I have another guest today! Today it is my pleasure to turn my blog day over to Sarah Mallory, who is here to talk about her latest release, Temptation Of A Governess, out now from Harlequin Historical.
To celebrate the release of the book, Sarah will give away one signed copy of Temptation Of A Governess to one lucky commenter chosen at random.
Tell us about your book.
Temptation Of A Governess is the second in the Infamous Arrandales series and is the story of Diana Grensham, a shy young woman who becomes joint guardian to two young girls along with Alex Arrandale, the new Earl of Davenport. She has to protect the girls’ interests against Alex’s plans to remove them from their home, and in doing so she grows in confidence as she joins in a battle of wills and wits with the earl.
What is risky about your book?
Women during the Regency faced huge risks. Most gently born ladies had no money of their own but were dependent upon husbands or family for support. Reputations, too were very brittle, and while it was accepted (almost expected) that men would take mistresses and have affairs, a woman was required to preserve at least an outward appearance of respectability. Diana has lived her life in the shadows, first as a daughter, then a governess, but to protect her wards she must put herself forward, into the limelight. Anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of self-confidence or shyness will know just how it feels to suddenly be the centre of attention. Diana feels exposed and vulnerable, but by the end of the book she knows she doesn’t want to go back into her shell and she takes the biggest risk of all to achieve her happy ending (I am not telling you any more than that as I don’t want to give the story away!)
Did you come across any interesting research while writing the book?
I had to read up on the life of a governess in Regency England. Of particular interest were the journals & letters of Agnes Porter, edited by Joanna Martin and published as “A Governess in the Age of Jane Austen”. Agnes was a governess to the children and grandchildren of the second Earl of Ilchester from 1784 until 1806, so this was a perfect time period for my story. The accepted view of governesses at that time is rather downtrodden, unhappy women, but Agnes made the most of her situation. There is some evidence that she would have liked to marry, but never had the chance. However, she never complained of her lot and was respected and valued by her employer. She had friends, both men and women, with whom she corresponded regularly and also went to stay with some of them. When she went to London with the family she appears to have had quite a full social life of her own. She would spend the mornings “at our studies” with her charges but in the afternoons and evenings she would go out, taking tea with friends and acquaintances or walking with them. On one occasion she took two of her pupils to her sister’s house, where they were “…entertained with a dance and musick until the gentlemen came up from dinner to tea…”
I also enjoyed researching a little gem of an English manor house which I used as the model for Chantreys, the house Diana and her charges call home. It is the beautiful 17th century Ashdown House as my model (Here’s the link, if you want to have a peep: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashdown-house).
You also write as Melinda Hammond. Tell us about those books.
In the dim and (very) distant past I began writing sweet Regency and Georgian romances as Melinda Hammond. I also use the name when I want to try something a little different, such as dual time novels. I have now published many of my backlist, as well as a couple of short stories, as e-books and plan to expand the list as time goes on.
What is next for you?
The third in the Infamous Arrandales series, The Return of the Runaway, will be published early 2016 and I am currently writing book #4. After that … well, my head is so bursting with more stories that the problem is which one to pick! Watch this space.
Here’s a question for all of you.
Tell me what you like best about Regency stories, is it the history, the manners, or just the excitement of living in another time? I’d love to know!
Diane, here, again. Remember. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Temptation Of A Governess.