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Can the scoundrel second son, Lord Marcus Bowles, and Genevieve Turner, a woman of ill-repute, find happiness? Or will his roguish ways and her dark past forever tear them apart? Fans of Tessa Dare’s Twice Tempted by a Rogue will love this sensual read releasing December 2017 from Sourcebooks Casablanca.
Surprises I Encountered while Writing The Lord Meets His Lady by Gina Conkle
1. Bigamy was a problem in Georgian England. The Marriage Act of 1753, passed into law March 1754, was supposed to put the kibosh on illicit elopements and the trickier problem of bigamy. In pervious centuries, most brides and grooms married in their home parish. A select few married by special license.
By the Georgian period (defined by the four King Georges who reigned from 1714 – 1830), marriages by special license were on the rise. Clergymen in Southwark made marriage an industry by offering quickie weddings for an exorbitant fee—no questions asked.
2. Lord Hardwicke put the brakes on elopements in England with the Marriage Act of 1753, but Scotland did its own thing with “Anvil Weddings” (and had been since the 1500s). Most romance readers know of Scotland’s famed Gretna Green as the “Vegas” of quickie weddings.
What most people don’t know is right behind Gretna Green’s popularity was Coldstream and Lamberton. Under the Marriage Act of 1753, England required the bride and groom to be 21 (or have parental consent if younger). Scotland only required the bride be 12 and the groom be 14!
3. Annulments and divorce did happen. Ending a marriage was costly and immensely embarrassing (whether an annulment or divorce). The church oversaw most marital dissolutions. In ecclesiastical law, annulment meant the marriage never truly happened for reasons of consanguinity, a lack of consummation, or a man’s impotence.
Divorce, on the other hand, was a civil matter, requiring an Act of Parliament. Of the approximate 300 divorces during the Georgian period, almost all were initiated by men. The expensive process was a public affair. Only the wealthy could afford to divorce if they didn’t mind becoming a national spectacle.
Lawmakers scrutinized and discussed every corner of the petitioner’s life. The proceedings dragged on for months like a painful sideshow, entertaining London’s citizens. The aftermath wasn’t much better. A Georgian divorce amounted to little more than a legal separation as both parties weren’t allowed to remarry.
4. Young women of nobility and wealth were coddled and watched over. Chaperones protected maidenly sensibilities in lockstep with servants and family members. This is typical fodder of the rake and wallflower heiress novels. Scoundrels roamed London looking for sexual conquests—sometimes seeking the fast path to riches. Marriage to a wealthy bride guaranteed a man’s life of luxury since men controlled the family purse. This led unscrupulous kidnappings. Opportune weddings north of the River Tweed led to forced marriages all because men wanted to get their hands on a woman’s funds.
The “Shrigley Abduction” was one infamous case. Heiress to Cheshire spinning mills, Ellen Turner was away at boarding school when diplomat Edward Wakefield devised an elaborate scheme to kidnap her. Wakefield sent his servant with a carriage to Miss Turner’s Liverpool boarding school. The servant tricked the headmistress with a message that Mrs. Turner had become paralyzed and desperately wanted to see her daughter. The headmistress had grave misgivings since her young charge didn’t recognize the servant, but headmistress released her in the face of dire family news.
The servant took Miss Turner to Hotel Albion in Manchester where she met Wakefield. Wakefield informed the 15-year-old girl that her father’s business had collapsed. He went on to tell her that Mr. Turner had fled north to escape his creditors, and Wakefield was supposed to take Miss Turner to her father.
Wakefield instead dragged her to Gretna Green. The 30-year-old diplomat coerced her with more lies to an anvil wedding. When she demanded to be taken home, he instead stole her away to France. By then, the doubting headmistress had contacted the Turner family. At the same time, Wakefield sent a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Turner, alerting them to the marriage. Wakefield bet on the Turners wish to avoid scandal, but that’s when all hell broke loose.
Mr. Turner went directly to the Foreign Office (remember: Wakefield was a diplomat). Lawmen and the Turner family scoured the country for Ellen. Their investigation took them to Calais. French authorities got involved when Ellen Turner’s uncle showed up, tracking down a lead that she was in Calais.
The end result was Wakefield, his brother, step-mother, his servant, and other accomplices were put on trial. Wakefield and his brother spent three years in prison and poor Ellen Turner finally got her annulment from an Act of Parliament (almost two years after her abduction). She was then promptly married off to a man of her class…mostly for safekeeping!
You could say marriage was a perilous pursuit in Georgian England. ~Gina Conkle
About The Lord Meets His Lady:
Title: The Lord Meets His Lady
Author: Gina Conkle
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Midnight Meetings
Format: Digital eBook / Print
Print ISBN: 9781492651901
Digital ISBN: 9781402294341
Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.
One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…
“Have you kissed her yet?” Samuel asked.
Marcus and Samuel rode along the pasture’s perimeter with an eye to the cottage. Miss Turner’s vibrant red cloak stood out against mellow sandstone. Shovel in hand, she jabbed the earth with determined thrusts. The weeds didn’t stand a chance.
“I assume we’re speaking of my housekeeper.” Marcus halted Khan. “A hardworking, respectable woman of excellent character. She’s done a fine job with Pallinsburn. I wouldn’t besmirch her honor with talk like that nor should you.”
Samuel rode on, his shoulders bouncing with laughter. “And every night she ascends to heaven on angel’s wings.”
If his friend saw right through him, how soon before others did?
“Came on strong, did I?”
Samuel pinched a small space between his thumb and forefinger. “A little.”
He urged his horse forward. “I don’t want her reputation damaged.”
“Should’ve thought about that before making her your housekeeper. People will talk.”
Marcus searched Miss Turner out again, a gust boxing his ears like some admonishing aunt.
Was it so wrong to want to help a woman in need?
His housekeeper cleared the last weedy invaders off his front step. Her serious exterior belied deep-seated passion, evidenced in the way she dove into every task. The enthusiasm fascinated him.
And yes, he admired her other parts.
“What will people talk about? Her youth?” he retorted. “Does a woman have to be long in the tooth to hold a decent position?”
“No, but it’d help if you were toothless. Or married.” Samuel stared ahead, the wind assaulting his queue. “We don’t set the rules, but we both know them.”
“You hired her, and you’re not a married man.”
Samuel’s gaze pinned him. “Nor do I have your unsavory reputation.”
“I’d wager my housekeeper has more honor, more determination in her little finger than any woman of my acquaintance,” he said fiercely. “Who I am should have no bearing on her.”
“Me thinks you doth protest too much…or whatever that drivel is. A clear sign you have it bad for her, but haven’t touched her. Yet.”
Why did Samuel hunt for sordid details? Likely he’d seen through Miss Turner with her low-cut bodices and saucy skirts. Didn’t matter. She worked hard. He didn’t care if she fit the proper housekeeper stamp or not.
He ought to buy a dull grey gown for her, if only to aid her reputation. Smiling against his collar, he guessed she wouldn’t wear it. Nor should she have to. One look at his red-cloaked gardener and he was certain of one thing: he’d do his anything to keep his friend, or any man, on the straight and narrow when it came to Miss Turner. She deserved a fresh start.
His housekeeper had nabbed a piece of his heart.
But the afternoon ride wasn’t meant to discuss his housekeeper’s allure. Samuel pulled his hat low, failing to look him in the eye.
“Quoting Shakespeare,” Marcus said. “You must be reading with Adam again.”
Copyright © 2017 The Lord Meets His Lady by Gina Conkle
Other Books in the Midnight Meetings series:
Meet the Earl at Midnight
It’s going to take a Beast to tame this Beauty
Enigma Earl. The Phantom of London. That’s what the gossip pages call Lord Edward Greenwich, a mysterious nobleman who doesn’t show his face in London Society. With a reputation like that, no wonder Lydia Montgomery is horrified to be dragged from bed and packed off to live with him to save her mother from penury.
While Lydia has received all of the training a lady should endure, she’s decidedly un-ladylike. She despises her corset and isn’t interested in marriage. She’d prefer to remain unmarried and spend her time improving her art. But if she wants a chance at happiness, she’ll have to set aside her fear of the earl and discover the man hiding behind the beast.
Will Edward and Lydia’s greatest discovery be each other before time runs out?
The Lady Meets Her Match
Locating Her Is Only Half The Battle…
Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight, and she’s nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all…
Meet the Rogue at Midnight
A Saved Scoundrel…
Jonas Bacon Braithwaite wants to make peace with his grandfather before departing England. Once Nottinghamshire’s favorite trouble-maker, he’s since become an upstanding man of honor. But, the lushly curved thief hiding in his bedchamber makes him think twice about one last conquest.
A Stubborn Siren…
Livvy Halsey bristles at life’s rules. Always has. Sneaking into the Braithwaite house to reclaim a treasured family heirloom is one way she upends the conventional life that awaits her. Duty demands she marry. But what harm is there in having a little fun with her childhood friend before the Twelfth Night ends?
And Twilight Temptation…
Stolen kisses fan hot flames. Surprising passion intertwines with friendship…but will it be enough to last forever?
Available at: Amazon
About Gina Conkle:
Gina Conkle writes lush Viking romance and sensual Georgian romance. Her books always offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook.