Greetings for the holiday season! This is the time for gift-giving, and I’m devoting this Quarter Days’ post to a unique gift-giving project I’m taking part in with a group of Regency Romance authors.
We’re taking some of those dark, down-on-their luck characters from literary fiction and giving them the Regency Romance treatment!
With complete artistic license, and an abundance of hubris, a group of Regency romance authors are retelling some of the great stories of literature, setting them in Georgian England, and giving these tragic heroes and heroines a happily-ever-after.
I am not super well-read in tragic fiction, so I settled on a story I do know: Macbeth. The real Macbeth was a relatively successful (though bloody) ruler of Scotland for about ten years in the eleventh century. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and his lady–well, you probably know their story. They die!
What’s a Romance Author to do? I decided to follow Shakespeare’s example of adding and discarding facts and characters as required. As I plunged into planning, I quickly decided that the action would begin twenty years after Macbeth and his lady’s quest for title and power and their “demises”.
In my version, a failed lawsuit, allegations of unfaithfulness and a disastrous divorce sent Macbeth off to a bloody twenty-year war with France and his lady into a tailspin of depression. Older and wiser, they meet again in London in March 1815 during the worst of the Corn Riots, in a week that ends with the arrival of news that Bonaparte has escaped from Elba.
I’ve taken the liberty of reversing characterizations (after all, Foul is Fair, and Fair is Foul) and adding others to lighten the mood for our aging lovers. Writing this, I often had to wrest my hero back from the darkness of his story. Or, as my editor gently suggested, I had to “moderate his fatalism”.
Hah! It is 2020, isn’t it?
All-in-all, it was a fun story, requiring a deep dive into the Peninsular campaign, the Corn Riots, and best of all, Highland soldiers in kilts.
Release day for Fated Hearts is December 29, 2020, and it’s available for 99 cent preorder. It won’t be at that price for long, so if you’re interested, pick up your copy ASAP.
Here’s a bit about the story and the other books in the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit series.
Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.
They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?
by Lindsay Downs (Frankenstein)
When bodies start turning up in Whitechapel, Miss Steen returns to London with Lord Cartwright and the Countess of Harlow as her chaperone to solve the murders. Little does she realize she will be introduced to the last person she wants to meet — and hunting down the murderers proves a lot more difficult than they had anticipated.
by Regina Jeffers (Robin Hood)
William de Wendenal, the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham, has come to London, finally having wormed his way back into the good graces of the Royal family. Yet, not all of Society is prepared to forgive his former “supposed” transgressions, especially the Earl of Sherwood.
However, when de Wendenal is wounded in an attempt to protect Prince George from an assassin, he becomes caught up in a plot involving stolen artwork, kidnapping, murder, and seduction that brings him to Cheshire where he must willingly face a gun pointed directly at his chest and held by the one woman who stirs his soul, Miss Patience Busnick, the daughter of a man de Wendenal once escorted to prison.
by Audrey Harrison (Pride and Prejudice)
Colonel Fitzwilliam is a second son, often overshadowed by his titled, older brother and his cousin, Mr Darcy. Returning from Waterloo he knows it is time to find a wife with a healthy dowry, but he longs for a love match. Unfortunately for Fitzwilliam, love doesn’t put food on the table.
Miss Prudence Bamber has never known her mother’s family. A woman with her own mind and full life, she indulges her father’s wish to visit her long-lost relations. It turns out to be a trip she won’t forget in a hurry.
Two people looking for love, but challenged by pride, secrets and prejudice. Will they be able to overcome the odds to find their own happy ever after? Or, are they destined to remain separated by the constraints of society?
by Alanna Lucas (Wuthering Heights)
Her wild ways tamed, Catherine Earnshaw has launched into London society. Only none of her marriage-mart suitors excite her because her heart still lies with another; whatever happened to Heathcliff, her childhood soulmate?
Markus Bell left Yorkshire to find his true identity and turn a fortune. Now the talk of the ton, he has Catherine in his sights, not to woo her but to seek revenge; he can’t forgive how she spurned him.
Catherine is puzzled where the gossip dogging her through the season comes from. Until she meets Markus, who’s as dark and devilishly handsome as her Heathcliff, and her world is turned upside down.
The Company She Keeps, by Nancy Lawrence (Madame Bovary)
Captain Stanwick’s Bride, by Regina Jeffers (The Courtship of Miles Standish)
Glorious Obsession, by Louisa Cornell (Orpheus and Eurydice)
I’ll be back in March for the next installment of my Quarter Days’ blog!
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