The Rebel's Promise By Jane Godman

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hi, it’s such a thrill to be invited to contribute to the RomCon Historical blog. I’m incredibly excited to be talking about my debut novel, The Rebel’s Promise.

But, before I rush on and do that, let me tell you a bit about myself, and why I love historical romances! I was ten when I read ‘Murder Most Royal’ by Jean Plaidy and I was instantly hooked on British and European history.

At the age of twelve, I discovered a tattered Georgette Heyer novel on my mum’s bookshelf. I devoured it in a day and I was spellbound. It was ‘These Old Shades’, which is set in the mid-1700s. As much as I love Regency novels, I find myself drawn to the earlier Georgian era. I think it’s because the characters have more opportunities to misbehave. It was a scandalous time (think Les Liaisons Dangereuses) and I love the fashions! Give me a hero in a cloak and a powdered wig …

I am captivated by the way great writers of historical romance use dialogue to skilfully set the scene. I also love it when the historical setting is so real it becomes another character, transporting you effortlessly back in time.

I was fourteen when I wrote my first book. I lived in South Africa and my best friend and I had just discovered ‘The Wolf and the Dove’ by Kathleen E Woodiwiss. We spent every evening writing our own Norman hero/Saxon heroine novels. I still have a copy of that book! It was hand written in felt tip pen ...

Fast forward several (well, okay, many!) years. I’ve continued to write as a hobby, but real life took over. I’m married and I have two grown up children and a full time career.

Oh, and a cat … but that’s a whole other story.

I live in England and I love travelling. My favourite places are those European cities which are steeped in history. Last year, for example, I visited the Schönbrunn Palace, in Vienna, and it was amazing to picture a young Marie Antoinette playing in those elegant gardens.

Anyway, remember the friend I used to write with in South Africa? She recently told me to just get on and get my book written. I’m never one to refuse a challenge ... so I did.

And I’m eternally grateful to the fantastic team at Front Porch Romance for publishing my book, and for all their advice and support.

So, what is ‘The Rebel’s Promise’ about and, more importantly, why do I think you will enjoy it? It’s a love story based around the true events of 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army attempted to reclaim the British crown. It was a turbulent time and the rebels got as far as Derby before they turned back across the Scottish border.

Rosie Delacourt is an English girl from a well-to-do family, whose quiet life is turned upside down when she rescues an injured Jacobite. Rosie has never met anyone quite like Jack before. He’s handsome, dashing, charming and, even though he is at death’s door when the story begins, he flirts outrageously with her!

It’s inevitable that they will fall in love, but Jack is wanted for treason and King George’s troops come looking for him. The lovers share one bittersweet night together before he leaves.

Jack promises to return - “Rosie, my heart, my dearest love. I swear that, once I have secured the king’s pardon, I will come back for you and make you my wife.” – but Rosie doesn’t know if she will ever see him again.

Momentous events are shaping across the border and Bonnie Prince Charlie is defeated in battle. The rebels are in disarray and the prince himself goes into hiding. Back in Derbyshire, Rosie has her own problems. She is being blackmailed by Sir Clive Sheridan, a man who lusts after her body and her fortune. When the news comes that Jack has been killed at Culloden, she faces a stark choice: marry Clive or she, and her young brother, will go to the gallows as traitors.

Jack, meanwhile, has secured a pardon, and he returns to fulfil his promise. When he hears that Rosie is to marry the very man who betrayed him, he is devastated. But Rosie cannot tell him the truth. To do so would mean certain death for both of them.

It seems the only feelings which remain between them now are bitterness and anger. However, when danger throws them together again, Jack and Rosie are reminded of tenderness they once shared.

I love Jack and Rosie to bits. Both of them are funny, feisty and likable. But ‘The Rebel’s Promise’ also has a great supporting cast. Sir Clive Sheridan (boo, hiss!) is the dastardly villain you love to hate while Harry, Bella and Perry definitely deserve their own sequels (watch this space …). Even Harry’s dog adds something extra to the story!

I wanted to create a magical world in which the reader feels part so I’ve loved getting comments that tell me I’ve succeeded. Readers have said that it’s like a historical soap opera (or Downton Abbey set a few centuries earlier). There has been some on-line debate about who would play the main characters in a film or mini-series. I’m quite liking the suggestion of Rob James-Collier as the foppish Sir Peregrine Pomeroy!

But I’m not sitting around idly waiting for the BBC drama department to call! My next book, ‘The Corsair’s Revenge’ is shaping up nicely. It’s not quite a sequel, but there are a few familiar faces in it. And, somewhere in those dark recesses of my mind, book number three is starting to simmer. I can definitely see Rosie’s brother, Harry, as a romantic hero in his own right in the future.

I’d love to hear your comments. Two lucky readers who comment on my blog will be randomly selected to win a PDF copy of ‘The Rebel’s Promise’. Good luck!