The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Monday, 28 February 2011

My first guest writing for new UK romance imprint, Embrace Books...

So thrilled to welcome Maggi Andersen here today - she writes for new UK romance imprint Embrace Books. Initially eformat with the possibility of going to print, Embrace seems to be growing with popularity amongst authors and readers alike. Maggi's book, The Reluctant Marquess was one of their debut releases on Valentine's Day.

Take it away, Maggi!

The Elegance of the Georgian Period

Hi everyone, Because of the release of my Georgian romance, THE RELUCTANT MARQUESS, with Embrace Books, I thought I’d blog about the beautiful Georgian period.

Maggi Andersen

Taking an interest in fashion and interiors was very much the order of the day in Georgian times. Entertaining was becoming more popular and print books containing designs and architectural models were available to the public for the first time. As the century progressed, the style became lighter and lighter in terms of colors and decoration and eventually became Regency style.

Influences on Georgian decoration

  • Palladian style - especially Inigo Jones' s architecture
  • the Grand Tour - it was highly fashionable for the upper classes to take a tour round Europe, particularly Italy, for two or three years
  • the Orient

Historical Influences

  • 1714 George I on the throne
  • 1748 Pompeii discovered
  • 1813 Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen
  • 1837 Queen Victoria crowned

Examples can be found at:

  • Bath - particularly The Royal Crescent
  • The Geffrye Museum, London E2 - has rooms showing the development of Georgian style
  • Sir John Soane's Museum, London WC2
  • Syon House, Brentford, Middlesex - the Long Gallery designed by Robert Adam
  • 28 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh - a whole square built by Robert Adam and purchased by The National Trust for Scotland.
  • The Georgian House, 7 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh.

My source:


Maggi Andersen lives in the Australian countryside with her husband, a lawyer and their cat. She is a multi-published author of Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances, Contemporary Romantic Suspense and Young Adult novels.

Author Website:

A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow always intended to marry for love like her parents. She suddenly finds herself married to a marquess, her new husband an aloof stranger determined to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. She and Lord Robert have been forced by circumstances to marry, and she feels she is not the woman he would have chosen to marry given a choice. He makes it plain that marriage is merely for the procreation of an heir, and once that is achieved, he intends to continue living the life in London he enjoyed before he met her. Charity may then return to the country. While Lord Robert pursues his own interests, Charity wanders the echoing corridors of St Malin House, when she isn't thrown into the midst of the clever and mocking Haute Ton. She's not at all sure she likes them, as they live by their own rules which seem rather shocking. She's not at all sure she likes her new husband either, except for his blue, blue eyes, the panther-like way he walks and the hot expression in his eyes when he looks at her that sets her pulses racing. He is a rake and doesn't deserve her love, but neither does she wish to live alone. Lord Robert appears quite willing to do his duty, but Charity demands love and affection nothing else will do. Will he ever love her?

Buy Link:

Publisher Buy Link:

Book Trailer:


The footman knocked on a solid oak door.


She stepped with trepidation into the room to be embraced by warmth. A fire blazed in the baronial fireplace where a liver-spotted spaniel lifted its head to study her. After a thump of a tail, its head sank to its paws again, lulled back to sleep by the heat. Above the fireplace, the painting of a hunting scene featured several dogs. Two tall china spaniels flanked the fireplace mantel. The heavy oak beams across the ceiling, and walls covered floor to ceiling in shelves of tomes made the room seem snug. Charity rushed over and crouched on the Oriental rug beside the animal, giving it a pat. The dog’s tail thumped harder. ‘You’re a nice fellow, aren’t you?’ Her stiff cold muscles loosened, and the icy pit at the base of her stomach began to thaw. Maybe she could be happy here. She loved dogs.

‘Welcome to Castle St. Malin.’

A man rose from behind a massive mahogany desk strewn with papers in the corner of the room. He crossed the room to greet her. He was not her godfather. She caught her breath. He was tall, his dark hair drawn back in a queue, and there was something of the marquess’ haughty demeanour about his handsome face, but she doubted he’d yet reached thirty.

‘Thank you.’ Charity could only stare at his attire, her gaze locked on his gold silk waistcoat as he bowed before her. He was in mourning, for black crepe graced the sleeve of his emerald green coat. With a sense of foreboding, she curtseyed on wobbly knees. ‘Where is the marquess, if you please?’ She looked around hoping her godfather might pop out of somewhere, but the room was otherwise empty.

‘I am the Marquess of St. Malin. My uncle passed away a short time ago.’

‘Oh. I’m so sorry.’ What she feared was true. Charity had an overwhelming desire to sit and glanced at the damask sofa.

He reacted immediately, taking her arm and escorting her to a chair. ‘Sit by the fire. You look cold and exhausted.’ He turned to the footman. ‘Bring a hot toddy for Miss Barlow.’

Charity sank down gratefully, her modest panniers settling around her.

‘I find the staff here poorly trained,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what my uncle was about.’

‘Why did you send a carriage for me?’ she asked, leaning back against the sofa cushions. ‘I wouldn’t have come had I known.’

‘I thought it best to sort the matter out here and now.’ He rested an elbow on a corner of the mantel and stirred the dog with a foot. ‘Shame on you, Felix. You might accord Miss Barlow a warm welcome.’ He looked at her. ‘My uncle’s dog; he’s mourning his master.’ He raised his brows. ‘Notice of my uncle’s passing appeared in The Daily Universal Register.’

‘We don’t get that newspaper in my village.’

‘You don’t? I wasn’t aware of you until the reading of the will. Then I learned of your parents’ death from my solicitor. I’m very sorry.’

‘Thank you. I’m sorry, too, about your uncle.’

‘My uncle fell ill only a few months ago. He rallied and then …’ The new marquess’ voice faded. He sighed and stared into the fire.

‘You must have been very fond of him,’ Charity said into the quiet pause that followed. Though, if she were honest, she felt surprise that the cool man she remembered could have provoked that level of affection.

He raised his eyes to meet hers and gave a bleak smile. ‘Yes, I was fond of him. He always had my interest at heart, you see.’ He sat in the oxblood leather chair opposite and rested his hands on his knees. ‘I am his acknowledged heir, and the legalities have been processed. I’ve inherited the title and the entailed properties. The rest of his fortune will pass to another family member should I fail to conform to the edicts of his will.’

‘His will?’ Charity gripped her sweaty hands together, she couldn’t concentrate on anything the man said. Her mind whirled, filled with desperate thoughts. With her godfather dead, where would she go from here? Her heart raced as she envisioned riding off along the dark cliffs to join a theatre troupe, or become a tavern wench.

‘This must be difficult for you to take in, and I regret having to tell you tonight before you have rested. But I’m compelled to move quickly as you have no chaperone and have travelled here alone …’

She raised her chin. ‘There was no one to accompany me.’ She would not allow him to make her feel like a poor relation, even though she was quite definitely poor. And alone. She hated that more than anything. What had her godfather left her? She hoped it would allow her some measure of independence and wasn’t just a vase or the family portrait.

The footman entered, carrying a tray with a cup of steaming liquid. Charity took the drink and sipped it gratefully. It was warming and tasted of a spicy spirit. She found it hard to concentrate on his words, as her mind retreated into a fog and her eyes wandered around the room. She finished the drink, which had heated her insides, and allowed her head to loll back against the cushions. Her gaze rested on her host, thinking he would be handsome if he smiled. She was so tired, and the warmth of the fire made her drowsy.

The book looks and sounds great, Maggi! Please tell us more about your experience with Embrace Books as I am sure many of my readers will be considering submitting to them in the future. Turnaround times, submission needs etc are all of huge interest!

Comments? Questions?


  1. I have a question, Maggi. Have you recovered from launch week yet?!

    THE RELUCTANT MARQUESS sounds fantastic, and the cover, well, gorgeous ...


  2. Barely, thanks Rachel, lol. And thank you for hosting me, it's a delight to be here. Embrace Books is an imprint of Salt Publishing, which has a very good reputation. I found them great to work with. I was thrilled when Jane Holland picked up The Reluctant Marquess straight away. She has commented that this would not be normal procedure, it was just that my story was what she was looking for. I wish this happened more often! I love the cover too, done by The Cover Factory.

  3. Sorry Rachel. Meant to separate those two. Are you over the launch?

  4. Really enjoyed your extract and the sound of this book, Maggi! The new publisher sounds interesting too.

    Rachel - glad to say your blog is working beautifully again.

  5. Ha ha! Thank you, Rosemary! My webmistress is my lifeline when it comes to my website and blog. i literally love her : )

    I am really keen to submit my next work to Embrace but worry about giving up the opportunity to go to print. You and Rachel will lucky enough for it to happen for you both, but I can't help wondering how often that will be the case...

    R x

  6. Aloha, Rachel and Maggi! Your timeline does not include Captain Cook's "discover" of Hawaii in 1778 (after visiting Australia). The British influence soon followed. In fact, the Hawaiian Monarchy aligned itself with the British Monarchy, mimicing its pomp and circumstance as it modernized the Hawaiian islands. To this day, the Union Jack is part of the Hawaii State Flag.

    And I extend a Happy St. David's Day to you ... go Dragons!

  7. Hi Rosemary,
    Thanks for the comment.

  8. Keep an eye on it, Rachel. Embrace Books has decided to only put British authors into print for the time being. But that may well change in time.

  9. Hi Kim, no it doesn't maybe next time?

  10. Oh, Maggi, I am British! Maybe I should contact Jane. I'm sending you a quick email.

    Kim, hi!! So lovely to hear from you again - how are you? Maybe my next historical should be linked with Hawaii....if I could just convince my husband we need to go there for a research trip!

    R x

  11. Rachel - just wanted you to know I've awarded you a 'Stylish Bogger Award'. If you want to accept it, you can pick it up (where I've mentioned your blog)at:

  12. Rachel I should have made it clear that it's authors based in the UK at the moment, I believe. Print would be based on sales. It's to do with cost, I believe, but I don't like to speak for Embrace. Jane Holland is the person to contact.

  13. the new book sounds like it's going to be really good!