In war, the unsung heroes (or heroines) are the women who stay behind to defend their homes while the men are off fighting.
The English Civil war was no exception. From the gallant little queen, Henrietta Maria through to the women who followed the drum, and often suffered a terrible fate at the hands of the victors (see my post on Hoydens and Firebrands on the aftermath of the Battle of Naseby (click HERE).
|The Countess of Derby|
Antonia Fraser in her book, THE WEAKER VESSEL, cites many examples of the bravery of the women who kept the home fires burning, but two in particular stood out for me. The first is Charlotte de Tremouille, the Countess of Derby, who defended her home, Lathom House in Lancashire against the forces of Parliament. To read more about this gallant woman, visit my post on Hoydens and Firebrands (click HERE).
Charlotte’s story is immortalized in Steeleye Span’s song “They Called her Babylon” (which I have included at the end of this post).
The second gallant lady, Brilliana Harley, defended her home, Brampton Bryan Castle in Herefordshire against the forces of the King. Again I have written about her at greater length on Hoydens and Firebrands (click HERE) and more recently on the English Historical Fiction Authors (click HERE) .
|Brampton Bryan castle|
From the stories of these ladies and the hardships they endured, the idea for a new story of my own was born. Firstly I was intrigued to see if I could write a historical with a romantic theme from the point of view of the parliamentary side, who are viewed by history as anything but romantic and secondly I rather liked the idea of a hero and heroine shut up together in a besieged castle. So with Steeleye Span playing on continuous loop I started to write CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART.
So on January 22nd, my first historical romance (no ghosts or time travel) in a long time will be released. I am back in the English Civil War with the story of a woman, a man and a castle … CLAIMING THE REBEL’S HEART.
In a county loyal to the King of England, only a few dared hold to the Parliamentary cause...
Deliverance Felton, the fierce protector of her family home, has been entrusted by her father with the defence of Kinton Lacey Castle. Deliverance can shoot and wield a sword as well as any man and anything she needs to know about siege warfare she can learn from a book but no book can prepare her for Luke Collyer.
Captain Luke Collyer, soldier of fortune and troublemaker, is sent to relieve the castle. Everything he knows about siege warfare and women he has learned by experience. But
nothing has prepared him for Deliverance Felton. To save Kinton Lacey castle, Luke will have to face a challenge to his authority as fierce as the foe outside the walls.
To defend the castle what will it take to win the lady’s heart?
(To read an excerpt from CLAIMING THE REBEL'S HEART, click HERE)