Monday, 26 September 2011

My fascination with the past - guest post by Beth Trissel + Giveaway

I have always loved history. It was one of my favourite classes in school and I also loved reading history themed novels. In my opinion one of the most fascinating time period and historical event is the French Revolution. Not only was it a time of constant change, but it is amazing that more than 200 years later we are still living and experiencing some of its legacies (parlamentarism, democracy, etc.). Please welcome Beth Trissel who is here today to tell you about her new historical romance release Into the Lion's Heart, which of course you might have guessed is set at the time of the French Revolution!


My fascination with the past and those who’ve gone before us is the ongoing inspiration behind my work. Most of my historical and light paranormal romances are set in America with the exception of Somewhere My Lass which includes the Scottish Highlands. In my first English historical romance, Into the Lion’s Heart, I more deeply explored my British heritage.

Set in 1789 England, the story opens with the hero, Captain Dalton Evans (fought in the American Revolution) journeying to Dover to meet the ship carrying a distant cousin, Mademoiselle Sophia Devereux, who’s fleeing the French Revolution. Pause here to note all the research the revolution took, not to mention Georgian England in general, Cornwall in particular, rum smuggling, stage coach travel and sailing in the late 18th century... Back to Dalton who’s irked with his mission, not only because he finds it tedious, but he resents the French, partly as a result of their aid to the Americans during the war and some of the Frenchmen he fought during that lost cause. Plus he thinks French aristocrats are arrogant. However, the young woman he rescues from the sinking ship is nothing like he expects and rocks his world.

Even though the story is a short, it took as much research as a full novel, during which I discovered this is a fascinating time period on both sides of the channel. I’m already hooked on The Scarlet Pimpernel, having read all the books in that series several times and watched every film version (ask about my favorites) and am drawn to other novels and productions set in this era, such as the rich epic series, Poldark.
And my research into the explosion across the English Channel made me aware of how many émigrés fled France during the initial year of the revolution. Many were aristocrats, including the king’s own brothers. Most all of the nobility who did not flee while they still could were guillotined during the subsequent reign of terror. Among key events in 1789 that caused nobles to become émigrés: July 17, the beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Insurrection and the spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout France. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux.

The Women's March on Versailles, one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. “The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the royal palace at Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace and in a violent confrontation successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and the entire French Assembly to return with them to Paris.”

King Louis XV1 and his queen Marie Antoinette never successfully escaped Paris and were later imprisoned and beheaded.

From Women’s History: “Reportedly planned by Marie Antoinette, the escape of the royal couple from Paris was stopped at Varennes on October 21, 1791. Imprisoned with the king, Marie Antoinette continued to plot. She hoped for foreign intervention to end the revolution and free the royal family. She urged her brother, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, to intervene, and supported a declaration of war against Austria in April, 1792, which she hoped would result in the defeat of France.”

What are some of your favorite historical romance settings?

And now, a bit about Into the Lion’s Heart which kicks off the new historical line the Wild Rose Press is debuting called Love Letters, the idea being that a letter must be responsible for bringing the hero and heroine together.

As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he's conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn't immune to her artless charm, either.

Cecile Beaumont didn't choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn't expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.

Into the Lion’s Heart is available in digital download from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon kindle, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.


Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles.

You can find me at my website, blog, Twitter and Facebook.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Beth is giving away an ebook copy of Into the Lion's Heart to a lucky commenter!

All you have to do is:

1) leave a comment/question for Beth or answer Beth's question: What are some of your favorite historical romance settings?
2) leave me a way to contact you if you win (e-mail, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends 3 October 2011!

Good luck!


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