A Legend to Love Series: Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires by Louisa Cornell

A Legend to Love Series: Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires by Louisa Cornell

The wonderful Louisa Cornell’s novel, Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires, is based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult. Those who know the legend usually associate it with Wagner’s opera, but the legend is not a German story. The heartbreaking tale made popular in the 12th century was derived from a Celtic legend. There is even a Drustanus Stone in Cornwall with an engraving referring to Drustan, the archetype for Tristan. The story appears in the Welsh triads and in the Mabinogion—11th century compendiums of early Welsh legends and poetry. It is believed the fatal love triangle between King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot is based on these legends.

THE LEGEND

After defeating the Irish knight Morholt, Tristan travels to Ireland to bring back the fair Iseult for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, to marry. Along the way, Tristan and Iseult accidentally ingest a love potion and fall in love with each other. (In some versions no love potion is needed, they simply fall in love.) Upon arrival at his uncle’s castle, Tristan is honor-bound to leave his beloved Iseult so she may marry the king. In some versions, King Mark discovers their betrayal and, in a violent rage, mortally wounds Tristan. In other versions, Tristan sails away and eventually marries another woman, even as he continues to love Iseult. Whilst saving a young damsel from six knights, Tristan is struck with a poison lance. He asks his squire to send for Iseult, who is known far and wide for her healing powers. He tells the squire to sail back flying white sails if Iseult has agreed to come to his aid, but to fly black sails should she refuse. As Tristan lays dying, his jealous wife tells him the sails on the horizon are black. Heartbroken, Tristan dies. When Iseult arrives and finds him dead, she drinks poison to join him in eternity.

Louisa flips her story a bit. Here’s the blurb and a tease of an excerpt.

A determined governess, a reluctant bridegroom, and a winter’s journey from London to Cheshire…

Reputed to be the most exacting governess in England, Miss Elegy Perkins has cared for Lady Margaret, the spoiled daughter of the Marquess of Braemar, for twelve interminable years. Then she receives a life-changing offer that would bring her a prize of 5000 pounds and the chance at financial freedom. All she must do is find and escort Lady Margaret’s reluctant bridegroom to his wedding. A simple enough task, until she meets the bridegroom in question.

Major Lord Devlin St. George has very little control of his life. For the past sixteen months he has done his utmost to avoid contracts, signed when he was a child, to leg-shackle him to the daughter of a wealthy marquess. Evading the efforts of his betrothed’s brothers to drag him to the altar, Devlin has successfully missed three wedding dates so far. The only thing that stands between him and missing a fourth is a pistol-wielding, strait-laced governess. A lady who is far more woman than she dares reveal.

Hair black and silky as a starless night hung well past his shoulders. With an equally dark beard and mustache and eyes the clear blue of sapphires, even if a bit blurred and bloodshot, Lord Hadley resembled nothing so much as a pirate or, if she were kinder, the subject of a Renaissance painting. Elegy drew herself up and squared her shoulders. She had no time for silly feminine frailty. Especially not where this man was concerned. She had a task to perform.

“I find I hear better when wearing drawers,” the gentleman said with a sly grin. He leaned back onto the bed and propped himself on his elbows. “If you’re not wearing any perhaps you should borrow mine.”

“Borrow… What on earth are you— I most certainly do not wear drawers.” What had possibly possessed her to give him that piece of information?

“Ah! Well then feel free to don mine if it will help you to hear and answer my question.”

“Don yours? Lord Hadley, I assure you, I have no interest in your drawers or your questions,” Elegy declared. Earl or not, the man was the outside of enough.

“Then why are you clutching them to your bosom like a spinster’s last prayers?”

She glanced down at the item in her hands. And promptly tossed it towards the bed, where it landed on the threadbare rug at his feet.

Nab your copy of Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires today!

 

 

 

Louisa Cornell is a retired opera singer who lives in the wilds of LA (Lower Alabama). She shares her home with a chihuahua so disagreeable he has been banned from vet clinics in two counties. She also has a cat who thinks she is a Great Dane, who terminates vermin with extreme prejudice, in addition to several very nice relatively normal dogs.

When she is not lounging about living the high life of an author, she can found at these places on the web:

FACEBOOK    NUMBER ONE LONDON     GOODREADS     PINTEREST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Legend to Love: Her Wild Irish Rogue by Saralee Etter

A Legend to Love: Her Wild Irish Rogue by Saralee Etter

Releasing tomorrow, 16, October, is Her Wild Irish Rogue by Saralee Etter. It’s a retelling of the legend of Cuchulainn and Emer of Irish mythology.

Cuchulainn (pronounced “Cook-Hullen”) is the mighty warrior hero of the Ulster Cycle, an amazingly good-looking young lad who defeated entire armies with his wild berserker rages. He fell in love with the beautiful daughter of Forgall the Wily, Princess Emer, who declared she wouldn’t have him until he completed a series of heroic tasks. When he returned to claim Emer’s hand, her father forbade it. In the end, Forgall was defeated by his own trickery and the two lovers were united.

According to the legend, the Princess Emer had the six womanly gifts: beauty, a good voice, sweet speech, needlework, wisdom, and chastity. She was intelligent and lively, with great dignity—our hero had to work hard to deserve her!

The hero of Her Wild Irish Rogue, Captain Stephen Killian, is based on the legendary Irish hero, Cuchulainn. He is a mighty warrior, and so young and handsome that his friends all beg him to get married so their own girlfriends and wives will stop sighing over him!

Loving a warrior is dangerous business. Trusting a spy is foolish.

The Napoleonic Wars are over. To continue serving his country, war hero Captain Stephen Killian is determined to learn the subtle tradecraft of a spy. He never knew attending glittering balls and masquerades would be such a dangerous pursuit.

Miss Emma Forgall is a spy whose grace and charm wins her the confidence of the rulers and diplomats who have gathered to carve up Napoleon’s former empire. But now she’s working with a hot-headed former cavalry officer who starts a sword-fight at the opera!

When a plot to derail the Alliance that defeated Napoleon threatens to re-ignite the turmoil of war, can Killian and Emma join forces to catch the culprits?

Miss Emma Forgall waved her fan lazily. “Where in Ireland are you from?”

“I’m from Macha’s Brooch,” Captain Killian replied, hands clasped behind his back and feet set sturdily apart. Somewhere in the back of the elegant Parisian ballroom, the orchestra struck up a tune.

Lord Parkington snorted. “Impossible. Macha’s Brooch isn’t a place.”

It’s a riddle, you fool, Emma wanted to say. Why wouldn’t Lord Parkington go away? Just because Emma’s father approved of him, that didn’t give him permission to act like he was her keeper.

She ignored him and thought about the riddle. In Celtic legend, the goddess Macha used the point of her brooch-pin to scratch the boundaries of the city of Ulster into the ground and made her vanquished enemies dig its fortifications for her.

Macha’s Brooch meant Ulster.

“Ulster is a great distance from Paris,” Emma remarked casually, watching Captain Killian’s face for signs that she’d gotten it right. “Where did you stop along the way, when you traveled here?”

He shrugged his wide shoulders. “We stopped in the home of the man who herds the cattle on the plain of Tethra.”

“The what?” demanded Lord Parkington, who still hadn’t gone away. The man simply never could take a hint. “What are you talking about?”

Another riddle. She was beginning to enjoy herself. Good thing she knew her myths – Tethra was an ancient guardian deity ruling over the waters, and the “plain of Tethra” was the sea. Therefore, the cattle of the sea were…fish. Captain Killian had stayed at the home of a fisherman.

“So your host was a fisherman,” she said coolly. “No doubt you had excellent fish for dinner?”

He grinned at her. “Most excellent fish.”

Right, again! Emma’s heart gave a little hop of excitement. She smiled back at him and asked, “And where did your travels take you then?”

“Simple enough,” replied Captain Killian. “We went over the Great Secret of the men of Dea, down the Great Crime, across to the Land of the Red Dragon, to the Ford of Oxen, and then to Caer-Lud. Then on to Lutetia.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?” Lord Parkington howled. “Surely you can’t pretend that you understand him, Miss Forgall!”

Emma waved a dismissive hand. She knew her Celtic mythology and her ancient Roman history. Besides, it was worth it just to see Lord Parkington’s purple-faced frustration.

“So, down the Boyne, over the River Delvin, across the sea to Wales, and then through Oxford to London. And here you are in Lutetia—or, as we call it, Paris.”

“Exactly.” Captain Killian nodded. “Now tell me about yourself.”

 

Grab your copy today!

 

 

Saralee Etter always knew that writing was the only career for her. Writing down the stories she imagined in her day-dreaming moments seemed like the perfect job.

Instead, she wrote other things: Newspaper articles, public relations releases, legal briefs. After working as a legislative analyst for a state-wide trade association, she worked as a local weekly newspaper reporter and a public school district communications coordinator.

Now Saralee is writing the stories that she dreamed up so long ago. She enjoys history, romance, adventure, and mystery. She has published a full-length traditional English Regency romance novel and two Regency-set Christmas romance novellas.

She is working on a Victorian-set cozy mystery featuring Gilbert and Sullivan.

Find Saralee at her WEBSITE, AMAZON, and TWITTER.

 

A Legend to Love: Lady Soldier by Jillian Chantal

A Legend to Love: Lady Soldier by Jillian Chantal

Matilda “Maud” Somerset is a disaster. Her parents and uncle, the Duke of Beaufort, want her to make a spectacular match to a suitable beau. Maud is more interested in galloping across the fields on her stallion, Khan, and shooting arrows at targets. Her mother despairs of her and her father bears the brunt of his wife’s and the Duke’s anger for allowing the girl to learn all the arts of war when he was teaching them to his now-deceased older son.

When Maud’s father is recalled to the Army to fight Napoleon in the Peninsular Wars, Maud sneaks off to join his regiment in his place. His vision isn’t what it used to be, and fearing for his life if he fights, she disguises herself as a man and leaves before dawn. She’s determined to uphold the family honor, even at the cost of her own reputation.

Get your copy today!

 

 

Jillian Chantal is the writer of romantic stories with an international flair. She enjoys history and has penned a few early twentieth century historical romances. She also loves the modern era and has contemporary fiction stories available as well. She lives on the gulf coast of Florida in a little slice of paradise.

Connect with Jillian at her WEBSITE, AMAZON, or TWITTER

 

Watch for the weekly release of all the legends in the Legend to Love series available at your favorite online vendors!

 

A Legend to Love: The Lady and Lord Lakewood by Aileen Fish

A Legend to Love: The Lady and Lord Lakewood by Aileen Fish

The Lady and Lord Lakewood

A man on a quest to save the heir of his dearest friend.
A woman in possession of an enchanted weapon.
Can they protect the young duke from those who are out to kill him?

Almost from birth, Vivienne has known that one day she would play an important role involving a family heirloom, a sword called Excalibur. Her Aunt Nimue says she’ll know what to do when the time comes—but she had no idea the man she waited for would be so handsome, so powerful.

Richard, 5th Earl of Lakewood, must save Arthur, the new young Duke of Camelot, from a woman seeking revenge. Killing Uther, Arthur’s father, wasn’t enough; now she’s after Arthur. A series of mysterious clues leads Lakewood to an even more mysterious woman, Lady Avalon. What role does she play in this battle, and what’s this spell she’s cast on Lakewood’s heart? Her distraction might just lead to his death.

June 1818
Near Glastonbury, England

A violent dream held Vivienne, the widowed Viscountess Avalon, deep within its darkness and wouldn’t let her escape. Shadowy figures swarmed around her, threatening and maleficent. Heavy fog kept her from seeing exactly where she was, but some inner sense told her it was the woods near Lake Avalon. The shadows gathered behind her, guiding her—no, forcing her—toward the shore. Her heart pounded in fear of what had taken control of her. She held her breath as if the sound would reveal her location to the enemy.

When she cleared the trees, the fog thinned, allowing her to see a few feet ahead. Still the shadows closed in, and she stepped into the cold water to stay beyond their reach. Hesitantly she inched forward. First her half-boots grew damp, then her hems soaked up the cold water. Vivienne shivered, but a glance over her shoulder showed the shadows still approached. What evil wanted to control her?

Lake Avalon shimmered in a radiating circle in the direction Vivienne felt compelled to go. Tiny waves rippled outward as if a pebble had broken the surface. In the center a face appeared. A kind, gentle face. Her great-aunt Nimue. She remained just below the surface. Vivienne’s heart raced in fear. Was this vision saying her aunt was going to die soon? Vivienne shook her head, pleading, “No, please no.”

Nimue raised her arms and a magnificent sword appeared in her hands. She lifted the weapon above the water but her body and head remained below the surface.

Compelled to reach for the sword, Vivienne hesitated to do so. “What am I to do with this?”

Nimue was silent, not even sharing her thoughts. She simply lifted the sword again, displaying it with both hands like a gift, and motioned for Vivienne to take it.

As soon as Vivienne did, the last of the fog lifted. The shadowy figures vanished and Nimue swam away. A gruff voice called her name from within the trees. Merlin, who some claimed was a magician, stood watching her.

“What am I to do with this?” Vivienne repeated, this time asking him.

The old man with stringy white locks blending into his long, graying beard said, “You will know when the time comes. Since you are having this vision, the time must be soon.”

She hated answers like this. You will know… Would she ever trust her second-sight enough to be confident in what lay ahead?

“You will,” Merlin said, and Nimue’s voice echoed the words in a whisper from the distance.

Looking down at the magnificent weapon, Vivienne marveled at the workmanship. The bronze grip and hilt looked like a little primitive man. The cross guard curled downward on either side creating legs, and the arms of the man curled upward around the head to create a pommel. It even had a face of sorts, and a belt carved into the middle of the body. It was heavy, with the broad blade of an old weapon of battle. Someone had put great pride and love into making it. Given the way the metal shone, it was clear others had polished it and cared for it in the centuries since. Who did it belong to?

And as she studied it, it faded away, leaving her hands empty. She lifted her gaze to Merlin only to find him gone, too. She was alone at the edge of Lake Avalon, her skirt and boots wet but nothing else to show for the odd events.

Then she jolted awake in her bedchamber, snuggled deep under her heavy woolen blankets, barefoot and wearing her nightgown. Moonlight streamed between the draperies on her window, and the castle was silent. Her dream was so vivid she felt certain she’d lived it, yet her nightgown was dry.

Vivienne hated these visions and the period of waiting afterward as she watched for clues to guide her toward the meaning. Aunt Nimue might be able to shed light on the clues, but she couldn’t visit her until daylight. Knowing she’d never get back to sleep, she got up, pulled on her robe and slippers, and went downstairs to make tea. Not having seen her aunt for several months, she’d enjoy a brief visit. Nimue was a font of memories and the history of the village of Avalon, and their family’s part in it. Time spent with her was never dull.

The Lady and Lord Lakewood releases tomorrow, October 2, at all online vendors, but you can pre-order a copy at iTunes today!

 

 

USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

She also writes steamy romance under the pen-name Ari Thatcher.

Connect with Aileen at her WEBSITE or follow her on

 

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kitchen Physic

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kitchen Physic

I married a Texan and, as such, he’s hard-pressed to consider a meal a real meal unless there is meat somewhere in the midst of it. And bread, too…but that’s another Word of the Week.

Kitchen Physic

Food, good meat roasted or boiled. A little kitchen physic will set him up; he has more need of a cook than a doctor.

I stumbled across a fun book that satisfies the home cook and Austenite in me: Cooking with Jane Austen (Feasting with Fiction). In it, author Kristin Olsen couples a quote from Emma and a related recipe. I love it.

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

And to make this recipe in the 21st Century:

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

 

I’m not including a recipe for applesauce. I figure we can use the Sauce recipe excerpted from the book above, Google a modern one for ourselves, or find our favorite brand at our local grocery store. If we are so inclined to roast our own stubble goose in the near future, that is.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Belly

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Belly

Food is the theme for September. I probably should have waited until November or December, but by that time, it will be all things harvest, and kissing boughs and sleighs. Better to get in the nibbles now.

John Bull taking a Luncheon; -or- British Cooks, cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard, with Bonne-Chere by James Gillray, 24 October 1798, National Maritime Museum.

And, of course, the political satire of James Gillray.

Belly

His eye was bigger than his belly; a saying of a person at a table, who takes more on his plate than he can eat.

Substitutes for Bread; -or- Right Honorables Saving the Loaves & Dividng the Fishes by James Gillray, 1795, British Museum. Right underneath the title, it reads ‘To the Charitable Committee, for reducing the high price of Corn, by providing Substitutes for Bread in their own Families, this representation of the Hard Shifts made by the Framers & Signers of the Philanthropic Agreement, is most respectfully dedicated.’ 24 December 1795.’

From the British Museum description:

Ministers sit at a round dinner-table guzzling guineas, while through the window is seen a hungry mob. Pitt, in profile to the left, sits on the right, a large fish made of guineas on a dish before him, of which he shovels huge lumps into his gaping mouth; he sits on a ‘Treasury’ chest which is closed by a padlock inscribed ‘WP’. Opposite him on the extreme left, seated on the woolsack, is Loughborough, indicated by an elongated Chancellor’s wig in back view; he clutches a large bowl of ‘Royal Turtle Soup’, holding a large ladle-full of guineas to his mouth. The others sit on the farther side of the table: Grenville, next Loughborough, Dundas in the middle, Pepper Arden next, Pitt. Grenville stoops, putting his mouth on the level of his dishful of guineas. Dundas, wearing a plaid, gnaws a fish which he holds in both hands. Arden, between Pitt and Dundas, holds a lump of coins on his fork. Between him and Dundas are three bottles labelled ‘Bur[gundy]’, ‘Champaign’, ‘Port’. On the table are sauce-boats and small dishes full of guineas. Before Dundas are two glasses of wine.

At the near side of the table, between Loughborough and Pitt, is a group of three sacks on each side of which is a large wine-cooler filled with bottles. The central sack is: ‘Product of New Taxes upon John Bulls Property’. On its mouth rests a small basket of potatoes inscribed ‘Potatoe Bread to be given in Charity’. The other sacks are labelled ‘Secret Service Money’. Behind (right), three steaming dishes are being brought in, held high by footmen (their heads obscured): a haunch of venison, a sirloin, and a large bird. They wear, not livery, but the Windsor uniform, and the symmetrical pair immediately behind Pitt are probably the two Treasury Secretaries, Rose and Long; this is supported by Gillray’s ‘Lilliputian Substitutes’ (1801). On the wall are two placards: ‘Proclamation for a General Fast, in order to avert the impending Famine and Substitutes for Bread Venison, Roast Beef, Poultry, Turtle Soup, Fish, boild in Wine, Ragouts, Jellies &c. Burgundy, Champaign, Tokay, &c, &c.’ The heads of men wearing bonnets-rouges are seen through the window; they hold up a loaf on a pole with a scroll inscribed ’14 Pence pr Quartern’ and two placards: ‘Petition from the Starving Swine’ and ‘Grant us the Crumbs which drop from your Table’.

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Grease (Revisited)

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Grease (Revisited)

I once heard a pastor say he always took his wife out to eat each Sunday so she wouldn’t have to work on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, a day of rest. It was evidently lost on him all the other people working in her place, from dishwashers to line cooks to patrol men keeping the streets safe for them to and from Cracker Barrel.

So, in honor of Labor Day in the USA, I’m taking a peek back at an earlier post for this holiday profiling portraits of the working class. Those who rarely had a day off, in honor of their labor or otherwise.

Young Woman Ironing by Louis-Léopold Boilly, 1800, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Elbow Grease

Labour. Elbow grease will make an oak table shine.

The Chocolate Girl by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1744-1775, Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden Germany.

A Lady’s Maid Soaping Linen by Henry Robert Morland, 1765, Tate Museum.

Her First Place by George Dunlop Leslie, late 19th century, Christopher Wood Gallery.

Apple Dumplings by George Dunlop Leslie, 1880, Hartlepool Museums and Heritge Service.

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.