Today I'd like to welcome Beverley
Eikli to the Historical and Regency Romance UK blog as my guest. She is
the author of three Regency novels, published by Robert Hale, but in a week's
time her first Regency espionage romance, TheReluctant Bride, published by Choc Lit will be out in paperback.
Welcome Beverley! Please tell us a bit about your new novel.
Thank you. Christina, it's lovely to
be here! The Reluctant Bride has had a long and convoluted history. It was a simple 'marriage of convenience'
story when it won the Romance Writers of New Zealand competition six years ago.
I then went on to publish three
Regencies with Robert Hale, all the while researching the French
Revolution and 'layering' The
Reluctant Bride with a back story set during the September Massacres of
The pivotal, life-changing events
for my hero, Angus, however, occur during the retreat to Corunna in 1809,
though the actual book picks up four years later when Angus calls on the woman
he's loved from afar to tell her that her fiancé has just been killed in
battle. The lie he tells her, in order
to spare her pain, comes back to haunt him after he's made her his 'reluctant
The Reluctant Bride won Choc Lit's ‘Search for an Australian Star’ competition
late last year.
The Regency period is obviously very popular – what drew you to this particular
era? And is it your favourite time in history?
I first wrote Georgian-set stories
but the practicalities of publishing meant that it was easier to sell a Regency
at the time. You could say that now I
love the transition between the two periods. I find the shift in culture and attitudes from
the mid 1700s to the early 1800s fascinating and I love to reflect that in the mindsets
of my characters, depending on their ages.
I understand that you like so called Beta heroes, why is that and what is it
about them you find appealing? (As you know, I prefer Alpha heroes
Yes, you and your Alpha heroes, Christina
:-) Having said that, one of my most
successful books featured an alpha hero. I think Angus in The Reluctant Bride is a bit of both. As a returning war hero he's proved incredibly
courageous. He's also brooding and
burdened by events which forced his hand, yet he will do whatever it takes to
win Emily, his emotionally distant new wife. He's an alpha hero in that he sets about doing
this with honour and action – but he's very beta when he treats her with more
understanding than she deserves as she’s so stubbornly resistant to his
overtures. One of the challenges I had
was showing Emily in a sympathetic light when she's so unkind to Angus to begin
with. But she's just lost her beloved fiancé
and the main events in the story span eight months, which isn't terribly long
Who is your favourite fictional
I love Hugo in Georgette Heyer's The Unknown Ajax and Jamie Fraser in
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander
Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer – which of these two authors do you enjoy the
most and why?
Very hard question. I've read all of them and loved all of them. I've always wondered, though, why there are so
many BBC Jane Austen productions but no television adaptations of Georgette
Heyer novels. Unless we just don't get
them here in Australia.
Have you ever tasted ratafia or macaroons? And do you like the kind of
research where you try things out for yourself?
I've never tasted ratafia but I love
macaroons and in fact am going to try my first batch this weekend. Australians love their pavlova and I always
have lots of frozen egg-white read to whip one up in a flash. I only discovered a few days ago that
macaroons use egg whites.
When it comes to research, though, I
can't resist making period costumes from authentic patterns. Earlier this year I made some 1780s half boned
stays and panniers and chemise to go under my 1780s polonaise, together with a
Regency gown for my 'History Through Costume Talks'. A few weeks ago I made my two daughters a
couple of pretty 1850s dresses and capes for a 'Christmas in July' event we
went to at nearby Sovereign Hill which recreates the gold rush era of the
Blurb for The Reluctant Bride:-
Can honour and
action banish the shadows of old sins?
has no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the
scarred, taciturn, soldier who represents her only escape from destitution.
Major Angus McCartney is tormented by the reproachful slate-grey eyes of two
strikingly similar women: Jessamine, his dead mistress, and Emily, the
unobtainable beauty who is now his reluctant bride.
Emily’s loyalty to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s determination to
atone for the past and win his wife with honour and action. As Napoleon cuts a swathe across Europe, Angus
is sent to France on a mission of national security, forcing Emily to confront
both her allegiance to Jack and her traitorous half-French family.
and Emily may find love, but will the secrets they uncover divide them forever?
Many thanks for taking the time to be my guest, Beverley!
Thank you, Christina, it was a
pleasure being here.
Labels: Beverley Eikli, Napoleonic Wars, Regency espionage, regency romance, The Reluctant Bride Choc Lit