Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wicked Intentions

I have a new book out in April, WICKED INTENTIONS under my new pen name of LYNNE MARTIN.

WICKED INTENTIONS is about a gently nurtured young woman whose father is going slowly mad. Ruth lost her mother and two siblings several years before in a smallpox epidemic and now her father only has her left, he’s protecting her to the point of obsession. In fact, Lord Urswick has a benign brain tumour, but nobody in that time would have known that.
In order to escape him she has to take refuge in an unlikely place – a Covent Garden Brothel and accept the protection of a stranger, Oliver Bridgman, the Earl of Iveleigh.

The research for this book was fascinating and eye-opening. Covent Garden had been built as a fashionable residential area in a building speculation, but it never caught on. The fashionable and respectable moved out to the West End and the fashionable and disreputable moved in. Covent Garden became a fruit and vegetable market by day, and a resort of the young man looking for a good time at night.

There are maps to the area, showing all the houses and what they specialised in, guidebooks that discussed the ladies who had their own houses, and what they specialised in. This was the Georgian era, and remarkably little shame attached to this area and the streets around it, one of which contained the famous Drury Lane theatre. It was just another sight of London, like St. Pauls’ or the Tower. Although, of course, respectable ladies weren’t supposed to go there, but the existence of houses providing comely young gentlemen for the recreation of the bored lady rather suggests that they did! Some houses had specialisations; there was a notorious House of Correction, for instance. Many of the better houses combined gambling with prostitution and the girls were a cut above the streetwalkers. They could go on to attract a patron, in which case their fortune was made and they might go to live in a small house just outside London. Some might become a fashionable courtesan, like Kitty Fisher, whose wit and company was as attractive as her body. On the other hand, they could end up on the streets, facing the cold and filth for a few pennies and a miserable death in the poorhouse.

Ruth does none of those things. She’s an observer, someone who learns a lot while she’s in the house, but doesn’t participate.
Except for Oliver, but you’ll have to get the book to find out how well they get on!

Lynne Martin
writer of sensual historical romance


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