Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Bluestocking Belles Page 1 of 31

Last Belvoir Standing Falls Hard

Long known as the game of love, chess had worked its spell again. Guests at Lady Osbourne’s November house party assure us that a certain very proper earl and a lady deep-dyed and scandal spent much time over the board, and now they are betrothed.

We have to ask what this generation of the Belvoir family is coming to. Known for their deep roots in the English aristocracy, their sobriety their prudence, their good name. Eight hundred years since the first Belvoir was raised to the nobility. Eight hundred yearswithout a touch of scandal. Now the three children of this generation have all chosen—shall we say ‘unlikely’ life partners? And in unusual circumstances.

First, Lady S., widowed twice before she could be wed, settled in spinsterhood (or so we thought) runs away from a houseparty with none other than the Merry Marquis AND HIS BROTHER, and was married to the Earl of S. before sunset the following day. The Earl of S., as readers will recall, was an unlikely choice, being the son of Duke of W. and his Persian wife. This was months before the Committee of Privileges ruled that the young man’s parents were validly married. What, we wondered at the time, was the Earl of H. thinking, allowing his sister to marry a man of mixed blood whose parents’ marriage was in question? Though it all turned out in the end.

Second, Lady J., belle, beauty and bluestocking. The youngest of the three Belvoirs seemed settled as her brother’s hostess and chatelain of whatever house his current diplomatic post required. Then along came Lord J. M. Rakehell. Rogue. Possible card-shark. Known dilettante. Suspected duelist. How did their two worlds even touch? And what did the lady see in rogue? Again, the Earl of H. allowed the match. Colour us mystified. And yet… Lord J. M. is a reformed man, a family man, a devoted husband with eyes for no-one but his wife.

Third, and most surprising of all, the Earl of H. had met, romanced, and married Miss A. F-H., who was abducted from the altar before the eyes of the minister, her groom, and all the congregation, and disappeared from sight for years. Where did she spend these years? Nobody knows, unless she has told the Earl of H.

Ladies and gentlemen all, such matches are not to be held up as examples. It seems, against all the odds, that these couples are happy, an outcome on which no wise person would have wagered. It stands to reason, that they have used up all the luck. The next outrageous match is sure to be a dire failure.

The Husband Gamble in The Wedding Wager

When the pawn becomes Queen, she and the opposing King will both win the game of love

Rilla and Hythe write one another off as all wrong, but when they are drawn together at the countess’s house party, they discover how right such a match could be.

The Wedding Wager

Can Lady Osbourne produce at least one “miracle” match every month for a year and win the wager with her cousin? In fifteen sparkling novellas, fifteen of superb historical romance authors bring their notoriously unmarriageable heroes and heroines to a house party in search of the answer.
Introductory price only 99c

Cousin’s private wager creates a public spectacle–who will win the crown?

Who is the greatest matchmaker of the ton? Lady O. has laid claim to the title, and her cousin Lady S. has challenged her to prove it. Which of them first spoke of this private wager–and the prized family possession that will belong to the winner? We cannot know, but we do know that, since the beginning of the year, all of Society has been abuzz with news from houseparties where Lady O. has been bringing together the the notoriously unmarriageable.

So far, the results have been astounding. People who have sworn off marriage have tied the knot, those who don’t believe in love have fallen to Cupid’s arrow, rogues have reformed, parlour games and contests of skill have turned into games of love.

With seven months to go, the betting is running hot in clubs, salons, drawing rooms, and coffee shops; in high and low places. Can Lady O.’s run of luck continue? Or will even her matchmaking eye fail her, giving the game–and the prize–to her cousin?

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Abducted Bride Seeks New Bridegroom

Miss A.F. had an unsuccessful Season. No surprise, you say, dear reader. Who would want to offer for a woman who jilted her groom at the altar, rode off with a troop of horsemen, and disappeared from sight for three years? Abducted by fairies, say the credulous. Ran off with the gypsies, say others. Fairies or gypsies, the lady’s reputation is non-existent, and one can only marvel at her gall in thinking to appear in Society.

Unsuccessfully, as we say. But the lady is made of strong stuff! She has managed to enveigle her way into one of Lady Osborne’s house parties! Can the noted matchmaker find a husband for such an unlikely candidate? She has a wager with her cousin that she can.

This time, dear reader, we believe she has bitten off more than she can chew!

In other news, the ever proper Earl of H. is attending the same house party. Will he find a bride among Lady Osbourne’s collection of misfits, hoydens, and bluestockings? One thing is certain. Miss A. F. need not apply!

The Wedding Wager

The Boast—pride goeth before the fall…

After facilitating the match of the season, Lady Pandora “Pansy” Osbourne, has boasted that she is the best matchmaker The Ton has ever seen. Always willing to bring her cousin down a peg or two, her cousin, Lady Octavia Sewell insists that was no feat of matchmaking at all, as the couple involved were clearly destined for one another despite Pansy’s meddling. A bitter argument ensues and a dreadful challenge is issued. Pansy must do more than say it… she must prove it.

The terms of the wager are set!

Pansy must produce no less than one match per month between people who have been notoriously unmarriageable—spinsters, bluestockings, rakes and fortune hunters, oh my! But there’s more riding on this than simply her pride! If Pansy loses, she will have to give up her most prized possession—a tiara that belonged to their grandmother will be forfeited into Octavia’s grasping hands.

Published 27 September

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The Husband Gamble

When the pawn becomes Queen, she and the opposing King will both win the game of love

Amaryllis Fernhill fled her wedding to her uncle’s thrice-widowed crony, ruining herself in the eyes of ton. Three years on, she needs a husband to unlock her inheritance—preferably one who wants little to do with the society that has rejected her. Can a countess famous for making unlikely matches make one for her?

The Earl of Hythe needs a countess who will add luster to his family name and support his career as a diplomat and politician in London and the capitals of Europe. But he also wants a wife, a partner, a friend. No one he meets seeks to know the man behind the title. Can the matchmaking countess succeed in finding a perfect lady with a caring heart?

Rilla and Hythe write one another off as all wrong, but when they are drawn together at the countess’s house party, they discover how right such a match could be.

The Duke of Glenmoor is Dead

Numerous witnesses have come forward to the Teatime Tattler with the following rather lurid story making the rounds of London salons and drawing rooms.

First a bit of background. Betting has raged the better part of summer and into autumn about the fate of the Duke of Glenmoor who went missing quite suddenly. Dukes do not, as numerous well-connected people have pointed out, “go missing,” yet this one has. This has led to rampant speculation about his heath, his sanity, and even about his survival.

Tasteless as it is to report, many of these unfortunate bets have come down on the side of the duke’s death by violence, accident, or even, sadly, his own hand. His obvious despondence just before his disappearance, lends credence to the latter. It has been said, however, that dukes do not kill themselves. It isn’t done.

What brings this unpleasantness to our attention today is a new claim. The Honorable Eustace Selwyn came forward at White’s last night with a new assertion. Several witnesses attest that he signed the betting book with the claim that the duke is dead and further that he was killed by his brother. Since said brother, rumored to be deformed and not of sound mind, has long been thought to be dead, this allegation met with disdain and incredulity.

The Honorable Eustace is known to be what one wag called, “a dunderheaded drunken rattle,” and his claims could be easily dismissed but for one fact. Eustace Selwyn had just returned from his home in Dorset, a home that is known to be the neighbor of Mountglen, the duke’s primary seat. He claimed that, while there, he actually observed the brother or a man claiming to be he. Selwyn believes him and asserts that the brother, now calling himself Gideon Kendrick, is not only alive, but much brighter than reported. The Honorable Eustace proposed “cunning,” as the better descriptor. London is not certain what to make of it, but men are lining up on both sides of the bet nonetheless, as young men are prone to do.

***

The not so Honorable Eustace Selwyn appears in Caroline Warfield’s, Duke in All But Name, currently in process. In that story the Duke of Glenmoor has indeed gone missing. He and his brother, Gideon Kendrick, first appeared in The Defiant Daughter, as step sons of the heroine. In that story moral and legal complications regarding the circumstances of their birth came to light.

About The Defiant Daughter

Madelyn assumed marriage as an old man’s ornament would be better than life with her abusive parents. She was wrong.

Now the widowed Duchess of Glenmoor, she wrestles with ugly memories and cultivates a simple life. She is content. At least, she was until her half-brother returned to Ashmead bringing a friend with knowing eyes and coal black hair to capture her thoughts.

Colonel Brynn Morgan’s days as an engineer in his father’s coal mines in Wales are long behind him. With peace come at last and Napoleon gone, he makes a life for himself analyzing the reports about military and naval facilities worldwide for a shadowy government department. What income he has is committed elsewhere. He has nothing to offer a wife, much less a dowager duchess.

More lies between the duchess and the man she wants than money and class. They have personal demons to slay.

Available for purchase or read for free with Kindle Unlimited. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09GL6PT1J/

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Website:   http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WarfieldFellowTravelers

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Retrieving A Truant Husband? Or Falling Into Sin?

Sam, I have a doozy of a story for you this time. You told me the other day that the Truant Earl is back in England, and that you hoped he wasn’t ready to settle down. That man has been good copy for at least decade, even though he hasn’t set foot in the country for almost half as long again. But his lovers, his fights, and all his other adventures have kept your readers entertained ever since we started to write about him.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that–for from settling down–he has taken himself off to a house party. And not just any house party. His lordship has left for a week in the country with none other than Lord S.! That’s right. Lord S. whose house parties are a byword for sin and debauchery. Apparently the two of them were at school together.

The thing is, Sam, that isn’t the story. The Truant Earl’s countess is in London, too. Or she was. Came to collect her husband, found out that he had gone to S.’s party, and took off after him.

Will Lady C. retrieve her husband? How will she know? She hasn’t seen him since their wedding, when they were both all but children. What if she chooses the wrong man? This is, after all, one of S.’s parties! Anything could happen.

Perhaps Lady C. can turn her husband to the paths of righteousness. Or perhaps, just perhaps, she is about to fall down the slippery paths of sinful delight.

I’m getting myself off to the nearby village in the hopes that I can find a few loose tongued servants. More in my next letter.

The Truant Lord Clairmont by Jude Knight

Lady Clairmont goes to a scandalous house party to retrieve her truant husband after his return to England from a nine-year absence. What she discovers is unexpected.

A short story in Sunflower Season a fundraiser collection for Ukraine

SUNFLOWER SEASON is a charity collection featuring stories (some never-been-published and some old favorites) by over 70 — that’s right — SEVENTY of your favorite Historical Romance authors. ALL royalties will be donated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine. This set was released on June 7, 2022 and will only be available for a limited time. Preorder now and enjoy a summer of historical romance!

Featuring novellas, stories and novels by Sabrina Jeffries, Christi Caldwell, Amalie Howard, Virginia Heath, Caroline Lee, Golden Angel, Bree Wolf, Lori Ann Bailey, Nicole Locke, Natasha Blackthorne, Royaline Sing, Lenora Bell, Sabrina Jeffries, Amy Quinton, Janna MacGregor, Annabelle Anders, Rachel Ann Smith, Eva Devon, Sandra Sookoo, Tabetha Waite, Diana Bold, Sadie Bosque, Cheryl Bolen, Erica Monroe, Kate Bateman, Cara Maxwell, Tracy Sumner, Jenna Jaxon, Jane Charles, Eliza Knight, Mariah Stone, Robyn DeHart, Wendy LaCapra, Hildie McQueen, Madeline Martin, Amy Rose Bennett, Ava Bond, Kristin Vayden, Piper Huguley, Fenna Edgewood, Kathryn Le Veque, Caroline Linden, Nancy Yeager, Dawn Brower, Celeste Barclay, Lauren Royal, Michele Pollock Dalton, Glynnis Campbell, Rose Pearson, Erica Ridley, Sydney Jane Baily, Deb Marlowe, Rebecca Paula, Amanda Mariel, Christine Sterling, Ava Stone, Lauren Smith, Sawyer Quinn, Caroline Warfield, Jessica A Clements, Jude Knight, Anna St. Claire, Tamara Gill, Gina Conkle, Charlie Lane, Terri Brisbin, Bronwen Evans, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Merry Farmer, Tammy Andresen, Cecelia Mecca, Meredith Bond, Christine Donovan, Lana Williams, Carrie Lomax, Eve Pendle, Bethany Bennett, Bianca Blythe, Maggie Dallen, Samara Parish, Anna Campbell and more????

Again, ALL proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts. We are not affiliated with any charities but are only doing what we can to provide help for the innocent people who’ve lost so much as a result of this senseless tragedy.

Buy now at your favourite retailer. https://books2read.com/Sunflower-Season-For-Ukraine

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