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Diamonds Are Forever

Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah, my latest release, is what I would call a Regency with a definite twist. My heroine writes hugely popular erotic novels for a living. I know, I know but I had the idea for this book long before THAT book went viral. Elliot, my hero, is a soldier turned housebreaker. They meet when Elliot falls off a drainpipe while making his escape after robbing a country house, and lands on Deborah who is wandering the grounds in the middle of the night. If you want to know why she is doing this I’m afraid you’ll have to read the book. Anyway, the loot that Elliot has snaffled is a blue diamond, rectangular in shape and strangely faceted, at about one hundred carats, half the size of the original from which it was cut. Elliot’s ill-gotten booty is in fact part of the stolen French crown jewels.
Louis XIV acquired the French Blue stone in 1678. He had the diamond cut and set in gold, and wore it around his neck. The next Louis had the diamond reset again and turned it into the Order of the Golden Fleece, which the next Louis, the unfortunate XVI wore only occasionally. In 1792, while Louis and Marie-Antoinette were awaiting their fate, the French crown jewels were stolen. Most of the pieces were recovered, but the French Blue disappeared without trace.
I first read about this diamond when I was researching for my last book, Rake with a Frozen Heart. I abandoned the overly-complex crime caper which was originally at the centre of that story, but I filed away my research. Then Elliot, my housebreaker hero, popped into my mind, and I remembered the French Blue story. Waste not, want not, as my gran was fond of saying (usually when trying to make me clear my plate!).
According to legend, the French Blue turned up in England in the early part of the Nineteenth century. Some say it was cut into two before it left France, some that it was never stolen but appropriated by the revolutionary Danton, who used it to bribe the Duke of Brunswick, and that it was he who had it cut.

Caroline, Brunswick’s daughter, was the despised wife of the Prince Regent. So appalled was Prinny by her lack of personal hygiene that he managed to force himself to do his marital duty just the once.
The prince was not generous to poor Caroline, who was forced to sell many of her jewels in order to support herself, and it has been argued that the French Blue was one of them. In 1812, there is evidence that a jeweller called Daniel Eliason owned a diamond which resembled the French Blue. Did he buy it from Caroline, or from one of the original thieves? Strangely enough, there is evidence that Caroline’s husband, the Prince Regent, also had a diamond very similar to the French Blue. Was this the other half or the original? What we do know is that diamond disappeared when the prince, by this time King George IV, died.

Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah is set in 1817. I have chosen to believe that the original French Blue diamond was cut in half by the French thieves, and that Deborah’s relative from whom Elliot steals it, acquired it by nefarious means from them. The ‘real’ French Blue, which is known as the Hope Diamond, has had a chequered path through history, with a reputation for bringing death or tragedy to its wearer. Tavernier, who sold it to Louis XIV was reputed to have been torn to pieces by wild dogs. Louis himself died of a festering wound. Louis XVI, as we know, ended up on the guillotine. Various owners have been murdered, died in freak accidents, or committed suicide, though since it was donated to the Smithsonian, where it now resides, the curse has lain dormant. For Elliot, it’s a lucky stone, because it brings him Deborah. The path of true love is by no means straightforward for my hero and heroine, but it’s fun, sexy, and ultimately rewarding journey.

Do you believe in lucky charms? What’s yours? I have a signed copy of Deborah and Elliot’s story to give away. Just leave a comment for a chance to win. 

Outrageous Confessions of Lady Deborah is out now in the UK, US and Canada. Here is the blurb:
JUST WHO IS LADY DEBORAH? I am the Dowager Countess of Kinsail, and I have enough secrets to scandalise you for life. I will never reveal the truth of my soul-destroying marriage – some things are too dark to be told. But at least no one can guess that I, a famously icy-hearted widow, am also the authoress of the shamelessly voluptuous romances currently shocking the ton…! Only now I have a new secret identity, one that I will risk my life to keep – accomplice to Elliot Marchmont, gentleman, ex-solider and notorious London thief. This adventurer’s expert touch ignites in me a passion so intoxicating that surviving our blistering affair unscathed will be near impossible…
And here’s what the Romantic Timessaid about it when they gave it four stars:
Daring. Dangerous. Delightful. Kaye’s new Regency romance is a riveting and thrilling adventure between a writer and a thief, both bent on revenge, and neither expecting to find love at last. Kaye has another winner on her hands, with an original plot, lots of sizzling passion and enough nail-biting action to satisfy every fan.
There’s excerpts, background and more about my books on

The Riskies welcome back Marguerite Kaye, who is here to talk about her new release, the third in the “Castonbury Park” series from Harlequin Historicals….

Slave to Love! And a Giveaway

The Lady Who Broke the Rules is my book from the Regency upstairs/downstairs series Castonbury Park. My heroine is Lady Kate, the eldest daughter of the wealthy Montague family, a philanthropist and abolitionist. My hero is Virgil Jackson, a freed slave.
The Riskies welcome back Marguerite Kaye, who is here to talk about her new release, the third in the “Castonbury Park” series from Harlequin Historicals….
‘We want scandal, scandal, scandal,’ our editor told us eight authors when we first embarked on the ‘Castonbury Park’ journey, and a freed black slave seemed to me like a brilliant starting point. Any man who could survive the horrors of slavery and succeed on his own terms as Virgil does would have to be unbelievably strong-willed, yet at the same time, coming from such a traumatic background, he had to have some deep-seated issues of his own to contend with. Virgil is a free man, but he’s still a slave to his past
The history of slavery is a complex, emotive and controversial subject, one that has always fascinated me, but I have to admit there where times when I thought I’d taken a step too far in making a freed slave a romantic hero. However, with the Castonbury Park series is set at a time when slavery was being challenged in both the Old and the New Worlds, I’m always keen to push boundaries in my stories, so I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.
The Lady Who Broke the Rules is set in 1816. In the United States, the trade of slaves was abolished in the north in 1804, after which manumission in those states gathered momentum. In the south though, cotton was in increasing demand (paradoxically thanks to the north’s industrialisation of textile manufacture), slaves were a hugely important part of the economy, and resistance to abolition was significant.
Virgil was born into slavery in the south and freed in the north. He was one of the fortunate ones who came to true eminence and used his wealth to give others the chances he had had to make for himself. Though in reality this kind of success was rare, it was not unheard of. Robert Purvis is just one example of the black philanthropists from whom I took inspiration for Virgil, but his entrepreneurial side is an amalgamation of a whole number of black men and women who flourished in Nineteenth Century Boston, renting out real estate, setting up restaurants and beauty parlours, making shoes and clothes for the mass market, taking on the Establishment by training as lawyers and doctors.
Across the pond, a huge number of aristocratic families had derived a large part of their wealth from plantations in the West Indies which relied on slavery, but their influence was on the decline. The actual trade of slaves became illegal in 1807, and although it was not until 1833 that slavery itself was abolished, by 1816 the growing Abolitionist movement, coupled with the decline of the economic significance of the West Indies plantations, made the idea, if not the reality, of slavery much less politically and socially acceptable than it had been a decade or so before.
My research for The Lady Who Broke the Rules taught me that a large number of the British abolitionists were women, and so I made my heroine, Lady Kate Montague, one of them. It was one of the few political causes in which it became acceptable for women to participate, and in which women took a leading and influential role. I relished the opportunity to create a heroine who could, without it seeming a historical anachronism, be active politically and philanthropically. Josiah Wedgewood’s daughter Sarah, who introduces Kate to Virgil, was just one real life example I drew on when writing her.
There’s a huge difference between perception and reality. Kate, like me, had only read about slavery. Virgil had experienced it. As a writer, I had to try and imagine myself in both sets of shoes. Whether I’ve managed it or not – well, that’s for you to decide.
I have a signed copy of Kate and Virgil’s story to give away. Just leave a comment for a chance to win.
The Lady Who Broke the Rules (Castonbury Park 3) is out in October in the UK, digital only in the US and Canada, though it will be released in a print duo (Ladies of Disrepute) with Book 4 in December. Here is the blurb:
‘Your rebellion has not gone unnoticed…’ Anticipating her wedding vows and then breaking off the engagement has left Kate Montague’s social status in tatters. She hides her hurt at her family’s disapproval behind a resolutely optimistic facade, but one thing really grates…For a fallen woman, she knows shockingly little about passion! Could Virgil Jackson be the man to teach her? A freed slave turned successful businessman, his striking good looks and lethally restrained power throw normally composed Kate into a tailspin! She’s already scandalised society, but succumbing to her craving for Virgil would be the most outrageous thing Kate’s done by far…
There’s excerpts, background and more about my books on
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