Today, I’m pleased to welcome Dionne Haynes with a guest post for my stop on the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
Firstly, let’s see what the book is about…
Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.
Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.
But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?
Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.
Now over to Dionne with her guest post, Charlotte and Diana…
Mention Princess Diana, and most people have heard of her. Sweetheart of the British nation, mother to our future king, she was an adored member of the British royal family. Most of the country went into mourning on hearing the news she had died in a car crash.
Princess Charlotte of Wales was also a popular member of the royal family. Born in 1796, Princess Charlotte was the only child of George, prince of Wales and Caroline of Brunswick. Her father became Prince Regent when King George III had to step aside from royal duties due to mental illness. With the prospect of becoming queen, Princess Charlotte was well-educated and had an interest in law and politics but earned a reputation for over-familiarity and a quick temper.
During the Regency era (1811 to 1820), England was in turmoil. Workers were low-paid and jobs difficult to come by because of the Industrial Revolution, high food prices and limited political rights of the working classes. It was a period of social discontent and protest.
Despite the plight of the ordinary men and women, the royal wedding of Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg offered a brief period of hope and joy. The nation rejoiced at the wedding, and sizeable crowds of well-wishers gathered outside royal residences and celebrated throughout the day. The joy soon turned to sadness, when on 5 November 1817, the princess gave birth to a stillborn son. Even more shocking to the nation was the announcement that she died five hours after delivering her son. The country went into a brief period of mourning at the loss of their beloved princess, and mourners lined the streets of Windsor on the day of her funeral.
Unlike Diana’s glamorous wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 with 3,500 guests and millions watching on television, Princess Charlotte’s wedding was, by comparison, a quiet affair. It took place late in the evening with a ceremony lasting twenty-five minutes. A crowd of distinguished guests witnessed the ceremony and ranged from aunts and uncles to ambassadors and members of her household.
With Susan Thistlewood enduring a loveless marriage in my novel, I gave her an opportunity to share the joy and energy of this momentous occasion by singing as a member of a choir at Carlton House, the wedding venue, to welcome the bridal party. This is a short extract from the novel and describes the moment when Susan sees the royal bride:
Beckey gives the signal to begin our grand finale. Our voices meld like a choir of angels and we sing ‘Ave Maria’ in perfect pitch. Then we see her, the bride, emerging from an anteroom, leaning on the arm of her uncle, the Duke of Clarence. I have not seen many brides, and my wedding was a simple affair, but I know Princess Charlotte is the loveliest bride I will ever see. Her dress is exquisite – a fine silk net laid over a delicate silver slip, embroidered at the bottom with flowers and shells, and trimmed on the sleeves with fine lace. The manteau, glistening with silver, is laid over white silk and the edging matches the dress. She wears a crown of glittering diamond rosebuds, and large diamonds sparkle from her earlobes and around her neck. The silver threads of her dress catch the candlelight, shimmering as she walks. It’s like watching a fairy-tale princess.