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Argo won Best Picture at the Academy Awards last night, a movie about government intelligence and secrets and cunning and daring. I was holding out for Les Miserables, but, oh well.

Cato_Street_Conspiracy193 years ago, on Feb 23, 1820, government intelligence of the domestic sort and an almost revolution of the French sort played a crucial role in an event that became known as the Cato Street Conspiracy.

The times were unsettled. The end of the Napoleonic Wars and the shift from the rural agricultural society to an Industrial one set off economic hardships. Events such as the Spa Field Riots in 1816 and the Peterloo Massacre the previous August showed the social unrest and the call for parliamentary reform. The government’s response to the unrest were The Six Acts, repressive measures which were aimed at limiting the freedom of the press, preventing large meetings, and otherwise attempting to prevent the possibility of an armed insurrection.

When King George III died in January, 1820, a revolutionary organization called the Spencean Philanthropists saw an opportunity. They hatched a plan to barge in on a dinner to be held by Lord Harrowby and slaughter the entire British cabinet and the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool. The man who suggested the plan was George Edwards, second-in-command to the leader, Arthur Thistlewood. The killing of the cabinet ministers would be the first act an overthrow of the government and would spark a revolution similar to the French Revolution. Or that was the plan.

The problem was, it was a set-up. George Edwards was an agent provocateur, a government spy. While the conspirators gathered at a house on Cato Street to launch their attack, a Bow Street Magistrate and twelve of his Bow Street Runners were waiting across the street. At 7:30 pm they apprehended the conspirators. In the ensuing brawl, Thistlewood killed one policeman. All the conspirators were apprehended at the scene or later.

NPG D36701; A May Day Garland for 1820 published by Samuel William ForesFour of them, including Thistlewood, were hanged and beheaded. Others were transported.

The government used this event to justify the Six Acts but in the House of Commons, Matthew Wood MP argued out that the government had used entrapment to smear the campaign for parliamentary reform. Had the government merely set the whole thing up or had their clandestine activities prevented a collapse of the government?

That could be the difference between the endings of Les Miserables and Argo!

What movies did you want to win at the Oscars? Which movie stars? (I was glad Ann Hathaway won)

Today my brain is scattered — and almost as chaotic and busy as the ballroom pictured here, which so crowds poor Mr. Darcy — so my post here will be scattered and chaotic as well.


Don’t forget to vote in All About Romance‘s 2005 Reader Poll! Just go to:

Ignore the list of books near the top — those are THEIR favorites, not yours — and vote your opinions!


This morning it was announced that the recent film of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was nominated for four Oscars! Of course, the serious films got the nods for best picture, but P&P got nominations for costume design, art direction, original score, plus a best actress nomination for Keira Knightley! (Well deserved, in my opinion!)


My first novel (MY LADY GAMESTER) was released on November 1. Looking back, it’s been an interesting and educational three months for me.

So . . .

First, my thank-yous.

1) Thank you to the many members of my family, and my husband’s family, who bought my book.

2) A particular thank-you to my mother, my uncle’s mother-in-law, and Todd’s parents and their spouses, for making the supreme sacrifice of actually reading it.

3) An extra-special thank-you to my mother-in-law, her husband, and my father-in-law’s wife, for sharing their thoughts on my book, and what they liked about it.

4) Thank you to my friends who took the time to buy and read my book.

5) An extra special thank you to the two members of my local RWA chapter who went the extra mile, and reviewed my book on Amazon. I am eternally grateful.

6) Thank you to pretty much everyone I’ve mentioned my book to, for not calling romances trash, or making snide or patronizing remarks about the genre, or my book.

Now, what I have learned…

1) Most of my relatives, and some of my friends, will never read my book. They may read other books, or they may not, but they won’t read mine. They would probably be more interested in hearing about my attempts at cooking, my cat’s bad habits, the last movie I saw, or the details of my mortgage, than hearing about the book that took me years (and blood, toil, tears, and sweat) to write. That’s life.

2) The most common question I will get on my book is “How is it selling?” (I guess this is a question my relatives can ask without having read my book.)

3) Some of my friends who read my book will decide the most useful thing they can do is to list for me any errors they believe they have found in it. I confess I do not know why they think this is a good idea.

4) Even if the theme of my satiric holiday letter is the fact that almost no one has reviewed my book on Amazon, no one I send the letter to will be persuaded by it to review my book on Amazon. I hereby resolve to learn to be happy with my two good reviews, and stop nagging my relatives (who haven’t read my book anyway.)

So . . . does anyone else have any similar observations to share?? All opinions (and venting of your own) very welcome! (You can also comment on the AAR poll or the Oscar nominations!)

Cara King,
MY LADY GAMESTER — out now from Signet Regency!!!!

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