Monday, May 5, 2014


Can the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

The battlefield of Waterloo

The idea for LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR began on a visit to the actual battlefield of Waterloo (those who follow my perambulations may have noticed that battlefields feature in all my travels). There is something fascinating , if not slightly voyeuristic, about visiting the peaceful, often well tended pastures where once there was fear and pain and death. I think the heightened emotions generated on the day of the battle, still hang like a miasma over the scene of such death and destruction. As I tramped the gravelled paths, a soldier came to my mind - a career army officer in one of the infantry regiments. A man who had gained his commissions on the field, rather than out of the purse of his father. What would become of such a man once the war was over? 

I am not known for writing Regency Historicals and I must confess to never having read a Georgette Heyer until recent years and even Jane Austen only featured peripherally in my reading tastes. I have always been drawn more to action than drawing rooms. So LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR marks something of a departure from my previous stories. 

That said, LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR is not, a "mannered" Regency. There are shades of the horror of the Napoelonic wars, a mystery to be solved and plenty of action and yes, once again, a soldier hero and one I am more than slightly in love with. Sebastian Alder is a decent, honourable man adrift in an unfamiliar world that is probably more dangerous for him than the battlefield of Waterloo.

To celebrate the release I will be running month long "Rafflecopter" contest for a "Goody bag" worth over $50. The prize contains:

  • A canvas bag
  • A notebook
  • Fridge magnets (including a "Mr. Darcy" fridge magnet)
  • A Mesopotamian bracelet
  • An autographed copy of Alison's Stuart's collected short stories TOWER OF TALES
  • A voucher for the purchase of an ecopy of any one of Alison's books (excluding Lord Somerton's Heir). Winner's choice.
     TO ENTER CLICK HERE or visit my WEBSITE...
Over the month I will be out and about as a guest on other blogs, so there will be plenty of opportunities to enter!

Here are the BUY links:
Kindle (where it has been on pre order sale for .90c! Hurry you may still catch it) 
Itunes  (where it has also been on pre-order sale for .99c)
Barnes and Noble

For the other retailers, visit the Escape Publishing site. Click HERE

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?


Brantstone Hall
December 11, 1814

...The tea, in its delicate porcelain cup, sat undrunk and cold, the bread curled and dried as the little clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the minutes. Isabel sat unmoving, staring out at the winter landscape of the Brantstone Park as if she expected Anthony to come galloping down the carriage way. She knew even before Thompson knocked on the door and stood shifting from one foot to the other, his shapeless felt hat clutched in his hand, that Anthony was dead.
She followed the head groom out into the stable yard again, where a farmer’s cart now stood. She looked at the cart and with her head held high; she walked across it. Thompson interposed himself between her and the inanimate object that lay in the filthy dray.
‘Are you sure, my lady?’ he asked.
She nodded and Thompson flicked back the sacking that covered the shapeless lump in the back of the cart. Isabel stared down into her husband’s face, into his open, staring eyes, already opaque in death. Anthony lay, stiff with rigor mortis, in the filth of a cart that had last been used to shift manure, from the smell. An ignominious end to his life, she thought.
‘We found him over by Lovett’s Bridge. He’d taken the hedge intending the shortcut across the Home Farm fields,’ Thompson was saying. He jerked his head at the saddle, the beautiful, hand tooled saddle that had been tossed into the cart with its owner. ‘Looks like the girth strap broke and he came off. Broke his neck in the fall. He’d not have known anything about it, my lady.’
Aware of the anxious faces that surrounded her, Isabel swallowed. They expected her to break down. They wanted her tears but she had none to give. She had expended too many tears over Anthony, Lord Somerton, while he lived to spare any for him now that he was dead.
Her gaze rested on the saddle. It had been her gift to Anthony on his birthday only a few months earlier. Now it was the cause of his death. It stood as a symbol of everything that had gone wrong between herself and her husband.
She turned on her heel and walked back to the house with her head held high. With every step, the enormity of Anthony’s death sank in.
She was free, but at what price came that freedom?
Her back straightened and her lips tightened.
To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Somerton’s heir....


Diane D - Florida said...

I love everything about the Regency era. I love to read about the balls, the clothes they wore, the house parties, their rides in Hyde Park. I love how courting back then was so totally different to how it is now. A man and woman took the time to get to know one another. Gentlemen back then had a lot more respect for women, well, apart from the naughty rakes.


Alison Stuart said...

Hi Diane... thank you for stopping by. It is almost a fantasy world isn't it, which is why it is so beloved! Where Dukes and Earls are princes and cinderellas get their chance of becoming the princess. Of course it had a dark side (which I touch on in my book - wars and poverty for example) but it is the idea of gentility that is so appealing in our modern, fast paced world. Personally I think I would have been bored to sobs in 5 minutes!