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Writing Regency England is a non-fiction book aimed at authors, but some readers may also be interested.
The Marstone Series
A duelling viscount, a courageous poor relation and an overbearing lord–just a few of the memorable cast of characters you will meet in the Marstone series. From windswept Devonshire, to Georgian London and revolutionary France, true love is always on the horizon and shady dealings often afoot.
The series is named after Will, who becomes the 9th Earl of Marstone. He appears in all the stories, although often in a minor role. Each book can be read as a standalone story, but readers of the series will enjoy meeting characters from previous books.
(Although the 9th Earl appears in The Mrs MacKinnons , he has a very minor role, so that book is not really part of the series).
Click here for details of the books.
King George’s Man
Nell works hard as an unpaid cook in her uncle’s inn on the lonely, windswept moors. She dreams of something more; a good marriage might be too much to hope for, but perhaps she could find employment in a place less miserable than this one.
When Nell overhears a secret tryst between her cousin and the highwayman known as Gentleman Jones, she finds there is more than romance on their minds. Something that could also get her into trouble with the law. She decides to investigate.
Before long, she finds herself in a dangerous predicament.
Lieutenant Toby Bourne is on leave in England before a posting to the Colonies. The local magistrate recruits Toby to help him investigate a brutal highway robbery that resulted in the murder of three men. He starts his investigation at the lonely inn on the moors.
When he discovers Nell where she shouldn’t be, she has to work hard to convince him she is not in league with the criminals. Once he accepts her story, they begin to devise a trap to catch the highwayman. But it won’t be easy. His many accomplices are at the ready to stop both Toby and Nell, by any means possible.
As they work together, Nell is attracted to the handsome lieutenant, but knows marriage is unlikely for someone in her lowly position. Meanwhile, Toby begins to admire the clever and honest Nell. He has always thought that a soldier should not marry—will his feelings for Nell change his mind?
King George’s Man is a tale of adventure with romance at its heart. It was inspired by ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes, but the story is not the same as the one in the poem.
The Curlew’s Call
Bound for home after a family funeral, Ellie’s mood is matched by the stormy weather. Her husband does not desire her, and now there is no chance for her to have a family of her own. She feels valued only for her usefulness to others.
When the stagecoach crashes, Captain Tom Allerby stops to help the passengers to a nearby inn for safety.
Ellie finds it easy to talk to the captain, and also senses something else: a spark of attraction that she has never felt for a man before. And he desires her, as her husband never did.
They share one night together, and do not expect to see each other again. But neither can forget their brief time together.
Especially when Ellie finds she is with child.
Two years later, Tom returns to England to recover from a battle wound. This is his chance to find Ellie, who he has never forgotten.
When the two meet, they realise that the attraction they felt has not faded. But Tom believes that Ellie is out of reach, while Ellie’s hard-won contentment with her life is replaced with yearning for what might have been.
Is there a way for Ellie and Tom to be together?
Review from Mary Kingswood’s blog.
The Mrs MacKinnons
Major Matthew Southam returns from India, hoping to put the trauma of war behind him and forget his past. Instead, he finds a derelict estate and a family who wish he’d died abroad.
Charlotte MacKinnon married without love to avoid her father’s unpleasant choice of husband. Now a widow with a young son, she lives in a small Cotswold village with only the money she earns by her writing.
Matthew is haunted by his past, and Charlotte is fearful of her father’s renewed meddling in her future. After a disastrous first meeting, can they help each other find happiness at last?
Download book club discussion questions here (pdf): The Mrs MacKinnons Book Club Questions
Review from Mary Kingswood’s blog
An Embroidered Spoon
Can love bridge a class divide?
After refusing every offer of marriage that comes her way, Isolde Farrington is packed off to a spinster aunt in Wales until she comes to her senses.
Rhys Williams, there on business, is turning over his uncle’s choice of bride for him, and the last thing he needs is to fall for an impertinent miss like Izzy – who takes Rhys for a yokel. But while a man may choose his wife, he cannot choose who he falls in love with.
Izzy’s new surroundings make her look at life, and Rhys, afresh. As she realises her early impressions were mistaken, her feelings about him begin to change.
But when her father, Lord Bedley, discovers the situation in Wales is not what he thought, and that Rhys is in trade, Izzy is hurriedly returned to London. Will a difference in class keep them apart?
Can broken promises ever be forgiven?
Lieutenant Philip Kempton and Anna Tremayne fall in love during one idyllic summer fortnight.
When he’s summoned to rejoin his ship, Anna promises to wait for him. While he’s at sea, she marries someone else.
Four years later, he is a captain and she is a widow. When the two are forced together at a Christmas party, they have a chance to reconcile.
Can they forgive each other the past and rekindle their love?
A Regency Romance Novella.
A soldier returns to keep a promise—but it will prove more difficult than he imagined.
Lieutenant Jonathan Lewis is devastated when his best friend, Fred, is fatally injured on the battlefield. He willingly promises to take care of Fred’s sister and mother—after all, he has been quietly in love with Fred’s sister, Meg, for years.
After a gruelling retreat across Spain, Jon finally returns to find England in the grip of a snowy winter. Thoughts of Meg have kept him going, but when he reaches her home, it is not Meg who meets him at the door but her cousin Rupert. Jon is devastated to learn that Rupert and Meg are to be wed in two days’ time.
Despite Rupert’s efforts to keep them apart, Jon manages to talk to Meg, who does not want to marry her cousin. Meg suggests that she would be safe from Rupert’s threats if she married Jon instead.
Without hesitation, Jon sets off through the icy conditions and deep snow to get a marriage licence before Rupert can force Meg to marry him. But does Meg only want him for her safety, or could she love him, too? And can he make it back in time?
5* review on Mary Kingswood’s blog.
Marstone Series Books
A Question of Duty
Returning home from his post in the Colonies, Captain Jack Stanlake finds himself a reluctant escort for Mrs Harper and her two daughters. Over the course of the Atlantic voyage, he finds himself taken with Miss Clara Harper.
Mrs Harper is set on finding husbands for her daughters—but that is not what Clara wants. Doing the bidding of a husband does not appeal in the least; not when there is a world out there she wants to discover. But after spending time with Jack, her feelings on the matter change.
There is, of course, a problem. Jack is the second son of the Earl of Marstone and Clara is a merchant’s niece. For one of his background, marrying into trade just isn’t done. Both must move on. Clara busies herself with her new life in London. Jack tries to push his feelings aside. But neither can forget the other.
To Jack’s dismay, his brother has arranged a suitable marriage for him in his absence—one that will advance his family’s status and prestige. His duty to the family demands he accept this union, but he cannot dismiss Clara from his heart and mind. Will he refuse his duty and marry for love?
A Question of Duty is a prequel novella to the Marstone Series, taking place seventeen years before Sauce for the Gander. While it’s perfect for fans of the series, it can also be read as a standalone story.
5* review on Mary Kingswood’s blog.
Marstone Series Box Set
The four full-length novels in the series (described below) are also available as a box set for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. No paperback – the combined book is far too long for that!
Sauce for the Gander
Book 1 of The Marstone Series, available on Kindle and paperback, or read free on Kindle Unlimited. Also available as an audio book.
A duel. An ultimatum. An arranged marriage.
Will, Viscount Wingrave, whiles away his time gambling and bedding married women, thwarted in his wish to serve his country by his controlling father.
News that his errant son has fought a duel with a jealous husband is the last straw for the Earl of Marstone. He decrees that Will must marry. The earl’s eye lights upon Connie Charters, whose position as unpaid housekeeper for a poor but socially ambitious father hides her true intelligence.
Connie wants a husband who will love and respect her, not a womaniser and a gambler. When her conniving father forces the match, she has no choice but to agree.
Will and Connie meet for the first time at the altar. As they settle into their new home on the wild coast of Devonshire, the young couple find they have more in common than they thought. But there are dangerous secrets that threaten both them and the nation.
Can Will and Connie overcome the dark forces that conspire against them and find happiness together?
A Winning Trick
A 20,000 word novella, an extended epilogue for Sauce for the Gander, set three years later. The Kindle version is free, exclusively for readers on my mailing list (join here if you’re not already on it). A paperback edition is available if you don’t like mailing lists, or just prefer a ‘real’ book.
This novella isn’t intended to be read as a standalone story, and won’t make much sense unless you’ve read Sauce for the Gander.
A Suitable Match
Book 2 of The Marstone Series, available on Kindle and paperback, or read free on Kindle Unlimited.
Both are seeking a suitable match. Just not with each other.
Lady Isabella is bound for London, in search of a husband. While excited at being free of her father’s ruthless control, her joy is overshadowed by knowing her aunt will arrange a match that will benefit her father. His requirements are for a title and influence—not the things a young girl dreams of.
All is not lost. Bella is no stranger to subterfuge, and she knows her brother will help her avoid an unwelcome union. But when he is called away on urgent business he asks Nick Carterton to stand in for him.
Nick, a reserved scholar who relishes the quiet life, has avoided marriage for years but is finally giving in to his father’s request he seek out a bride.
Keeping a headstrong miss in check is not the way he’d choose to spend his time. Instead of looking for a wife, he finds himself accompanying Bella on a series of escapades around the city. Meanwhile, Bella’s eye lights on a totally unsuitable young man. It seems neither is set for matrimony any time soon.
A more than suitable match is right in front of them… if only they could see it.
A companion novel to A Suitable Match telling some of the same events from the point of view of Bella’s maid. Available on Kindle and paperback, or read free on Kindle Unlimited.
Molly Simons can’t wait to see the world beyond Marstone Park, hoping for excitement and even romance. But is she ready for what she will find?
As maid to Lady Isabella, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Marstone, a trip to London feels like an adventure to Molly. Footman Jem Langton will be going too. He’s a favourite of hers, but unfortunately he doesn’t seem to return her feelings.
Molly and Jem have to work together to help Lady Isabella find a husband she truly desires, rather than be forced into a match of her father’s choosing. A misunderstanding spoils Molly’s pleasure in being with Jem, and Lady Isabella’s kind heart leads them all into trouble. Soon, Molly and Jem find their positions and future at risk.
Amongst the chaos, is there a chance for the two to finally understand each other and find love?
Molly’s Tale can be read as a standalone romance. However it is a parallel story to A Suitable Match (Book 2 of the Marstone Series) and is probably more enjoyable if you have already read that book. Expect to see a few familiar faces and get a further glimpse into the happenings during and just after A Suitable Match.
Playing with Fire
Book 3 of The Marstone Series, available on Kindle and paperback, or read free on Kindle Unlimited.
Phoebe yearns for a love match like her parents’. Revolutionary France is not where she expected to find it.
Phoebe’s future holds little more than the prospect of a tedious season of balls and routs, forever in the shadow of her glamorous cousin and under the critical eye of her shrewish aunt. She yearns for a useful life, and a love match like her parents’, if such a thing could ever be possible for an unwanted, poor relation.
But first she has to endure the hazards of a return home through revolutionary France—a nation suddenly at war with the English. Her aunt’s imperious insensitivity soon arouses a suspicion that quickly develops into mortal danger. Can a stranger encountered on the road prove to be their unlikely salvation?
Alex uses many names, and is used to working alone. A small act of kindness leads him to assist Phoebe’s party, even though it might come at the expense of his own, vital mission in France. Ignoring his own peril, he is willing to risk all in the hope of getting them safely back to England.
Unexpectedly, as he and Phoebe face many dangers together, he finds his affections growing towards the resourceful and quick-witted red-head, despite their hopeless social differences. Alex dismisses the possibility of a match between them, not realizing that she feels the same way about him.
Before they can admit to their affection for each other, they must face the many difficulties that lie ahead.
Winner of the Book of the Year 2021 from Chill with a Book.
The Fourth Marchioness
Book 4 of The Marstone Series, available on Kindle and paperback, or read free on Kindle Unlimited.
He’s looking for a suitable wife. She’s looking for a traitor. It could be a most unusual courtship.
James, Marquess of Harlford, wants nothing more than to be left alone with his scientific research. Unfortunately his mother is determined to see him married and with an heir to secure the succession. Faced with a house party of her selected candidates, he finds himself drawn towards the least likely─and most thoroughly unsuitable─of the guests. Mama will be livid.
While the other ladies are fluttering their eyelashes, Alice Bryant is sensible, kind and intelligent. Although he knows little else about her, James decides that Alice would do nicely as his wife.
For Alice, an out-of-work governess, taking up a position as a lady’s companion would be ideal—if that was all the post entailed. Espionage, no matter how righteous the cause, sits ill on her conscience.
Alice does not wish to believe that the seemingly honourable and increasingly attentive Lord Harlford is capable of treason, but it’s her duty to find out if he really is selling secrets to the enemy.
They could make an ideal match… if not for the espionage. Can love prosper, or will deceit and subterfuge carry the day?
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