Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Kindle edition of THE WILD CARD

31st May is publication day for the Kindle edition of  The Wild Card. 

This is the story of Kitty Towers, sent to London by her mama to get a husband. With six younger children in the family, Mrs Towers is desperate to channel the girls into marriage. Kitty has other ideas but a handsome rake here, a dashing French émigré there, and she discovers that there is more to Society life than she thought - especially when she uncovers a plot to discredit Lord Wellington.

'A sparkling romance.... a quintessential Regency....the sort of book that reminds me why I like reading this sort of thing so much.'  Rachel Hyde,

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Welcome to Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

It is a great pleasure to welcome Elizabeth Caulfield Felt to my Blog today. Elizabeth is the author of
Syncopation: a Memoir of Adèle Hugo.

We are all familiar with the name of Victor Hugo, mainly due to the adaptation of his story Les Misérables into a hugely successful musical stage play and film.
But beyond that, what do we know of Hugo's life and work? Or about his attitude towards his daughters, which led to resentment and rebellion.

Lies, lovers, a diary in code, and a turbulent life. In her novel, Elizabeth draws us into the complex world of Adèle, Hugo's beautiful and clever second daughter. It makes a fascinating story - as Elizabeth explains....

 I thank Beth Elliot for making an exception for me on her blog. For you see, Adèle Hugo was born on July 28, 1830, and, as such, is no Regency heroine. In fact, it might be hard to call her a heroine at all.  In Syncopation: a Memoir of Adèle Hugo, she is a narrator both antagonistic and aloof. 

The youngest child of Victor Hugo, Adèle was surrounded by intellectual conversation and political idealism from a young age.  Although pliant and docile as a little girl, she grew up to be an angry young woman. A writer and pianist, Adèle learned that as a female, her achievements held no value.  Her father felt that her purpose in life was to be a wife and mother—things she vowed she would never become.  Beautiful and clever, she had lovers and marriage proposals, but held herself apart. 

Adèle was an engaging object of research.  As the daughter of one of France's most revered men, she appears in bits and pieces in her father's history.  She is known but unknown, nearly always reduced to the footnotes.  I devoured La Misérable, Leslie Smith Dow's wonderful biography of Adèle.  Even more fun, I was able to get my hands on a copy of one of Adèle's diaries, published in 1968 and edited by Frances Vernor Guille.  This was a fascinating find, as Adèle had kept a journal most of her life.  Her diaries were written in a code of her own invention, and Guille explains how he was able to decode much, although not all, of what she had written.  These diary entries gave me access to Adèle's voice and personality, and I was fascinated by her.

Why Adèle chose to keep a diary in code is a mystery we modern researchers will never unravel, but with the flexibility of fiction, I can explain it.  Why did she write in code?  Why did she take some lovers and reject others?  Why did she run away?  Why did her life end the way it did?

Syncopation: a Memoir of Adèle Hugo reveals the secrets of Victor Hugo's least understood and most intriguing child.

Adèle sounds like a most absorbing subject. Now, please tell us a bit about yourself and your reasons for writing this story.

I first fell in love with the work of Victor Hugo when I read his poem, “Demain dès l'Aube,” a poem that still stirs my heart. Hugo became one of my favorite writers, and I even attempted to read 'Les Misérables' in French (very long, I didn't finish it in French but did read it in English). As a university student, I studied French and English and lived for a year in Strasbourg, France. This was many, many years ago.

More recently, I was talking with some friends about poems we had memorized, and I was able to amaze myself by knowing most of “Demain dès l'Aube” though I hadn't thought of it in about twenty years. Remembering the poem reminded me of Victor Hugo and his family. I had just finished my first novel, Charlotte's Inheritance, and was wondering what to write next. Once I began researching Adèle, I knew I'd found the perfect topic for my second novel.

When I'm not writing, I'm teaching, English, part-time at my local university--or I'm taking care of my two sons and husband. When not doing these things, I picture myself swimming laps, although to be honest, it's more likely that I'll be sitting quietly at home with a good book.

Thank you so much for an interesting and intriguing post, Elizabeth. I wish you much success with all your novels.

For more about Elizabeth, visit her blog at

Her novel Syncopation is available from Cornerstone Press (http;//

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Wiltshire Wanderings - photo roundup

Our hotel in Salisbury was originally a 13th Century nunnery.
 The Legacy Rose and Crown, inside and out.



Corsham village green and cricket pitch. Against the cold, grey sky, the cherry blossom provides a cheerful note of colour.

The almshouses, built in 1668 for six "deserving poor" and a schoolroom for ten poor scholars. The houses are still lived in today.

This mighty tree in the gardens of Corsham Court is one of the largest trees in Europe.
 [Photographed especially for Seyda. x]

and finally, a peacock in his full glory ....

Friday, 11 May 2012

Wiltshire Wanderings continued

Part 2      Devizes, Lacock and Corsham

From Salisbury to Devizes the road  leads through a green and gold patchwork of cultivated fields, punctuated with copses of trees, all this stretching to the horizon with its gentle hills. This is the landscape of the rural England of yesteryear. At intervals there are quaint little villages with open commons and ancient timber framed pubs leaning every which way under their decorative thatched roofs... all that is lacking is a shepherd with a crook or a goosegirl.

In Devizes, the market is in full swing in the main square. On the edge of town, Wadworth Brewery has revived the tradition of delivering the beer by horse-drawn drays. At certain times, it's possible to visit the horses at the brewery - and in the Visitors' Suite you can sample the various beers produced.
Shires Out on Delivery

Until the coming of the railways, canals were the preferred method of transporting goods. The canal network still exists, although it is more for leisure now. Between Devizes and Rowde are the famous Caen Hill Locks, twenty-seven of them in total!
                                                            A series of approximately 20 black lock gates with white ends to the paddle arms and wooden railings, each slightly higher than the one below. On the right is a path and on both sides grass and vegetation.

For more photos try this link -


Lacock is mentioned in The Domesday Book. It had a population of 160 -190, two mills and a vineyard. the Church of St Cyriac was established in the 11th Century.

Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey was founded in 1232. It still stands but since the Dissolution, it has been in private hands. Recently, both the village and the Abbey have featured in films, such as Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.
The oldest house in the village is King John's Hunting Lodge, situated opposite the church. It is a guest house and tearoom, with a delightful, flower-filled garden. Visitors can select from the tempting array of cakes set out on the dresser.


The local limestone - the same as in Bath, gives a golden harmony to all the buildings in Corsham's main street. It is a charming place to visit, with many historic buildings and interesting shops. The eerie cry of peacocks sounds from time to time and occasionally they appear in the streets.

Corsham Court

A Saxon Manor house stood here, reputedly the hunting lodge of King Ethelred the Unready. It has been rebuilt many times, and part is still Elizabethan, with 18th century additions skilfully joined on. The Methuen Collection of paintings is housed here, together with many splendid period items, especially inlaid cabinets.

                 One of the celebrities of Corsham Court. He knows exactly how to pose for photos.