My award-winning Regency romance, A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE, holds a very special place in my heart. When you view the cover, you’ll understand why! But before I get into that, let’s look at the genesis of the story. I wanted to try my hand at writing a Regency with an American heroine as a contemporary with her Regency peers. The idea of feisty American pitted against a proper Englishman intrigued me. No time-travel is involved here. Since this Regency is set in 1814, the War of 1812 is raging behind the scenes. This seemed a perfect background for the heroine, Nicolette Turner, and hero, Victor Kincaid (Lord Cushing), to be at odds with each other for their external conflict.
Nicolette is summoned to travel across the Atlantic by her English grandfather, Lord Eldridge--a man who disinherited her beloved father. This novel takes place in Long Melford, Suffolk, and London, with a honeymoon trip to Southwold. I also wanted to have some of the characters from another one of my Regencies, The Reluctant Landlord, make a brief appearance. So in addition to creating Nicolette and Victor’s story, I had to decide where to introduce Katrina Jones and Quentin Thornhill, revisiting their personalities, along with a few of the other characters.
An American Rose: American Nicolette Turner has a bone to pick with the British. Not only is her country’s maritime rights being violated, but her English grandfather, Lord Eldredge, demands that she travel across the Atlantic to visit him. What she doesn’t know is that he intends for her to marry, thereby staying in England and having lots of babies.
The most eligible suitor is neighbor Victor Kincaid. Victor has severe money problems. Lord Eldredge offers to take care of the debts... if Victor marries Nicolette. At first Victor believes she’s a fortune-hunter, but soon becomes captivated by her. Can he convince her he wants more than a marriage of convenience?
Artist’s concept cover
A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE is published by Wings ePress and has been from the beginning. Here is the book trailer:
Music is by Kevin MacLeod, Two Together.
Lord Cushing proposes and Nicolette accepts… only because her grandfather’s money sweetens the deal. Where does love fit into this financial transaction?
This book has been on the publisher’s best-seller list and is a Golden Wings Award WINNER for Best Overall Historical Romance 2007. It has also been on the Fictionwise.com’s best-seller list and earned 5 Stars on Amazon.com and Joyfully Reviewed.
This book is part of the prestigious Elegant Regencies line.
Also, a fan’s husband very kindly sent me a unique gift. His wife loves A CONTINENTAL MARRIAGE so he created this “First Day Of Issue” envelope to commemorate the book. There’s a bit of time-travel going on here, either that or precognition. In 1993, I hadn’t written this book yet; it was published in 2007!
Now for the big reveal... and a tidbit from real life! Nicolette is referred to as an American rose. In one of my daughter’s high school graduation pictures, she’s in a country setting and is holding a red rose. I couldn’t resist; I submitted the photo to the Wings cover artist. She agreed with me that this picture would make a perfect cover for A Continental Marriage. As you see the result, it’s a beautiful fit!
Scene set-up: The following shows the first instance where Nicolette--or Lady Nicolette as she is now known--is referred to as an American rose. The scene is in Victor Kincaid’s (Lord Cushing’s) point of view. He meets her for the first time and disapproves of her. The Duke of Devonshire (actual person) and the Earl of Eldridge (Nicholette’s grandfather) also are included.
Nicolette now sat next to the Duke of Devonshire, looking as attentive as any of the debutantes hungrily eying the bachelor duke. Perhaps her previous consternation had been all a ruse. Was she angling to become a duchess?
Victor joined in their conversation.
“Oh, hallo, Cushing.” The duke scratched at his auburn hair. “I was just telling Lady Nicolette that I regret I must take my leave tomorrow and return to London. Lord Liverpool has requested my presence.”
“Blasted politics,” Lord Eldridge chimed in. “Congress of Vienna just opened, you know. Castlereagh’s there to represent British interest against those Frenchies.”
Victor winced. Did Lord Eldredge forget his granddaughter was half French? “Lord Castlereagh’s our foreign secretary, Lady Nicolette,” he explained. “Now that Bonaparte has been banished to the island of Elba--”
“I’m knowledgeable on current affairs, Lord Cushing.” She sent him a freezing glare. “And Lord Liverpool is your prime minister. I do try to read the newspaper every day. After all, your country is still at war with mine, isn’t it?”
The Duke of Devonshire clapped his hands together. “Touché, Cushing, touché! Our American rose has got you dead to rights.” He inclined his head. “I do hope, my dear, with all my heart that we can also be done with this war as we are now through with Emperor Bonaparte.”
She extended her small hand. “I hope as you do, your grace, and I also hope you have a pleasant journey tomorrow.”
After the duke shook her hand, she stood and raised her voice to carry through the room. “Good night, everyone. It was very nice to meet you all.” As she glanced down at Victor, her expression hardened. Obviously she had not enjoyed meeting him.
Victor sat back and watched the enticing sway of her figure as she walked out of the drawing room. This American rose might be a beauty, but she also showed she carried a few thorns.
I hope you enjoy Nicolette and Victor’s story!
Susanne Marie Knight
Read outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!