Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

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Asking For A Friend…

Dear Mr Clemens,

I have a friend who is at her wits end and doesn’t know what to do, but she enjoys your newspaper even if she can only read it very slowly and has seen you have offered your sage advice to many others before her. I shan’t tell you her name because the situation is very delicate, and she is likely very soon to become engaged to a Duke, so I must preserve her good reputation.

asking for a friendI say likely, because the whole ton expects the announcement eagerly, and they have done for over a year. I cannot imagine why he is dragging his feet because my friend is considered very beautiful and charming. Yet not only has he failed to ask her, he’s also never bothered trying to steal a kiss either which is very odd. Especially as she’s lauded as an incomparable and had men queuing for her hand before the duke came along.

In truth, he rather scared everyone else off and I had my head turned… I mean my friend did. Who wouldn’t want to marry a duke? Even if this one is a little dull and pads his jackets… only talks about himself…

But I digress, because whilst my friend has been doing absolutely everything in her power- short of smacking him across his arrogant head with her fan to chivvy him into a proposal- there has been another complication.

An unforeseen, unexpected and utterly thrilling complication.

She’s met another man and is inexplicably drawn to him. He’s not noble- not by any chalk- but he is kind and handsome, painfully shy and most definitely does not need to pad out his jacket! I know this because I accidentally encountered him stripped to the waist at my sister’s house a few months ago and I have been entirely unable to dismiss the scandalously magnificent picture of his manly body from my mind.

And he’s a spy! On an important government mission. A secret he entrusted only to me… I mean my friend… when she recognized him pretending to be someone else. Now she is helping him navigate the murky waters of society, a place he feels very uncomfortable within, and in return he is going to make my, er, the duke jealous to hasten the anticipated engagement. Which is marvellous, I suppose, although I’m not entirely sure I want things sped along now that I’ve met Seb… I mean since she met him.

What should my friend do?

Yours sincerely

Befuddled of Berkeley Square

About the Book, The Mysterious Lord Millcroft

Life as a duchess… Or something much more dangerous…?

Constantly told her beauty and charm is all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa which leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
Purchase on Amazon

About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. But it still takes her ages to fall asleep.

Website: https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VirginiaHeath_


Scandalous visitors? Or scandalous viscount?

Capital Journal, Fiction Section, Friday, February the First

A rumor currently circulates among the gentry in The Grand City that the white/blond Viscount of F had a visitor one recent morning, or rather, visitors, as the woman who claimed to be his wife brought with her a pair of identical offspring closely resembling the earl himself.  Piercing blue eyes and straight white hair adorned both cherubs whose mother was blessed with the dark hair of her pure Spanish ancestors.

Not believing the woman, or his own eyes it seems, The Viscount of F shooed the little family from his noble steps and into the halls of a certain hotel where they have taken up residence until a higher authority might be able to hear their tale.

It was also rumored that the mistress of Viscount of F has moved out of his grasp as she deemed it unwise to associate with a man who possesses untrustworthy…eyes.

Stay tuned to see if the current fiancée of this poor-sighted creature is also saved from his company.         –The Scarlet Plumiere

If he unmasks her, she’s as good as dead…

Blood for Ink, Book 1 of the Scarlet Plumiere series

As the mysterious writer who exposes gentlemen’s secrets, it is not the first time The Scarlet Plumiere has been hunted. But this time it’s different. This time, she interferes with one of the Four Kings, and the brotherhood will not rest until they marry her off and place her securely under a man’s thumb. Only they have to catch her first.

The Earl of Northwick is falling for this writer, sight unseen. Will she be pretty? Will she have all her teeth? In his rush to claim her for himself, regardless of who she might ultimately be, he places her in grave danger—her desperate enemies are watching closely for the moment her mask is removed.

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083UCPNO

This is a five book series that continues with Bones for Bread, Body and Soul, Breathe of Laughter (Nov. 2018) and Beat of my Heart (December 2018).

L.L. Muir lives in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and writes fiction between bowls of cereal.

Before writing full-time, she owned a flower shop called The Scottish Rose. She’d often answer the phone sounding like Mrs. Doubtfire…until a gentleman customer asked to speak with the Scottish woman who owned the place. A little embarrassing, that.

You can sign up for her new release alerts on her website at http://www.llmuir.weebly.com. Follow her on Bookbub, Amazon, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Fictionbyllmuir

Gossip in the 19th Century

Mr. and Mrs. Fottingham’s maid was found in the stable with a young craftsman? And they were sitting beside one another on bales of hay?

Emma Collins said she missed the church service due to illness, but was seen looking quite healthy beyond a window by a neighbour?

Someone stole chickens from the coop behind the house where Florence Bickle lives? To which someone replied, “Who else could it be but one of the rude, poor, lazy unkempt boys who hang around town begging for handouts?

Mrs. Blanchard actually has grey hair but uses hair dye regularly so no one can tell?


The word gossip has negative connotations pretty much around the world. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the earliest recorded use of the word was in the 11th century, but it’s meaning was different than it is today. The word gossip referred to a child’s godparent and started off as godsibb or god sibling. Because godmothers often assisted with childbirth and were present in most women-only events, the word became synonymous with women who talked … a lot.

By the mid-eighteen hundreds, gossip was in regular use. It was considered delectable and titillating. By the mid-nineteenth century, gossip sheets and columns were highly popular with readers, if not with the people mentioned.

Victorian Town

Abby Parker planned out her whole life: complete her final year of high school, go to college, get a job, move away from her insane family, stay best friends with Jessica.

But that was before she broke into the nearby tourist attraction and unwittingly answered a call from a centuries-old spirit who dragged her into the 19th century.

Now she must solve a Victorian mystery without getting herself killed, or worse, spend a lifetime trapped in the past, leaving behind everyone she loves and altering their lives forever.

When she meets gorgeous Benjamin, the future looks a lot like wreckage.

Meet Nancy Thorne

An acclaimed author of short stories, Nancy Thorne’s debut novel Victorian Town is a time-hopping, paranormal romance featuring a high-school girl out to solve a century-old murder. She lives just outside of Toronto with her two sons and an energetic fox-red Labrador.


Groundbreaking Ceremonies Take Place for New Religious Compound Outside Reno, Nevada

From the Reno Gazette-Journal

Easter Sunday-1865

While Easter Sunday services were held today in nearby Virginia City, residents of the growing town of Reno were curiously invited to the groundbreaking of  Christ’s Community Compound, an endeavor spearheaded by two of Lake’s Crossing’s original founding members, Rufus and Katherine Monroe. The couple, along with their daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Reverend Lionel Bane, braved the freezing temperatures and blistering wind to pray at the site of the place the Banes will eventually call home.

The plans submitted to Reno’s newly formed advisory board provide for a large chapel, dormitories for single men and women as well as married couples, a stately home for the Banes, stables, a large meeting hall with an adjacent kitchen, and a workshop. Reverend Bane shared his thanks with those in attendance, saying, “The Lord’s work will continue here in this new state of Nevada, and God will bless us all.”

Funding for the project seems to be a subject of mystery. All financial records submitted are in the name of the Monroes, but some townfolk believe that Reverend Bane and his brothers, William and Nathaniel, came to Lake’s Crossing four years ago with dubious intentions and there are rumors that they have obtained a strange hold over the Monroes and others in their employ. Since their arrival, tales of extortion, coercion, and ill-gotten gains have followed their every move, especially after their youngest brother, Jonah Bane, disappeared with Monroe’s daughter Julianna, and their youngest daughter Victoria died in a tragic fall from the Inn at Lake’s Crossing.

The Journal staff have attempted to interview those close to the Monroes to no avail. The size and scale of this compound have neighbors worried. One businessperson in town went so far as to claim the Banes were in league with some sort of demonic entity, but there has been no evidence to back up her accusations. The Journal went so far as to send one of its junior reporters to the Inn at Lake’s Crossing, and that reporter, Nigel Glasgow, has not been seen since. The Journal will keep the community apprised of any developments.

About The Book…

The Banes of Lake’s Crossing: Origins

The Biggest Little City in the World was founded on a lie. History tells us that the city called Reno, Nevada, was founded as a gambling haven for silver miners and later the divorce capital. But it goes deeper than that. It goes as deep as the lines from which the silver came. In 1860, four brothers tunneled beneath the surface, looking to find the next Comstock Lode. They left their families behind in search of the valuable metals being brought forth from the Earth in order to do the Lord’s work.

Legend has it that the four men who went down into the Earth as good, solid Christian men returned as something more sinister, their good intentions abandoned. They became possessed by a force more evil than could be imagined, and their hold on the residents of what was known then as Lake’s Crossing allowed them to gain unfathomable powers.

“Each installment of this compilation will tantalize and terrify you. An absolute must read!”

Kerrigan Byrne
International bestselling author of the Victorian Rebels Series


The Fourth Man by R.L. Merrill

Lake’s Crossing was a fairly new settlement in 1862, but Julianna Monroe had already seen the worst of humanity cross their bridge seeking shelter. One blustery fall night, four well-dressed men enter her family’s inn, and she immediately senses their otherness. Despite her concerns for self-preservation, she is drawn to the fourth man. Quiet, brooding, and different from his elder brothers, Julianna is intrigued by Jonah and soon realizes it is time to choose a husband before the choice is made for her.  But when the elder Bane brothers threaten her safety, will Jonah be strong enough to stand up to them and protect her? Or will she become yet another victim of the Banes’ evil influence?

Hell’s Belles by Ellay Branton

When her most loyal client and friend falls under the mysterious control of the Bane brothers, Arabella Kimpton knows she has to do something to save him. Convincing Zach Upton that his little brother is in big trouble won’t be easy. The sexy rancher knows all about her business as an owner of Hell’s Belles Saloon – and that she spends a lot of time alone with his brother. Arabella will have to risk everything to gain Zach’s trust and save Jerry.  But the gamble might leave her with a broken heart…if she survives the wrath of the sinister Bane brothers.

The Silver Brooch by Kimberlie L. Faye

Miss Penelope Webb is ready to start fresh.  A midwife with a gift and a pure soul, she’s hired by Lionel Bane for the birth of his second child. She’s determined to start anew in Lake’s Crossing and leave her past behind her. Little does she know the Bane brothers rule the town and folks are not quite themselves. Penny has caught the ire of William, the large and imposing younger brother. He oozes menace and disdain and darkness is embedded in his soul. Despite his danger, she’s inexplicably drawn to him.

Should she risk her heart and her secrets for a chance at love with a man who has a damned soul?

The Banes Of Lake’s Crossing – Origins is the first of a trilogy set in this world. A follow-up short story featuring Nathaniel Bane was released in March 2018. Look for part two in October 2018.

The Banes of Lake’s Crossing: Origins: https://goo.gl/2ezZck

The Redemption of Nathaniel Bane: https://goo.gl/vh9kRK

For more information, you can find us at the following sites:

R.L. Merrill: www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Ellay Branton: https://www.ellaybranton.com/books

Kimberlie L. Faye: https://www.kimberlielfaye.com/

A Lady Doctor? Whatever was Her Father Thinking?

All of London want to know more about the elusive Carlingford family. Wait no more. Our intrepid editor, Sam Clemens, is determined to uncover all the gossip for you, dear readers.

Carlingford Enterprises, the megalith manufacturing company, who dominates the burgeoning iron industry in England, making many of our famous steamer boats, as well as bridges, and other pieces of industrial equipment, is known to all. Many of our readers enjoy a drop from their famous brewery. Less well known is the family behind the company. That is, apart from the heir, Wilberforce Carlingford, who often frequents our ‘Street Philosopher’ section.

Your Teatime Tattler has been chasing an interview with young Miss Carlingford ever since she arrived back from her European tour. Readers, let me share the excitement with you. We have an exclusive interview with young Miss Carlingford’s footman.

“Higgins, Miss Carlingford must be one of the most sought after young ladies in Victorian London.”

“Doctor,” the footman replied succinctly. I pricked up my ears. In one word, the interest in this interview grew in epic proportions.

“A wealthy heiress, and a doctor? An unusual combination.”

“Dr Carlingford recently graduated from the Municipal University of Amsterdam and runs a medical charity in the slums of the East End. I accompany her for her safety.”

“Yes, well, we can’t have heiresses traipsing around the East End without protection. Do tell us just how large her dowry is.”

“I’m afraid that is confidential. However, anyone who wishes can apply to be seen at her medical practice on Harvey Street. Dr Carlingford specialises in the health of female patients and encourages all women of status to visit her at this clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Higgins said.

“I’m sure that’s fabulous.” Clemens felt you, dear reader, did not require an advertisement from a footman with regards to young Miss Carlingford’s unusual medical practice. The idea that a woman could become qualified, in a foreign university, none-the-less, and declare herself fit to treat the lovely women of the upper classes was outside the scope of this publication, and of no interest to you, dear reader.

“Now tell us more about Mr Carlingford, the younger. It is said he is being groomed to take over from Mr Carlingford the elder and is in much need of a wife.”

“Mr Carlingford, junior, is in his mid-twenties. Too young to be contemplating a wife.”

“But if such a woman was interesting in helping him fall into the trap of matrimony, what preferences does he have?” Clements asked.

The footman, Higgins, clenched his jaw. “This interview is not about Mr Carlingford Junior. It is about the great leaps forward my mistress, Dr Carlingford, has made in the medical profession. Sir, it is 1888, beyond time we had female doctors to treat female patients.”

“My readers are not interested in such political statements. Is it true the Carlingford family came from the Americas?”

“I believe it is public knowledge that Mr Carlingford made his first fortune in oil but felt the steam-boat market was a better place to invest. He shifted the family to England, for the sake of his children’s education, and now you see the results. Carlingford Enterprises is one of England’s grandest businesses. My mistress, Dr Carlingford, represents the future of this nation.”

I closed the interview certain my readership would not be interested in the way the Carlingford’s loyal servant, Higgins, continued to advertise their businesses without gifting the readers any gossip of note.

When an uncommon lawyer meets an unusual doctor, their story must be extraordinary…

20 October 2018
Pre-order now.




Heart of a Bluestocking

September 1888: Dr Claire Carlingford owns the bluestocking label. Her tycoon father encouraged her to study, and with the support of her two best friends, she took it further than anyone could imagine, graduating as a doctor and running her own medical practice. But it’s not enough for her father. He wants her to take over the business, so he can retire. Then his sudden arrest throws the family into chaos and his business into peril.

Mr James Ravi Howick, second son of Lord Dalhinge, wants to use his position as a lawyer to improve conditions for his mother’s family in India. When an opportunity arises to work for Carlingford Enterprises, one of the richest companies in the world, Ravi leaps at the chance to open his own legal practice. But his employment becomes personal as he spends more time with Claire and she learns the secret that could destroy his family.

Both Ravi and Claire are used to being outsiders and alone. But as they work together to save their respective families from disaster, it becomes clear that these two misfits might just fit together perfectly.


‘Dr Carlingford,’ she said. She slid the book back on the shelf, concentrating on that task so she couldn’t see the clerk’s reaction. With a nod to Higgins to remain in the foyer, she followed the clerk, who led her through an oak door and along a corridor. With each step, she hoped that she was getting closer to the biggest office. Woodleyville certainly had the seniority to deal with her father’s problem. She grinned to herself. It wasn’t every day that a tycoon was arrested. Hopefully, she could present the case as a puzzle to appeal to the elderly lawyer, enough to overcome his snobbery. The clerk opened a door and gestured for her to enter. She nodded her thanks and walked inside.

Behind a large desk with neat piles of paperwork stood a tall man of Indian descent. His dark brown eyes were framed by thick-rimmed glasses. The summer sunshine streamed in a large window and bounced off the glass on his face. Claire blinked. The room smelled of furniture polish, with a heady hint of hops about to be harvested.

‘Welcome,’ he said. His voice rumbled through the space between them, sending a shock wave inside her. She swallowed.

‘I was expecting Woodleyville Senior,’ she said. This man had to be around her age, and wasn’t at all like the senior partner she had expected to see. A tiny flutter began in her stomach and she pressed her hands softly against it.

‘Perhaps you could outline the issue to me,’ he said, calmly.

There was such music in his voice, a masculine music causing the small flutter to grow. Josephine’s note crinkled in her palm as she clasped her hands together, dragging her attention back to her task.

‘And you are?’

Meet Renée Dahlia
Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis. She writes for two racing publications, churning out feature articles, interviews and advertorials. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a husband, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee.

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