Reading Order: 1
The Countess was my very first novel, published in 1978 under the title The Autumn Countess. Even at that amazingly young age, I still realized that I should write about something I knew. Since I'd grown up reading Georgette Heyer and my master's degree is in nineteenth-century European history, it wasn't much of a mental stretch - a Regency romance. Well, sort of.
As it turned out, The Autumn Countess danced into the bookstores not as a Regency, but as a Gothic masquerading as a Regency.
I've rewritten the novel extensively to make it even more unabashedly Gothic in form, texture, and content, including use of the first-person narration in the classic Gothic style.
Andrea Jameson, unlike the conventional Gothic heroine, isn't a destitute governess. She's young, rich, and toothsome, and adores her Dandie Dinmont terrier, George. However, Andrea doesn't have a single dream of meeting Mr. Right, marrying, and living happily ever after. Go figure.
She strikes a bargain with an older widowed earl who promises her all the razzle-dazzle without the obey part. She's perfectly happy with the deal until she meets the earl's nephew and realizes fairly quickly that she might have made an exceptional blunder.
But she doesn't have much time to ponder her dim-witted choice for husband because someone is trying to kill her. Will she survive to marry the man of her dreams?
I hope you enjoy the inside cover. The art department had a ball designing what they call their "uptown classic Gothic."
Do tell me if you enjoyed the rebirth of my Gothic tale.
The Rebel Bride
Reading Order: 2
The Rebel Bride was my second novel. Although it was originally published as a Regency, I always felt that it was a historical romance at heart. So, I've rewritten this story of two stubborn, strong-willed people, and Topaz is bringing it out again for you - this time as the historical it could have been.
The rebel bride is Katharine Brandon, a hoyden with hair as red as a stormy sunset whose fierce independence masks her loneliness. When Julien St. Clair, Earl of March, sees her for the first time, she is dressed like a boy while engaged in a rather mock duel with her brother. And since it's her turn to be fatally wounded, she dies dramatically at Julien's feet. A powerful, sophisticated nobleman who is bored and restless with a life that holds little more interest for him, the earl finds himself suddenly and thoroughly bewitched by this unusual young lady. But when he decides he wants her, he discovers that all is not what it seems. From the glittering Regency ballrooms of 1814 London, to Paris, and finally to Switzerland, the earl and his unwilling bride play a dangerous game of passion, until everything changes irrevocably between them...and Julien discovers Katharine's terrifying secret.
If you read the original The Rebel Bride, do read it again. I would be interested to know what you think of my changes. Please enjoy-Julien and Katharine are two of my all-time personal favorite characters.
Reading Order: 3
The Heir first appeared as Lord Deverill's Heir all the way back in 1980. I have extensively rewritten this novel, giving it greater scope and depth, but most important are the changes in all the characters. They are now richer and fuller, brimming with life and passion.
Justin Deverill, the new Earl of Strafford, is a military man who's strong, shrewd, stubborn and very possibly one of the most handsome men ever to become an earl. As for his cousin, Arabella, whom he must wed or gain nothing but an empty title, she is more like him than either of them would like to admit. Faced with an order from her father's will to marry this man, she rebels. Since her father is dead, she has no other target except the new earl. However, in him, Arabella meets her match.
These two flamboyant people do wed, despite the fact that Justin believes she has betrayed him before their wedding, and thus, married or not, there is hell to pay.
Who does the earl believe is his wife's lover? There is only one snake in the garden, the young and charming Comte de Trecassis, a relative visiting from France. The earl wants to kill him, but he holds off because he knows the young man came for a reason. The earl wants him to under his eye until he figures out why. He knows he is up to no good; he just doesn't know what the no good is.
Justin and Arabella set off fireworks, both in their anger and in their passion. I hope you enjoy The Heir.
Reading Order: 4
The Duke is the new title for one of my first novels, originally titled The Generous Earl. I changed the title to fit what the book has become since I've rewritten it-a long, lavish historical, a love story to make your heart sing, and as an extra bonus, a mystery that will keep you guessing until the last page.
So come back to the beginning of the nineteenth century to Scotland, to Penderleigh Castle, home of the Robertsons, who have just been dealt a terrible blow. Their new master, already an English duke, has just been named the Scottish earl of Penderleigh.
Ian Carmichael, Duke of Portmaine, is proud, aristocratic, handsome as the devil's right hand, and kinder than any grousing Robertson has a right to expect. Brandy Robertson - the old earl's granddaughter - takes one look at the duke and her heart goes ballistic.
The problem is, the duke is already engaged, and if that isn't bad enough, someone wants to kill him.One of the embittered Robertsons? There are lots of juicy suspects to choose from.
Do read The Duke and see how everything turns out. Let me know what you think.
Reading Order: 5
Lord Harry, one of my first novels, was originally titled Lord Harry's Folly. I've rewritten the story extensively, adding to and changing dialogue, actions and descriptions, yet the original plot is still here. I am convinced-and I'm sure you'll be too - that the characters are much happier now since they have lived with me for fifteen years and taught me more about themselves.
Henrietta Rolland reigns as queen of the London Season, winning men's hearts and women's envy with her beauty, charm, and wit - until she discovers that a notorious rake, Jason Cavander, the Marquess of Oberlon, is responsible for the death of her brother Damien at Waterloo. Determined to avenge her dead brother, Henrietta disguises herself as the fictitious Lord Harry Monteith, hoping to fool Cavander and challenge him to a duel. Needless to say, her plan does not unfold quite the way she has anticipated.
Henrietta's adventures as a rakehell young gentleman in Regency England will touch and amuse you. She sees the marquess in as many guises as he does her. But the time has come for all pretenses to be stripped away as Henrietta and Jason together track down Damien's real killer and learn in the process how powerful love can be.
The characters of Henrietta and Jason are strong, smart, and vulnerable, each in their own way. I think you'll root for them all the way. Enjoy!