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therenegadewife Today at Risky Regencies, we are delighted to have Caroline Warfield as our guest! Caroline has a book giveaway for you and a fascinating glimpse of a Canadian setting used in her new release, The Renegade Wife. Her new post-Regency series follows the children of characters introduced in her first series. To learn more, please read on!

Traveler, would-be adventurer, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things, but above all a romantic. 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.

Children of Empire

Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history. The heroes and heroines of Caroline’s Dangerous Series overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Children of Empire.

Caroline will give a Kindle copy of the winner’s choice of Dangerous Works or Dangerous Secrets to one randomly selected person who comments.

Book 1 in the new series is The Renegade Wife, which releases on October 12. Betrayed by his cousin and the woman he loved, Rand Wheatly fled England, his dreams of a loving family shattered. He clings to his solitude in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. Returning from a business trip, he finds a widow and two children squatting in his house. He wants them gone, but his heart is not as hard as he likes to pretend. Meggy Blair harbors a secret, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her children safe. She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a quiet, solitary man, a man who lowers his defensive walls enough to let Meggy and her children in.

Their idyllic interlude is shattered when Meggy’s brutal husband appears to claim his children. She isn’t a widow, but a wife, a woman who betrayed the man she was supposed to love, just as Rand’s sweetheart betrayed him. He soon discovers why Meggy is on the run, but time is running out. To save them all, Rand must return and face his demons.

Caroline says: “When my Dangerous Series came to an end, and I looked around for my next project, I realized that I had populated my earlier books with young people who would grow up and need to search for their own happiness. A quick look at timelines of English history showed me that I would be moving into a really rich period of social upheaval and empire building. With it came exotic locations, something I particularly value. One wearies of the London drawing room after a while. The result was not just one book, but a whole new series. I named it Children of Empire.

The first books take place during the reign of William IV, the time in between the Georgian and Victorian eras. The Reform Crisis, social upheaval, growing interest in the Canadian timber industry, the expansion of the East India company, and the seeds of the First Opium War all lurk in the background of the first three books.

One major treat in researching The Renegade Wife was learning about the building of Rideau Canal. The story takes place months after the completion of the canal, certainly a wonder when it was built, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My characters travel the Rideau watershed and visit Bytown, now called Ottawa.


The untamed river and the lock 100 feet away.

I took the opportunity to go take a look, and the locks at Ottawa—still functioning after 180 years—astounded me. So did the whole length of locks, dams, and blockhouses, all built to defend the Canadas (as the provinces were known in 1832) from those pesky Americans down south. ”  bytownlocks(1827 Commissariat Building, shown behind me in the photo, is now the Bytown museum.)

Do you enjoy following characters into the post-Regency era and more exotic locations of the British Empire? Have you ever been to Ottawa, or visited the Rideau Canal or the Bytown museum? Post a comment to be entered into the drawing for Caroline’s giveaway!

A brief excerpt from The Renegade Wife:

She pushed away from the door. “If you’re finished, I’ll clear up your dishes.

“Damn it woman, I fend for myself here.” He looked her up and down. He noticed her deep blue eyes, midnight black hair, and dusky skin. “What are you? Gypsy? Is that where you learned how to diddle a man out of his belongings?”

She drew her back up straight and squared her shoulders. The gesture pulled her dress tight across obviously ample breasts.

There’s a practiced enticement. She’s in for a surprise if she thinks that trick will work on me.

Chin high, she met his eyes without flinching. “My grandmother is Ojibwa, my father was French, and my husband was a Scot. You can despise whichever one of those your English heart chooses, or all of them, but I am not a thief.”

She grabbed her skirt and took a step toward the door. “Do fend for yourself. We’ll leave as soon as we can.”

“I’ll decide when you’re a thief,” he snarled, bringing her to a halt. “It’s my house.”

For (pre-order) purchase on Amazon.

Also check out Caroline online:

Website and Blog


Twitter      @CaroWarfield

There’s also a Pinterest Board for The Renegade Wife!

Please leave a comment, to be entered in the giveaway.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Caroline!





I could NOT be more excited to tell you that, as it says above, finally –FINALLY!! –I have finished LORD OF MISRULE. Not only that, but the ebook version is up at both Amazon and Smashwords –the Kindle version is on pre-order and will be delivered next Wednesday. Please, please head on over there and order a copy? You will have my undying gratitude.

I put “finally’ in caps because really, this is not just about the fact that the poor book kept getting interrupted and has taken a couple of years to complete. This is my first all-new book in sixteen years! Yes, THE RAKE’S MISTAKE was the last entirely new book I wrote, and it was published by Signet in 2002. (That’s the only one of my backlist I still have not re-issued. I’ll get to it, I promise.)

Coming back after that long a break is not easy. First, there’s the “rust” factor –you’re horribly out of practice after not writing for that long (teaching helps, but it’s not the same), and more, at least in my case, you lose your “voice” and have to spend a lot of writing time just finding it again. Second, and it’s related to the first, there’s the “fear” factor. Face it, writing is a scary business. You put your heart on the line every time you write a story and put it out there for people to judge. When you’re rusty at your craft and finding your way back, I think the “fear factor” is tripled! So, I have my fingers crossed and hope readers will enjoy my new effort.

But there’s another “finally” I’m celebrating with this new book. I was detoured during those years by a series of serious health issues in my family –my mom, my younger son, my husband. Each time I started to write again, a new crisis occurred and the correlation of the timing was worthy of the Twilight Zone! I began to believe I just wasn’t meant to be writing during those years, and still believe that. No guilt.

This time when I started again, the health crisis that occurred was mine. The reason to celebrate is not only because I managed to write anyway, but because I believe I have either broken the pattern, or come to the end of the period of not-writing. The joy is back, and I feel that part of my brain is working again. FINALLY! Yippee!


On a snowy Christmas Eve day, a vicar’s daughter runs into the Devil himself, or is he just the Lord of Misrule? In a season of miracles and magic, can love bind two unlikely hearts in the days leading to Twelfth Night?

“a bit of Pride and Prejudice, a little Brigadoon and a dollop of Cinderella” –author Terri Kennedy

In trouble for causing a scandal in London, Adam Randall, Lord Forthhurst, is headed home to make amends on Christmas Eve day when he becomes stranded in the tiny village of Little Macclow. Before the night is over, he has become thoroughly entangled in the village’s celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, and fully intrigued by the vicar’s daughter, Miss Cassandra Tamworth.

Cassie has been raised by her widowed father to expect the worst from members of the aristocracy. Lord Forthhurst is a puzzle. Can she trust him? Or is he a devil, as he claims and warns her? Can her mind resist when her heart and body want to be his?

Note: This special full-length holiday book from Gail focuses entirely on the romance between Adam and Cassie and the shenanigans during twelve days of Christmas. In this one, no nefarious doings are afoot and there’s no mystery to be solved beyond the mystery of how two people who belong together ever manage to sort themselves out enough to find love!



Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc.:

Have you ever had to persevere over a long period of time to complete something, or get back to something? I am so grateful to my readers who have been patiently waiting for me, and for new ones who are willing to give me a try!

From that nut, Ephraim Hardcastle of Walnuts and Wine

It is yet a maxim with some remnants of the old school of curmudgeon ledger-men, that to buy a picture is to “hang your money on the wall.” The same narrow notions applied to books — “What, lock your money up in calfskins!”

Editorial note: 1820: Calfskin. 2013: my iPad. I wonder what Mr. Hardcastle would say about that?

The stock of literature, with those who accumulated stock, besides the Holy Bible, usually consisted of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the same lively writer’s Holy War, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, the Old Whole Duty of Man, a mutilated Baker’s Chronicle, some odd volumes of Jacob Tonson’s duodecimo Spectator, and Herman Moll’s Geography, commonly with torn maps, the Tale of a Tub, Milton’s Paradise Lost (never read), Culpepper’s Herbal, or Every Man his own Physician (the good lady’s book, under lock and key), the Complete Letter Writer, belonging to Miss, with Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood’s Garland, and the Seven Champions of Christendom, the property of Jem and Jack.

Yes, gentle reader, reading has made a wonderful revolution in manners: every pretty miss can name the stars; and Newton, Descartes, and Tycho Brahe, are known to have been neither Egyptian, Roman, nor Greek; and the boys and girls may account for an eclipse, without being checked by papa with, “Such things are presumptuous, child.” In short, your magazinists and reviewists, your essayists and journalists, have brought your book-makers into vogue, until, such are the fruits of this scribbling era, “we philosophers, poets, and wits,” as a learned friend of mine has said, “no longer make a stir as heretofore in a party, like unto a stone, that, thrown into quiet water, maketh a disturbed circle from bank to bank:”—-no, “we make our entrance and our exit much like other harmless folks:” and this! in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty! —” So runs the world away.”

All-righty! Reading is GOOD for you. Even if it does mean pretty girls can name the stars.

He says that almost like it’s a bad thing. Or so ironically cute. Look at the pretty girl, naming the stars like she’s not going to be popping ’em out like kittens pretty soon.

I have my curmudgeonly moments, and this is one of them.

Watch this Segue

I feel it’s only appropriate to follow that with this, taken from the front matter of an 1825 book on boxing, since, it turns out The Next Historical requires that I know something about Regency era boxing:

A Romance. Price 6s.

In Two elegant Volumes, 12mo. Price 12s. Boards
Of the Drury-Lane Company of Comedians.

In a few Days will be Published.

A Romance. In Three Volumes, Price 18s. Boards.

In Four Volumes, Price 1L. 1s. Boards.
By W. G. Thomas, Esq.

And so, we see that Romance is cheap. Alas, THE KNIGHT, THE DAEMON, AND THE ROBBER CHIEF, while listed in several Circulating Library catalogs, does not seem to be in Google Books. I found The Actor’s Budget. My God. That’s all I’ll say. The Eve of San Marco isn’t in Google books and neither is The Sprite and the Lady and the 12 whatever’s we ought not to forget. It’s MUCH more expensive that the daemon book. Interesting that it doesn’t say it’s in boards. Wonder why not? It’s their LEAD title!

TheProposal400x600Today the Riskies welcome guest Margaret Evans Porter! Margaret and I have been friends since early days in my career, and I was a huge fan of her work even before that. The Proposal is one of my absolute favorites among her books, so I am very excited that a new edition will be released tomorrow!! Margaret is offering a print copy of The Proposal to a randomly chosen winner among those who comment by the end of this week, so please share your thoughts with us below after visiting here. And read on to find out about a new project she has coming out next month, as well!


Margaret Evans Porter

Margaret is the author of 11 novels and 2 novellas published in hardcover, paperback, digital editions, and in translation. She earned the Best New Regency Author award from Romantic Times Magazine with her first book, and later novels received multiple award nominations. She has also published nonfiction, poetry, and her photography, and is a trained actress who has worked on stage and in film and television. All this and she is also a historian and an avid gardener! But I should let HER tell you.

What’s the premise of The Proposal?

A: In 1797, Sophie Pinnock, a botanical artist and the widow of a famous landscape designer, is employed by the Earl of Bevington to alter the ground of his newly inherited castle in Gloucestershire. She would much prefer to restore the gardens to their original state than replace them. After many years living in Portugal, her employer has returned to England to claim his title.

Where did the idea for this particular story come from?


Margaret’s garden

A: It was the dead of winter in New England, the world was buried under snow–much like this winter! My coping mechanism was to design new rose beds that would feature historic period roses from Medieval times to the Regency and Victorian eras. I had recently spent time at a Gloucestershire castle. I ended up with a 2-book contract as well as an expanded garden!

Where did you turn for research?

A: I had already amassed a collection of historic gardening guides and price lists from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuties. My mother is a rose gardener, so I was raised with historic roses and books about them. On trips to England I visited intact gardens from earlier times.

What aspects of the research itself most intrigued you?

A: There was a raging debate about landscape design at that very time, when Humphrey Repton was altering many formal gardens to conform with his more “natural” style–popular with some people, and criticised by others. I was able to rely on primary sources, like the Red Books that Repton created for his clients (Sophie provides her clients with Blue Books!) And I’m always happy when I can wander through English gardens, so that was particularly appealing to me.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book?

A: I managed to include a scene in which Sophie debates Humphrey Repton himself, because–quite conveniently–he had clients in the neighborhood.

What would you say is “risky” about this book?

A: It seems “risky” to us nowadays, the concept of a female businesswoman in the late 18th century or Regency. But there is so much precedent! Many a widow, through financial necessity or entrepreneurial desire, took on responsibility for her late husband’s businesses. I think it’s a disservice to these women to bury the record of their achievements, and in some cases their innovations–Mrs. Eleanor Coade, who developed Coade stone, Hester Bateman the Silversmith, Rolinda Sharples the artist, Mrs. Sarah Baker the theatre proprietress who developed the theatres of southeast England. These are the notable names, but how many more must there have been that we do not know?

Another aspect of “risk” concerns opium addiction, and to a lesser extent, attitudes and suspicions about sexual orientation. Both of which have an effect upon the secondary mystery plot.

How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a crayon in my fist. I became a publisher-editor-author at age 9 or 10 when I founded a class newspaper. My family is packed with writers, so it wasn’t an unusual path for me to follow. My mother, who taught me to read quite young, says she always knew I would be a writer.

What aspects of your own personality show up in your stories?

Rose from Margaret's Garden

Rose from Margaret’s Garden

I’m everywhere. I create gardens and grow roses–so does Sophie in The Proposal. I performed on stage for many years, and studied dance–I’ve written novels featuring an actress, a dancer, and an opera singer. Like Oriana in Improper Advances, I play the mandolin. I mine the places in Britain or Ireland where I’ve studied, lived and/or travelled and use them as settings for my stories. My dogs turn up in books as members of my characters’ households.

Do you find that your training in theater is helpful to you as a writer?

A: It’s immensely helpful, in a variety of ways. Performing period plays immersed me in the idiom of past times, I was speaking dialogue uttered by the people who lived in the eras about which I write. From a very young age I was required to do intensive character biographies, creating backstories for the people I was portraying–this often required in-depth research into social customs, education, upbringing, styles of speech, popular books and music. And of course I was wearing costumes–corsets, petticoats, full skirts, strange shoes–and carrying fans and having my hair dressed and so on. Those experiences were extremely valuable, as you might imagine!

Which book, if any, was the most difficult for you to write, and why?

I would say my new historical biographical novel, A Pledge of Better Times, for several reasons. It is entirely fact-based, all the characters were real people of the late Stuart court–monarchs and aristocrats. PledgeCover400x600Historical events provided the structure, the research was intense and took place over many years between other commitments. (For example, my productivity suffered a little during my 2 terms in the state legislature. But some sections of the novel were written surreptitiously during boring floor debates!) I don’t remember that any of my Regencies or historicals were difficult to write, although I did have to manage a very quick turnaround on an option book proposal while visiting friends in England. Almost every character in that book, Improper Advances, except the hero and heroine, were historical persons, so my fictional story needed to tie in with historical reality.

You now have a second website ( for your mainstream historical novels, featuring real people from history. Your April release, A Pledge of Better Times, is the first of these. Tell us a little bit about this new direction in your writing?

A: In my youth I read many YA biographical historical novels, and my ambition to write mainstream historical novels dates from that time. It took a long time for the right story to find me–that of Lady Diana de Vere, and of Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St. Albans (bastard son of King Charles II and actress Nell Gwyn). It was sparked by some genealogical research, and caught fire after I became acquainted with a direct descendant of theirs. I spent years carrying out the research all round London–at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court and the Tower–as well as in Holland at The Hague and Paleis Het Loo. And Versailles. This book also features the development of formal gardens!

A Pledge of Better Times, will be available in print and as an ebook in April. It has just been named one of the “Books to Read in 2015” by the Book Drunkard blog–very exciting.

Where can readers go to get in touch or learn more about your books?

@MargaretAuthor on Twitter.

Risky readers, don’t forget to post a comment if you’d like a chance to win a print copy of The Proposal! Margaret Evans Porter, thanks so much for visiting with us today!

The Proposal:

When a lonely young widow and a mysterious earl clash over a neglected castle garden, suspicion and secrets threaten a blossoming love.
“Part romance, part mystery, a highly entertaining read.” –M.K. Tod, author of Lies Told in Silence
“Very sensual…lush in detail. Her characters have as much depth as the settings, and the gardens provide a wonderful backdrop for a tender love story.” –Affaire de Coeur
“Decidedly different…totally believable and deeply heartfelt.” –Rendezvous

Print on Amazon:

Kindle on Amazon:

The Word Wenches recently discussed the appeal of the Regency, touching on the popularity of “Regencyland” or “Prinnyworld” as a lovely escape from 21st century stresses.

Which it is. If I’m pampering a wretched cold or for any other reason looking for a light and/or comforting read, I’ll reach for a Georgette Heyer (stories like FREDERICA or COTILLION), a cozy trad, or a sexy Regency-set historical romp.

But that post also made me think about a comment from one of my CPs on a draft of LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE. Much of the plot revolves around London’s Foundling Hospital, pictured above. (There’s a great book on the subject called CORAM’S CHILDREN by Ruth K. McClure). Anyway, I wrote about the fate of unwanted children in Regency London, how they might be abandoned in parks to die of exposure or cast into the Thames. My CP noted that this was very sad; her way, possibly, of making me consider whether I wanted to include such grisly facts.

I pondered it a while. I know many readers want to escape into a lush Regency where nothing worse happens than maybe expulsion from Almack’s. But for this story, I wanted to show the stakes, for the foundlings who appear in the book and for the hero and heroine who care about them. I decided to not pull my punches and left that bit in.

I also included other facts I learned in the course of researching the book that I found interesting and yes, heart-wrenching, such as how many of the children were born to servant girls impregnated and abandoned by their masters or their sons, the real rakes of the Regency, unlike the charming scoundrels many of us write (I’ve written them too). I wrote about how the Foundling Hospital, for lack of room, turned away 1 in 5 infants brought to them. I used the fact that mothers left tokens behind to help them reclaim their children if they were ever in a position to care for them.

As I was writing, I kept worrying that I was going too deep into harsh reality. But that’s where this story took me. I’ve written lighter Regencies, too, like THE REDWYCK CHARM. As far as reading tastes go, it depends on my mood. I enjoy excursions into “Prinnyworld” where I can enjoy gorgeous clothes, beautiful settings, witty dialogue. But I also appreciate authors who have gone for some gritty reality. Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly come to mind. I like seeing Regency romance push some of these boundaries. Lots of interesting areas to explore: the Napoleonic Wars, the Luddites, etc…

What do you think? Does reality spoil the Regency experience for you? How real is too real? If you like the boundaries pushed, where?

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Regency of 2005

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