Tag Archives: romance

Pretty Witty Nell: Our Lady of Laughter

Nell by Lauren Wilhelm

 

Of a great heroine I mean to tell,

And by what just degrees her titles swell,

To Mrs Nelly grown, from cinder Nell.

~ Anonymous: A Panegyric on Mrs Nelly (17th century)

There’s something about Nelly …. For centuries, Nell Gwynne has captured hearts and minds. What was Nell Gwynne’s secret? She was a woman who knew how to laugh. How to live. How to love. As an historical fiction/romance fan, I’ve always adored her. When I decided to take up my own quill and start writing fiction, I planned to write a version of her secret diary. For a couple of years I had a wonderful time playing with Nell, collected and read many books, and tracked down obscure historical sources. I then discovered there has been a Nell Gwynne boom – and a raft of novels had been written in celebrating her.  Instead of adding my own version, I moved on to writing other books. Little did I know that my husband was about to surprise me with a birthday gift of a specially commissioned portrait of Nell, painted by artist Lauren Wilhelm (photograph above). Now Nell lights up the stairwell in our home, and guides me upstairs to write.

If you don’t know her name, Nell’s is a real life Cinderella tale of 17th century England, of a low born ‘orange girl’ who became a famous actress and mistress to King Charles II.  We don’t know much about her; mainly that she captivated the King and theatre audiences with her wit. “What history and tradition tell us of Nell Gwyn has been told as a decorative romance, where no liberty has been taken with what we know or believe to be the truth,” wrote Marjorie Bowen in 1925.  “Fancy has been allowed to enlarge upon it … None of the details, however, outrage history or defy probability…” Even in the prim and proper 19th century, in the Victorian era, Nell remained beloved. A 1901 biography dubbed her ‘Our Lady of Laughter.’

MistressMy historical romance PLAYING THE DUKE’S MISTRESS (published by Harlequin, May 2016) is dedicated to Nell Gwynne. It is set in mid-Victorian London, when many actresses had to contend with being seen as title-hunters and gold-diggers – as Darius Carlyle, the Duke of Albury initially suspects actress Calista Fairmont to be. Yet not every actress wants a coronet …I do hope Nell approves!

 

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Meet Nell and some other authors who love her on my Pretty Witty Nell Pinterest Page. nell books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orana! Seasonal Wishes to You

Thank you to all the wonderful readers who have been in touch with me about my books. It’s been a real privilege and one I’ll reflect on over the festive season with gratitude.

cover43491-smallReaders of my Australian contemporary romance Hide and Seek know how much I love birds so here’s a link to the little known Australian Christmas carol: The Carol of the Birds written by William Garnet James & John Wheeler. (Orana is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning welcome.)

Season’s greetings!

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Cameo Portrait: Enticing Benedict Cole

CAMEO newsletter

An artist, a lady, a secret passion… 

When Benedict Cole shuns her request for painting lessons, Lady “Cameo” Catherine Mary St. Clair takes matters into her own hands. She arrives at Benedict’s studio, only to be mistaken for a model! It’s an opportunity she just can’t turn down…

Benedict knows better than to let intimacy interfere with his work, yet he can’t quell his fascination for the mysterious Cameo. And after one daring night together, everything changes. Will Cameo still be his muse when Benedict discovers who she really is?’

The heroine of Enticing Benedict Cole is Cameo. It really is a girl’s name. A cameo is a small carving in relief of a semi-precious stone. The lighter-coloured layer is chipped away to reveal a darker background. In the 19th century, when this story is set, cameo jewellery was popularised by Queen Victoria. At that time small cameo portraits were often painted of well-to-do young women to adorn jewellery, for a keepsake, or to give to a lover. The word cameo has an original Greek meaning of ‘shadow portrait’ – which became part of the story.

Enticing Benedict Cole cover

I collected quite a few cameos while writing the book, as you’ll see on my ‘Cameo Appearance’ Pinterest board. Any excuse will do – right?

Visit Eliza Redgold at Harlequin Mills and Boon for a free extract of Enticing Benedict Cole.

Best wishes,

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In Love with the Pre-Raphaelites

'Marigolds' or The Gardener's Daughter Rosetti

‘Marigolds’ or The Gardener’s Daughter by Dante Gabriel Rosetti was an inspiration for my Harlequin Historical romance ‘Enticing Benedict Cole’.

The beautiful, romantic Pre-Raphaelite paintings are some of the most familiar artworks in the world. During the 19th century, the art and love lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of brilliant, free thinking young men, were considered scandalous. Their artistic milieu was in complete contrast with the strict conventions of the Victorian upper classes who lived in a controlled, stifling world, and they were often trapped and unhappy. It would have been considered unthinkable for an aristocratic young lady to want to pursue art seriously, and even more unthinkable to be an artist’s model. That’s the dream of Lady Cameo St Clair, the heroine of my Victorian romance Enticing Benedict Cole. Her story celebrates every woman who ever challenged convention for the sake of art, and for the sake of love. It is published by Harlequin Historical.

Another Lady who is capturing the imagination of readers is Lady Godiva! THANK YOU to all the readers who have read and reviewed Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva.  Her story deserved to be written – and I’m so glad it is being read!

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The famous image used for the cover of NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva was painted by John Collier in the Pre-Raphaelite style (1898).

If you’d enjoy more Pre-Raphaelite Beauty visit my Pinterest page

Best wishes,

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Eliza Redgold Romances

UK Cover Enticing Benedict Cole

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Romancing Broome

Fancy some tropical heat? A dip in a thermal pool? Or a little bird-watching? Why not kick back and take a virtual tour of the location of my new romance Hide and Seek:

Learn More

  • Start by mixing yourself a tropical cocktail just like hero and heroine Sullivan and Hope enjoy at the Cable Beach bar:

To make a tropical Tequila Sunrise (like Hope)

go to http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/3121/tequila+sunrise

To mix a sophisticated Tom Collins (like Sullivan)

go to

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/19266/tom+collins

Drink in hand – start your tour:

  • Hide and Seek is set in the extraordinary town of Broome, Western Australia. Not only is it the pearling capital of Australia, but Broome is also a wonderful town from which to explore one of the last great wildernesses of the world, the Kimberley desert. Broome itself has some great attractions, from the sunsets at Cable Beach to its laid back lifestyle, and of course, its birds. To kick back and enjoy some Broome time, go to http://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Destination/Broome/9009574;
  • Zebedee Falls, an oasis in the Kimberley desert, is the inspiration for the thermal pool Hope and Sullivan enjoy (there are many other amazing swimming holes hidden away). It is only open to the public at certain times due to its fragile ecosystem. Dive in for more information about Zebedee Falls at http://www.elquestro.com.au/The-Homestead-About.aspx
  • While Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary is fictional, the Broome Bird Observatory is well worth a visit. You can discover more at http://broomebirdobservatory.com/  Many rare and beautiful Australian birds are under threat today. For more general information about native birds and bird watching, and how to support campaigns for their conservation, go to Birdlife Australia at http://www.birdlife.org.au/

Now .. back to the bar… and watch the camels pass you by… Happy Landings!

Hide and Seek is available from Harlequin Escape Publishing

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