As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.
Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.
But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.
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Today, we’re delighted to welcome LAUREN LINWOOD to Romantic Historical Reviews, to tell us about her love of Historical Romance.
I am a voracious reader, recently picking up everything from Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken to David Baldacci’s The Target to Victoria Thompson’s newest Gaslight Mystery, featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy in turn of the century New York. I escape to many times and places—helping Gabriel Allon on a European spy mission, walking the US and getting into trouble with Jack Reacher, or finding political intrigue in the Tudor court with Philippa Gregory’s The King’s Curse.
But when I starting writing the stories in my head, I chose to write romances.
Even though I enjoy catching serial killers or trying court cases vicariously as I place myself in the protagonist’s shoes of the books I read, what I enjoy writing is that Happily Ever After ending. I like writing about relationships—the beginning attraction, the coming together, the difficulties and negotiation of obstacles blocking the way to true love, and then finally the end where two people have overcome everything in their way to unite as one. I enjoy leaving my hero and heroine at story’s end, knowing they will always be together, richer for having known one another and for committing to each other for all time.
So why historical romance?
I was the nerdy, scrawny kid with a passion for reading. My elementary school’s librarian took me under her wing and exposed me to many unique authors, but the biggest gift she gave me? Pointing me toward the biography section. She’d purchased a series of biographies that were only 80-100 pages each, and I raced through every single one of them. Some featured contemporary figures, be it politicians or sports stars, but the bulk told the stories of people from a bygone time.
As I read these factual accounts of once-living people from the past, I fell in love with so many eras in history. I read about Ancient Egypt with Cleopatra and war with the young Maid of Orleans. Benjamin Franklin took me through Colonial America, while I also visited the court of the French Sun King. I hid from the Nazis with Anne Frank and fought the English alongside William Wallace. I studied by candlelight with a young Abe Lincoln and danced with Henry VIII as Anne Boleyn.
History became my favorite class in school. As an adult I became a history teacher, wanting to share my passion for the people who lived long ago who shaped our world as we know it today. I wanted to bring their stories to my students, hoping to explore the fact that these famous people in many ways are similar to us. Sometimes the illustrious names we study are just ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances—and they rose to the occasion.
So what better mix than romance with history? I get to revisit eras I enjoy. I have a blast researching fun facts that I can weave into my narrative. I’m able to share customs and fashions and architecture and traditions—all while bringing two people together, forever.
It doesn’t get any better than that!
Garrett peered into the angry face of the woman who haunted his dreams by night and left him absent-minded by day. Their encounter had been brief, but he doubted he had ever met a more remarkable woman. Not even his petite Lynnette had brought such a sweet longing to his loins as did the bewitching creature before him.
Her honeyed hair, loosened from its intricate braid, curled around her shoulders. Tiny beads of sweat had formed just above her upper lip. Without thinking, Garrett reached his thumb towards her and wiped it away. She flinched slightly, her dark, amethyst eyes glowering up at him.
Garrett smiled in spite of himself, offering her a hand to pull her to her feet. He had forgotten how very tall she was as she stared at him, her cheeks flushed with anger.
“Perhaps we could arrange a trade?” he suggested.
She eyed him suspiciously. “I’m not sure if I could trust you, my lord,” she countered.
“Trust me?” he sputtered. “This, from the woman who traipsed about the countryside claiming to be my wife?”
She shrugged nonchalantly, an almost Gallic air about her. She didn’t sound French, but there was an unmistakable manner to her movement. Garrett spent enough time in France to recognize the behavior. However, when she spoke, he quickly put it from his mind.
“I chose a bloody awful name to scare away anyone who accosted me on the road! How was I to know I’d run into you?” She snorted in an unladylike fashion. “I had heard tales of the wicked Lord Montayne, how he frightened old and young alike and gobbled up babes for his dinner. Why, the very mention of his name would cause grown men to plead for their lives and their loved ones. Oh, no, my lord, I was an honest liar. You were the one who resorted to trickery and hid your true identity from me.”
Her accusation so startled Garrett his jaw flew open. No sound came out for a moment. The woman lifted her chin high and turned on her heel. That brought Garrett into motion.
He grabbed her elbow and pulled her around to face him. “Not so fast, my lady.” He studied her a second. Her eyes narrowed at him, but she remained silent. Finally faced with her visage square in front of him, Garrett was at a loss of what to do. His emotions swirled out of control as he spoke.
“’Tis curiosity,” he sputtered.
She looked puzzled. “Curiosity?” she echoed.
He nodded, his words spilling forth rapidly. “I know not who you are, nor where you come from. I’ve dreamed of you since that night only to awaken to an emptiness.” His voice became low and tinged with sadness. “I don’t even know your name.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.