Saturday, 10 July 2021

You CAN go back to Constantinople

 Thanks to LUME BOOKS putting the story of Olivia, her brother Richard, and handsome but haughty diplomatSelim  on special offer today.

The action takes place in Constantinople, with boat rides up the Bosphorus, bears in the woods, spies and strange customs, as well as kidnapping, a visit to the Harem and ...well, lots more fun, suspense and intrigue.

Scandalous Lady

Beth Elliott

0.99 $1.99

Tuesday, 11 May 2021


Persuaded at last to give up her Quakerish grey gowns and tightly pinned hairstyle, Nell arrives at the Assembly Hall transformed – and is an instant sensation.

While the young gentlemen are enthusiastic, some of the young ladies are goaded into jealous competition. But one youthful admirer is an unlikely champion, and the happiest of beings on this evening.

Nell was struggling to maintain her composure. It was difficult to appear unaware of the stares people were casting at her and the heads drawing together as people commented. She was never at ease with strangers and felt quite panicky at the sudden crowd of gentlemen requesting a dance. The marquise, delighted by this success, was selecting partners for both girls. At this point the crowd thinned a little and Nell saw Joachim striding towards her, with Bertrand by his side, talking as usual.

Help me, she signalled by a look and his answering smile reassured her that all would be well. She prayed he would ask her for the first dance. That would help her through the ordeal of being inspected and commented on. But oh, no, that horrible Anne suddenly sprang out and grabbed his arm. Will she never give up?

He stopped, he went aside with her. Nell swallowed her disappointment. She jerked her head round not to watch them, and found the marquise beside her.

‘My dear, let me present Monsieur de Lordat.’ She smiled graciously at the young gentleman who was hovering breathlessly in front of her, his eyes fixed on Nell. He was so young his cheeks were still smooth and pink, while his high shirt points prevented him from turning his head more than an inch in either direction. No danger there, in fact, she felt almost motherly.

She placed her hand on the youth’s arm and let him lead her into the line that was forming. Her youthful partner informed her that he was Paul de Lordat, the third brother in the family. He danced well and treated her almost with awe, saying how honoured he felt to dance with her. Nell was touched by his youthful adoration, but slightly embarrassed because he was so very young.

Cravat styles of the Regency Era

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Travel from your armchair

 As the days grow longer, the birds are chirping and a few early bees buzzing among the newly opened flowers, and we also feel the stirrings of Springtime. After the long period of lockdowns, we want to escape, see different places and get away from our local limited area. But we can't risk undoing the progress made so far in quelling the Covid plague, so patience is still necessary.

However, armchair travel is unlimited. And through a book, we can slip away to anywhere in the world, even to any time that appeals. 

In the period when war with Napoleon closed off much of Europe to the British, the sea was the route to lands where allies, trade and culture could be found. So, in 1811, Sir Richard Hartford fulfills his dream of studying ancient Greek civilisations, sailing as far as Constantinople. 

His sister, Olivia, disgusted by Society and the Marriage Mart, persuades her former governess to accompany her on a sea voyage.    

They set off to join Richard, and at the same time to follow the example of Olivia's role model, Lady Hester Stanhope, who is also in Constantinople. 

Olivia's adventures begin at Troy, where she meets a dashing mystery man. Unfortunately, he suspects her of being a spy.

 Once she arrives in Constantinople, Olivia is keen to explore. Doing as the locals do, she takes a caique trip up the Bosphorus. 

But... being Olivia, trouble is never far away...

The mystery man has her kidnapped for interrogation...and more, maybe... When Olivia won't cooperate, he threatens to have her tied in a sack and thrown in the Bosphorus. After such a cordial start, which way will their relationship go?

                                                    Scandalous Lady

Wednesday, 3 March 2021


If you want a few hours of escape from the current restricted way of life, you could join Arnaut and Louise, a totally mismatched pair of messengers, racing between England and France, dodging blades and bullets as they attempt to carry out a vital quest. 

            THE RAKE AND HIS HONOUR is currently on a Special Low Price.


You can read a conversation with Louise in 
Author Karen King's 'Meet the Characters' Blog on 4th March.


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Interview with Jean M Roberts : THE BOOKS DELIGHT


A couple of excerpts.   See below for a link to the full interview

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical romance? Did you always want to be a writer?

BE- Far away and long ago always attracted me, so through school and then over the years I wrote stories in various historical times and mostly in far off settings. When I wrote with the aim of getting published, the Regency era felt like a familiar place to set the tale. We still have so much evidence of that time, towns like Bath or Brighton, museums and so on. Then the characters do need to think and act according to the period. Cue Jane Austen as a teacher of social behaviour and finally add in some personal ideas and experience.

JMR- Your books take your characters outside of England to the Continent and to Mediterranean countries. What inspired you to include far flung settings in your stories?

BEI’m a linguist and love nothing more than communicating in new languages. You may say I met my Waterloo when, living in France, I met my Turkish husband. Like me, he’d studied French and Italian at university, so at first we had those two languages in common. He then learned English and I learned Turkish. We taught in eastern Turkey for some years, and thanks to visiting his numerous relatives in various regions, I’ve learned much about customs and skills, and experienced incredible kindness and hospitality. It was a pleasure to show a little of that warmth in my stories. And the crowning glory, where else is there an ancient city set on two continents, with such a rich heritage? Istanbul, or Constantinople as it was at the time my stories are set, is truly magical. I’m always overjoyed when I go back there.

But France pulls at me as well, especially the south-west and the Pyrenees, which remind me of Wales, but so much grander. So I combined the two, and had a French diplomat marry a Turkish princess. They live in his chateau in the Pyrenees. They have three sons, whose adventures now fill three novels.

Find the full interview at :

Monday, 1 February 2021



               Prequel to   SCANDALOUS  LADY         

                                                      Akhal Teke horse, [picture courtesy of Wikipedia]

 The story begins when Olivia has nearly reached Constantinople.   But how did she manage to escape from the strictly  chaperoned life of a debutante and set off to travel abroad, like her role model, Lady Hester Stanhope?


London, November 1810

Olivia was admiring her new hat in the pier glass, when the drawing room door opened and two middle-aged ladies sailed into the elegant entrance hall. The look they cast her warned Olivia that Aunt Sophie was about to hurl more reproaches at her. Aware of their scrutiny, she stroked the curled ostrich plumes and adjusted the saucy bow under her left ear until Crowbold, the butler, had bowed the ladies out. Then she grimaced at her reflection and whisked herself into the drawing room to brave the storm.

            'You may take that hat off,' snapped Lady Hollis. 'We are not going to drive in Hyde Park today.'

            'Why ever not?' Olivia enquired. 'Surely you're not upset by anything your friends may have told you? It’s all gossip.'

            'It is all shocking!' Lady Hollis wrung her hands. 'As if you had not caused enough scandal by your all-night escapade with Lord Craybrook.'

            'There was no escapade,' Olivia stated scornfully. 'He claimed his curricle had a loose wheel and we must stop at an inn while it was repaired - but it was all a plot to compromise me. Nothing happened, Aunt…except that I gave him a black eye,' she added with a gleam of satisfaction.

            'It was in all the scandalsheets.' Lady Hollis dabbed at her eyes with a lace-edged handkerchief. 'I warned you then that you would have to accept him.'

            'Never.' declared Olivia, swirling away to stare out of the window at the passers-by in Clarges Street. 'It was he who told his version to the reporters, Aunt Sophie.'

            'If he will still have you after this…this latest episode. Wretched girl. You were seen riding astride! Galloping in Hyde Park! And with Captain Lucas, of all possible companions!'

            'He rides so well,' murmured Olivia. She gave a wicked grin when her aunt covered her eyes with one trembling hand. 

            'Your reputation is fatally damaged. My dearest friends have just hinted that you are no longer welcome at their tea parties -'

            'How uncharitable,' Olivia swiped at the potted ferns on the window ledge.

            Lady Hollis waved a delicate hand towards the marble mantelpiece with its row of tasteful ornaments, 'We have not received a single invitation this week. Your only chance is to accept Lord Craybrook's offer.'

            'So that he may gamble my fortune away on cards and horses. No, I thank you.' Had she pushed her aunt to the limit? She clasped her hands behind her back and managed to hold back a cry of triumph when Lady Hollis announced, in failing accents, 'If no one will receive you, you cannot stay in London. You have even replaced Lady Hester Stanhope as the chief subject of gossip in society.'

            'Well, she’s left the country,' said Olivia. 'I envy her.'

            'And your brother gone off to those savage eastern lands.'

            'Just so,' Olivia agreed, smothering another grin. 'And the poor lamb will be in such a muddle without me to look after him. In fact…'

 [c]Beth Elliott

      Several months later, Olivia reaches Constantinople and is reunited with her brother.

As an artist, she's busy capturing the sights of this ancient city.

But it doesn't take many days before she's in trouble again.

Ice cool Lord Berannes is the chief diplomat negotiating peace between the Ottoman Sultan and Russia. Then he encounters fiery, rebellious artist Olivia Hartford. And after that, nothing goes to plan – for either of them.

Read their story in

Scandalous Lady

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Travel research


an ancient town on the Silk and Spice Road

 famous for its Saffron             and its timbered houses


Going off the beaten track is my idea of enjoyable travel. The usual reason for any visit is to do research for a story. In this case, the museum-city of Safranbolu provided a perfect setting and rich details of Ottoman life for a couple of my tales set in Turkey.

The local style of architecture set the standard for all Ottoman architecture throughout the empire. So the environment is special, with the black and white beamed houses and cobbled alleys. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

And it isn't just any hotel owner who greets you on arrival with a tray of tea and cakes, and then asks what are your favourite dishes, so she can prepare them for dinner. During our time in the town we were offered endless free cups of tea and coffee, we had a free tour of the ladies' bathhouse [hammam] and were allowed to spend as long as we wished in any of the museums and galleries. 

Thank you, kind people of Safranbolu, for outstanding hospitality. 

The town is so special it deserves an article just about itself.  The piece I wrote starts on Page 61 in the December issue of The Writers and Readers' Magazine.