9) by Heather King

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When his father dies, Lord Adam Bateman refuses to succeed to the dukedom which rightly belongs to his missing elder brother. Whilst performing secret and sensitive missions for the Duke of Wellington, he continues his efforts to find his twin. The search has become Adam’s all-consuming passion, leaving no time for affairs of the heart.

Miss Lucy Mercier is also seeking answers. Her father, a tailor, had been used to make hot air balloons for various noble patrons, including Lord Adam’s sire. Believing the deceased Duke of Wardley had been involved in her papa’s failure to return from the Continent, she takes employment in Lord Adam’s household in order to discover the truth. Then she accompanies him on an important commission for the Allied Army, and finds herself having to guard against a growing attraction for a man she knows she can never have.

Are the two disappearances connected and will two heads prove better than one in the pursuit of answers? Will Adam and Lucy find true happiness together or will the past – and their different stations – rise to keep them apart?

Although part of a loosely connected series, this Regency novel can be read on its’ own.

My View

Book nine in the Heart of a Hero series sees Ms King take up the reigns as we once again step into Regency world of heroic heroes. This one is very much along the lines of your more traditional regency Romances with the added thrills and suspense that we have come to expect from this series and, it’s still intriguing but with a charming Bronte-ish feel to it. Which I adore.

Our story starts in 1788 where the young Robert and Adam Bateman sons of the powerful Duke of Wardley are taken out on a day trip by their maid come nanny; Mary. A nice afternoon enjoying cheesecake and good company turns sour as Robert, the elder twin and heir to the dukedom suddenly goes missing. After an extension search, all they find of him is his little hat, but Mary swears that as they were making their way to the park they were being watched by two unknown men. But, as no one else saw these men and Mary was newly hired her account of what happened isn’t entirely believed and she is soon dismissed. The search carries on but Robert is never found.

Fast forward twenty-six years and Adam Bateman hasn’t given up on his brother, he truly believes that Robert is out there somewhere. Adam is adamant that his brother is alive, he keeps saying that if his brother had died then he would know. Being a twin, he has a sixth sense that tells him Robert is out there somewhere. He has been searching for him all his life and until he gets absolute proof that his brother is dead Adam will not stop looking. On the death of his father Adam became the Duke, but he refused to take on the title as it still belongs to his big brother. He decides to do as the Prince Regent has with the King and merely look after things until his brothers return.

“Turn with me,” he muttered “e, two, three….” he could feel the warmth of her skin through her thin ball gown where his hand rested in the small of her back. The sensation, coupled with the scent of orange blossom from her hair, was intoxicating. “I did not intend to shame you…”

But even though he is powerful in his right, there are still places and resources that elude him, so six years before he made the journey to Ireland and he became one of Wellingtons secret information agents. In doing so he can utilise the groups resources to take his search for his brother even further than he could have alone. In return, he does a few little jobs for Wellington the latest is to convey the Italian opera singer and former mistress to Napoleon Madam Grancini to France in a very secret mission, that only himself, Wellington and Adams secretary Lucian knows about.

Lucian Mercier is undercover, acting as Lord Adam Bateman’s secretary to gain information, but Lucian isn’t just acting as a secretary he is a she. Lucy Mercier’s father went missing at the same time as Robert Bateman, Lucy has always thought that the old Duke may have had something to do with it as her father was stuck in between the Duke and his enemy. The only way she can find the proof she needs is to infiltrate the Bateman household and look through the old Duke’s papers and the only way a woman is going to be able to do that; is dress as a man and pretend to be a secretary.

What should have been an easy get in the old Dukes office and look through his files and journals plan, turns into something else. She finds herself in the middle of something else, something darker and more dangerous than she could have ever expected. As she realises that Adam isn’t just the handsome as sin, rake that she had always though him to be but he is a secret agent for Wellington and now with association with Adam she is in the middle of a deadly game of cat and mouse.

“When I look at you, I wonder at the ease with which you received me.”
“I daresay you did not penetrate my disguise because you did not expect me to be anything other than a simple secretary”
“ if I am sure of anything , my live, it is that you were never a simple secretary…. ”

Lucy is a resilient and stubborn woman who knows her own mind, once she has got an idea in her head she doesn’t let up. She is like a dog with a bone. Her father has raised her not conform to what woman usually must be in the regency era and I like that, she has a brain and being from working class stock she understands the ways of the world so much more than most ladies of the era and yet, I think she is quite naïve too and in certain times throughout the book you get a sense of that naivety. I still really like her though, she is just an ordinary family orientated woman who trying to do her best and find out what happened to her father.

When Adam finds out that his quiet but intelligent secretary is a woman and he is sent an innocent into the spider’s web, his protective and heroic instincts kick in and he soon makes his way over to France too. Once there he meets this, beautiful and enchanting young woman who is as far removed from the quiet secretary, he is instantly transfixed with her.

It is when he finds out who she really is that you really see what a great man Adam is, he is brutish masculinity personified with a steely intelligence. His mind works faster that a bolt of lightning, he can work out puzzles as well as fight with his hidden sabre in his cane. He’s not exactly what you would come to expect from an aristocrat, he far darker at times when he is focused on finding his brother he seems so far away and that’s where Lucy’s kind heart comes into its own, she helps him far more than she could ever imagine.

They instantly connect and their fiery personas mix and entwine, they bounce off each other. As they get to know each other for who they are, as an attractive man and woman and not just lord and servant their difference in station does pray very heavily on Lucy’s mind, even though he has assured her that she is a silk merchants daughter and working class he insists that, that doesn’t matter but she knows society will think differently and it her reluctance and internal conflict that really makes him work harder to prove that this relationship can work. Amongst the danger and the passion and the pent-up conflicts will our hero and heroine finally give in to what they both want? And more importantly will they find their loved ones?

“One thing you need to understand about me, my lord,” she answered sweetly, “ is that I do not take kindly to being arbitrarily forbidden to so support and protect my family.”
He felt his lips twitch “ Not even when it’s for your own safety?”
She smiled, a teasing bewitching twinkle of mischief. “Most assuredly not, then!” she answered at once.
Her expression Dared him to gainsay her masquerade. What sort of baggage had he fallen for?

I do love this it is very different to the other’s in the series but I like King’s writing, she has a flare with words and a voice that echo’s the great Bronte sister’s. There is just so much to like about The Missing Duke, the plot ties seamlessly in with the rest of the series and as ever you get to see some of the past heroes like the cunningly intelligent, master spy Joanna Devlin from the prequel Novella. The characters are strong and well-constructed that you instantly like them, as ever with Historical Romances what I always look forward to is the detailing and the history and I can say that King’s got all aspect’s spot on.

A real winner and a great episode in this series that keeps getting better and better and I whole heartedly recommend it, what I like about The Heart of the Hero series is that each book can be read very as a standalone. For those that haven’t read this series, yet you can start anywhere in the series, and I really like that.

This was an ARC via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Missing Duke can be found at Amazon.

Author Interview; A Chat With….Heather King

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I have the greatest pleasure of chatting with best selling author, Heather King. Author of A Sense of the Ridiculous, Devil’s Hoof and one of the authors of the fantastic Heart of a Hero Series. So get your cuppa, take a seat and lets get to know a little more about Heather.

A confessed romantic and bookworm, Heather King has always made up stories. Discovering Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels began a lifelong love of the era, although she enjoys well-written books from other times too. Heather’s stories are traditional romps – light-hearted and witty, with bags of emotion. You walk with her characters through the world they inhabit. She also writes Paranormal Shape Shifter romance.

Visiting her Dark Side as Vandalia Black, she wrote Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee and Other Stories which includes a novella set during the English Civil War.

When not looking after her two hairy ponies, three cats and boisterous Staffie X, or frowning over keypad or notebook, she likes nothing better than taking long walks and curling up with a good book.

Frankie Hi Heather, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Heather Persevering (it sounds better than stubborn), loyal, considerate, protective, honest. I could add boring, tea-dog-and-horse-loving windbag, but that wouldn’t sound as good… and it’s more than five words!

Frankie LOL! Brilliant, If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? and why?

Heather Oh, golly. I’m pretty happy where I am. I would love the quieter pace of life; the elegance, the courtesy and respect, the furnishings and carriages of the Regency, but I don’t think I would like to live there, not even for men in breeches and neckcloths! I like my creature comforts and modern appliances too much. I also like modern jodhpurs!

If I had to choose, I would be a squire’s daughter, perhaps, like Jocasta in my novel A Sense of the Ridiculous, who is not hedged about by strict rules and pretty much does as she pleases. She also has a beautiful grey hunter, who leads her to her hero, the knee-meltingly gorgeous Richard.

Frankie I love the sound of that, Who was your childhood hero?

Heather After Champion the Wonder Horse, you mean? Sad child that I was, there were various fictional heroes, usually good looking actors! Although a legend, I devoured anything I could find about Robin Hood… can you tell I spent a lot of time in a dream world? Ahem; still do, for that matter.

My real-life hero will always be my Mum. She worked so hard throughout my childhood and was always there for us.

Frankie Aww, lovely! What is your favourite time of the year?

Heather It’s a tie between spring and autumn. I love the world coming to life after winter, the warming of the weather (perhaps), the blossom, bright blue skies (maybe) and lambs in the fields – the usual clichés. However, although it means the onset of winter, I love a crisp autumn day with leaves crunching underfoot and being able to take a long walk without melting into a puddle of sweat at the end of it. I love the autumn colours and that tingle of pleasure in the veins when you exhale a cloud of breath into a bright October or November morning.

Frankie Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Heather Ooh… puffs out cheeks. Whichever one I am writing at the time usually takes pride of place, but I have a very soft spot for Richard in A Sense of the Ridiculous and also my hero in my paranormal romance, Devil’s Hoof. Matt is a soldier, struggling to make sense of life after war and also battling a disease more usually associated with horses. Furthermore, he has a family secret which threatens to put everyone he loves in danger. He is a sexy Alpha male with a heart of gold and is just waiting for the right woman with whom to rebuild his life.

Frankie Now he sounds fabulous, where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Heather All over the place! My mother’s favourite story came about through a snippet of information about the Prince Regent she found in a country magazine. Other times, inspiration has come from an overheard conversation, a picture, a line of prose or a poem, something which has happened to me (that was the case with Ridiculous), a tiny piece of historical fact (Copenhagen’s Last Charge came from a little-known gem I discovered about the Duke of Wellington’s horse). Even smells can trigger creativity!

Frankie What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Heather Read as much as you can, especially about your proposed subject or era. This is particularly important for historical works. An author needs to be able in immerse him or herself in the era: clothes, foods, décor, fabrics, furnishings etc. and above all, dialogue.

Write, write, write. Keep on writing. Write every day, even if only for a few minutes. You have to develop your ‘writing muscle’, as it were. Something will grow from it, even from only five minutes a day. Write, even if you think it’s rubbish. Out of the fustian there will be a single thread of gold you can develop.

Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Record smells, flowers at different seasons, birds, snippets of conversations, buildings, people, way of speech… EVERYTHING!

Frankie If you were hosting a dinner party, what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Heather Hugh Jackman, Richard Armitage and Colin O’Donaghue, she says at once, waggling eyebrows.

Seriously, I would love to chat with Jane Austen about real life in the Regency. I would also love to be a fly on the wall to a conversation between the great French riding master, Francois Robichon de la Guerinière and our own British King of Dressage, Carl Hester. That would be fascinating! De la Guerinière earned recognition as a rider and instructor at the renowned Riding Academy of Paris, became Director of Manège at the Tuileries and invented the unrivalled suppling school movements of shoulder-in, renvers and travers (head or tail to the wall). His aim, through systematic training, was to produce a horse which was calm, supple, obedient and pleasurable to ride. Carl Hester also follows these classical precepts and is the force behind the Dressage Super Horse, Valegro. He is also a thoroughly nice chap who unstintingly gives his time to support lesser riders and his fans.

Frankie That is a dinner party I would love to attend, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today. I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun…

What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Heather The easy answer is chocolate… but the truth is it changes as my tastes change. I adore raspberries and don’t buy them very often because you get so few for your money. Raspberries in a meringue nest, with ice cream and cream… scrummy yummy! And then I also adore chocolate fudge, shortbread, Victoria sponge cake, egg and chips, bangers and mash… the list goes on. Oink.

Yumm! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, its been a pleasure.

💜💜💜

The Missing Duke

When his father dies, Lord Adam Bateman refuses to succeed to the dukedom which rightly belongs to his missing elder brother. Whilst performing secret and sensitive missions for the Duke of Wellington, he continues his efforts to find his twin. The search has become Adam’s all-consuming passion, leaving no time for affairs of the heart.

Miss Lucy Mercier is also seeking answers. Her father, a tailor, had been used to make hot air balloons for various noble patrons, including Lord Adam’s sire. Believing the deceased Duke of Wardley had been involved in her papa’s failure to return from the Continent, she takes employment in Lord Adam’s household in order to discover the truth. Then she accompanies him on an important commission for the Allied Army, and finds herself having to guard against a growing attraction for a man she knows she can never have.

Are the two disappearances connected and will two heads prove better than one in the pursuit of answers? Will Adam and Lucy find true happiness together or will the past – and their different stations – rise to keep them apart?

Amazon UK
Amazon US

A Sense of the Ridiculous

When a prank goes wrong, headstrong squire’s daughter Jocasta Stanyon wakes up in the bedchamber of an inn with no memory of who she is. The inn is owned by widow Meg Cowley and her handsome son Richard, who proves to be more than a match for the unconventional Miss Stanyon.

Having enjoyed a carefree childhood, Jocasta has refused all offers for her hand in the hopes of one day finding a soul mate who shares her sense of the ridiculous. She is drawn to Richard, but their stations in life are far apart and despite prolonging her stay by devious means, the idyll cannot last. When, by chance, her brother Harry turns up at the Holly Tree Inn, Jocasta has no choice but to return home. She hopes to persuade her father of Richard’s qualities, but then she is summoned to receive the addresses of a fashionable stranger…

Amazon

Devil’s Hoof

Laminitis or fever of the feet is crippling for horses. What must it be like for a man?

Matthew Swift, Special Forces veteran of the Iraq wars and invalided out of the army following an act of heroism, is struggling to adjust to civilian life. Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, he is a loose cannon ready to explode, beset by horrific flashbacks and images. If that were not enough, Matt has broken up with his girlfriend and his father is fighting a hostile takeover, in the process hiding a heart problem from his family.

Sparks fly when Matt meets alternative therapist Shani Stevens, but then they become stranded in Rhandor Forest by unprecedented storms and have no choice but to help each other.

Both have scars, yet slowly they learn to trust. Mutual sympathy and understanding soon grow into an abiding passion, but Matt has a secret he cannot reveal…
A powerful love story and a poignant insight into the equine psyche, with a bit of mystery and adventure thrown in, Devil’s Hoof will grab your heart.

Amazon

Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy encounters a broodingly handsome Light Dragoon at the Duchess of Richmond’s grand ball, she little expects that in the hours following the Battle of Waterloo she will be accompanying him around the streets of Brussels. Romance is the last thing on her mind as they seek a lost and valuable item belonging to the Duke of Wellington himself.

Lieutenant James Cooper is surly and unhelpful, but Meg senses the Dragoon will need her help if they are to succeed. As they bicker their way around the narrow streets, a strange empathy begins to develop as gradually glimpses of the man beneath start to be revealed. Meg finds herself drawn to that person, but when they finally recover and then return the item to the Duke, Cooper makes a grave error of judgement which jeopardizes their budding friendship…

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 judgement which jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Amazon

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