Today, Romantic Historical Reviews is delighted to welcome author Lynne Connolly to the blog to talk about her new series of novels set in Georgian London. The books centre around a family feud, with one family supporting the Crown and the other supporting the Jacobites. It’s set post-Culloden, when a deadly secret slowly comes to light that threatens the whole of society. It’s a “what if?” story, with a family of lively cousins at its heart. Falling in love was never so fraught with peril and adventure!
Our review of the first book, Rogue in Red Velvet will be posted next week, and the second book in the series, Temptation Has Green Eyes is due for publication in November.
And now – over to Lynne…
What happened to Bonnie Prince Charlie after Culloden?
The failure of the Culloden campaign in 1746 was a bitter disappointment to the Jacobites, especially to the Young Pretender himself. His father, who had sent a message to Charles to cancel the invasion, was more stoical. The campaign ended any hope of the Stuarts regaining the throne of Great Britain, or so history would have it.
That’s the story told by the victors. At the time it looked very different. The Stuarts had lost the favour of the King of France and moved to the Palazzo Muti in Italy. In fact, Charles was more Italian than British, having an Italian mother and being brought up there. But he was young, the son of a Stuart and to many, the rightful heir to the throne.
The rights and wrongs were complex, but the Stuarts didn’t give up. In 1750, Charles came to England and converted to Protestantism. It’s a difficult area of research, and some of the details only came to light recently, but he definitely hadn’t given up the fight. He soon forgot the conversion when it didn’t have its desired effect, to increase his support in Britain, but it’s highly likely that he visited Britain several times after that.
That’s the background I used for the Emperors of London. To make matters worse for the Hanoverians, the current incumbents of the British throne, in 1751 the Prince of Wales died, leaving a young boy as his heir. Although Frederick hadn’t been on good terms with his father, George II, he was very popular with the people. Intelligent, personable and sociable, Frederick did a great deal to increase the popularity of the Hanover dynasty.
It created an opportunity for the Stuarts. While the wily Old Pretender, James, worked at developing politics abroad, and became a significant figure in Italian and French politics, Charles still turned his attention to Britain.
By the 1750’s, Charles had become a drunk. Whether he was actually alcoholic or not is still a matter of discussion, but his disappointment had an effect on him. He was overweight, and he treated his mistresses badly. He was unmarried and had one daughter. His brother Henry had become a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic church, so even if they had regained the throne, the succession was questionable.
That was the era I set the Emperors of London in. All I had to do was to add an element that wasn’t there, but could have been. The “What if…?” authors start with.
What if there were more heirs? What if they were more presentable, more numerous? Illegitimate children had a shot, but what if…?
But that doesn’t come out until the next book in the series!
The Emperors are a powerful family, similar to the Howards or the Cavendishes. The current generation have been saddled with the names of emperors and empresses of the past. They have outlandish names like Nicephorus and Marcus Aurelius. When they become aware of the dangerous secret threatening the stability of the country they love, they go into action, and fall in love in the process. Of course love was never part of their plan, but the best laid plans often go astray – and that’s where the fun starts!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynne Connolly has loved history since her parents took her to stately homes when she was a child. She walked in the rooms and in her imagination, she saw people walking up and down, and talking to each other. Being incorrigibly inquisitive, she wanted to know what they were saying, and that meant going to the library and hunting down research books.
She found out, and stories came from the research, about people in peril, unhappy people looking for love and getting their happy ending, and people not looking for anything at all, who had adventure thrust upon them. Of course Lynne had to write these down!
She went to school, got two degrees, and started working as a marketing executive. But she never forgot those people and wrote them down at night. Eventually she got the courage to send one of the stories off to a publisher. The publisher hated it. She learned about writing then, the skills writers need to know in order to share their stories with other people. Then she tried again. The publisher hated it. One day Lynne learned about the US market, and with a “nothing ventured” attitude, tried there. They loved it.
Lynne has since written three major series (Richard and Rose, Secrets and The Triple Countess) and several single title Regency and Georgian set books. Currently two series are taking her attention. The first is the Even Gods Fall In Love series, the kind of thing agents and publishers like to call “high concept.” It’s about Greek and Roman gods battling to the death in eighteenth century Britain. The other is the Emperors of London series.