A time of unrest

NovMy next book, Too Dangerous for a Lady, is set in 1817. The date is demanded by the ongoing timeline of my Company of Rogues books. They started in late 1814 (An Arranged Marriage) and so have progressed through Napoleon's return from Elba, Waterloo, and into the post-war period which was marked by economic depression and real hardship. That's often the case after wars, even for the victorious, because war is expensive and leads to massive debt, plus the high demand caused by the war machine goes away, leading to unemployment.

Some of my Rogues books are directly involved with the events of the time and some only have it as a backdrop,  (you can read more about the Rogues here) but I'm always aware of the historical timeline. Tdfalm

In 1817 things were coming to a boil. There was severe unemployment in many parts of the north where demand for cloth goods and weapons had gone way down. To add to that, the end of hostilities meant the possibility of cheaper imports from abroad. There were many small gatherings and protests, especially in the north. As a reaction, the government repealed the Habeas Corpus Act, making it possible to arrest and hold people without trial.

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Jo Beverley reveals SEDUCTION IN SILK

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo:

I pounced on the opportunity to interview Word Wench Jo Beverley about her new release, Seduction in Silk, just out from Signet Penguin.  The story is set in Jo’s Georgian Malloren World, in 1760s England.  Jo is the Grand Master (Grand Mistress?) of the marriage of convenience romance, and SiS is another distinguished member of that tribe.

Jo, you once said that you were addicted to marriages of convenience.  Could you explain why you enjoy them so much? 

JB: I think it’s the forced intimacy between strangers. So many aspects of courtship are familiar in real life, but not many of us, male or female, are pushed into bed with a stranger. I like to pay attention to the man as well as the woman, because it won’t necessarily be easy for him. In An Unwilling Bride, the hero Lucien wonders if he’ll be able to perform, because he realizes he’s never set out to have sex with a woman without desiring her at the time.

SedinsilksmallSo I think it’s a great dramatic situation, but I also find the fantasy erotic. I wonder how many of the Wench readers feel the same.

MJP:  Tell us about the delicious Peregrine Perriam, and his very reluctant lady, Claris! 

JB: Perry is one of those characters who turn up and surprise. I can’t even remember how he came to be. In An Unlikely Countess the hero needed a friend, and there was Perry. He was such an odd match for Cate (yes, that’s the hero’s name — Catesby) that I had to come up with a backstory for my own satisfaction. (Cate had a year on the town when young which was so wild that his father tossed him into the army.)

Cate by that time is a career soldier. Perry is a Town Beau. He’s a younger son set to serve his family’s interests in London, at court, in society, in all the offices of power, and in any other sneaky way he can find. He loves it, and has no An Unlikely Countessinterest in rural life, which is why inheriting a country manor at the beginning of Seduction in Silk is such a pain in the you-know-where, not to mention the marriage forced on him.

He doesn’t expect to have difficulty in getting an impoverished clergyman’s daughter to the altar. She’ll leap at the chance. He’ll install her in Perriam Manor with the income to do with as she wishes and get back to his real life. When she insists on a marriage in name only, he has no objection at all.

Getting her to that point isn’t easy, however, because Claris has no interest in marriage. In general I find impoverished heroines who are dead set against marriage hard to believe, but Claris has survived her parents’ tortuous marriage and her father’s almost insane domination. Having gained freedom, and having enough money to survive on, she doesn’t want to give it up, especially at the demand of a stranger.

Also, she comes from strong women, on both sides. Perry realizes she has a scandalously eccentric grandmother (who is in the book) and an insanely vengeful virago of a mother. No wonder she tries to shoot him.

She does move into a grander world, however. Here’s a short fun video I made about Georgian dress and Claris.

MJP:  What are you working on now for next year?

JB: I’m going back to my Regency world, that of the Company of Rogues. It’s been a while, and readers have been asking for a story about David Kerslake, the heroine’s brother from The Dragon’s Bride. He begins the book as the local smuggling master as well as the Earl of Wyvern’s estate steward. He ends it as the earl with many problems to deal with. A biggie is that the earldom is bankrupt, so he needs to marry money. A Shocking Delight will be out next April.

MJP:  You’re starting to move into the brave new world of indie publishing.  Could Dtk22you tell us more about your plans there?

JB: It is exciting, isn’t it, Mary Jo? You’re ahead of me there. It’s such a great world for authors these days because we’re able to get our work out to readers directly if we choose. I’ve e-pubbed some of my previously published novellas. There’s a page for them here.

The one at the top is the first novella I’ve written directly for e-readers. It’s a sort of lead in to SinS. The protagonists are new, but Perry plays a small but crucial part.

Also, some of my early books have not been available for e-readers, and I’ve just Ubepubcorrected that. The first five Company of Rogues books plus the second Malloren, Tempting Fortune, are now e-pubbed, and though I’ve hired help it’s been lovely to be in control of the situation. Though I must say that it’s hard to find stock photos of clean-shaven, fairly slim blond men! Why is that? I even searched Scandinavian sites. With An Unwilling Bride I gave up and have just a woman on the cover. It suits the title that she seem alone.

MJP:  Do you have an excerpt of Seduction in Silk to share?

JB: After having been driven off a pistol-point, Perry has returned to Claris’s cottage to lay out the advantages.

    “I can’t claim great wealth, Miss Mallow, but I can provide a very comfortable life for my wife. What’s more, and you seem to have failed to grasp this, I’m at your mercy. You may demand what you will.”
    “Except, it seems, that you leave and never bother me again.”
    “Except that,” he agreed. “But you may continue to live here if you wish, or I can offer Perriam Manor as an alternative residence. It’s of modest size, but in good repair and well furnished, though in an old style. I’m sure it’s cozy in winter and pleasant in summer. It’s surrounded by parkland and gardens that I would judge adequate but ripe for improvement, if gardening is your true delight.”
    Claris kept a stony face. “Alas, with you present, sir, all would be spoiled.”
    “Then you’ll be delighted to know that I would rarely be there. I’m much engaged in Town matters and can only enjoy rural delights now and then.”
    “Even one day a year would be too much.” His amiable confidence was stirring her temper and for once she welcomed it. “Why am I debating this with you?” She loosened her arms to point at the door. “Begone!”
    “Consider,” he said, completely unmoved. “You would be the mistress of a comfortable domain, and enjoy its income. Did I not mention that?”
    “Will you not leave!”
    “The income of the manor would be yours to do with as you wish,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “You would need for nothing.”
    “Except my independence. I would have a husband, a lord and master.”
    “Alas, true, but I assure you that I am far too busy to abuse my powers.”
    “Busy? What if you have an idle moment, sir? Leave!”
    “I must remain until you change your mind.”
    Breathing hard, Claris saw he meant it. He was disregarding every word she spoke. “You . . . you . . .” She grabbed the pistol and pointed it.
    “Claris . . . ,” Athena said.
    “Leave,” she growled, “or I will shoot you.”
    The smile widened and his eyes lit. 
    He was laughing at her?
    She cocked the pistol, the click, click loud in the room.
    “You won’t fire it,” he said.
    “Oh, won’t I?” Claris closed her eyes and squeezed the trigger.
    A tremendous boom deafened her.

JP: Clearly Perry doesn’t die, or it’d be a very short and unusual book, but that’s certainly a turning point!

SedinsilksmallMJP:  Thanks so much for introducing us to Perry and Claris, Jo.  Having read the book, I guarantee it’s every bit as good as it sounds! 

Jo will give away a copy of Seduction in Silk to one commenter between now and midnight Saturday.  Share your thoughts on marriages of convenience, and the temptations of shooting a man who just won't listen!


JobigblueHi, Jo here, blogging about Eton College, one of Britains top public schools — ie private schools. Don't ask! What I asked was, at what age did boys go there?

It's really only a detail for my book. My heroine's brothers are going to go to Eton, and I wondered what the normal age was for boys to start there in the 18th century. I've poked at this detail a fewEton times before, but without great need to know. However,  the twins Peter and Tom are eleven and I wanted to know how unusual that would be. My general impression from previous looks is that about 13 was the norm. 

So I simply looked for details of some men who'd attended Eton in the 18th century — and found a pretty confused picture. Isn't that always the way it goes? Most boys went in their early teens, but some for only a short while. A few seemed to go as chidren, and those going into the navy left early.

I didn't specifically pick military men. These are what turned up.

Did heirs go to school?

I tried to find an heir to a title who was educated at Eton but failed, though I wouldn't claim my search was exhaustive. Those I found were younger sons who inherited when one or more older brothers died. So it might be fair to assume that heirs were educated at home, learning estate management as well as other subjects and going on the grand tour rather than into the military or the law.

I think the brief notes below give an insight into the pattern of education for the well-to-do, and also one not-well-to-do. Enjoy.

Admiral Sir George Cranfield Berkeley GCB (10 August 1753 – 25  February 1818), naval officer and politician. He attended Eton College from 1761 to 1766 — aged 8 to 13 — and then joined the navy.

Lord George Gordon (26 December 1751 – 12 November 1793) was a British politician whose name was attached to the "Gordon Riots" of  1780. He attended Eton College from 1758 to 1765 — aged 7 to 13 — and then joined the navy.

General John Hely-Hutchinson, 2nd Earl of Donoughmore GCB (15 May 1757– 29 June 1832) soldier and politician. "Educated at Eton College (1767–73) and Magdalen College, Oxford (1773).
He entered the army in May 1774 as cornet, and was promoted lieutenant
in 1775, captain in 1776, major in 1781, and lieutenant-colonel in 1783." (Dictionary of National Biography.) So at Eton from 10 to 16, then briefly to university and entered the army at 17. It would seem university wasn't for him.

Lieutenant Colonel John Enys (17 December 1757 – 30 July 1818) soldier."John was the youngest of six children and spent much of his childhood at Eton." He joined the army in 1775, aged 18. Unfortunately I couldn't find more about him. How young was he when he went to Eton?

Richard Porson (25 December 1759 – 25 September 1808) scholar. He came from a simple family, but his parents educated him to a high standard, and then patrons provided more education. Eventually money was raised to send him to Eton in 1774, aged 15 and stayed there until 18, when he went on to Cambridge University.

Henry Jerome de Salis, FRS, FSA, (20 August 1740 – 2 May 1810) was an  English churchman.
In 1753 de Salis was sent with two of  his brothers, Charles (1736-1781) and Peter (1738-1807), to Eton (he 
left c1757, aged 17. He went at 13, but his brothers were 15 and 17
Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (24 February 1743 – 19 June 1820) naturalist, botanist 
and patron of the natural sciences.Joseph was educated at Harrow  School from the age of 9, and at Eton College from 1756, aged 13. (Harrow is another major public school. It's also where my Company of Rogues came together.)

John Dyke Acland(1747–1778), army officer and politician. He
was educated at Eton
College (1763–4) and University College, Oxford, whence he matriculated
on 1 April 1765.(Details from Dictionary of National Biography.) So he went to Eton at 16 and left Oxford at 178. His next step was the grand tour. Perhaps not academically inclined?

Richard Gardiner (1723–1781) At Eton College from 1738 to 1739 aged 15 to 16,  and was admitted on 15 January 1742 to St Catharine's College, Cambridge. An unexplained gap there.

Anthony Champion (1725–1801), poet and politician, attended Eton College from 1739 to 1742 — 14 to 17.

Charles Townsend, first Baron Bayning (1728–1810), politician. He was educated at Eton College (1742–5) aged 14 to 17, and Clare College, Cambridge, and graduated MA in 1749

William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington 1763 – 1845. Educated at Eton (1774–1776) 11 to 13  before 
entering the Royal Navy.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington1769– 1852),He went to the diocesan  school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr. Whyte's Academy when in Dublin, and  at Brown's School in Chelsea when in London. Eton, 1781 to 1784 — 12 to 15.

John Charles Villiers, third earl of Clarendon (1757–1838), politician, was born on 14 November 1757, the second son of the first earl of Clarendon, diplomatist and politician. He was educated at Eton College (1766–74) 9-17 He went on to university and the law and became earl much later.

Do you see any interesting patterns here? Do you have any interesting 18th century Etonians to aMismistdd?

Has the Christmas insanity hit yet?