Monday, January 21, 2019

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

Happy New Year! Happy North American Release day to Marriage Deal with the Viscount!
I am so excited for this year's series and I hope readers are, too! This series features four couples who find themselves in marriages of convenience, starting with Conall and Sofia.

'I can protect you.'
But she must accept his ring!
An Allied at the Altar story: after an abusive marriage, Sofia is struggling to find acceptance in Society. So when dashing Viscount Taunton needs her investment for his business, she’s surprised by his strong, supportive nature.
In Conall’s arms she discovers true pleasure. Yet to fully leave her past behind, Sofia must consider Conall’s offer of his full protection – in the form of wedding vows!

Want to read an early review of the book? Check out this review from UK reviewer, Frankie Reviews:
This is a fabulous start to a whole new series; Allied At The Alter, which going by this first book is going to be another brilliant series by a favourite author of mine. This is essentially a ‘Marriage of Convenience’ story, but as ever with Ms Scott’s work there is always a great secondary plot or a twist to the tale. I love that Bronwyn Scott has set this series in the Victorian era, which is such a change from her hugely popular and brilliant regencies, I can say without a doubt that she has pulled a beauty out of the bag with this one.

Conall; Viscount Taunton after gaining the title he now has to deal with the problems that go along with it, which in Taunton’s case means they are in dire need of money. Conall comes up with the most brilliant plan to gain the funds that his family and more importantly the title needs and that is to do what many aristocrats deem as rather vulgar. He plans to go into business!! I know shock and horror, he wants to start trading with the mills with his Alpacca wool, but to do that he needs capital but when he goes to the one man who could set this venture off refuses him point blank he must find another avenue to go down.

I love that about him he is an enterprising, creative and imaginative young man who has a proper head on his shoulders, in fact he rather makes me think of John Thornton from North and South – I think everyone knows how much I love a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and this is the man. Conall is a very proud man, it does grate that he has to beg but where his family is concerned he will do what is needed. I really, really love him he just wants to do what’s right he is motivated, enigmatic and at times very serious but that just adds to his appeal. Once he gets turned down by a family friend no less he has no other choice than to fall on to the charity of the mysterious but incredibly wealthy; La Marchessa di Cremona.

Sofia has her own reasons to be as mysterious and hidden in the shadows as she is, if found she would face a fate far, far worse then death, which is why she is equally as desperate for this deal with Conall to go well. She is a complex woman, and I love how Ms Scott doesn’t divulge all of Sofia’s secrets in one go, she teases with dropping little clues and subtle hints through out the story. Yes, it is pretty easy to figure out her back story and why she is fleeing, but it’s incredibly satisfying finding out about this woman. Sofia may appear to be an alluring, beautiful, majestic creature from another planet and yes she is, but that is a mask to protect herself, she is pretty damaged, she is vulnerable, afraid and has trust issues.

I adore both Conall and Sofia, as individuals they are tough cookies who are fighting to not just keep their heads above water but to save their family and themselves. But for me they really shine when they are together, they are both immensely intelligent, resourceful, charismatic and proud. You would think that they would be like chalk and cheese, but that’s as far from the truth as you can get they are each others rock.

This isn’t your stereotypical boy meets girl romance, there is intricate layers that entwine some very serious subjects within the story; such as abuse, divorce and a county which is forging a head into a new innovative world. I love Victorian novels, it was a time of change of new ideas and all of that is features in this book. The character’s are engaging and likeable, the two leads off course are perfect but I love the secondary characters too which are fascinating, and fun to get to know, even the baddie is mesmerising.

Overall this is a brilliantly written, original, thrilling, engaging, captivating and page-turning romance that will keep you teetering at the edge of your seat, reading with baited breath as the story unfolds. A great start to a whole new series, one that I cannot wait to dive into again with book two.

A great book and highly recommended!

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Bronwyn.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year's Eve, Special Edition Post

Marriages of Convenience are the featured topic today at HEA, a romance blog carried by USA Today.  Bittersweet news though:  Yay! The column today features many of the current Marriage of Convenience releases, including Marriage Deal with the Viscount.  But Sadness: Dec. 31 is the last day for the blog.  I've posted the link here, so check it out and start putting together your 2019 reading list, there are some fabulous titles and authors listed here. 

the Days Between Post #5: Marriage Deal with the Viscount Word Search

Thanks for joining us for Day 5 of the Days Between blog post countdown to the North American release, Jan. 1, 2019 of Marriage Deal with the Viscount.  Today, I've got a fun word search based on characters, places, and events featured in the story.

Marriage Deal with the Viscount



Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Days Between Post #4 Allied at the Altar: Marriage Deal with the Viscount

One of the themes in the book is divorce, so I thought it would be interesting to say something about divorce in Italy, where Sofia's marriage takes place.  The 19th century in general sees some early periods of an uptick for divorce legislation throughout Europe.  By 1806 the Codice Civile made divorce available to the European peninsula. By the 1830s, when Italy had dissolved back into independent principalities, Piedmont King, Carlos, allowed divorce among non-Catholics. Roderick Phillips writes in his book, "Untying the Knot; a  Short History of Divorce," that the Piedmont's positioning in a national movement for Italian of unification might have created a scenario where this divorce law was more widely adopted, but those hopes were quelled when his son, Victor Emmanuel II took the throne in 1852. Victor Emmanuel II abolishes divorce.
These dates are important to Sofia's story line. When the book opens, it's 1854. She's been divorced and living in London for three years, her divorce having taken place in 1851 before the official abolishment. Her husband's desire to have her back in wedlock plays off the conservative nature of Victor Emmanuel. Il Marchese, her husband, cannot receive recognition and advancement in the new, conservative court as a divorced man and since re-marriage after divorce was also an issue, it was not enough for him to simply offer to marry again. He must re-marry his legitimate wife in the eyes of the church. Hence, our villain's desire to have Sofia back specifically.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Days Between Post #2: Marriage Deal with the Viscount

Alpaca in Britain! It's a thing, really it is. The previous post focused on the heroine's situation, this post will focus on the hero and the backdrop for his story. Viscount Taunton, Conall Everard, is a man down on his luck. His father has died. He has inherited and discovered years worth of debt his father had kept from the family. Conall has to redeem the family coffers in order to afford his sister, Cecilia's Season next year, and his younger brother, Freddie's, education and of course, the estate itself. All eyes are looking to him for leadership.

He is a product of a more modern upbringing than say, a Regency hero. Having come of age in the 1840s, and into his inheritance in the 1850s, he sees the times changing and with them the lifestyle of the peerage. He recognizes that a closed system will atrophy without any newness brought into it. It is no longer enough to live off rents of tenant farmers. He needs something more proactive, less dependent on the weather and the land.  Our hero looks around Taunton and sees the rich history of the area in wool production, an industry that has sustained it for centuries. He thinks about his Grand Tour, which was not to the traditional European continent but to the Americas. He remembers the Alpaca and their wool. What if he were to bring alpaca wool to Taunton? An innovative idea is born!

Far-fetched? Not really. In 1853 Sir Titus Salt did just that.
He brings alpaca to Britain and launches a whole new line of wool. You can read a little of his industrial biography here. biographies/biography/show/Biografies/salt/ He also established a mill town, Saltire, not unlike the town of our heroine's ambitions. Which just goes to prove that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.


The Days Between blog post #3: Marriage Deal with the Viscount

The place where it happens! Marriage Deal with the Viscount primarily takes place in Taunton, located in Somerset in the southwesterly part of England. Taunton is noted for its wool industry, as mentioned in the previous post, so today, I thought it would be interesting to share a little of that history. 

The River Tone runs through Taunton and lent its water source to the wool industry over the centuries. Today, the River Tone is also known for its fishing.

  • The town is chartered in 904 AD
  • By the 13th century there is a fulling mill there for wool
  • By the 15th century, wool is being exported to France
  • By the late 16th century, wool is being exported to Africa
In Conall's time, Taunton proved progressive in other ways too, adding gaslights, laying out gardens, and greenspaces, building an enormous amount of churches and a hospital, making it a great backdrop for Sofia's more progressive dreams of social equality. It was also a large enough town/city to have a register where Sofia and Conall could conduct a civil marriage. 

The coming of the railroad made Taunton an approximately four and a half hour rail journey from London. The time of departure from the London station, featured in one of the early chapters of the book, is correct as is the station. This turns what would have been a multiple-day journey by coach or carriage in to a half-day venture. The railroad also increased Taunton's trade links to the world. Taunton wool and other products could easily be transported by railway to the port in Bristol.