Once, Helena led a charmed life. After eloping with the charismatic Captain Chase Martin, she left behind her childhood country home for a blissful life in London. Devastated by the death of her husband during a labor riot, she has spiraled into depression and agoraphobia, which she now combats solely for the sake of her children. When her grandmother summons Helena to her deathbed, terror at the thought of such a trip clashes with her sense of duty and affection toward her grandmother. Facing the village’s enmity for her long-ago betrayal, Helena finds an unlikely ally in her former fiance’s brother, Daniel Linfield. When Daniel travels to London for business, the last person he expects to encounter is the woman who jilted his brother years ago, destroying a land deal that would have been a boon to the whole village of Marksby.
Despite his family’s long-standing grudge against her and his own deep-rooted mistrust of women, he finds her vulnerable and in need of help he is in a unique position to provide. Logic and duty overrule his animosity as he offers to transport her and her niece home. The return to Marksby is argumentative, tumultuous and illuminating for both Helena and Daniel as an unwelcome but undeniable desire grows between them. Helena must face the consequences of her choices, while Daniel wrestles to overcome his own past and his shifting loyalties. When Helena returns to her London home and family, both face momentous decisions about their future together.
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I write historical romance set mainly in Victorian London. Currently, I’m focusing on the mid-nineteenth century (the 1850s). I have a PhD in English literature, specializing in 19th-century British novels, so much of my academic background filters into my fiction writing. In my other life, I’m a community college professor of English literature and composition. I hope my books never come across as dry, didactic, or intellectual just for the sake of being intellectual.
I’m married and have a wonderfully supportive spouse and family. Really, I couldn’t do what I do if they weren’t so committed to my happiness. They’re remarkably understanding about work that takes me away from them.
I didn’t think of myself as a writer until a few years ago (approximately 2006-ish). Sure, I’d written little throw-away snippets in high school. I vaguely remember writing silly “meet cute” vignettes about my best friends in high school, including one of my friends encountering her true love while riding a horse through the French countryside. I’ve lost touch with that friend, but I’d like to think maybe she did meet a significant other that way.
Still, I didn’t think I had what it takes to be a writer until relatively recently. Then, I happened to read a few books like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Audrey Niffeneggar’s The Time-Traveler’s Wife and was inspired. What could it hurt for me to try, right? When I opened the floodgates, lots of burgeoning ideas came rushing out. Let’s see…I started a literary fiction (set in the same time period I’m writing now–Victorian) and a contemporary women’s fiction (Practical Magic meets, hmm, maybe “Babel”) and a Young Adult contemporary (a YA modernization of Don Quixote). I was all over the place. And I was still learning. I am still learning. I am ALWAYS learning.
A couple of years ago, I decided to do something entirely different. Historical romance enabled me to combine two of my favorite things: Victorian history/literature/culture and happy endings. I hope the fire and joy I feel when writing these historical romances translate to my readers.