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Tag: Barbara Monajem

An Interview With a Vulgar Man

In my capacity as occasional contributor to the Teatime Tattler, I was most fortunate to arrange an interview with Corvus, the caricaturist who took London society by storm over a year ago. 

No one knows Corvus’s real name or even what he looks like. For the interview, he was completely screened from my sight. All I could discern, judging by his voice and accent, is that he is an Englishman, likely of the merchant class—educated, but lacking what is known as ton. I am relieved to know that he is not a gentleman of birth, for no such man would stoop to publishing vulgar caricatures, making game of the highest and best of English society—including Lady Rosamund Phipps, one of the stars in the firmament of the beau monde.

Caracaturist and Scandal

As if that were not dreadful enough, some of his caricatures indicate that he has a tendre for Lady Rosamund! When I taxed him with his impudence at coveting a lady so far above him, he gave a chuckle that sent a shiver down my spine. “I wouldn’t let just anyone birch me.”

Horrors! How crass of him to refer to that ghastly drawing in which poor Lady Rosamund is doing just that. Can you conceive of anything more insulting—to expose his bare bottom to the world and suggest that Lady Rosamund would enjoy punishing him in such a way?

Although, I must say, I have it on the best of authority that Lady Rosamund did indeed say that Corvus deserved a birching. I believe we all agree with that, but never that she wished to inflict the punishment in person. Naturally, she would send a burly footman to accomplish such a disagreeable task.

“Why,” I asked him, “do you put your artistic talent to such a base use?” The reason was obvious—filthy lucre.

He laughed again. “Money, of course. That’s what you expected me to say, isn’t it? And it’s true, the caricatures are a valuable means of support for me. But that’s not all.”

“Admiration?” I wished he could see my brows raised in haughty inquiry.

“It is always a pleasure when one’s art is appreciated by others,” he said. “I’m sure you write gossip for the same reason. Deplorable as gossip is, the way you phrase it is a form of art.”

I admit, I didn’t know whether to be offended or complimented. So much for haughtiness.

I sensed his grin at my expense. “I draw to amuse the populace,” he said after a pause. “To show for their delectation the folly, venality, and indifference of the upper classes. Not that they don’t already suffer from this every day of their lives, but to have it displayed for the lower classes to see and laugh at whilst at the same time it embarrasses their so-called betters… Maybe that’s why I do it.”

There ended the interview, gentle readers. I leave it to you to decide what you think of Corvus, and whether you will continue to enjoy—or deplore—his caricatures. However, I believe we all are agreed in wondering who he is, who will unmask him…and what punishment Lady Rosamund will devise for him when that day comes.

About the Book

Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.

First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.

Will Corvus prove to be an ally or an enemy? With the anonymous poison pen still out there, her sanity—and her life—are at stake.

Caracaturist and Scandal

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087BBLLNL/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087BBLLNL/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B087BBLLNL/

Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B087BBLLNL/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-rosamund-and-the-poison-pen-barbara-monajem/1136829963

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lady-rosamund-and-the-poison-pen

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lady-rosamund-and-the-poison-pen/id1507264864

About the Author

Rumor has it that Barbara Monajem is descended from English aristocrats. If one keeps to verifiable claims, however, her ancestors include London shopkeepers and hardy Canadian pioneers. As far as personal attributes go, she suffers from an annoying tendency to check and recheck anything and everything, usually for no good reason. Hopefully all this helps to explain her decision to write from the point of view of a compulsive English lady with a lot to learn about how the other ninety-nine percent lived in 1811 or so.

As for qualifications, Barbara is the author of over twenty historical romances and a few mysteries, for which she has won several awards. On the other hand, she has no artistic talent and therefore is really stretching it to write about an artist who draws wickedly good caricatures. But she’s doing it anyway, because he’s irresistible. To her, anyway. Not so much to the aristocratic lady. Or at least not yet.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.BarbaraMonajem.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/barbara.monajem

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BarbaraMonajem Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270624.Barbara_Monajem

Ghostly Gossip

ghostLady Bell invited Mr. Tilson to tea not because she likes him, but to hear about a ghost. I had learned a little about the specter from friends in Carlisle, and she wanted to know more. Unfortunately, Mr. Tilson didn’t want to discuss ghosts. He preferred to backbite about living people.

“All the Warrens are scandalous, absolutely scandalous,” Mr. Tilson told us. “From Lord Garrison to his sister to his cousins, they’re simply dreadful. It’s in their blood.”

There is a certain amount of truth to this. Lord Garrison and his kinfolk do tend to live by their own rules, but they are also far more fun than most people with whom I’m acquainted.

“Surely not.” Lady Bell motioned to me to pour Mr. Tilson a second cup of tea. “Thomasina Warren is a charming girl, so perfectly behaved that she is known as The One Good Warren. She would have made you an excellent wife.”

“So I thought.” Mr. Tilson heaved a sigh redolent of the seed cake with which he had stuffed himself. “But when I questioned her sternly with the full force of my manly intellect, Miss Warren herself admitted to the taint.” He took a breath. “In fact, she confessed to an uncontrollable urge to sin.”

I ask you, how likely is that?

Her ladyship glowered at him. “What nonsense. No innocent maiden would say anything of the kind.”

Particularly to a stodgy sort like Tilson.

“I do beg your pardon,” he murmured. “It was the truth, but I shouldn’t have mentioned something so unsavory in the presence of ladies.”

He sighed again, and I moved as far as possible from him on the sofa. I like seed cake, but not at second hand.

“I have heard that Miss Warren doesn’t wish to marry,” I said.

“Nonsense, my dear Clara,” Lady Bell said. “Every young woman wishes to do so.” She simply will not accept the fact that I have never been tempted to exchange my comfortable single state for submission to some tedious male.

Ghost“Miss Warren knows full well that she is unmarriageable,” Mr. Tilson said. “Her conniving father tried to trap me into wedding her. Much as I pity her, I was fortunate to escape before I found myself tied to her forever.” He was enjoying himself, which is in frightfully bad taste. How vile to denigrate the former object of his affection!

It was obvious to me that Miss Warren was the one who had escaped. What’s worse, now he gazed at me with a warm expression in his eyes.

Lady Bell gave a smug little smile. Good God, was she thinking I might like to wed this bore?

Time to change the subject. I assumed an expression of trepidatious inquiry. “Earlier, her ladyship mentioned something about a ghost at Hearth House.”

Lady Bell set down her teacup. She is an enthusiastic believer in the supernatural. “Yes, a Roman soldier who patrols Hadrian’s Wall. He carries a spear and threatens anyone who comes near.” She paused, twinkling. “Except courting couples of whom he approves.”

“Now, now, my lady,” Mr. Tilson said. “You will have your little jest, but ghosts do not exist. Old houses like Hearth House tend to creak and groan, especially in cold weather.”

I put on an innocent face. “I was told that you made banishing the ghost a condition of marrying Miss Warren—but how can one drive away something that isn’t real?”

Mr. Tilson reddened, hastening to explain. “To calm her, so she need not fear for the safety of our future children.” What a lie that was! I knew from other sources that it was he who’d been afraid. Imagine refusing to marry a girl because of a ghost!

“Why should she fear?” I asked. “By what I’ve heard, she likes the ghost. It protects her from unwanted suitors.”

Mr. T glared. I must confess, I enjoyed witnessing his attempt to summon his manly intellect and produce an explanation that made him look fearless, noble, self-sacrificing, and so on.

“That only goes to show,” he said, “that sin is not the only taint in her family. There’s madness, too.” He paused dramatically and lowered his voice to a hush. “I saw her talking to the ghost.”

Heavens! “You saw the ghost?”

He huffed. “No, I saw her talking to thin air, which is a well-known trait of the insane. It gave me quite a turn. Thank God for that pleasant young man who was visiting Hearth House and kindly warned me away.”

Hmm…. I wonder now, who is the pleasant young man, and what was his reason for getting rid of Mr. Tilson? I can think of several possibilities. I believe I shall pay a visit to Hearth House and find out!

GhostAbout the Book

Faced with the intolerable suitors her father approves, Thomasina Warren resolves never to marry, and decides to lose her virginity so that no respectable man will have her. Who better to ruin her than handsome, charming James Blakely? But James is an honorable man and refuses point-blank. Humiliated, she resorts to outright refusal to wed, with the help of a ghost who scares her suitors away. But four years later, her father has arranged her marriage to a stodgy gentlemen whose only condition is that the ghost must be banished forever.

James Blakely never forgot the lovely girl who asked him to ruin her, and when he offers to get rid of the ghost, he thinks he’ll be doing a good deed. Instead, he is faced with the hostile Thomasina, her cowardly suitor, pigheaded father, lecherous cousin, an exorcist monk, and a ghost who warns of danger and deadly peril—and a few short days in which to convince Thomasina that with the right man, she might just want to marry after all.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F71SZD6/
Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07F71SZD6/

About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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