Mastodon The Writing Desk: Guest Post ~ Love on a Winter’s Tide, by Rosie Chapel

17 June 2017

Guest Post ~ Love on a Winter’s Tide, by Rosie Chapel

Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US

Lady Helena Trevallier is, to outward appearances, a quintessential young lady of Society. She wanders the museums and art galleries, enjoys horse rides or brisk constitutionals — weather permitting — around the city’s many parks. She flits here and there, rather like an exotic butterfly and has several men trailing in her wake, in the hope she might favour them with a dance or better still allow them to escort her to one of the many social gatherings. Unusually for a young woman of the elite, Helena is in no hurry to marry, unwilling to allow a man to dictate her life, for she has a secret. A secret which, had her social set known anything about might see them throwing up their hands in horror and one which any prospective suitor would surely demand she curtail. Every day, Helena disappears into a world few acknowledge, to help the poor, the downtrodden and the abused. 

The Regency is a period in history I knew little about until one day, I came upon a romance novel set in that era. I was instantly captivated by the glamour of Society, with its multitude of rules, conventions and constraints — especially when courting, as well as those whose tireless efforts made the lives of the elite, so comfortable. Initially I only intended to write one, but as seems typical with my characters, they refused to shut up and the first book blossomed into a series.

Love on a Winter’s Tide is the third in the sequence of what will be five novels. My heroine, Lady Helena Trevallier is the youngest sister of Giles from Once Upon An Earl — in which she appeared, albeit briefly and who has been nagging me to write her story ever since.

Helena is doing her best to avoid being swept onto the marriage-go-round, so although she attends the social gatherings expected of a young lady of Society, she is far happier in another world; a world unrecognisable to her peers, a world where she spends her days helping at a refuge for underprivileged women seeking respite from abusive husbands or situations.

Hugh Drummond is a wealthy shipping magnate and although not a member of the ton, does move within their circle. He is as determined as Helena not to get sucked into matrimony; he has far more important things to be concerned about than marriage to some air-headed debutante, only interested in dancing and frippery. One night, at a ball, Helena meets Hugh — and yes, you can see where this is going can't you!

Their relationship is not all smooth sailing, as neither is willing to relinquish the independence they have fought so hard to achieve. Helena has no intention of giving up her work at the refuge — something most husbands of the elite would expect their wives to do after they wed — had they been permitted such freedom in the first place. Hugh spends long hours managing his shipyard, which has suddenly become the target of a series of strange incidents that may yet undermine his company. Any thought of marriage while everything is so unpredictable was, to Hugh, untenable. Fate, of course, has other ideas!

Until starting this novel, I knew scarcely anything about ships of this (or any) era. How they were designed, constructed, their purpose, strengths and weaknesses — anything. I admit to becoming enthralled by the majesty of the shipping trade and how quickly it was developing. Thankfully, I have read all the Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin series, so I had some insight into how competitive and cutthroat the industry was, which inspired the skulduggery abounding in Hugh's shipyard.

It was also a revelation researching the seedy side of London during the Regency era. The lives of those who were generally beneath the notice of the nobility. Cramped conditions, squalor, disease and poverty were a daily struggle and a dangerous combination, one I imagine exploded far more often than is recorded. This is where Sanctuary House — the refuge where Helena assists — fits in, offering a haven for any who needed an escape, if only for a short while. To provide lessons in such basics as reading and writing, or perhaps to teach a skill which could lead to opportunities previously considered impossible, seemed like something the more socially aware members of the ton might get involved with.

To set a novel in another historical period is both fascinating and challenging; such things as etiquette, fashions, language, communications and transportation — to name but a few — are all quite different, not to mention lack of all the modern accoutrements we are so used to having at our fingertips. Now Helena and Hugh’s tale is done and I hope it honours the Regency era with all its delights and eccentricities, as much as is possible two hundred years later.

Rosie Chapel
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About the Author

Rosie Chapel was born in the north east of England and emigrated to Australia with her husband nearly twenty years ago. She currently lives near Perth. After a long career in finance and customer service, she took a leap of faith, making the decision to follow her first love - classical history - and returned to University as a mature student, completing a BA with a double major in Classics & Ancient History and Medieval & Early Modern Studies. Having developed an abiding love for anything connected to Ancient Rome, Rosie decided to channel her passion into fiction, which culminated in her first novel The Pomegranate Tree. Based around the archaeological excavations on Masada, this is book one in the 'Hannah's Heirloom' sequence. Its sequel, Echoes and Stone and Fire, takes place in Pompeii, just prior to the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in AD79. The final novel of the trilogy, Embers of Destiny, traces Hannah’s journey to the recently conquered northern frontier of Roman Britain. As Rosie was finishing Embers, she realised she was not quite ready to say goodbye to her characters, so decided to write a prequel, Etched in Starlight, which traces the lives of Maxentius and Hannah until their fateful meeting on Masada. Although the scenarios are fictional, each book is woven around historical events and include some romance and a twist. It was while Rosie was researching ‘Etched,’ she came upon Regency Romances and was immediately hooked. After falling in love with a whole new historical period, she wanted to write one of her own, which somehow developed into a plan for a five book series beginning with Once Upon An Earl. An avid bookworm for all of her life, Rosie Chapel wrote these novels in styles she loves to read and hopes you enjoy them. Find out more at Rosie's website and find her on Facebook and Twitter @RosieChapel2015.

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