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Author: Caroline Warfield Page 1 of 7

Gossip Spreads Through Fenwick on Sea

Kitty Smothers, youngest and newest of the girls in service at the Queen’s Barque, swung her broom with more enthusiasm than skill. It didn’t much matter. With the inn bursting at the seams and all the paying rooms full of well-off travelers, Mrs. Brewster sent them to clean out the old wing, the one with more cobwebs than heat and more mice than usable furniture. They needed it for all the refugees coming up from the beach, didn’t they?

The storm, the fiercest in all of Kitty’s fourteen years, rattled the windows where there was still glass, where they hadn’t been papered over. She listened wide eyed while Nelly Jones chattered a mile a minute while she swatted at the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and giggled with Annie Burke.

“I think Mr. Simon is the handsomest,” Annie said.

“He don’t hold a candle to Captain Rousseau—Jasper,” Nelly sighed dramatically.

“Looks more like a pirate to me, him with that ship stuck out on the shoals,” Annie argued. “Mr. Simon has that mysterious air…”

“Sneaky more like,” Nelly said. “and besides, he’s married.”

“Shows what you know.” Annie dropped her voice and beckoned Nelly closer. Kitty moved nearer to listen. “Those girls Mrs. Fullerton sent over from Morphew Manor told Mags and Alice in the kitchen that there’s folks from London staying at the manor.”

“So what’s that to us?” Nelly said out loud.

Annie shushed her. “Mags told me they’re here for that so-called Mrs. Simon. Says she’s really betrothed to the dandy staying at the Manor. Simon isn’t married at all.”

Kitty tilted her head, puzzled. “But he and Mrs. Simon are sharing a room.”

Annie and Nelly laughed at her. “You think every pair that puts up at an inn claiming to be married really are?”

“How about that Lord Stanton. He’s as handsome as can be,” Kitty said.

“He’s a lord, ain’t he? No point in mooning after a lord,” Annie said. “Besides, have you seen how he looks at his lady? Honeymooning those two—for sure.”

“But you said not every couple who claim to be married…” Kitty still thought he was handsome.

“Some are, you ninny. The real question about those two is what are they doing in Fenwick on Sea? Folks like that go to Paris. Or Brighton. Odd if you ask me,” Nelly said.

“I’ll tell you who’s odd. That Cosistas fellow. Slimy fish. Have you seen how he looks at that Fynlock woman? Gives me the creeps.” Annie shivered just to show them.

“I—” Whatever Kitty would have said was interrupted by an arrival.

“How is this room coming? Can I send in the men with the straw bedding?” Patience Abney, she that teaches at the charity school above town, stood in the door waiting for an answer.

“Will do in a few more minutes, Miss Abney,” Annie said.

Patience smiled at them. “Good. Mr. Somerville the vicar came with word there are more folk on their way. We need every room. Hurry it up.” She swept out.

Nelly made an ugly face after her.

“I like Miss Abney; she’s always kind,” Kitty said. “It’s generous of her to help out.”

“She’s only working here to pay so her boys can stay out in the stables,” Annie said.

“Thinks she’s better than us, her with her fancy school. Peter told me their roof caved in. We’ll see how high and mighty she is now,” Nelly said.

“High enough. I heard talk,” Annie said.

“What do you mean?” Kitty asked, finishing up her sweeping and picking up the dust pan.

“I heard those two high nosed ladies in the big suite on the first floor talking. Patience Abney isn’t what she looks like. She’s an earl’s niece.”

“Gol. Come on hard times for sure, emptying night soil like the rest of us and sweeping up this ruin of a wing,” Nelly said.

“Got that right,” Annie agreed.

The girls finished the room and picked up their rags and brooms to move on. When they squeezed by Patience Abney in the hall directing footmen to bring straw bedding to the room they just finished, Nelly dipped a mocking curtsy behind her back and Annie giggled.

They handed all the dirty rags and dust pan to Kitty, sending her to the kitchen. As Kitty walked away, she heard Nelly’s last pronouncement.

“I’ll tell you what else I heard. Some folks think there’s a reporter from that Teatime Tattler staying here, taking notes on all these folks. What do you think of that?”

Kitty continued downstairs, dumped the dirt and picked up new rags. She nodded greetings to Alice, Mags, and the girls from Morphew Manor who waited tables and worked in the kitchen. On her way out something caught her eye, lying on the work table. It was The Teatime Tattler folded up to a headline, “Storm ravages Great Yarmouth and the coast.”

“Get on with it, Kitty. This isn’t a library,” Mrs. Brewster snapped pointing to the door.

Kitty smiled on her way up the servant stairs. “We’re going to be famous.”

***

A Reporter Snooping Around? We can’t have it. There’s an award for the person that figures out who it is. The answers are buried in Storm & Shelter.

A Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Available on Amazon or various other vendors,

More about each story here.

Join the Hunt

There are three big prizes. Enter the contest!

How to enter

  • Read the book.
  • Send your guess about the identity of person writing the reports for The Teatime Tattler to teatimetattlereditor@yahoo.com

Details are here!

The Peculiar Coachman

Rumford, March 1815

Dunno if you can use this, Clemens, but here’s a bit from the tavern last night. It’s about Fred Newell’s peculiar nephew. Fred runs a first class coaching operation. Bit above hisself—don’t much mix down at the public house—but honest. Mostly keeps the good jobs for his boys, so no chance for a local but to muck out his stables. Th’ nephew come home from fighting Boney three years ago, limping and all, and boys at the pub figured him for a charity case. Next thing we know, he has the plum job driving one of the high-class carriages, and him with only part of a leg on the left.

But that isn’t what I have for you. The man comes to the tavern now’n again like I said. Between trips, like, and not often enough to be a regular exactly. Bit tight with his coin. I mean, he’s been known to buy a drink for a body now’n again, but no one has ever seen him buy a round for the whole place like his cousin Paul did when one of Newell’s horses won that race over near Doddinghurst. Ostlers from Fred’s say he don’t spend a penny he don’t have to. Saves it all, but for one thing—books! Have you ever known a coachman who bought so many books his little room over the stables is floor to ceiling three deep in books?

But that isn’t what I have for you. The man came to the tavern last evening, because he’s between trips. Harry Simmons, the keeper, likes him, so at least we know he pays his shot. Damned if the man didn’t start singing! Started out with a ballad and Marion the wench that serves most nights went into raptures about his voice. Moved on mostly soldiers stuff; he said he had passengers for morning that put him in mind of the war. But he got bawdier as the night went on, and none of the girls seemed to mind judging from the sighs.

So that’s it, Clemens. A singing coachman who lives with naught but books for company—is that peculiar enough for your paper? I grumbled to Harry that I wouldn’t want to ride out with a coachman who spent the night before in a tavern. Harry laughed and said then I probably don’t want to ride with the mail or post. Told me the damn fool was drinking straight cider anyway.

About the Story

Neither battle nor loss of his leg destroyed Zachery Newell. Working as a coachman, he tries to build a life in spite of his injuries while he plans for the sort of life he knew in childhood, happy and content above his father’s print shop, but when a woman races out of the storm and into the stable yard of The Queen’s Barque with a wagon full of small boys, puppies, and a bag of books, he is enchanted.

Dismissed by a charity school, Patience Abney struggles on her own to create a school that gives every boy a happy and productive life. Now the roof has caved in. Though she managed to get her boys to the safety of an inn, she has no idea how she will rebuild.

Zach knows Patience, the granddaughter of an earl, is far above the touch of shopkeeper’s son. He tries to keep his distance, but when the two of them make their way across the flooded marsh to her damaged school in search of a missing boy, attraction grows toward passion, complicating everything.

Excerpt

Before she could speak, he crossed the room and pulled her into a crushing embrace, taking her mouth with his until her knees failed and she had only his embrace to rely on.  Insanity born of hope. Zach could think of no other explanation for his behavior.

About the Book

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Release Date: April 13, 2021
Special Preorder price of $0.99
Buy Links:

Amazon US |  Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Angus & Robertson or Books2Read

About the Author

Bluestocking Belle, traveler, adventurer, writer of historical romance. Caroline Warfield is enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens (but not the actual act of gardening).

https://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Scandal in Venice

Baden, Baden 1818

My Dear Mr. Clemens,

I have another tidbit that may be of interest, you darling man. This one is a bit more explosive than some of the other bits I’ve gathered in my travels. I count on you to mask the lady’s name when you publish in your delicious newssheet, for she is young and may yet require the tattered remnants of her reputation.

I reached Geneva in September and to my delight encountered my dear friend Lady Florence Tyree. She fell on me, relieved to have a sensible companion in which to confide. The poor woman had been dragooned into accompanying her niece, Lady Charlotte Tyree when the girl imposed herself on her brother, the Earl of Ambler who by rights ought to be completing his Grand Tour accompanied only by his tutor free to do whatever it is young men get up to on the continent (I don’t need to be explicit with you, dear friend!).

Lady Florence had reached utter weariness with the boy’s behavior, it being as wild as may be expected, abetted by his tutor no doubt. The dear woman fears for the girl who seems to have attempted to absorb every work of art or culture to be found on the continent, in an excess of learning that we all know can only bring feverish distress to a young lady’s mind, causing who knows what enfeeblement of her faculties.

No amount of begging on the part of dear Lady Florence convinced the girl to take her ease at some of the more pleasant gardens or porticoes of the city. When the young people announced they were preparing to move on over those daunting mountains into Italy, Florence reached the end of her patience. She and I decided we needed the restorative spa at Baden, which we are entirely in agreement is precisely what Lady Charlotte needs.

Alas the young woman prove intractable in this matter as well. When Lady Florence forbade her Italy and announce she herself would accompany me to Baden, Lady Charlotte informed her she would leave for Venice with her brother.

Venice! I need not tell you Bryon himself is there. Who knows what sort of immorality goes on, and the young woman insisted she would travel there without a chaperone. Lady Florence declared she would report this to the guardians of this pair of young people who would undoubtedly demand she return to London (leaving the boy on his own to continue his tour, of course). What did Lady Charlotte declare but that she didn’t care. By the time any such demands from the guardians reached her she would be in Rome at last. She has some notion that her life will be poorer forever if she doesn’t see Rome.

I tremble to tell you, good sir, that the following morning we awoke to find the young people gone. My beloved Lady Florence was prostrate. She came to this lovely spa with me to recover. Word reached us yesterday via friends traveling north from there that Lady Charlotte is indeed in Venice, and that the young earl is running with the wildest of crowds exposing his sister to no end of debauchery. We disregarded hints she has taken residence with an Italian gentleman.

Be kind in your publication. She is young.

Your good friend and supporter, Lady Horsham

About the Book: Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil

Love is the best medicine and the sweetest things in life are worth the wait, especially at Christmastime in Venice for a stranded English Lady and a handsome physician.

Lady Charlotte clings to one dream—to see the splendor of Rome before settling for life as the spinster sister of an earl. But now her feckless brother forces her to wait again, stranded in Venice when he falls ill, halfway to the place of her dreams. She finds the city damp, moldy, and riddled with disease.
As a physician, Salvatore Caresini well knows the danger of putrid fever. He lost his young wife to it, leaving him alone to care for their rambunctious children. He isn’t about to let the lovely English lady risk her life nursing her brother.
But Christmas is coming, that season of miracles, and with it, perhaps, lessons for two lonely people: that love heals the deepest wounds and sometimes the deepest dreams aren’t what we expect.

https://www.amazon.com/Charlottes-Christmas-Vigil-Caroline-Warfield-ebook/dp/B0758NLYV2/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-charlottes-christmas-vigil-caroline-warfield/1127062287

and for other formats:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/745607

About the Author

Award winning author of family centered romance set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield has been many things—including a Bluestocking Belle. 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.

Find her here:

Website

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A Country Wedding

Clemens,

Regarding the recent marriage of the Earl of Chadbourn to that country mouse who appears to be some sort of relative of his late brother-in-law, I found the affair to be respectable enough but woefully modest for a man of his stature. I suppose some find a village church wedding charming, but your readers would no doubt prefer to hear about a fully realized society affair at Saint George, Hanover Square, or even Saint Paul’s. Still, I managed to unearth a few tidbits to report, per your request.

The Landrum family was out in force of course, even Lady Flora who so scandalously married in a rush. There was much talk about the hurry, because the family was in mourning for her sister’s husband. Neither she nor her new spouse, Lord Ethan Alcott—who makes no effort to disguise the obvious deformity he brought back from war—appeared the slightest concerned about talk. Her attendence was particularly shocking, when her obvious queasiness gave evidence that she anticipates an interesting event.

Of more interest to your readers, Lord Ethan’s brother, the very eligible Viscount Penrhyd, who is after all the heir to a Marquess, attended. He escaped entanglement last Season and showed no particular preference for any lady at the wedding, so the hopeful young women of London may take heart.

The ladies may also note that the Marquess of Glenaire stood up with Chadbourn. The man would be an breathtaking catch for any hopeful debutante—rich as Croesus, heir to the Duke of Sudbury who claims precedence following only the royal dukes, and well to look at—but alas an elusive one. Some find him as handsome as sin; I for one find him cold. Those icy blue eyes quite give one a shudder. I would warn any young lady under my patronage to avoid him.

Glenaire’s entire family attended the wedding. That the Duke and Duchess of Sudbury honored Chadbourn with their company was no surprise, given the son’s friendship. Their youngest daughter, who recently completed her second season (perhaps third, I quite forget) without a betrothal, spent the affair trying to attract the attention of Penrhyd with little success. The presence of their oldest (and let me say quite unmarried) daughter, Lady Georgiana, was the biggest surprise. They call her The Recluse of Cambridge, and she rarely appears in society.  She appeared every inch the spinster she is.

Baron Ross’s rakehell son, the Honorable James Heyworth managed to behave like a gentleman, though he imbibed a bit much. One recalls that he, Glenaire, and Chadbourn, were fast friends before war with the despicable French sent most of them off. It caused me to recall their other friend, Andrew Mallet. He lacked the connections of the other three, but went about in society with them when the four came down from university. He too went off to war and came back rather sadly scarred.

I raise his name because the presence of the others and Lady Georgiana brought to mind some old gossip. It has been several years, but I seem to recall rumors regarding the duke’s daughter and the scholar’s son. Odd that he didn’t attend, and she did. Plus, there is the Cambridge connection for I am positive he grew up there. You might want to put some of your people on it to see if there is something delicious to uncover.

I endured the wedding for your sake, my dear Clemens, overrun as it was with small boys and odd servants. (Chadbourn does hire a peculiar collection of scarred, limping, and deaf retainers, former soldiers all. Admirable, but unpleasant for his guests.) In any case I trust you to keep my name off any items you decide to publish. I do appreciate your little gifts. Leaving a packet at Williamson’s Lending Library as you have before, makes for a pleasant surprise.

Your devoted friend,

Lady Albright

About the Book

There are indeed grounds for the rumors about Lady Georgiana and Andrew Mallet. Their story is in Dangerous Works.

A little Greek is one thing; the art of love is another. 

Only one man ever tried to teach Lady Georgiana Hayden both. Now she has taken on a body of work; translating the poetry of the women of ancient Greece. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach her what she needs to complete her work, she will risk it.

Major Andrew Mallet returns to Cambridge a battle-scarred hero and would be scholar. His last encounter with Georgiana cost him eleven years of his life.  Determined to avoid her, he seeks work to heal his soul and make his scholar father proud. The work she offers risks his career, his peace of mind, and (worst of all) his heart. Can he protect himself from a woman who almost destroyed him? Does he want to?

FREE with Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Works-Caroline-Warfield-ebook/dp/B00N9KHDWQ/

As to the Earl of Chadbourn, the story of he and his “country mouse” can be found in A Dangerous Nativity, which is always ***FREE*** at various retailers.

Lady Flora, Lord Ethan, and Viscount Penryth appear in “Lord Ethan’s Honor,” in the Bluestocking Belles’ Collection, Fire & Frost.

The very elusive Marquess of Glenaire finally gets taken down a peg or two in Dangerous Weakness, also FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, Bluestocking Belle and lover of romance, writes stories set in the Regency and Victorian eras from her desk in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania when she isn’t traveling the world with her Beloved looking for interesting places to send her characters.

Cambridge Ladies Take Tea

Mrs. Bailey to Mrs. Smythe

Gossip over tea

First, my dear friend, I wish to thank you for hosting the Cambridge Wives Monthly Tea last May when I was indisposed. Now my turn has come again and I find myself in a quandary. Do you suppose one is required to invite that woman who dwells at Helsington? Duke’s daughter she may be, but I was never comfortable with the woman. Some have hinted we ought to ask her again if only for the titillation (Margaret Evans said that, can you believe it). Mrs. Potter still receives the woman.

Mrs. Smythe to Mrs. Clarke

Poor Maud Bailey seems to feel obliged to invite Lady Georgiana to tea this month. (If “lady” is accurate in her case.) Rumors do swirl, and Maud would get to the bottom of them if she could. She fears Margaret Evans, for one, takes salacious interest. What do you think?

Mrs. Clarke to Mrs. Evans

My dear Margaret, your Christian Righteousness continues to inspire! I understand you wish to invite the Duke of Sudbury’s Scandalous Daughter to tea—in order to let her defend against Certain Rumors, of course. I beg you do not push this issue!! I myself saw the truth of the matter. As you well know I live across the lane from Doctor Mallet’s recently returned son. Hero and fine soldier he may be, but he is not immune to a Woman’s Wiles. I personally witnessed her coming for his bachelor house at various hours. Admittedly it has been in the middle of the day but there is no chaperone in sight. When confronted she claimed she went there for help with her studies, that the man is her tutor. Who could believe such a thing! Greek indeed. She must think we’re all Babes to believe such a thing.

Mrs. Evans to Mrs. Bailey

Do not invite That Woman no matter what Molly Harding or Edwina Potter say. We’ll all hear what Abigail Clarke has to report.

About the Book

Even poetry, with its musical lyrics and sensual traps, is dangerous when you partner with the love of your life. It can quickly lead past improper to positively scandalous. A battered war hero and an abused woman come together in an emotionally complex story about the seductive power of words and the triumph of love over fear.

Lady Georgiana Hayden learned very young to keep her heart safe.  She learned to keep loneliness at bay through work. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach her what she needs to complete her work, she will risk it.  If the man in question chooses not to teach her, she will use any means at her disposal to change his mind.  She is determined to give voice to the ancient women whose poetry has long been neglected.

Some scars cut deeper than others. Major Andrew Mallet returns to Cambridge a battle scarred hero. He dared to love Georgiana once and suffered swift retribution from her powerful family. The encounter cost him eleven years of his life.  Determined to avoid her, he seeks work to heal his soul and make his scholar father proud. The work she offers risks his career, his peace of mind, and (worst of all) his heart. Can he protect himself from a woman who almost destroyed him? Does he want to?

About the Author

Caroline Warfield writes family-centered novels set in the Regency, Late Georgian, and Victorian eras. She lives in quarantine with the love of her life, while writing new stories. A lover of owls, history, and travel, she is also a Bluestocking Belle.

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