Devastated by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is wracked with guilt and grief, believing himself responsible for his death as he had purchased his commission.
He is approached by Jane Chandler, the sister of a fellow officer of Stefan’s, to help hire a craft to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal. Without Jane’s knowledge, he decides to take a hand in the young soldier’s deliverance and together they embark on the hazardous journey.
However, the journey holds more revelations than they anticipate, not least of all, the growing love between the two travelers. When they return to England however, the perfect life they had envisioned is rudely interrupted when events take an unexpected turn and their love is put severely to the test when the tenant of Jane’s former home invades their life.
It is a story of deliverance, retribution, misunderstandings and love.
The idea for My Dearest Friend came from a dream. I had written the beginning several years ago and put it aside, but when I had to finish working through ill health, I thought it was time to take another look at it. All the old enthusiasm for Robert and Jane’s story came back to me and I couldn’t wait to begin working on it again.
Even though I had mapped the story out, and knew exactly where I wanted it to go, on several occasions, my characters decided to add yet another aspect. For me, writing a novel is like watching a play unfold or eavesdropping on my characters’ conversations, and frequently, I find words coming out of their mouths that I never expected. Stefan’s illegitimate daughter came as quite a surprise to me. The sergeant took me quite by surprise when he marched in and announced it. I loved writing this book and was quite sorry when it reached its natural conclusion.
Dominic Blake, Earl of Vale, is a young man of privilege and breeding whose world is turned upside down by Jack, a beautiful young girl in boy’s clothing whom he finds sheltering on his doorstep after fleeing an attack by her brother.
Despite leaving his protection, Jack is once more destined to enter Dominic’s life when, injured in a horse race, Dominic is forced to rusticate to his father’s estate and again meets Jack in her boyish guise. In turn, she becomes his pupil and his love.
Despite danger and misunderstandings, this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.
Although Dominic is the story of Robert’s father, I wrote it after completing My Dearest Friend. So loath was I to leave the family that I decided to write about the previous Duke of Lear. Dominic, then the Earl of Vale just strode onto the scene and told his own story – I just went along for the ride. He was a fun character to write and frequently made me smile.
Despite being a man of his time, Dominic is charming and very hard to resist, as Sophie found out quite early in their acquaintance and this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.
Although the story is set in England, I wrote a fair piece of it whilst on holiday in Orlando. The wind and rain raged and the trees outside our hotel window were horizontal, I wrote and my husband slept and it was one of the best holidays we have ever had.
Can a shadowed heart revive? After the death of his first wife, the Earl of Waverly, believing his heart irreparably damaged, enters into a marriage of convenience.
Amidst conspiracy, can Caroline, his young wife, prove his salvation and bring joy into his life or will nefarious deeds and ghostly happenings destroy their chance of happiness? Only time will tell if their love is strong enough to stand the test.
I began thinking of the plot line for His Shadowed Heart as I neared the conclusion of Dominic. I don’t know what sparked the thought but I began thinking of this nobleman who was devastated after his wife’s death. The thought started with a central but pivotal scene and grew outward. I had to make sure that I understood the earl’s reasons for remaining unwed before attempting to tell his story.
Not only does the Earl of Waverley have to deal with his shattered emotions but there is a dual aspect to the story where nefarious and strange happenings invade his life and he wonders if his torment will ever ease. Despite his determination to remain unwed, in Caroline, he finds his perfect mate and together they face the haunting memories of his past.
The HIS SHADOWED HEART VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on July 7, 2008 and continue all month long. You can visit Hazel's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in July!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to someone not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. One winner for each author will be announced on the virtual book tour blog on July 31!
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