Into The Lion's Heart by Beth Trissel

Monday, October 08, 2012

‘Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom—and her heart.’

Although set in Georgian England, the tumult taking place in France during the explosion of the French Revolution is the backdrop for historical romance novella, Into the Lion’s Heart. Several waves of nobility, called émigrés, fled France beginning in 1789, while they still could. Some took refuge in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where they plotted against the Revolutionary government and sought foreign aid to help them restore the old regime. Many émigrés also sought sanctuary in England, including the King Louis XV111’s brother the Comte d’Artois, the future King Charles X. Most of the nobility who remained in France were guillotined during the Reign of Terror, along with members of the clergy and a large number of commoners. The simplest acts could lead to an accusation of rebellion to the glorious revolution, such as complaining about the price of bread. No one knows for certain, but it’s estimated that as many as 40,000 people were guillotined by the end of terror. Madame Guillotine was ever greedy for victims and eventually took the lives of the perpetrators of this horror, including the infamous Robespierre.

Being a huge fan of The Scarlet Pimpernel, (read all the books several times, seen every film production made—time for another) I had to pursue this bizarrely fascinating era of history, and ultimately write a story with this setting. At 96 pages, Into the Lion’s Heart is a satisfying read, but took as much research as a full novel. I chose to set the story during the first year of the Revolution while there’s a great deal erupting in France but before it gets utterly grim.

As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he’s conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn’t immune to her artless charm, either.

Cecile Beaumont didn’t choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn’t expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.~

Choking on the brine, she thrashed to right herself. Dalton spat saltwater from his mouth and fought to regain his seat while pulling her up with him. Not his most dignified effort. She was the devil to get hold of—kept slipping away. He grabbed her again, only to be knocked back down and rolled with her in the swill on the bottom of the boat.

Damn and blast! Tom and another man hoisted them upright in the prow.

“Thanks,” Dalton grunted, biting his tongue in the presence of a lady. “All right?” he shouted at her, and shifted her securely onto the seat beside him.

Oui!” she sputtered when she’d recovered her breath.

She shook all over—must be chilled to the bone. They’d be fortunate if she didn’t catch her death, probably bruised too from tossing about in the skiff. The sooner she was safely housed indoors by a toasty hearth, the better.

Keeping an arm around the sodden woman, he peered into a striking pair of charcoal-gray eyes set above a pert nose and framed by fine dark brows.

She parted trembling, bluish lips. “Merci Monsieur—Que Dieu vous bénisse—Les saints nous bénis en préservent,” she stammered, thanking, blessing him, and calling on the saints.

Dalton was tempted to call on them himself, but her outpouring took him by surprise.

Not content with acknowledging his aid, she turned to Tom, crouched on her other side, and blurted similar gratitude—nearly incoherent in the tumult raging around them. Tom gave a nod through gritted teeth then bent his head over the boat and heaved the contents of his volatile stomach.

She tilted her head at Dalton, eyes crinkled in sympathy. “Mal de mer,” she said, using the French for seasick.~

A bit about Beth Trissel:
Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles.

For more on me my blog is the happening place: One Writer’s Way ***A lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win Into the Lion’s Heart in kindle or pdf format, winner’s choice. Good luck!

Into the Lion’s Heart is available at TheWild Rose Press, Amazon Kindle, Barnes& Noble, and other online booksellers.