It’s been very satisfying, especially re-reading them and thinking, “they’re not half bad.” And they’re historicals, both of them Regencies. While I adore the 1750’s, the Regency, a bit more than half a century later, also has its appeal.
For instance, “Vanessa” is set mainly at the Congress of Vienna. I’ve never understood why more Regency novels aren’t set there. It was an amazingly glamorous event—ostensibly to sort out the mess Napoleon had left Europe in, but also a gathering of the movers and shakers of Regency society. The handsome, dissolute Prince Metternich was there, as was the new and young Czar of Russia. The Prince Regent never made an appearance, but all his principal politicians did.
And then there’s Vienna. A gorgeous city now as it was then, but sadly, without the sachertorte that just puts the cherry on the cake. It was glittering, a time for Europe to start to mend bridges and play again, celebrate the defeat of Napoleon and the end of war. A melting pot of ambition, fashion and power.
Into this comes Vanessa, the new wife of Baron Vesey, a diplomat attached to the British contingent. Like many diplomats of his time, Chris also engages in mild espionage, a passing on of information between important centres of interest, and since Chris is particularly good at remembering and repeating numbers, he does this a little more than most. But he is a career diplomat, and that’s where he’s concentrating his efforts. Vanessa is well-born, but poor, with a mother desperate to settle her five daughters. Vesey is a catch, but he wants Vanessa, who is accomplished, beautiful and bright enough to be an asset to him in his demanding career.
Unfortunately, Vanessa has given her heart to Emery, who is equally poverty-stricken and trying to make enough money so he can ask Vanessa to marry him. She’s waited for him for years, but she knows she can’t wait much longer. Besides, although she doesn’t love Chris, she likes and respects him.
Of course, this being a romance, Things happen to make Vanessa change her mind.
I got the inspiration for this book from an exercise on a now defunct writers’ list. Every week the loop gave a list of words, usually five, to craft something. A story, a poem, anything, really. By the time I’d built “pilgarlic” into the story, I was lost. Vanessa sprang to life on the page and her story just had to be told.
So here she is, in all her revamped glory. I’m happy to share her with you.