A Peeress in her own right

NA Front cover Return of Scandal's Son

My new book, Return of Scandal’s Son, is out now.

It is the first of two linked books published under the title Men About Town, Traders in Temptation. The second book, Saved by Scandal’s Heir, will be out in the first half of 2016.

The heroine of Return of Scandal’s Son, Eleanor, Baroness Ashby, is that rarity: a peeress in her own right.

The earliest English baronies were created by a writ of summons to Parliament (rather than by letters patent as later became the norm). The remainders of these baronies by writ devolve upon the ‘heirs-general’ rather than being limited to male heirs, meaning an only daughter can inherit the barony (but not if there is any male progeny, even if he is younger than her). It’s interesting that, if there are two or more daughters the eldest does not inherit, but the title will fall into abeyance until the co-heirs can come to an honourable agreement as to which of them will claim the title. The claimant must then petition The Crown to have the abeyance terminated.

I really enjoyed writing about Eleanor – she is loyal, courageous and independent but her outer confidence masks a deep insecurity at her core. She is also impulsive at times, and I knew she needed a resilient hero. Enter Matthew:  strong and honourable, but with a secret in his past that could easily damage Eleanor’s determination to be fully accepted by Society and to gain admittance to Almack’s Assembly Rooms.

I thought it would be fun to see how a proud man like Matthew would cope with falling for a wealthier, higher-ranking woman than him.

If you have read Mary and the Marquis you might like to know that Eleanor is the cousin of Lucas, Marquis of Rothley. Lucas’s mother, Lucy, is Eleanor’s chaperone, and his younger brother, Lord Hugo Alastair, also makes an appearance.

You can read the first chapter of Return of Scandal’s Son by following the Books tab at the top of this page.

Available for purchase now:

  • Amazon.co.uk – click here
  • Amazon.com    – click here
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I also wrote a book this summer!

In my last blog, I was all set to tell you what I have been up to all summer (writing-wise, I mean). Instead, it turned into a confession about my tendency to procrastinate and a (very) late snippet about the RNA summer conference.

So, back to the book I was writing, which is the second of two linked books published under the tagline Men About Town, Traders in Temptation… (shameless plug – the first, Return of Scandal’s Son, is out in October. Read the first chapter here).

There were times I despaired of finishing in time for the July 1st deadline. It’s strange, because it was a book I wanted to write. I knew the set up, and where the characters had come from, so in theory it should have flowed. It did not. I wonder if the mistake I made was in trying to plan it too much. I like the idea of planning – it seems the sensible, grown-up, professional thing to do – but when the incident I had planned to come towards the end of the book insisted on taking place in the middle, I decided to abandon the plan and follow my instincts as I have in the past and, finally, the story began to emerge. I managed to hit my deadline and sent it off to my editor with much trepidation. I was so close to the story by then I couldn’t view it with any objectivity and I didn’t have the time to allow it to ‘stew’ before the final read through.

Fortunately, my editor loved it. Inevitably, there were revisions.

Now, just to continue with the ‘this book did not behave as I expected it to’ theme – I looked at the revisions and thought ‘they’re not so bad’. Normally, I read the revisions and have a little cry and a little swear before knuckling down and discovering they’re better than I feared. These turned out to be trickier than I anticipated. The simple request to change the timings between two scenes quite early on in the book proved a real challenge, with changes of points of view and all that entails. There was also a new scene to write in the middle of the book and an epilogue to add, as well as the usual minor queries. I was asked if I could get the revisions back to my editor before she went on holiday, giving me a little under two weeks to get them done.

I started them in a state of calm confidence. By the time I finished them I was a gibbering wreck and my husband was treading very carefully indeed! But, luckily, my editor loved them and so, dear reader, my fourth book is now done and dusted. It is called Saved by Scandal’s Heir, will be out in the first half of 2016, and it will feature some old friends, so watch out for it!