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Church Lady’s Lament

To Reverend Mr. Horace Sorsby, Vicar of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Knaresborough

Sir:

Reluctant though I am to criticize church matters, I truly must speak up, and hope my frequent liberal contributions to your parish will gain me attention. As you know age and infirmity make it impossible for me to attend services in Knaresborough. While I am pleased that a chapel of ease has been set up here in Harrogate for the benefit of leading citizens like myself who find themselves hampered from full participation, the man assigned  it has failed us. I am compelled to report that the curate you appointed to serve my our needs has proven to be negligent and useless.

First of all, his sermons focus entirely too heavily on service due the poor, in my opinion, and too little on the respect the lower classes owe their betters. I suppose I must excuse this as he is young and does seem to have a grasp on scripture.

I excuse it mainly because I am rarely able to attend even the chapel of ease here. That curate, Mr. Eustace Clarke, has been repeatedly asked to attend me at home. We are now moving into December, and I am obliged to report he made but two visits since summer. Neither visit lasted longer than an hour. I ask, Mr. Sorsby, do you believe that shows sufficient care for a frail old woman, one I might add who has generously supported Saint John in the past?

I am quite, quite distressed to add that my precious Wellington, an extraordinarily noble pug, has taken him dislike as well. The impudent young man accused my darling Welly of damaging his boots. I cannot believe poor Welly has developed a taste for leather. He has demonstrated no such affinity in the past. I am certain Mr. Clarke enticed him as an excuse to make a quick departure.

My loyal butler reports that it appears Mr. Clarke persists in wasting his time with that pathetic little soup kitchen he calls Pilgrim’s Rest, feeding every lazy, worthless beggar that imbibes from Harrogate’s public springs but refuses to pay for his lunch. Now news has reached me that he believes he needs funds to repair the roof of that barn. I will not stand for it. I demand you order him to close that fruitless and unproductive little mission down and focus on those of us who support the parish at large as he ought.

If my words have not been enough to convince you the man needs sharp words from his superior there is this. My personal maid, a woman of fine character, has told me that he is now seen walking out with a woman employed in the kitchens of the The Hampton Hotel. What such a woman is doing sporting about town on the arm of a single man, I can only guess. The hussy’s name I’m told is Doro Bigglesworth.

I trust you will counsel your curate about proper behavior and duties. I would hate to take my contributions and charity elsewhere.

With Respect,

Lady Louella Spotsworthy

About the Book: Desperate Daughters

Love Against the Odds

The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close.

Among them?  “Lady Dorothea’s Curate,” by Caroline Warfield

Employed at a hotel in order to assist her stepmother, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth had no use for a title. It would only invite scorn, or, worse, pity. Plain Miss Doro Bigglesworth suited her fine.

Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping the neediest. It gave his life meaning. He tended to forget the younger son of a viscount went by “Honorable.”

Working together at Pilgrim’s Rest, neither saw the need to mention it to the other, before fate separated them. When they were formally introduced after an unexpected reunion— in a ballroom in York—shock rocked them both. Can their budding love survive?

You can find links to various vendors here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

 

Duke’s Mysterious Kin Sighted

Exclusive to the Teatime Tattler

The Duke of G__ arrived in town this week with a highly irregular guest. A Mr. K_, a Welshman with three children stays at the duke’s elegant townhouse where he is being treated almost, dare we say it, as family. Our usual sources—servants do talk, especially when in their cups at certain taverns—imply the men act like brothers.

That can’t be, of course, as this K__ is several years older than the duke. The previous duke acknowledged no illegitimate children so one is left to wonder. Who can this man from Wales be, and why is the young duke eager to spend time with him?

We’ve been told the man has a pronounced limp, and our sources tell us the previous duke once took in a young man with a similar disability, but was forced to show the ungrateful miscreant the door. Is K_ the same person? Of course they’ve attended no social events so it has been difficult for society to get a good look.

We’re led to understand that there was a recent reconciliation with his father’s wife, the Dowager Duchess. Can she be involved in this family tangle?

The Tattler can only wonder what the Duke of H_ thinks about this turn of events. The Duke of G_ is well known to have been courting H__’s granddaughter during the recent Season and an offer is expected. Indeed it may have already been made. Will an irregular family situation derail young G__’s hopes?

The Dowager Duchess of Glenmoor was indeed involved in her stepson’s complicated relationship with that mine owner from Wales. The story is in The Defiant Daughter.

About the Book

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.

Preorder for only 99 cents! October 21 release. https://bit.ly/TheDefiantDaughter

About the Series

When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicated the lives of many in the village of Ashmead. One was his defiant daughter. He left her nothing.

One sleepy village

One scandalous will

Four tormented heirs

 

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.

Visit Caroline’s Website and Blog                http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Meet Caroline on Facebook                          https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Follow Caroline on Twitter                            @CaroWarfield

Email Caroline directly                                  warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter               http://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/

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Book Bub                                                           https://www.bookbub.com/profile/caroline-warfield

 

A Nasty Piece of Work

Ashmead, May 1805

Dear Bessie,

Good to hear grandfather has recovered his ague from April, and  I thank you for keeping  me informed.

You asked about doings in Ashmead. Mary Norton sends greetings. Her boy Issac is well on his way to joining his father in the carpentry. Arthur Corbin’s wife died in  February, grieving many. She was missed by the ladies’ flower committee this Easter past I can tell you.

There has been much dissension about needed repairs at Saint Morwenna and the continued neglect by the folks at Clarion Hall who ostensibly endow the holding. The Earl of Clarion, as you know, prefers his house in London and the fleshpots over to the simple joys of Ashmead.

The son, Viscount Ashmead, Lord David that was, is cut from different cloth. Perhaps he remembers our little village fondly because those parents of his left him and  his sister in the hands of Ashmead servants as children. Whatever  the case, now that he’s at university he makes sure to come to Ashmead between terms. He even attends Sunday  services sitting up there alone in the family pew. He’s no more than eighteen, God love the  boy, but he takes estate business seriously and  shows  an interest in folks here about.

Sometimes I think too much. Rumor from servants at Clarion Hall is he went to the earl on the vicar’s behalf.  Told the old bag of wind to repair the road up to the Hall that runs by  The Willow and the Rose, too. His da didn’t like none  at all.  Treated the lad to a tongue lashing for his troubles, threatened  to cut him off.

Some folks are miserable in their parents, Bessy, I  can tell  you. Ours weren’t perfect, but compared to Clarion, we  did well.

Maud

PS I held this missive waiting a few extra pennies for postage. I’m glad I did. This will shock you. Last time the young viscount came home, he found  his favorite hound  and his prize gelding gone, sold on  his father’s orders. Elsbeth Simmons says, when he came here between winter terms, he encountered Alice Wilcox, her all of nine years old. Maybe just took a good look for the first time. The nipper is a Clarion butter stamp for sure. Looks just like the viscount, his  sister, and truth be told, the oldest Benson boy from up at the Willow, the one that  ran off  to war. Was in a taking about her treatment.

Lord David rode off and  had words with  the earl about looking after his by-blows, and the old man took  offense. The sneak waited until the boy was back at university and sold off the young lord’s prize possessions, including those beloved animals for spite. Said if Lord David was worried about Alice and the Benson boy, he could pay their way himself. Nasty bit of work is the Earl of Clarion.

About  the Series

When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead. One of them grew believing he was the innkeeper’s son. He is the first of The Ashmead Heirs.

https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

About Book One, The  Wayward Son

Sir Robert Benson’s life is in London. He fled Ashmead the day he discovered the man he thought was his father had lied to him, and the girl he loved was beyond his reach. Only a nameless plea from his sister—his half-sister—brings him back to discover he’s been left an estate with a choice piece of land. He will not allow a ludicrous bequest from the earl who sired him turn him into a mockery of landed gentry. When a feisty little termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—tries to turn Rob off the land—his land—he’s too amused and intrigued to turn away. But the longer he stays, the tighter the bonds that tie him to Ashmead become, strengthened by the powerful draw of the woman rooted on land he’s determined to sell.

Lucy Whitaker’s life is Willowbrook, its land, its tenants, its prosperity, but she always knew it wasn’t hers, knew the missing heir would come eventually. When a powerful man with military bearing rides up looking as if he wants to come in and count the silver, she turns him away, but her heart sinks. She can’t deny Rob Benson his property; she can only try to make him love the place as she does, for her peoples’ sake. A traitorous corner of her heart wishes Rob would love it for her sake.

His life is London and diplomatic intrigue; hers is Ashmead and the land. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?

(As to David, the future earl, his story is The Upright Son.)

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

Amazon AU |BR |CA |DE |ES |FR |IN |IT |JP |MX |NL |UK

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/

Misplaced or Runaway Fiancé?

A friend of The Teatime Tattler in Shropshire sent word this week of a delicious bit of naughtiness. Lady B—’s cook’s cousin’s daughter serves as an upstairs maid in the house of a rather notorious baroness so we know this report to be true. The baroness and her nephew, we’re told, departed the manor in a rush last week in pursuit of the nephew’s fiancé, who had disappeared. How, we may ask, does on misplace a fiancé.

We will not mention the baroness by name, but she is well known as the daughter of a wealthy mill owner, mills well known for their ghastly employment practice and filthy premises. The woman, Lady B— insists is a jumped-up mushroom who bought a titled husband and now— But perhaps that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, the young woman perhaps had her reasons for departing such a place in a hurry.

We would have left it at that, but one of Lady B—’s happened to follow a similar route and reports that the baroness and the nephew inquired after this person all along the road from under Wrexham to Birmingham and back. One might have ignored the incident except at every stop they queried not only about a gently bred—but distraught—young lady and—this is the important part—a shabby coachman. What sort of well brought up innocent runs off with a coachman? Perhaps she’s no better than she should be. Or perhaps the cad has nefarious designs on an innocent.

Kindly forward any word about the fugitive pair to our offices in London.

About the Story, “The Fugitive Fiancé”

What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.

Alone and without family, Alice Pennysmith puts up with a lot: an unpaid position as companion, waiting on a demanding baroness, people mangling her name, the scorn of superior servants… She almost lets herself be pushed into marriage with the vile Reggie, but his behavior is the last straw. How can she escape?

With his year of service to at an end, Grant Lambert is eager to leave his contract with Lord Reginald Buffton, Baron Albright——a foolish agreement to settle a bet. He already found far better, well-paying, respectable employment. He just can’t bring himself to leave the charming Miss Pennysmith in the clutches of his despicable employer. There’s only one thing for it—he’ll have to take her with him, even if he has to “borrow” the baron’s carriage to do it.

***

“The Fugitive Fiancé was written to order from story element specified by a contest winner. It was given away to subscribers of Caroline Warfield’s newsletter. She gives original stories to her subscribers two to three times a year. To receive this one and others, subscribe to her newsletter:

About the Author

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she is now a writer of historical romance, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens, who sits in an office surrounded by windows and 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.

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