Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Tag: Mistaken Identity

Eyebrows Raised in Staffordshire

My Dearest Readers:

If your chaise-longue requires fresh feathers, I must recommend you send for the upholsterer before reading this any further. Once you have been assured that your preferred furniture will not cause injuries should you feel the inevitable urge to faint, you may proceed.

I fear a dreadful scandal has occurred in Staffordshire. I sympathize with the utter unrest you are most certainly feeling at this unexpected news. We associate scandals with London and Brighton, but never Staffordshire, home of an abundance of ceramics and grazing grounds for livestock.

Mrs. Blythe has been recording the events that have been happening at Laventhorpe Castle, near the Staffordshire Moors. We do not like to ponder her expenses for smelling salts.

As I am certain you are well aware, the Duke of Framingham recently became betrothed to Princess Aria Eleonora Ingrid Petronella of Sweden. Though the wedding announcement caused our eyebrows to reach a higher than customary perch, we were naturally pleased for them, even if we wondered at the wisdom of the match. After all, the aged duke’s unpleasant visage cannot compensate for his brash, equally unpleasant personality, and the princess is so wealthy, we doubted even the duke’s vast estate held much temptation to her.

It seems though that shortly after the wedding, the princess absconded with the duke’s younger cousin. Quel horreur! There are rumors that he kidnapped her and her pet dog, Galileo, though that is no excuse, naturally, for a woman to abandon her marital bed on her wedding night. They are even now hurrying through Staffordshire, though I am assured that the duke and his men are pursuing them.

Mrs. Blythe’s new book, The Truth about Princesses and Dukes, details these events at length. I hope, dearest readers, that you should not feel the urge to behave in equally outrageous manners.

About the Book: The Truth about Princesses and Dukes

Princess Aria Eleonora Ingrid Petronella of Sweden has been exchanging letters with the most marvelous man in the world. Perhaps her true love is somewhat aged, and perhaps butterflies don’t swarm inside her chest when they meet briefly at a ball, but she is certain no man equals the Duke of Framingham in magnificence. When he proposes marriage in a letter, she eagerly accepts.

Rupert Andrews doesn’t expect to enjoy writing letters on behalf of his elderly cousin. But when the Duke of Framingham informs Rupert that he’s fallen in love with a beautiful woman and needs someone to write letters on his behalf, Rupert reluctantly agrees. After all, the cottage he inherited after his mother’s death is heavily mortgaged, and the duke has kindly let him take longer to repay the debt. On the duke’s wedding day, Rupert overhears the duke tell his mistress that he plans to toss his new bride off his balcony so they can marry. The duke merely desires the princess’s money, and Rupert knows one thing: he has to rescue her. 

Princess Aria is astonished when a young, spectacle-wearing man kidnaps her. She’s in love with the duke—after all, he’s sent her such wonderful letters for weeks. Soon though, she’s on the run with Rupert to London. If only Rupert had sent her such lovely letters. . .




Rupert marched through the room and opened various drawers. There must be another key. He scrummaged through the duke’s attire, then crawled under the bed.


Finally, he glanced toward the window.

He rather wished the first Duke of Framingham had decided to put his bedroom on the ground floor. If only that duke had had a premonition of the viciousness of one of his descendants and his propensity to go about locking relatives in bedrooms. Evidently, the duke’s success at fighting the French so many centuries ago had not translated into an equal ability to foretell the future.

Rupert attempted to open the balcony door, but it was locked. He scowled, before hastily moving to the window.

Rupert unlocked the hinge on the window and pushed it open. A brisk wind met him. Birds chirped merrily, and the sun was in full force. He squinted into the light. Then he lowered himself carefully from the window until his feet touched the battlement.

The birds jerked their heads toward him from their perches on the parapet, before flying away. A few servants were outside, marching to the chapel with flowers.

Where was the princess?

Would she be in the chapel now? In the drawing room? Still touring the castle?

Her dressing room.

Rupert lowered himself down and hurried to the other wing, crawling along the crenellations. He wasn’t certain which room she’d been placed in, but he assumed it was the best one. The wind brushed against him, as if urging him to reenter the house. A few leaves, which had no doubt laid in the battlements for months, flew into his face. He pushed them away, and they crunched against his fingers.


Why was the castle so large? Evidently, no one had calculated the utter inconvenience the large size would be when someone was forced to circumvent it on one’s stomach.

The chapel bells rang, and Rupert scurried forward.

About the Author

Born in Texas, Bianca Blythe spent four years in England. She worked in a fifteenth-century castle, though sadly that didn’t actually involve spotting dukes and earls strutting about in Hessians.

She credits British weather for forcing her into a library, where she discovered her first Julia Quinn novel. She remains deeply grateful for blustery downpours.

After meeting her husband in another library, she moved with him to sunny California, though on occasion she still dreams of the English seaside, scones with clotted cream, and sheep-filled pastures. For now, she visits them in her books.

FB Group

Follow on Amazon


Scandalous Doings in San Francisco

Dateline June 1870: Dear readers, we received the following from our correspondent in the former colonies. What follows is from the pen of a lady and world traveler who has never yet led The Tattler and its readers astray.

Dear Mr. Clemens,

It has been my pleasure these past few weeks to record my experience of the first railway journey from Boston to the San Francisco Bay. I most sincerely hope to publish those records as a part of the Teatime Tattler Traveler’s Compendium in the not too distant future. However, there is one tidbit too salacious to be held back for later publication.

Miss Edith Alden

During my excursion of less than a week to California, I shared passage with a wide variety of persons. One of the most intriguing was a Miss Edith Alden of the Boston Aldens. (No relation to the distinguished family of the Marquess of Alden.) Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francisco to bring her sister home to visit with their ailing grandfather. Little did I know at the time that the sister was already notorious in San Francisco and that Miss Edith Alden would soon be almost more disreputable.

I joined her in the dining car for a late tea one afternoon, as she was perusing some papers. She hurriedly folded the papers and laid them out of sight beneath her reticule. After several minutes of lively conversation, Miss Alden excused herself for a few moments, asking me if I would keep watch on her things until she returned. I of course agreed. I’d been wondering since I sat down what was in those papers that she found every excuse not to discuss. She was gone long enough that I was able to read and thoroughly memorize (being blessed with that useful talent from birth) one of the papers which was a article recently found in a Boston newspaper dated early June 1870, and I quote:

In San Francisco, given enough money, any item can be bought and any crime hidden. The photograph above, smuggled out by a resident, shows the depravity of fallen women that runs rampant through the city, even at elegant addresses like that of Madame Cerise Duval. In a peculiar twist of fate, the photographer is rumored to have been murdered by one of the residents of the house. An unidentified blonde woman, with a distinctive scar on her left temple, is said to have killed Mr. F. Lyn Whitson and absconded with the man’s photographic equipment. The woman is believed to be somewhere in the San Francisco area and is being sought for questioning.

Person in this picture is reputed to be Miss Edith Alden
during her brief stay at Madam Cerise Duval’s bordello.

I returned the newsprint to its original position beneath Miss Alden’s reticule and proceeded to carefully question her–using a technique I call misdirection–about her sister. It became very clear in little time that the woman wanted for murder of the photographer was none other than the sister, with whom Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francico.

I, of course, resolved to have nothing more to do with Miss Alden, although I did learn more of her from the papers during our subsequent weeks in San Francisco. I give you the following headlines from papers much like the Teatime Tattler.

“Businessman, Dutch Trahern wins right to deflower a Boston Virgin during an auction at the Bordello of Madam Cerise Duval.”

The drawing (see 1st image above) which accompanied this startling piece of news resembles Miss Alden to a Tee. In subsequent issues of the same periodical these headlines bear testament to the lax moral character of Miss Alden and her family.

“Formerly respected businessman, Dutch Trahern is discovered living in sin with the Boston Prostitute whose supposed virginity Mr. Trahern won in a bordello auction.”

A week later the following headline appeared. “Mr. Smiley of Trahern & Smiley Import & Export breaks with partner. Threatens to sue Trahern over issues of immorality.”

Sadly, Mr. Clemens, I was compelled to leave San Francisco on my way to Hong Kong by ship before the entire tale of scandal and salacious behavior could be told. It is my hope to be able, at some point to pick up the thread of Miss Alden’s adventures. Though I most sincerely doubt, despite rumors of her marriage, the young woman has much claim to even so modest and honorific as ‘Miss.’

Submitted with my kind regards

Your traveling correspondent.,

About the Book: One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss. 

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

Available NOW for pre-order, release date Monday April 20,2020

About Rue Allyn: Author of historical and contemporary romances, I fell in love with happily ever after the day I heard my first story. (Yes, I was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two, but I could hear much earlier than that.) I studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. Heck, as an author, I get to read the story before anyone else. I am happily married to my sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler I love to hear from readers about your favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can send me your words of wisdom . . . Don’t shake your head at me; all words are wise in one context or another. You can trust me on this; I’m an author. As I was saying, you can send your words of wisdom, humor, and friendship to me at Can’t wait to hear from you. Keep up with Rue Allyn by subscribing to her newsletter and get a free copy of Knight Protector when you do.

Find Rue Allyn On Line: Website Facebook Twitter Amazon Goodreads Pinterest

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén