Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Brides of Fortune Quartet!

This month the e-book prequel to my new series, The Brides of Fortune, will be on sale from HQN Books online. The Secrets of a Courtesan is a complete short story but it also sets the scene for the trilogy, introducing the little Yorkshire market town of Fortune’s Folly (a character in its own right!) plus some of the heroes and heroines of the following books. Fortune’s Folly seems an ordinary, respectable town on the surface and that is one of the reasons that Eve Nightingale, a former courtesan, chooses it as a place to hide when she runs away from her scandalous life in London. But Eve and her secrets are not safe in Fortune’s Folly, especially when her former lover, the Duke of Welburn, arrives intent on discovering why she left him.

Fortune’s Folly is a fictional spa town but I based it mainly on Harrogate, where I had previously set one of my books, The Chaperon Bride. I have very fond memories of Harrogate from my childhood (afternoon tea at Betty’s tea shop!) The discovery of medicinal springs at Harrogate was first made in 1571. The first well, the Tewitt Well, was located in the middle of the open area of land called The Stray where the villagers grazed their animals. In the 17th century the medicinal properties of the waters were more widely publicised by Edmund Deane who wrote Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain and by the later 17th and 18th centuries Harrogate had developed considerable fame as a spa town.

In Regency times Harrogate was known as "the Bath of the North" and noble families made regular visits. The air was bracing and invalids would take the waters -"the Cure" - at the Sweet Spaw in High Harrogate, which tasted better than the Stinking Spaw in the village of Low Harrogate! But Harrogate was not only a spa - there were also balls and assemblies, visits to the Theatre Royal and trips out to the medieval castle at Knaresborough. It was a lively place, busy with the red coats of young officers on furlough and older officers retired from Army life, lords on the hunt for an heiress bride and ladies looking to dance at the balls and snare themselves a husband... It seemed the perfect setting for a Regency Quartet and so I had the background to The Brides of Fortune!

These days you can take the waters at the Valley Gardens and the Royal Pump Room Museum. But be warned – the sulphur and iron in them is a horrible combination and I thought it tasted vile!

The Secrets of a Courtesan will be available online from Harlequin HQN Books from 18th May and The Confessions of a Duchess will be on sale in the US and online in June. There is also a contest on my website to win copies of both books!



Blogger Jan Jones said...

Sounds wonderful, Nicola! And is That Bath (from the Chaperon Bride) involved again? Or am I thinking of a different book? Oh dear, brain turning to candyfloss again.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you, Jan! What a good memory you have (or is just that those shocking scenes make an impression???) Spa baths do feature in book 2 of the trilogy. I'll say no more...

1:42 PM  
Blogger Jan Jones said...

I think it was more that the scenes couldn't have taken place anywhere but in Harrogate, so the place itself worked as a character in the book. I really like that - when a story can't be simply lifted and transported to any other place. It makes it all hang together so much better.

But your Baths did leave an impression, of course...

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Julia Justiss said...

Nicola, I'm so looking forward to this series! The covers are gorgeous. But three books three months in a row! You must have kept a killing pace to get these out. Congrats!

4:05 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

Interesting, Jan. I too love that sense of place that makes the setting more than simply background. I have a real soft spot for The Chaperon Bride. Maybe that's why.

Thank you, Julia! I'm thrilled you like the covers! I think I've been very lucky. Must admit that I do feel these books have been in the pipeline a long time (which they had to be to come out together!) and it's lovely finally to see them reaching the light of day!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Carol Townend said...

Ooh, Nicola!
I can't wait - was born and brought up in Harrogate. Am sure it will make the perfect setting for your series...

6:36 AM  
Blogger Linda Banche said...

The books sound great. I loved "The Chaperon Bride" and thought your descriptions of Harrogate in that book were wonderful. So now I have more great descriptions to look forward to.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Melinda Hammond said...

Really looking forward to reading this! How refreshing to have books set in Harrogate rather than Bath - and as a northerner by adoption I'll be taking your books to Harrogate and checking out the locations :)

Good luck with it - and congratulations!!!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

LOL Melinda, hopefully you won't catch me out! It's making me nervous that you and Carol are so knowledgeable about the place!

Linda, thank you! I'm so glad you liked the descriptions of Harrogate in The Chaperon Bride. I don't know if anyone else has come across Prudence Bebb's wonderful series of books on life in different Regency towns? She has written one on Harrogate and it was essential research reading.

11:27 AM  

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