Guest Author Sarah Mallory

SM smallI have another guest today! Today it is my pleasure to turn my blog day over to Sarah Mallory, who is here to talk about her latest release, Temptation Of A Governess, out now from Harlequin Historical.

To celebrate the release of the book, Sarah will give away one signed copy of Temptation Of A Governess to one lucky commenter chosen at random.

Here’s Sarah!

9780263248142Tell us about your book.
Temptation Of A Governess is the second in the Infamous Arrandales series and is the story of Diana Grensham, a shy young woman who becomes joint guardian to two young girls along with Alex Arrandale, the new Earl of Davenport. She has to protect the girls’ interests against Alex’s plans to remove them from their home, and in doing so she grows in confidence as she joins in a battle of wills and wits with the earl.

What is risky about your book?
Women during the Regency faced huge risks. Most gently born ladies had no money of their own but were dependent upon husbands or family for support. Reputations, too were very brittle, and while it was accepted (almost expected) that men would take mistresses and have affairs, a woman was required to preserve at least an outward appearance of respectability. Diana has lived her life in the shadows, first as a daughter, then a governess, but to protect her wards she must put herself forward, into the limelight. Anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of self-confidence or shyness will know just how it feels to suddenly be the centre of attention. Diana feels exposed and vulnerable, but by the end of the book she knows she doesn’t want to go back into her shell and she takes the biggest risk of all to achieve her happy ending (I am not telling you any more than that as I don’t want to give the story away!)

Did you come across any interesting research while writing the book?
I had to read up on the life of a governess in Regency England. Of particular interest were the journals & letters of Agnes Porter, edited by Joanna Martin and published as “A Governess in the Age of Jane Austen”. Agnes was a governess to the children and grandchildren of the second Earl of Ilchester from 1784 until 1806, so this was a perfect time period for my story. The accepted view of governesses at that time is rather downtrodden, unhappy women, but Agnes made the most of her situation. There is some evidence that she would have liked to marry, but never had the chance. However, she never complained of her lot and was respected and valued by her employer. She had friends, both men and women, with whom she corresponded regularly and also went to stay with some of them. When she went to London with the family she appears to have had quite a full social life of her own. She would spend the mornings “at our studies” with her charges but in the afternoons and evenings she would go out, taking tea with friends and acquaintances or walking with them. On one occasion she took two of her pupils to her sister’s house, where they were “…entertained with a dance and musick until the gentlemen came up from dinner to tea…”

I also enjoyed researching a little gem of an English manor house which I used as the model for Chantreys, the house Diana and her charges call home. It is the beautiful 17th century Ashdown House as my model (Here’s the link, if you want to have a peep: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashdown-house).

You also write as Melinda Hammond. Tell us about those books. 
In the dim and (very) distant past I began writing sweet Regency and Georgian romances as Melinda Hammond. I also use the name when I want to try something a little different, such as dual time novels. I have now published many of my backlist, as well as a couple of short stories, as e-books and plan to expand the list as time goes on.

What is next for you?
The third in the Infamous Arrandales series, The Return of the Runaway, will be published early 2016 and I am currently writing book #4. After that … well, my head is so bursting with more stories that the problem is which one to pick! Watch this space.

Here’s a question for all of you.
Tell me what you like best about Regency stories, is it the history, the manners, or just the excitement of living in another time? I’d love to know!

Diane, here, again. Remember. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Temptation Of A Governess.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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24 Responses to Guest Author Sarah Mallory

  1. Hi Sarah! *waves* How lovely of you to visit the Riskies today!

    Thank you for sharing some of your research with us. The collection of Agnes Porter’s letters and diaries sounds awesome! And gosh, the cover of your new book is gorgeous!

  2. Satu M. says:

    I love the manners and rules of conduct. Everyone knows how to behave. It’s fascinating. And how people work around not being able to say or do things. As you said reputations are brittle and risks are huge.

    Greetings from Finland!

    • Hi Satu, thank you thank for dropping in from Finland, it is so nice to know where readers are based.

      I sent a more general reply, but in case it doesn’t get through I am answering separately, too –

      The confining nature of Regency society makes it such fun to write these books, although I am not sure I would really want to live there, I am not sure I would be brave enough to flout convention.

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks Sandra ~*waving back!* glad you like the cover, it’s really pretty, I think, and suits Diana’s shy personality.

    And Satu from Finland – thank for dropping by, it is so nice to know where readers are based.

    The confining nature of Regency society makes it such fun to write these books, although I am not sure I would really want to live there, I am not sure I would be brave enough to flout convention.

  4. Susan Jones says:

    That sounds like a cracking read, love historical fiction, great post. Look forward to reading your work.

  5. Hi Sarah! (well, you said to come over and say hello) But since I would LOVE to win a copy of your latest in the Arrandale series I will have a stab at answering the question.
    Why Regency? The costume. The huge houses. The horses and carriages. The rakish men. The endless possibilities for gently born but impoverished girls with spirit to conquer those rakish men. The fact that no matter how outrageous a story you make up, there is bound to have been someone living at the time who did something to top it…(I could go on all day!) x

    • Thanks Annie – I am delighted you want a copy of my book 🙂

      Yes, I too like Regency for all the reasons you give. It’s also something of a fairytale world, too, I think – one we can inhabit in our imaginations.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Really interesting post – loved looking at Ashdown House which I’ve never visited, and reading about Agnes Porter’s diaries.

    • Thanks Deborah. I love using real old houses to inspire the settings of my books. I use the floor plans, pictures and lots of photographs so that I can “place” my characters. And Agnes Porter is such a joy to read. Cheerful and pragmatic, she seems to have been highly regarded by hr employers, and loved by her pupils.

  7. Elena Greene says:

    Thanks for visiting the Riskies, Sarah, and congratulations on the new release! I love governess stories. Although I haven’t written one yet, there’s one in the Idea Folder.

    • Thank you for having me here, Elena!

      My very first Harlequin was called “More Than a Governess”, so this is my second foray into the world of governesses. It was one of the few ways a woman could earn a living and I think that resonates with modern readers.

  8. Susan/DC says:

    I must admit that I’m shallow: one of the reasons the Georgian and Regency periods are favorites is that I love the clothing and the general aesthetics. I also love these periods because they were times of great intellectual, political, and scientific advances. To add to the appeal, however, is that social conventions were still quite strong despite the great changes swirling around. As others have said part of the appeal of reading historicals (of this or any period) is that it’s fun to see how different authors make their characters act within or challenge these conventions.

    P.S. On the Ashdown House website I saw mention of Nicola Cornick, author of many Regency romances.

  9. Susan/DC says:

    P.P.S Gorgeous cover!

    • Hi Susan, thanks for leaving your comments – and so glad you like the cover! I agree with you on all points – the Regency period looks good and the Enlightenment brought more “modern” thinking, which I think is much easier for us to understand. I agree, too that every author puts his/her own spin on the period – but then, just look how different contemporary books can be!

      Yes, my friend and colleague Nicola Cornick is a volunteer guide as Ashdown House and was extremely helpful to me when I decided to use the house as the setting for my story.

  10. Mary Ellen says:

    I just loooooove your books !!!!

  11. I agree, the cover truly is lovely ! I’ve read the Agnes Porter book and it truly is fascinating. I do like the sound of your heroine – someone who has remained in the shadows, but must learn courage for the sake of the children and her own happiness.

    What do I love about the Regency? All of it! The history, the houses, the manners, the carriages. I love a time when people still wrote long letters to each other. When a walk and conversation were perfectly acceptable ways to get to know someone. When being well-read and well-mannered and well-dressed weren’t considered dull or unnecessary. I was obviously born in the wrong time! 🙂

    • LOL Louisa, I think most of us would like to try living in the Regency, but maybe just for a holiday!

      I am very fond of my heroine, Diana. She’s not brash and doesn’t think of herself as heroic, but she is determined to protect the children and in doing so, she learns a lot about herself and her own strength.

      Thank you for your comments!

  12. bn100 says:

    the fashion

  13. Barbara Elness says:

    For me its the history, but I love the manners, the clothes and the parties a lot too. 😀

    • Ah yes, Barbara, the parties – a great way to find a husband in Regency England! Almacks in London, but almost every town had its Assembly Rooms, even if it was just the upstairs room in a pub! Some of these are still in existence, there’s a fabulous example at The George, in Rye, Sussex, an 18th C inn that has its assembly room almost exactly as it was in Regency times.

      Thank for commenting!

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