Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Bluestocking Belles Page 1 of 14

Scandalous Doings in High Places

To the editor, Teatime Tattler

Dear Honoured Sir

It is with the greatest of reluctance that I put pen to paper. I am not, I assure your readers, sir, one to speak ill of my fellows, but I also believe most strongly that we of the highest ranks must set a good example to others.

Sadly, what I have observed with my own eyes leads me to believe that a previous correspondent to your paper has the right of it. One of the highest ladies in the land outside of the Royal Family has, indeed, been led into the most grevious of errors by the kindness of her heart.

Just the other night, I was at the theatre. It was not a memorable occasion to begin with — a very mediocre crowd, and much focused on some actor from the provinces who was making his debut on the London stage. At the interval, however, a vast crowd, all very merry, joined us, which was a great improvement, for what is the point of getting dressed to attend the theatre, if few people see you?

But I digress.

Miss C., a young person (I do not say ‘lady’, though she aspires to such) who currently lives in the household of the great lady I mentioned, was reprimanded — very properly, I might add — by the cousin who is the head of her family, and responded most pertly.

Are these the manners she learns at a ducal table, I ask you?

Perhaps so. You will be shocked — I was shocked, sir — to know that one much closer to the great lady’s heart (though not precisely what a proper gentlewoman would consider family) was also seen behaving scandalously a few days earlier.

I happened to be walking in Hyde Park on one of the first days without snow and fog, and I came across Miss J. G. in the arms of Lord D., who has been heard to wager he will be there to catch the maiden, if maiden she be, when she falls.

Miss J. G., you will know, is said to be the ward of said great lady (though the polite world knows she has no right to be in a ducal household, unless in the most menial — or the most scandalous of positions). It appears she has inherited the appetites of the mother who gave away her virtue to the great lady’s husband.

I interrupted them and they were soon after joined by Miss J. G.’s sister and Lord H. — another scandalous pairing.

Furthermore, the newly minted earl, Lord C., might look to the company that his sister, Lady F., is keeping under the sponsorship of the great lady. As if walking the back alleys of London with only a one-handed footman for protection is not foolish enough, she has now taken up with the Recluse of Cambridge!

Alas. One hears rumours that the great lady’s husband is ailing, and that his ailment is of the type to affect the brain. Perhaps the condition is infectious, for what else can explain such terrible flaws in judgement on the part of a lady we should all look up to.

I am sure you and your readers will join me in my concern over the ruin that encouraging such behaviours will make of public morals. In my own family, moral turpitude had such terrible consequences that my only recourse was to flee my home. Let a public outcry arise before London likewise sinks entirely into the mire.

I remain, most sincerely,

Lady A.

Lady Ashbury, is, of course, having a go at the Duchess of Haverford, patroness of a Ladies’ Society formed to help veterans. She also takes a swipe at the heroines of three of the stories, plus Jessica Grenford, the sister of my heroine, Matilda Grenford.

For more about these stories of love in a time of ice, see our Fire & Frost page, which has blurbs for each story and buy links for most retailers of ebooks. You can also buy Fire & Frost in print from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Lady Asbury appears in my Children of the Mountain King series. She is the wicked sister-in-law of my Earl of Ashbury, the hero of the second book, who is one of the people she is accusing of moral turpitude; safely enough, because he hasn’t ventured from his estate since he recovered from the injury that crippled him to find his wife and brother dead, children sent off to school, and sister-in-law gone.

Has the pugilist found a patroness?

Dear Mr. Clemens,

            Your readers might be interested to peek into the noble world of prizefighting, pugilism and beyond. This reader has too many questions for what is proper and what is right when it comes to the social aspect of athletes. Perhaps your column may help me find the answers I seek.

            If there was ever a champion of hearts, former pugilist “Corinthian” John Arthur could contend for the title. Those who consider themselves amongst The Fancy will recognize the now-unblemished visage of the man from those infamous mills. Just as many of our other pugilistic favorites have gone on to flourish in other professions that don’t require fists, Mr. Arthur has shown prowess with pocket change. For once a pugilist retires, is he not still the ennobled fellow we cheered for, and dare I say, gambled for?

            Gone are his blackened eyes and scraped knuckles. Some say he’s found patrons amongst the Mayfair set. Some say he’s found a patroness.

            Could it be the lovely yet unmatched eldest daughter of Lord L___? Despite her lively figure, she’s so close to being on the shelf that her younger sister must dust her daily! It did not go unnoticed that Mr. Arthur danced with the lady at the private ball of Lady B____.

            Would we cheer such a matching, now that the prizefighter has a home in Marylebone? Is he still the heroic figure he once was, or now that his days of fisticuffs have drawn to a close, we withdraw our favor? As for the lady who seems to have captured his eye, do we condemn this particular thorny flower to wilt on the vine, or let her pursue a match that is less agreeable to her lineage?

Book blurb:

Lady Lydia Sommerset is an earl’s daughter. At the ripe age of twenty-five, she still wears the lavish gowns and dances the dainty steps of the haute ton as if she were pursuing a husband; but her goals are far more personal. Instead, she pursues her tormenters: the men who bet that taking a girl’s virginity really can cure a brothel’s plague. Pugilism, England’s manliest pastime, is her only relief. Training in secret with a female boxer keeps her sane, but when her instructor is hired away by one of the men she is seeking to destroy, she is in a bind.

John Arthur was a street kid who dazzled with his fists, he now impresses as a miracle worker on the London Stock Exchange. But a man can’t forget a boyhood spent in the gutter. Easy-going and affable, John Arthur knows he should be happy with a full belly and coin-filled pockets. But when he finds a woman who finds boxing as vital as he does, his life gets suddenly complicated.

Caught between revenge and finding love with a man who might truly understand her, Lady Lydia must commit to opening her heart or closing it forever.

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/38EojZ

Excerpt from A Lady’s Revenge

John walked into the crowd. The ring was marked out by lazy ropes on the floor, men crowding the lines. Typically, the ladies’ fight was first, but some young amateurs must have taken the opening slot. Ladies’ fights worked the crowd into a frenzy. Hopefully, Vasily could properly protect Lady Lydia when the time came.

Bess was nowhere to be seen. John pushed through the mob of people. The mill was still going and none of the men wanted to let him pass, so he elbowed the best he could. Before he knew it, he was face to face with Vasily, whose meaty, folded arms gave no unsure impression of his feelings.

“Hello, old friend,” John said, restoring his aristocratic dialect.

Lady Lydia peered around the mountain of a man, surprise writ across her face. Her hood was still up, masking those who might try to recognize her, but anyone who knew Vasily would spot her instantly.

“What are you doing here?”she demanded. Her eyes trailed down to his undone cravat and partially unbuttoned shirt.

He’d fight bare-chested, but the first ceremony of any match was peeling off the garments. The room was already hot with anticipation of blood.

“I should ask you the same. This is no place for a lady,” he said. “Are you part of the Fancy?” His eyes flicked to the big man. The crowd erupted. John didn’t need to look at the ring to know that one of the fighters was knocked out. Money would be changing hands soon, the ring would be cleared, and the next match would be set.

Lady Lydia glanced to the ring and back to him. People elbowed past, everyone wanting the best vantage point. She was uncomfortable with him, that much was clear, but she didn’t seem to be bothered by the jostling masses. She seemed the type to abhor the crush of this sweaty basement, but here she was, at ease with them and not with him.

“Should you need any further assistance,” he said, glancing at the pony-sized driver, “I am at your disposal. However, I have a pressing matter in just a few more minutes.”

“You took a fight on the same night as our invitation to dine?” She seemed insulted.

Should she be insulted? He fought every night he could, and the invitation was issued days before he knew the night of the fight. It was the only way they could keep ahead of the magistrates.

“A prizefighter must fight. That’s in the name, is it not? So what good would I be if I turned down such invitations, whether to dine or to bleed?”

“That’s a pretty speech for a half-dressed man,” she countered.

“You should hear my speeches when I am thoroughly undressed,” he said, flashing a smile that he was almost certain would earn him a backhand from her driver.

“I’m not certain I could stand it,” she said, not batting an eye.

He took a step forward, not thinking, just wanting to engage her further, smell her hair somehow? Oranges and vanilla would be a far sight better than the stink of unwashed men. But Vasily wedged his foot between John’s and hers. He retreated, and Vasily gave a grunt of approval.

“I would be happy to help you push your limits,” John said, bowing as best he could amongst the crowd.

“Fine manners, wot you got,” he heard from beside him.

He straightened to see Bess Abbott standing there, hands on hips, towering over Lady Lydia and damn near looking the Russian bear in the eye.

“Bess!” He clapped his hand on her shoulder and shook her hand with the other.

“John,” she said, grinning. “Like the old days, right? Me on first, then you bringing in the crowd for the crimson end.”

“Nuffin’ like old mates,” he said, his accent shifting again.

He glanced past Vasily’s meat barrier to Lady Lydia, who was looking at him with an expression he couldn’t read. What better time to scandalize the highborn than when they went slumming?

Meet Edie Cay

Katie Stine, writing as Edie Cay, has an MFA in Creative Writing, a bachelor’s degree in English as well as a bachelor’s degree in Music. She is a history buff, an avid traveler, and an eager reader of all genres. She has lived all over the United States, but currently calls California home. Under her other name, she has published articles and participated in documentary filmmaking. She is a member of the Paper Lantern Writers, a historical fiction author collective, as well as a member of the Historical Novel Society. A LADY’S REVENGE is her first published novel.

New Singer Plays Hard to Get!

A few nights ago there was a delightful surprise at the Raven. The notorious gambling establishment premiered its new singer, an auburn haired beauty named Charity Walsh. Little is known about the new girl, aside from her talent. She stunned audience members with her Gaelic tunes and stolen a few hearts with her angelic face. The lack of history only adds to the mystery my readers!

After the show I went backstage to see if I could find out a little bit more about the lovely Songbird, only to be turned away. It wasn’t just this humble reporter getting rejected. I heard the owner himself say that the lady was refusing all visitors. That is almost unheard of in the world of performers. I immediately became intrigued.

Sinners Club Singer

Turns out the lady is adamant in her refusal of all gentleman company and from the sources I talked to she has been turning away gifts since her debut. I found out that there is one young man who has at least managed to spend time in her company, but he is only a musician looking for a chance to play. There couldn’t possibly be anything to speculate about there.

The owner has decided to use the little charmer’s refusal to his advantage, encouraging the wild gentleman of his club to try harder. I can confirm that there is both an entry in the betting book at White’s, as well as at least one private wager among a set of young lords, as  to who might be the first to win the her coveted affection. The anticipation of finding out has only made her show that much more popular. It is standing room only and she now plays to a packed house every night.

Will she be able to resist the temptation of a charming, handsome (not to mention rich) protector?  Or will she hold fast to her word of swearing off all men, even those with deep pockets? Perhaps she will find her heart being pulled in an unknown direction. Rest assured, dear readers, I will make sure to find out and keep you apprised of what occurs.

About the Book Song for a Scoundral

Jasper Heade was the second son of the second son of a baron, which meant very little in the world. He was a sharp man, with big ideas and lots of ambition but could only get as far as being secretary to his cousin, the earl. One day, his cousin offers a contest with a sum of money larger than Jasper would ever see. The goal: woo the pretty little songbird that sang at the Raven Club. 

Charity Walsh had grown up a dirt poor nobody and she refused to live her entire life that way. The Irish redhead had convinced the owner of the Raven Club to let her perform and she was a success, but she wanted more. She longed to sing for a bigger stage and a more distinguished audience. To reach that goal, she will need to prove not only her musical skill but also her spotless reputation. That becomes difficult when she is bombarded with suitors. 

Jasper decides to assume a secret identity to win the money, but what does he do when he loses his heart? 

Sinners Club Novellas, Book 2

About the Author

Emma Brady is an author of historical romance set in the Victorian period. She currently has a series about naughty gentleman that get their just desserts in the Sinners Club. She is also working on a group project, a series of Victorian Fairy tales with a great group of authors to release this summer called Lady Goosebury’s Tales. She loves too cook and play with her two dogs, Brady and Jack. For her, romance is all about being willing to take a risk. 

Shocking News

Dear gentle reader, your Tattler came across a missive containing news of the most shocking and titillating nature we fear it is too juicy to be true. We will of course keep our sources secret.

Dear_____

I just spoke to an exceptionally reliable source that Lord, Winthrop (Winn as his contemporaries call him), Burton may be soon off the marriage mart.

I know this to be the shocking bit of my news, since it is common knowledge, because of his family’s curse he had sworn to never marry and have heirs, however that was before the esteemed Zoe Chase, daughter of Lord Chase the diplomat appointed to Rome, returned to English soil to find a husband.

We know the best place to find a suitable husband is within the ton and this is proven of late because of the diplomat debutantes returning for that reason. It would be more sporting, however if they waited to pluck the juiciest of the fruit before the season took off in earnest. However, I digress.

Our poor Winn was pre-occupied and therefore taken off guard by the beautiful Miss Chase. They were once childhood friends you know. It is said he began to question the validity of the curse when precarious events began plaguing her only after it was rumored the two were spending time together above what would be customary of a house guest and the Lord of the manner. Ahem.

I was also informed that a rather public scene ensued during the very house party to find Miss Chase a suitor. After which Miss Chase returned to London with her father and Lord Burton’s sister Cyn (short for Cynthia). It was reported directly to me, that Miss Chase was not overly enthusiastic about the decision. I also believe it was the infamous courtesan Lady Sarrafinna who put an end to the loud scene. Can you imagine, a courtesan at a respectable house party? Of course her family have been close to the Burton’s.

Always the daredevil, Lord Burton will need to find a grand gesture to prove to this young lady he is ready to settle down. Perhaps proving the curse to be a fabrication may in fact bend the odds to his favor, but he must act quickly. My sources tell me, Miss Chase is a delight and with her knowledge of world politics she would be a catch for any up and coming lord looking to make his mark on Parliament.

We shall see. I look forward to seeing this young lord take the fall into matrimony, it will go a long way to making this a fantastic season!

Oh, and please do not forget this information was shared in the strictest of confidence and secrecy my dear. The strictest.

About the Book: Winn’s Fall

Lord, Winthrop (Winn) Burton will die on his own terms. A family curse says he will die by the time he turns thirty years old. He will not leave a young wife and a child behind like his father did to him.

When childhood friend Miss Zoe Chase returns to stay with his sister and find a husband Winn’s plans are thrown into chaos. Not only is the once gangly, awkward girl he remembers, now everything that tempts him, the accidents that once plagued his life are happening to her.

He must keep her safe, but how can he do that when ravaging her is all he can consider? Or perhaps the curse isn’t a curse after all.

Will Winn die, or will he fall?

Winn

https://www.clairbrett.com/winn-s-fall

About the Author

Author of 5 Historical romances, including the Improper Wives for Proper Lords series, Clair Brett lives in NH with her ever emptying nest which includes her children when they visit, two cats, one willful dog, and a mean Pitbull mix, that will lick you to death and run into her kennel when you speak loudly, and an ever harassed husband who takes it all in stride. A lover of all things Regency Clair, was hooked when she first read Jane Austen. She is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work. 

Winn

The Sad Fate of Chunee

Editorial comment from S. Clemens

No one in London can be unfamiliar with the circumstances of the death of one of our most beloved and renowned citizens, the elephant Chunee, who Wednesday last met his fatal end at the Exeter Change in such a barbarous manner that many were moved to write letters on his behalf. The Tattler has learned the identity of one lady of quality, whose letter we reprint here. While we must applaud the lady’s sentiments on behalf of this noble creature, we must also wonder if so outspoken a young woman as Lady Emily Radstock will ever find a husband among the gentry and nobility of England. Rumor has it that she is one of the financial backers of Sir Arthur Broome’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Sir Arthur currently resides in Marshalsea Prison for debt.

Chunee

Sir:

The facts in the death of Chunee are so well known as to need no recounting. Thousands in London have seen the prints of his cruel slaughter. His agony at the hands of those on whom he long depended for his sustenance and whose pockets were lined with the proceeds of exhibiting him to the public is indefensible.

His handlers’ inability to consider his needs and to foresee a time when distress of body and spirit would render him a danger to himself and others and to plan accordingly for his care and ultimately for his end brings into question the fitness of human persons for keeping any wild animals in captivity, confined against their nature in cages, to be stared at by the masses with no freedom to act in accord with the promptings of their natures.

It is time to close the Exeter Change and all similar institutions whose indifference to the well-being of their charges is a stain on the honor of our city.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

E. Radstock

About the Book: The Spy’s Guide to Seduction

Weeks from her twenty-ninth birthday, Lady Emily Radstock receives from her mother a little blue book, The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London. Outraged at her mother’s attempt to push her out of the nest, Emily declares she’ll marry the first imbecile she meets. Overhearing the beautiful heiress, Baronet Sir Ajax Lynley, newest gentleman spy in the Pantheon Club, takes her at her word. From the moment their engagement begins, Emily finds herself intrigued by her fiancé, a man who encourages her daring and who offers a most seductive partnership in spy-catching. When mounting danger and an uncanny echo of his painful past lead Lynley to abandon the partnership, Emily has to put aside the hurt and humiliation of a missing fiancé to save her partner in spying and seduction. A 2019 Library Journal Top Pick in Romance.

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

About the Author

Kate Moore taught English lit to generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories an undeniable mutual attraction brings honorable, edgy loners and warm, practical women into a circle of love in Regency England or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best award winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.

Kate@KateMooreAuthor.com

www.facebook.com/KateMooreAuthor

www.katemoore.com

Page 1 of 14

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén