Rakes Rogues and Romance

Historical Romance-Because Passion Lives Forever


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Scandalous couples of the Regency-The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

So we are here once again to discuss another most interesting couple of the Regency era. the 5th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, and his wife, Georgiana .  The Duchess was born Georgiana Spencer (yes, she was a relation to Princess Diana) and married twenty four year old William, Duke of Devonshire when she was but seventeen years old. Her husband possessed an enormous fortune. They lived a typical noble life, never residing in each other’s pockets, the duke spent most of his evenings at Brooks, his club, while Georgiana used her considerable fortune to gather society around her like a glittering court.

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She and her husband were fervent Whigs and she was an early proponent of woman’s rights, as well as other reforms. Her dinner parties, where she would bring together politicians with the most radical ideas, became legendary. The King hated the Whigs and his son Prince George (later the Prince Regent-Prinny) who was more than happy to irk his father, became a fixture at Georgiana’s table. She loved the thrill of political posturing and would canvass the streets for support, carrying the Whigs foxtails for Charles Fox, the leader of the party.

Georgina was famous not only for her beauty and her political acumen, but also for her gambling obsession. She tried to hide it from her husband, but when she once lost almost all of her four thousand pound yearly allowance, she had to ask her parents to pay the debt for her. The duke found out and paid her parents back, but even though she promised to stop gambling, she couldn’t. Married to one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom, she couldn’t control herself and constantly borrowed money.

It was also rumored that she suffered from anorexia and bulimia.

Georgiana had problems with carrying pregnancies and suffered many miscarriages before giving birth to three girls and finally a boy. The duke had been having an affair at the time of their marriage with his milliner’s assistant, and already had a daughter by her. Typical behavior for the nobility.

Just eight years after her marriage, while on vacation in Bath, the duke and duchess met Lady Elizabeth Foster, (Bess) who quickly became a close friend to Georgian, and an even closer friend to the duke. She was invited to return home to live with them and for the next twenty five years (yes you read that correctly) she lived within the Devonshire household, as best friend to Georgiana and mistress to the duke.  She received letters from the duke declaring how much he missed her and there is speculation there may have been not only a menage a trois type of relationship but a lesbian relationship between Bess and Georgiana. This is all based upon letters written between the three.

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Adultery was so commonplace amongst the nobility, but still there was a warped code of honor. The wife would not take a lover until an heir was produced. Once she accomplished that feat, Georgiana sought her lovers.

No such rules of course existed for the men, and the duke was purported to have had Lady Jersey as one of his many lovers.

Scandalous, no?

No one really understood the nature of the relationships between Bess, the duke and the duchess. Bess herself had many affairs outside of the duke, yet she brought her children to live and be raised with his, in his home  The strangest thing is that Georgiana was fine with it. Was she truly a friend to Georgiana, or was she blackmailing her about her gambling debts and sleeping with her husband for his fortune? Or, did the duchess simply not care, because she had no feelings for the duke?

Because of her massive gambling debts there was a time that the duke and duchess lived apart. He was incensed with her spending and her behavior. However his need for an heir pushed aside his pride and they returned to living with each other again. Finally she gave birth to a son.

Georgiana fell in love for the only time in her life with Charles, Earl Grey (of the tea fame) and to her horror, discovered she was pregnant. When the duke found out he threatened her with divorce. He also threatened her with never seeing her three other children unless she gave up both Grey and their child. She agreed and went abroad and gave birth to a girl. Grey’s parent’s raised her and she never acknowledged her as her own, although she did visit her from time to time. Her affair with Grey ended, as he was unhappy that she chose to give him and their child u.p

Georgiana died possibly of an eye infection or of a liver ailment when she was 49 years old.

The duke married Bess Foster and had the blessing of Georgiana before she died. He and Bess had no legitimate issue. He died at 62.

Georgiana’s son, known as Hart, became known as The Bachelor Duke” because he never married. He intended to marry but she married another.

Here are some of the various people

The Duchess and Bess Foster

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Charles, Earl Grey

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Hart, The Bachelor Duke-6th Duke of Devonshire

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Review-Sophie Jordan’s How To Lose a Bride in One Night

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What woman wouldn’t want to marry a duke? Become a duchess and have the whole world at your feet.

Sounds pretty darn good, now doesn’t it?

Well it does to me!

And in Sophie Jordan’s wonderful new release, How to Lose a Bride in One Night, that is what Annalise Hadley thinks she’s achieved. The handsome Duke of Bloodsworth asked her, of the the eligible woman in London to be his duchess. Even though she wasn’t pretty, and her father was a commoner. (Albeit an incredibly wealthy commoner)

And then there was the matter of her limp, from a broken leg that had never healed correctly.

But Bloodsworth was kind considerate and told her none of it mattered. That he wanted her and he intended to marry her.

And they did, and their wedding night was to be a romantic one, spent on the water.

Until….

No I’m not going to tell you what happens

But meet Owen Crawford, the Earl of McDowell who still hasn’t been able to reconcile that he has returned from war and life moved on.  His brother married Owens childhood best friend and they had a baby. Owen might have cared for her as more than just a friend. Not to mention his other brother had died in that same war.

He had become a man he didn’t recognize. Lost, cut off from people, even his family, no matter how they tried to include him. And the nightmares of what he’d done halfway around the world. the death the killing.

He was better off alone.

But Owen was a protector and while he is traveling he spots a lump lying halfway in the river. A bedraggled bundle that turns out to be a body.

The body of a young woman. His protective instincts kick in and he scoops her up and runs into a camp of gypsies. They take the two of them in and help Anna (as she prefers to be called) heal.

You see, Anna doesn’t want to go back to her husband so she pretends not to know who she is. That she’s a duchess. That she’s married.

Instead, she recuperates with the help of Owen. He is drawn to her but doesn’t think he deserves a decent woman, because of what he did in the war. They can’t deny the growing attraction to each other and need one another to help heal their inner demons. He thinks to teach her to protect herself then send her away, but he can’t.

However, secrets will always come out, and when a confrontation with Bloodsworth occurs, Annalise is no longer the shy quiet bride

Owen learns that the heart wants, what the heart wants. And he wants Annalise.

This is a continuation of the Forgotten Princesses series, and it is a wonderful read. Annalise is a very likeable heroine and Owen is a hero you just want to alternatively hug and then shake some sense into.

Sophie Jordan has another winner! I highly recommend this book! I received this book as part of my participation as an Avon Addict.


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The lovely Christy English is here today, discussing her inspirations, little known facts about Love on a Midsummer Night and the fabulous new cover for her next book!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome back Christy English. I had Christy on here when I first began this blog. She was one of the first authors I “met” through the magic of the internet (of course) and she’s one of the loveliest people I have the pleasure of knowing. Even if I’ve never met her face to face! But she promised, the next time she comes to New York, we are going out for pizza!—Or High Tea!

Christy has two wonderful books out , based on her Shakespeare In Love series, so let’s find out what’s been happening with some of our favorite characters.

Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for hosting me  I love being on your blog.

Are you inspired by the Shakespearean plays, and work the story around them, or do you have the story in mind and then discover the play which most accurately interprets your story?

 

What a great question. With the first novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, the characters told me their story, and about the third draft I realized that I was writing a version of The Taming of the Shrew. With the next two books, I decided what play I meant to focus on, then I drifted off into the characters’ world, and only to bring myself back to the spirit of the play in the end. That’s why I worked so many dreams and dream imagery into LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT. Though there are no literal fairies cavorting through my book, and no magic, I still wanted to capture the essence of the play. And actually, if true love isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

* Who is the one character in your book who has been speaking the loudest to you, as in “Write My Story.”

Angelique was very patient with me, but the whole time I was writing books one and two, I could hear her delicate foot tapping as she waited for her turn. And she got it. MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK, coming out in February, finally gives her a man who can handle her strength without running away.

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* Tell us a few facts about Pembroke and Arabella that we may not know, but give us some insight into their characters.

 

Pembroke is a man who lost everything: his country, the love of his life, his family, all at the age of 18, when Arabella left him. He went abroad to fight Napoleon, only to discover that he simply could not manage to get killed. Anthony always saved his life, and then he saved Anthony’s, and once that bond was forged, it was unbreakable. Whether as a friend or a lover, Pembroke is a man who loves deeply, passionately, and forever.

Arabella is the kind of woman who has a quiet strength. She survived her childhood in her father’s dark and violent house, only to be married against her will at the age of 17 to a 60 year old man. She endured that marriage, but once her husband died, she decided that she did not want to simply endure her life any longer. She wanted to live with joy. Even if she hadn’t rekindled her love with Pembroke, she would have found a way to live with joy.

* Can we have a sneak peek into MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK?

 

The third book was the most fun to write, I think because it was such a joy to see Angelique finally meet her match. She is a cynical woman who secretly hides a soft heart, and when she finds a man who can love her for who she is, her strengths and weaknesses both, it is a wonderful thing to see.

The other reason I enjoyed writing MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK is the fun byplay between Angelique and her sea captain. Like Beatrice and Benedict in the play Much Ado About Nothing, these two verbally spar as part of their love play, and it was a lot of fun to listen in.

* I sensed that Angelique still had unresolved feelings for Anthony, is that something that is dealt with in “Much Ado?”

It’s funny. When I started book three, I knew that Angelique did indeed have unresolved feelings for Anthony. I was shocked to find out as I wrote the third book that he also has unresolved feelings for her. It’s interesting to watch Anthony react to Angelique’s new man, as he does in MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK. But Angelique’s man can hold his ground, and then some, even with Anthony. And that’s saying something.

Speaking of sneak peaks, I want to offer you the first real showing of the cover for MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK…this is the first time I’ve revealed it on a blog, even my own, and I am so happy it can be here on your site.

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Thank you so  much for this treat!

Um Hello…Wow! That is one fabulous cover, Christy! I’ve always loved the beautiful gowns, but I wonder what is it that draws my eyes to Jack’s book. Hmmm. Let’s just stare at it for a while and maybe I can come up with an idea!!

Thanks so much for being here and sharing these little tidbits with us.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christy’s website


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Back Again-Whip out those Excerpts!

Yes it is that time of the week again. time for you to whip out and share your 500 word or less excerpt, (PG-13 please). Post your buy links and beautiful covers. Or, post your Work in Progress! I’ve been writing and revising but I’ll give the opening of my WIP.

Hope had yet to be beaten out of eighteen-year-old Lady Victoria Aldridge. She still believed true love could be found on the dance floors and within the overheated ballrooms of the ton. She dared to dream of her own happily ever after, like the ending of the fairy-tales she read to her sisters when they were younger.

With nervous anticipation, she tugged at the skirts of her pale pink muslin ballgown, as Viscount Fairley escorted her to the floor for their dance. All through the bowing and curtsying, the intricate steps and the sway of the music, Victoria led herself to believe perhaps this man might be the one who could save her. Like the stories of old, she wanted to believe true love conquered all.

At each and every dance throughout the Season, when her partner placed his hand upon her arm she recoiled, shrinking away from him.  Tonight she made a special effort, willing herself to accept his hands and the closeness of his body. To relax and enjoy the dance.

Her brave attempt remained a futile dream.

No matter how brief the contact, when the viscount touched her during the dance moves, even through her satin gloves and his, it took all her strength not to flinch, or pull away. She wanted to shriek with frustration.

How was she to meet a man and fall in love, if she couldn’t bear to have him touch her?


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Scandalous Couples of the Regency-Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron

Though their affair lasted less than six months, it was the source of legend, a love affair that even two hundred years later, still has people talking. Everyone who has studied poetry and literature, be it in high school or college, knows of Lord Byron. He was the source of many women’s dreams during the Regency for his poetry and his brooding, sulky beauty,

It should be noted that he was born with a club foot and was attracted to both men and women. That didn’t stop all of England from their fascination with his life.

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What do we know of his most famous lover-Lady Caroline Lamb? The lady had a most interesting, yet troubled life. Her father was the Earl of Bessborough and her mother was the sister of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, a scandalous woman in her own right. Her mother who suffered from emotional problems all her life, couldn’t handle the equally emotional Caroline and sent her to live with a servant in Italy, for the first six years of her life, Caroline had no formal education, yet she was surprisingly well read and loved to discuss poetry, and literature. Upon her return, she lived with her aunt, the duchess for the next 15 years of her life, until her marriage at the age of twenty. She complained until that point, she lived in veritable isolation, for her aunt was very overprotective of her, and the family doctor warned that she should be kept away from anything that might stir passion or excitement. Such as reading and writing poetry. She failed to listen to the advice.

Her marriage to William Lamb, heir to Viscount Melbourne, was a relatively quiet one, although she had to deal with the death of several of their children as well as raising their only child who had emotional issues. Lamb did care for her, but she was a restless woman and he allowed her freedom, which may be the reason why she was attracted to Lord Byron. At first, she refused an introduction, not liking the fact that he was the center of groups of fawning women. She called him  “Mad Bad and Dangerous To Know” .

It was after reading his poem, Childe Harold I, that she wrote him an anonymous letter, praising his passion, his beauty and his soul.

Lord George Gordon Byron was born in Scotland, inheriting his English title at the age of ten. The title came with an estate, but no money for its upkeep. His family also had no money and the estate fell into disrepair, and his debts mounted. As a young man he wrote poetry that had been denigrated as obscene and was burned and later, poetry that was more mature (although written before he turned twenty) that was dedicated to a man whom Byron was reported to have been in love with.  After he received several scathingly negative reviews of his work, he escaped his overwhelming poverty by taking a Grand Tour of Europe, and the Mediterranean. There he could explore not only his poetic freedom, but sexual freedom as well. He stayed in Greece and Turkey, composing the first two cantos of Childe Harold.

He returned to England and once Childe Harold  was published he became famous, almost overnight, taking his place among the London aristocrats. He used his position in the House of Lords to talk about Social Reform,

It was in that atmosphere that he met Caroline Lamb. Later on he would deny it, but when they first met and began their affair, their obsession with each other was mutual. He wanted her as much as she wanted him. The passion was intense and open, yet it burned only for a short while, at least for Caroline.

She wrote him scores of letters and poems of her own but Byron was warned not to answer them so as not to cause a scandal. At dances, she was not invited to, she would wait in the street for him. If they were together, he could not dance due to his club foot, but she would sit with him.

But for Byron, she was just one of a long line of women (and men). He also had an affair with Percy Shelley’s sister in law and was rumored to be the father of her child. (Or it could’ve been Shelley’s). Because for Byron, the thrill was in the chase and conquest, after several months his interest began to fade in her and he broke off the affair.

Unfortunately for  Byron, Caroline did not go gently into the night. She turned into somewhat of a stalker for want of a better word. At one point they planned to elope and she dressed as a page boy to come to his house. After Byron was persuaded not to run off with her, Caroline refused to leave, picked up a knife and began stabbing at herself. Finally, Byron was able to calm her down and send her home.

The final straw occurred when she sent him her pubic hair in an envelope. (No you cannot make this stuff up people.) After all the scandalous behavior, she kept threatening again to run off with Byron. Her father in law, Viscount Melbourne, wanted her to send her to Ireland, and called her bluff, telling her Byron didn’t want her anymore. Melbourne contacted Byron to go to her and tell her how he felt.

Byron told her to leave England and go to Ireland with her husband. They did, but only stayed several months. Caroline treasured the final letter of Byron to her, which sounded more like a man still in love, than a man who was secretly relieved his troublesome lover was out of the picture and could now say whatever he wanted:

“My dearest Caroline, – If tears which you saw and know I am not apt to shed, – if the agitation in which I parted from you – if all I have said and done, and am still but too ready to say and do, have not sufficiently proved what my real feelings are, and must ever be towards you, my love, I have no other proof to offer… You know I would with pleasure give up all here and all beyond the grave for you, and in refraining from this, must my motives be misunderstood? I care not who knows this, what use is made of it…. I was an am yours freely and most entirely, to obey, to honor, love, – and fly with you when, where, and how you yourself might and may determine.”

Of course he began another affair almost immediately after she left.

When she returned to London, Byron had already taken up with another woman who was a friend of Caroline’s, Jane, Countess of Oxford. Byron and Caroline did meet several times in public and were civil to each other. Until that is he decided to marry. At that point she would show up at his house unannounced, write him and his ex lover letters and follow him at a ball they attended together, grabbing a knife and cutting herself once again. His wife, Anne Isabella Noel Byron (the lady had quite an story involving her names and inheritance, for anyone interested). She was a prim, intellectual woman, not the sort one would’ve thought Byron would be interested in, but it only made him most anxious to have her, after she refused his suit over and over. They were married by special license. The marriage was troubled from the start-Byron was heavily in debt, drank and had several extra marital affairs.  The couple had a daughter, Ada, who grew up to be a brilliant mathematician, Ada Lovelace (she was the Countess of Lovelace, but everyone called her Ada Lovelace)

Byron’s wife sued him for divorce,, claiming his extra-marital affairs, including the one with Caroline. She spoke with Caroline Lamb and took notes, using her statements against Byron in court. she also accused him of incest with his half-sister and sodomy.

Caroline’s health grew increasingly precarious. She wrote her own novel, “Glenarvon” which was based on Byron and drew him in a very poor light. When she found out he died, she wanted to know his last words. Byron died when he was thirty six.

She and her husband separated but were still close until she died. She was forty two years old.

Her husband later would become Prime Minister under Queen Victoria.

This was his sister, Augusta Leigh

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These were his other lovers, Clare Clairmont and Jane, Countess of Oxford:

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This was his wife, Anne Isabella

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Her are some letters written by Byron

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Here is the printed cover for Childe Harold

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The letter Caroline Lamb wrote to Byron about Childe Harold

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Review-Laura Lee Guhrke’s “When the Marquess Met His Match”

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I’ve always loved Ms. Guhrke’s books. I’ve read her Abandoned at the Altar series, her Girl Bachelor series and her stand alones, like Guilty Pleasures (Love this one) and His Every Kiss (OK I LOVE this one too!) so when I found out she as an Avon writer and would have a chance to read and review her books I was very psyched. I received this ARC of When the Marquess Met His Match and right away I was hooked.  To tell you how much I enjoyed the book, I read it on a holiday where I couldn’t eat or drink and I still couldn’t put it down. It sucked me in and I finished it in one day.

We start out with the premise of Lady Belinda Featherstone, an American and widow. Snubbed in America as being nouveau riche, she looked to England to find a titled lord and love.  She married a man who never loved her, but rather loved her fortune, which he was quick to run through.  Her hopes and dreams for a loving marriage to an English peer were dashed as he rarely bedded her and died in the arms of his mistress.  After his death she then befriended many of the rich American heiresses who in reality did come to England late in the nineteenth century to marry English peers who needed their fortunes.

Belinda made several successful matches and a young girl who was very dear to her, Rosalie, had now come to England to meet and marry an English lord. At this time, Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge returned to England from carousing about the continent to find that his father, the Duke of Landsdowne, was cutting him off unless he married well. And married the woman he picked out for him.  Nichloas and his father never got along as his father sought to control every aspect of his life, including setting Nicholas up to compromise a woman so he wouldn’t marry the woman he loved, a woman the Duke deemed unworthy. Nick’s life’s ambition became to do the opposite of what his father wanted.

This story is a somewhat different romance, as we have a rake who falls for the woman and has to fight for her love. Belinda was hurt so badly by her husband she doesn’t know who or what to trust.  She fights her feelings for Nicholas, and he merely bides his time, proving that he loved her.

I loved Nicholas. He started off as a devil may care rogue, but hid a heart of gold and a sensitive nature. Belinda took a little more time to warm up to , but she had been hurt so badly by her husband I understood her reluctance to give her heart away.

You will love this sweet, sexy and heartwarming romance. The ending is wonderful. you are rooting for the two of them against the Duke right to the end, and there is a great set-up for the next book.

Laura Lee Guhrke has a winner!


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Yes, It’s Back…Time For Whip It Out Wednesday-Post Your Excerpts!

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Ah, I bet you all thought I’d forgotten. Or relegated it to the little blog posts in the sky.

Not on your life!

So dear authors, published and pre-published, come share your 500 words excerpts of your release, your WIP, (PG-13 please) and included your buylinks, covers, all the good stuff!. i know so many of you have fantastic new releases (or about to be released). We want to see them!

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