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A little bit of gossip goes a long way…

Lady Abigail Danvers set the quill down and stared at the letter she had been composing to Samuel Clemens, editor of the Teatime Tattler.

“I don’t know, Prudence.” Abigail gave a heavy sigh and handed over the parchment. “I just don’t think it has enough gossip in it to be worthy of what Clemen’s usually expects from us.”

Prudence took the letter and began to read aloud.

Gentle Readers;
This just in from York… Seen more than once in each other’s company, Viscount C and Lady S may just have a budding romance in the making. Will wedding bells be ringing the York Cathedral? Or maybe one of her stepdaughters will beat her to the altar. Only time will tell and you’ll read the latest news here first in the Teatime Tattler.

An Anonymous Reporter

Prudence tapped her finger to her chin. “It is rather boring, sister. Are you sure you couldn’t find any dirt on the pair?”

Abigail rolled her eyes. “Don’t you think I tried? The Dowager Countess guards her stepdaughters like the fiercest of warriors, along with her own reputation?”

Prudence nodded. “I suppose given she’s trying to get them married off is a good reason to remain so guarded. What of Cranfield? Surely his reputation is slightly tarnished. Didn’t he have a mistress?”

“Old news. He let her go and paid off her accounts months ago before he arrived in York,” Abigail replied taking the letter and folding it. “He’s here to see that his sister finds a match. Since his arrival in York, I haven’t been able to turn anything up on him that might provide any newsworthy gossip.”

A frown marred Prudence’s brow. “Then I guess this will have to do. Send it off to Clemens. Hopefully, he won’t be too disappointed and still publish the piece —”

“—and continue to pay us for whatever tittle tattle we can dig up in the future,” Abigail finished before going to the bell cord to summon a servant to deliver her latest news.


This is an original piece by Belle Sherry Ewing. Richard, Viscount Cranfield and Patience, Lady Seahaven are in her novella, A Countess To Remember in the Belles’ boxset, Desperate Daughters. Continue to read on to learn more along with our ongoing contest!

Excerpt:

The unseen woman was still in the carriage, as if she was still preparing to collect whatever had been left behind. A small dainty shoe poked out onto the edge of the step and Richard heard her heavy sigh that she made no attempt to mask.

Richard stepped forward, offering his hand. “May I be of assistance, my lady?”

“You are most kind,” the lady inside said. She put her hand in his and Richard swore he felt a tingling sensation rush up his arm.

“Where are my manners?” Lady Barbara exclaimed. “May I introduce my stepmother, Patience, Lady Seahaven. Patience, this is Lord Cranfield and his sister Lady Josephine.”

Richard was prepared for a matronly woman to reveal herself as she alit from the carriage. But when she lifted her head once upon solid ground to acknowledge their introductions, he was unprepared for the young beauty he faced. Blue-grey eyes that could rival the sky above met his. Wisps of strawberry blonde hair had escaped her bonnet while her porcelain skin was set in a lovely round face. But when her small bow mouth turned up into an enchanting smile, Richard became lost.

“Lord Cranfield,” her voice reached into his soul. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Richard bowed, completely bewildered in the spell she had captured him in with just one glance. At a loss for words, he could only stare at the woman before him, even while he continued to hold her hand in his. What had she done to him?


Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Preorder for only $0.99

Here’s the blurb for Sherry Ewing’s contribution to the set, A Countess To Remember:

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it…

Patience, Dowager Countess of Seahaven cares for a bevy of stepdaughters and a Season for each to find husbands seems out of reach. With her own young daughter to care for, there’s been no chance for romance for herself. She’s been so busy worrying about putting food on the table, that finding love is the last of her concerns.

Richard, Viscount Cranfield is in York to see to his sister’s Season. He has no desire to find a wife despite his parents prodding him to do so. A chance encounter with a countess leaves him wondering what spell she has cast around him.

Will Patience and Richard find enough time to allow love to fill their hearts?

Buy Links for the Desperate Daughters boxset:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qG6WGs

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3HoEVcm

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Help spread the word about Desperate Daughters.

Share our contest page and our Bachelor and other memes to any of your social media accounts. Each share gets you an entry into one of the weekly draws and the Grand Prize draw.

Congratulations to Catherine Maguire, winner of our week 1 draw.

Enter the Week Two draw here :http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bb92b0a65/?

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Read more about Desperate Daughters here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

About Belle Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page at www.SherryEwing.com.

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Riot at Reform Meeting–Militia Called in to Keep Peace

From Our Yorkshire Correspondent

A meeting held today in York ended in a riot, which was put down by a troop of militia. The meeting was well attended by a wide variety of people, including a number who might properly be called ladies and gentlemen. The first speaker, who spoke at length on the iniquities of the legislation suspending habeas corpus, was allowed to complete his oration unmolested. Possibly because he had put his audience to sleep.

It was not so for the second speaker, whose fiery oration on the topic of rotten boroughs had barely started when it was cut off by a flying vegetable, and then several such projectiles. Several in the crowd took exception to the missile throwing, and within moments, the hall was in chaos, with some scurrying for safety and others wading into the fight.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, some say because of the arrival of armed militia men and others despite this intervention. Several ladies were spirited out the door by burly footmen, one was  escorted away by a clergyman, and  yet another was rescued from the middle of the riot by a gentleman who proved to be Lord D F. This gentleman is not only an army officer (retired) but also the scion of a noble house and a protege (some say a half-brother) of a notable duke who, before his marriage and his elevation to the title, often entertained readers of this paper with his amours.

Our readers will stare when they learn that lady our officer saved — first from the rioters and then from the militia — had no maid with her but was accompanied by a monkey!

Several reputable observers claim that those who lobbed the first object were not reformers at all, but rather pro-Government trouble-makers, or possibly even paid agitators sent to cause trouble. Certainly there can be no greater evidence of the innocence of at least some of those who attended than the little lady with the winsome smile and her mischievious simian. Who, after all, would take a monkey to a riot?

One hopes that the young lord’s patron will receive a scathing denunciation of the government’s tactics in denying Englishmen (and women) their right to meet in peaceful discussion.

One also hopes that we will find out the names of the young lady and her pet, and whether the first meeting we observed between her and Lord D F was followed by further meetings in pleasanter circumstances.

This reform meeting appears in “Lord Cuckoo Comes Home”, Jude Knight’s contribution to the Desperate Daughters box set.

Please do buy the book. Nine wonderful stories in 772 pages, only 99c for the ebook until the week of publication.

Read more and find buy links here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

 

Suspicious Behavior in York

Dear Euphemia,

Can you enlighten me about the boisterous clan of Bigglesworth women that have invaded York Society this Season? The younger daughters are being launched (one might say cast upon us) and are being feted hither and yon as “the Seahaven Diamonds.” Anyone who is anyone scurried about hoping for invitations to the grand ball they hosted to celebrate said launch, though my own invitation went astray. But that is neither here nor there.

York is virtually crawling with Bigglesworth women. One cannot pay a morning call on a friend without encountering two or three of them, as if they travel in packs. One encounters them in the shops. Some were seen dragging some poor bored children along the walls for a history lecture. Others are rather too cozy with the horse racing scene. Always they are dressed fashionably, which leads one to wonder. How are they managing the expense?

You live near Starbrook and are quite cozy (or so you claim) with the new Earl of Seahaven’s Dear Wife. You gave me the impression in times past that the earl left the widowed countess with little or nothing. How did that chit, the former countess—the fifth wife in a row who failed to produce a male child—manage a season for all those stepdaughters, even the ones clearly on the shelf? Can you enlighten me?

One wonders whether one ought to befriend some or all, or even if one ought to receive them. As if the number and questionable situation weren’t enough, morals are in question. My maid heard a story from our footman who took ale with another footman, one that had been hired by the Bigglesworths—temporarily, mind you, to handle the undiscerning crowds that descended on them after their ball. That person testified that at least one of those young women was seen creeping out of a closet with her clothing askew and her hair out of place in the company of Viscount Stanbeck’s shabby younger brother who purports to be a curate. What must they teach young clergy these days?

Do write back quickly. The Season moves swiftly, and that baggage and her tribe of daughters are everywhere. Ought I avoid them?

Sir William, my dear husband, sends his regards.

Yours

Marian, Lady Smithers

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/

Who is the dowager Countess of Seahaven?

Who is the dowager Countess of Seahaven? It is a question that will be on the lips of many this Season in York.

You may remember that the Earl of Seahaven produced no legitimate sons, despite an effort that almost matched that of the famous Tudor king.  Indeed, some wits dubbed him Henry the Fifth!

Not that the late earl lacked children. Five wives produced ten daughters between them, the last born posthumously to the dowager aforementioned a little more than four years ago..

But what became of the dowager, her daughter, and her nine stepdaughters?

Until today, the Polite World has not been able to answer this question.

However, dear readers, your Teatime Tattler correspondent has been indefatigable in search of the truth, which will be of more interest today than ever, given circumstances.

For Lady Seahaven and her charges are about to burst on the social scene here in York. Your correspondent has learned that the dowager is related to a respected, if eccentric, stalwart of York Society, Lady Rose St Aubyn.

Lady Rose is once again off on her travels, and has arranged for her niece to take over her townhouse.

So we in York are going to be privileged to see the debut of the countess and six of her stepdaughters. (The eldest had a London Season more than a decade ago, but did not take.)

Your correspondent went hunting for more information about the mysterious ladies.

The current Lord Seahaven was unhelpful. All he would tell us was that the ladies did not live in any of his properties, and that the fifth and surviving wife of his predecessor was no lady.

“Her parents were tradespeople, and I will leave it to you to figure out how a female like that enviegled her way into the earl’s bed,” he said.

Given that the lady is an acknowledged St Aubyn, I think we can ignore the earl’s remark. He was, before his unexpected assension to the oak leaves, a minor merchant himself.

However, while we know where the Seahaven ladies will be by the end of March (in Lady Rose’s townhouse), we have been unable to discover where they have lived in the four years since the old earl died.

Dear reader, we will watch this York Season with great interest, and will be sure to keep you informed.

Desperate Daughters

The next Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends is out on May 8th, and tells the story of nine ladies, all related, who discover happiness awaiting them in York in the season.

Now on preorder at only 99c. Price reduction ends with publication. Click on the project page for more information and buy links.

Damsels in Distress Take York by Storm — Love Against the Odds?

The women who call themselves the Bluestocking Belles are at it again, Sam — invading another set of lives and writing a series of tell-all stories. And people call the Tattler a scandal rag!

This one will be out next year, but I should be able to scrape a few details from the Belles and their friends before then. This year, Meara Platt, Ella Quinn, Mary Lancaster, and Alina K. Field have joined the Belles for the collection.

So far, what I’ve discovered is that all the stories are about one family and their connections.

You may remember the jokes and gossip a few years back when the Earl of Seahaven took his fifth bride, and her young enough to be his granddaughter? And a baker’s daughter, at that. Then he died before the first year was out. All jokes about stamina and demanding young brides aside, it was a terrible thing for the girl, especially when the child she was carrying at the time was not the Earl’s longed-for son, but a ninth daughter.

The new earl, a distant cousin, decided that he had no responsibility for the upkeep of ten females. The dowager countess was left to her own devices, with her own baby girl and eight step-daughters.

That was three years ago, more or less. The latest news will be in the Bluestocking Belles’ new collection of stories. Apparently, the ladies have managed to somehow afford a York Season! There’ll be more than the races to amuse the Polite World this year. It’ll be intriguing to see how many suitors are willing to take on a bride with a very small dowry and a whole platoon of sisters.

I’ll be digging around some more, Sam, and I’ll certainly let you know what I find out.

Oh! And the collection is called Desperate Daughters. Catchy title, that, and it says it all, really. This should be a lot of fun!

***

Read more about Desperate Daughters and preorder here.

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