Saturday, September 30, 2006

So who is your favourite hero?

The second episode of Reader, I married him - a 3 part TV series all about romantic fiction - looked at romantic heroes in Part 2 this week.

It's introduced by Daisy Goodwin, who has done an excellent job of making an entertaining TV programme which manages to be engrossing, informative and fun, and, even better, it isn't patronising. Daisy, we award you a night with the hero of your choice for services rendered to romance.

So who were the four top literary heroes of all time? They're a bit obvious, perhaps, but no less worthy of 'Best hero of all time' status for all that. In no particular order, they are:

Mr Darcy. Proud, arrogant, but willing to change. With ten thousand a year and Pemberley, to say nothing of a flawed but engaging character, how could he not feature in anyone's top 10?

When he marries Elizabeth, it's the perfect happy ever after.

Rhett Butler. A man who can be relied upon to come to the rescue, whether it's by bringing a girl a new bonnet, or finding a horse and cart to help her flee a war-torn town.

He's a man who's prepared to bide his time to get what he wants, and pay the price for it.

And of course he can be relied upon to sweep a girl off her feet as well . . .

Heathcliff. The original bad boy. Wild, passionate and not averse to banging his head against a tree if the occasion calls for it.

And then there's Mr Rochester. Brooding and enigmatic, he's the archetypal tortured hero, a man of mystery with pain in his past, and something in his attic . . .

So who is your favourite hero, and why?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Review of Mr Knightley's Diary

One of the most exciting times for an author is having a new book out, and one of the most worrying times is waiting to see what readers think of it. So I was relieved and really, really happy this morning to read the review of Mr Knightley's Diary on Austenblog.

Here's an excerpt:
"Ms. Grange manages the tricky balancing act of satisfying the reader and remaining respectful of Jane Austen’s original at the same time, and like Miss Woodhouse herself, we are given the privilege of falling for Mr. Knightley all over again."

The cover above is from the hardback, and the cover at the right is from the paperback.

Available from bookshops in the US
or from Amazon US by clicking here
or from Amazon UK by clicking here

For reviews and more information, please visit my website at by clicking here

Monday, September 25, 2006

Duty's Destiny

Duty's Destiny, my second novel, is published in hardback by Robert Hale on Friday of this week. Since I was abroad when my first book, Lady Hartley's Inheritance, was published and missed the birth of 'my baby', this one is especially important to me.

I haven't yet actually held the finished book in my hand, but I have seen the cover, which I am happy with. I feel the rough sea, and ship under sail, creates the right atmosphere for a book which is all about smuggling. My heroine looks beautiful, too, even if the hero appears to be cross- eyed!

The book is available from Amazon, or can be borrowed from your local library. I do hope you enjoy reading it.

Wendy Soliman

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Unconventional Miss Walters- published in large print.

This is the new cover for The Unconventional Miss Walters which has just been published in large print by Thorpe. I apologise for the black edge and odd marks around the image- I scanned it from the book - and it has not come out as well as I'd hoped. I'm sure lots of you would have known how to remove the unpleasant extras and produced a perfect print. Alas -I'm not one of you!
I'm pleased with the cover- quite different from the original- which was a landscape painting. The photograph is attractive but it does make the heroine look much older than she is. She is eighteen and I think this image makes her look far more mature.
Fenella Miller

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Steepwood Scandals Regency Series

The Steepwood Scandals - In November 1811 the inhabitants of the Steepwood Abbey villages are delighting in the tastiest item of gossip in a long time - The Marquis of Sywell's wife of less than a year has disappeared... taking the family jewels with her! Meanwhile, life in the villages goes on, with others having their own stories to tell of love and romance, all of which in the end will solve the mystery of the Steepwood Scandal...

Harlequin Mills and Boon are republishing the Regency Series The Steepwood Scandals in 8 books from November 2006. The series includes books by Anne Herries, Elizabeth Bailey and Sylvia Andrew.

The Steepwood Scandals website is now up and running and has information on the series and a special contest to win books by the Steepwood authors. The series also has a beautiful set of book covers taken from original paintings.

Best wishes
Nicola Cornick

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Double Loveday promotion

September has been a great month. I celebrated my 36th wedding anniversary and the birth of my fourth grandchild, Megan Louise. Also to my delight Asda are currently doing a special price two book pack for the Loveday titles THE LOVEDAY HONOUR and THE LOVEDAY LOYALTY published by Headline. I would also like to thank all the Loveday fans from several countries who have contacted me through my website click here since the publication of The Loveday Loyalty.

THE LOVEDAY HONOUR the fifth book in the series was originally published in 2004.

'If a man does not have honour, he has nothing.' Edward Loveday declares, but the honour of the Loveday family faces its most serious challenge yet. Japhet Loveday has been tried and convicted of highway robbery. His new wife, Gwen, is desperate to clear his name, but Japhet has made some powerful enemies and her efforts may not be enough to save him from the gallows. Edward also faces troubles of a more personal nature. His wife, Amelia, is still reeling from the shock arrival of Edward's illegitimate daughter, Tamasine, and cannot bring herself to forgive him for bringing even more shame upon the Loveday name. Will Edward be forced to make a choice between his daughter and his wife? Meanwhile Tamasine herself has fallen in love with the handsome Rupert Carlton, but when the truth of her parentage is revealed, it causes a feud between the two families that threatens to destroy the relationship. Will loyalty and honour eventually triumph? And at what cost to the family's happiness and future? Honour comes with a high price. Love affairs, subterfuge, incest and murder ensnare the family in another novel packed with passion and intrigue.

Kate Tremayne

Portrait of Mrs Bingley

Have you ever wondered how Jane Austen saw her characters? Luckily, we know how she saw Jane Bennet, because of a letter Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra in 1813. Here's an extract from that letter.

"Henry and I went to the exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased, particularly (pray tell Fanny) with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her.I went in hopes of seeing one of her sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy. Perhaps, however, I may find her in the great exhibition, which we shall go to if we have time . . . Mrs. Bingley's is exactly herself -- size, shaped face, features, and sweetness; there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I had always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs. D. will be in yellow."

The portrait Jane Austen mentions is believed to be this portrait of Mrs. Quentin by Huet-Villiers.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Make a note in your diary!

Sunday, BBC1, 9 o'clock to 10 o'clock
(or, if you prefer the 24 hour clock, 21.00-22.00)

Draw the curtains, lock the door, take the phone off the hook, and settle down for the first part of a new BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre.

The BBC have a great page of information, which includes a trailer to download, pics from the series to use as wallpaper and a behind-the-scenes set of photos.

If you click here the magic of modern technology will take you there. (Well, there are some good things about the twenty-first century!)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Can men write romance?

There's a debate going on in the UK at the moment about whether men can or can't write romantic fiction. The debate, it is true, has been stirred up to publicise a new TV programme about romantic fiction called Reader, I Married Him, but it brings home the fact that the Regency period had a wealthy of literary figures writing romance.

The most famous male author of his day was most probably Sir Walter Scott. Scott was famous for writing poetry in the early years of the nineteenth century, so when he wrote his first work of prose fiction, Waverley, which appeared in 1814, he published it anonymously. Subsequent books came out as being by 'the author of Waverley'.

Waverley was a huge success, selling out in 2 days. It was well received critically as well, although John Wilson Croker, writing in the Quarterly Review, questioned the mixing of history and romance. 'Romance' was used by Croker in its wider sense, to mean a story dealing with the exciting adventures of chivalric heroes, but Scott's books also contain what we would today think of as romance, and so it could be said that Waverley marks the birth of historical romance.

In particular, Scott can be see as the father of all the Scottish historical romances, with romantic moors, lochs and men in kilts proving immensely popular up to the present day. Rob Roy came out in 1817, nearly 200 years ago, and is still a great read even today. Scott's language takes a bit of getting used to for the modern reader, but it's no more difficult than Austen, so if you haven't yet discovered books like Waverley, The Talisman, Ivanhoe and Rob Roy, you've got a treat waiting for you!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jane Austen Quiz

Here's some fun for a Friday. Why not take the Mastermind quiz and find out how much you really know about Jane Austen's books!

Jane Austen Quiz

Monday, September 11, 2006

Regency author ties the knot

I chose an Empire-style dress for my recent wedding which took place last month in Hertfordshire, England. The dress would not have looked too far out of place in Regency England.

The ivory dress had a beaded lace bodice and a skirt of satin-like material with a semi-transparent muslin-like overskirt. I carried a hand-tied bouquet of ivory roses.

What is missing of course, which a real Regency lady would have worn at her wedding is a bonnet and/or veil.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Mesalliance and 'Meet the Author'

This is the rough for my next book, due out in February 2007, THE MESSALLIANCE. David Young is the artist as he has been for two of my other books. It shows the gatehouse of St Osyth Priory where the book is set. I've asked him to make the man larger as, even allowing for the fact that the woman is in the foreground, he still, in my opinion, looks shorter than her. What does anyone else think?

Last Saturday I held a 'Meet the Author' event at Great Bentley in EVANS on the green. My husband manned a stall in the main Village Show marquee and sent twenty people over to meet me. I sold nine boks but several others promised to order it from the library which in some ways is even better.

This is Dusty,( he is the one with glasses) showing them one of my favourite books, Regency England by Reay Tannahil. It's full of wonderful Regency prints, ideal for costume research.
My first large print book was also published on 1st September, THE UNCONVENTIONAL MISS WALTERS, by Ulverscroft. It has the same cover as the original, one by David Young, which I'm delighted about. So far I've not received the author's copies- I can't wait to see how it looks with 410 pages!! I sold the large print rights for A DISSEMBLER a week or so before it was published.
Fenella Miller

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Regency poetry

The Regency period - taking it as a period from about 1793 to 1820, instead of the narrower political period of 1811-1820 - was a wonderful one for the arts. As well as great writers such as Jane Austen, the era produced great poets. Here's a poem by Keats, which revels in the beauties of England whilst voicing a wish - shared by most English people when the weather's bad, I think - to see Italian skies. Ah, for a blue sky instead of a grey one! Although, to be honest, this morning it's sunny for the first time in weeks, and the sky is actually blue and white.

Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent:
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Caricature of dancing at Almack's

Almack's was an exclusive club in London. The patronesses,Lady Jersey, Lady Castlereagh, Lady Cowper (later Lady Palmerston) Lady Sefton, Mrs Drummond Burrell (later Lady Willoughby) Princess Esterhazy and Countess Lieven, were extremely influential.

Henry Luttrell wrote of the guest list:

All on that magic list depends
Fame, fortune, fashion, lovers, friends
'Tis that which gratifies or vexes
All ranks, all ages and both sexes.
If once to Almack's you belong,
Like monarchs, you can do no wrong;
But banished then on Wednesday night
By Jove you can do nothing right.

The rules were very stict. Gentlemen had to wear knee-breeches, white cravat and chapeau bras ( a small, 3-cornered silk hat which could be carried under the arm)and this varied for no one.

One night, the Duke of Wellington arrived. He had been instrumental in defeating Napoleon, but even so, the rules did not vary, even for him. He was about to ascend the staircase of the ballroom in black trousers when Mr Willis, the guardian of the establishment, said, 'Your grace cannot be admitted in trousers'.

The Duke didn't argue. As a military man, he had a great respect for regulations, and he left - a Regency example of Girl Power!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Loveday Loyalty published


Published in paperback by Headline 28th August 2006

ISBN 0 7553 2872 8


Edward Loveday always believed that loyalty would see his family through any crisis. But in the year since his tragic death they have been far from united.

The fierce family rivalry between his twin sons, Adam and St John, rages on with each man feeling betrayed by the other. Dangerously consumed by their sibling battle they are unable to see that their real enemy is not to be found in each other but rather in an outsider – Harry Sawle. Sawle, a cunning and violent smuggler, has long held a personal vendetta against the Lovedays and will use their feud to his own gain. Indeed he has already begun threatening their widowed cousin Hannah Rabson.

Meanwhile, in the new Australian penal colony, at least one Loveday remains loyal as the formally disgraced Japhet risks his life to protect Adam’s investments from a corrupt militia. But one man’s loyalty is not enough to save this family. Unless Adam and St John can find a way to heal their rift and unite, the Lovedays and their proud heritage could be destroyed.

Drama, scandal and romance combines to create this absorbing and passionate seventh book in the LOVEDAY series.

‘Thrilling family saga… A fast-moving and exciting read… leaves the reader breathless for the next book in the series.’ Historical Novels Review.

‘Guaranteed to appeal to those who have been entranced by Poldark’ Sussex Life

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