“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.”
While the plot and characters of my new regency romance Priceless Deception are all a figment of a (very) overactive imagination, the infamous French Blue diamond is not. The real story is just as fascinating as a good novel and begins with one of the largest jewel thefts in history.
In September of 1792, Paris was the last place you wanted to find yourself. The streets were still wet with blood from the Terror, and the French Revolution raged on. While King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, found themselves under house arrest, all the palace riches had been moved to the Garde Meuble for protection.
The night of September 16th, thieves climbed up the building’s colonnade and crept inside an open window. Among the priceless gems stolen that night were the 140.5 carat white diamond called the Regent; the Hortensia, a pale orange-pink 20-carat diamond; and a heart-shaped blue 67-carat diamond known as the French Blue. It was a shocking theft and the French countryside was endlessly searched for any sign of the jewels.
Less than a year later both the Regent and the Hortensia were discovered hidden in a Paris attic, but the French Blue was still missing. One of the chief suspects was a man named Guillot who had escaped to Great Britain. Many believe he took the French Blue to London, where he tried to sell it in 1796 to cover his debts. No one knows what happened after that, Guillot ended up in prison and the diamond was lost.
It wasn’t until 1812 that a mysterious blue diamond appeared for sale by a jeweler named John Francillon in London. The diamond was quickly purchased by an anonymous buyer (some claim it was the Prince Regent), and disappeared once again, resurfacing in the hands an American named Henry Phillip Hope. Enamored by the jewel, Henry renamed the French Blue after his family, and the historic gem became known as The Hope diamond.
“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.
Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.
“I promise not to hit you again,” she replied, forcing a light tone. “If you promise not to throw me to the ground and—”
“And?” One eyebrow shot up.
He laughed then, a full, rich sound that seemed to drop the tension from his face. He was more recognizable now, and Madeline felt her shoulders relax.
“I am sorry,” she added. “My behavior that day was unforgivable. I do hope we can start over as friends, Lord Douglas.”
She held out her hand, the small warning bell in her head quickly silenced.
“It would be my pleasure.” He took the offered fingers, bending slightly to press them against his lips. Not a trace of impropriety, but a sigh caught in her throat all the same, and she held it there, no longer breathing.
In the back of her mind she knew this was not a good idea. She knew perfectly well she should invent some excuse, run straight back into the ballroom and discuss Lady Farris’s flowers. She didn’t move.
“And since we are already intimately acquainted, I must insist you call me Colin.”
“Colin,” she said, finally exhaling so the name rushed out in a breathless tone. She wildly searched her mind for something else to say but never managed a word.
Colin pulled her to him, the kiss as much a surprise as her own response to it. Madeline’s body instantly betrayed her, melting against the strong arms that held her until she had lost all sense of her earlier outrage. The world fell away, leaving nothing but Colin’s searing lips blistering her own—and the faint smell of lilacs.
Fascinating blog, Jen - I never knew the story of the Blue Diamond. I love the inspiration behind your story and I'm off right now to get my copy. Don't you just love writing historical? The story ideas based around real events is endless! Great excerpt, I am sure there will be lots of comments!
Jen is waiting to hear from you!