A passionate romance rife with seduction and intrigue coupled with South Sea scandal and Jacobite plots, TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS by Victoria Vane wins IND’ Tale Magazine’s 2014 RONE Award for Best Historical Post Medieval Romance.
A reluctant heiress resigned to her fate… Mary Elizabeth Edwardes possesses one of the largest fortune’s in England, but has no desire to leave her quiet country existence… and even less to acquire a husband she cannot choose for herself.
A dissolute nobleman bent on retribution… Trapped in a duplicitous existence since scandal destroyed his fortune and family name, Lord Hadley Blanchard has spent the better part of a decade posing as a disaffected exile while spying and seducing in the service of the English Crown.
A dangerous game of seduction, and intrigue…By employing the full measure of his seductive charm, he woos the ward of the man who destroyed his life, little knowing that winning Mary’s fortune will mean risking his own treacherous heart.
Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies (published from 1757 to 1795)was a printed directory of London Prostitutes that sold about 8,000 copies annually. Each edition described in erotic prose, often in lewd detail, the physical attributes and sexual specialities of over one hundred prostitutes who worked in and around Covent Garden. Although the list is named after Jack Harris who was the head waiter at the popular Shakespear’s Head Tavern in Covent Garden, Irish poet Samuel Derrick is now credited as being the true genius behind the book. Many modern critics view Harris’s List as an early form of erotica.
FREE Download this weekend THE TROUBLE WITH SIN by Victoria Vane
**The Trouble with Sin (Devilish Vignette #2) is a comic romp that follows on the heels of Devil in the Making. It is also a prequel to Jewel of the East ( book #5 in the Devil Devere series)**
The Trouble with Sin … Is the devil within… Aspiring poet Simon “Sin” Singleton, has lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, eluding defying, and flouting all manner of authority until his impetuous misdeeds finally catch up with him. Having lost his muse, his allowance, and even his friends by edict from a tyrannical father and puritanical mother, Simon is ready to drown himself in drink, until receiving an ingenious proposition that could change everything.
The wages of Sin is……twenty-five percent of the net!It seems a fantasy come true when Simon is offered an independent income by combining his two great passions– poetry and lewd women –by writing poetry about lewd women! Unfortunately, maintaining anonymity may be much harder than he thought…
Review by Patrice for Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers
Georgian Era, UK
Historical Fiction (adult language & themes)
Reviewer rating: 5.0
Series: The Devil DeVere (Devilish Vignettes #2)
Have you ever started reading a new story or novel, and instantly, your mind produces theme music or a score to accompany the characters? “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak resounded through my imagination once Simon “Sin” Singleton took center stage in The Trouble with Sin. Womankind fuels his youthful rebellion and the lessons learned are tried and true. This vignette offers the realities of youth and coming-of-age in the Georgian era. How very different from our own times while striking a chord of truths to move a reader beyond the boundaries of history—or her-story.
Okay, so you don’t like Chris Isaak? You say he’s too whiny? Then the only replacement I could think of was Prince. Take your pick, the Purple One is prolific to the point of excess and besides, I think he could appreciate Simon’s poems.
What happens when Simon “Sin” Singleton’s misdeeds finally catch up with him? He finds a way to thumb his nose at his overbearing father and straight-laced mother by indulging in his favorite illicit pastime, and earning an income, when his allowance is cut off. Sin soon learns that without the protection of his friends, the price of false independence is high and the cost is not worth the fleeting defiance he expresses towards his parents. Without Ned’s temperance to guide him and DeVere’s cunning to instruct him on self-preservation, Sin’s choices force him to confront the winds of caprice and the possibility of his parents’ wrath if he is caught. Indeed, the “wages of Sin” weighs in.
Just a little warning in case you’ve not had the immense pleasure of exploring Ms. Vane’s stories. There’s amazing research and brilliant notes at the end to support the characterization, plot elements, and the historical twists and turns. The language is strong and the content is adult themed, bursting at the seams with the seedier elements of London, particularly Covent Garden, and the skin trade. So if you’re easily offended—wait a moment! If you’ve made it past the first meeting with DeVere & Co., why am I warning you? Except to tell you that in terms of sexual content, lust is verbally expressed but kept behind doors, and this works quite well with the flavor of the writing. By no means was I disappointed by the less visual aspects.
Through Ms. Vane’s insightful depictions, I’ve come to understand how well we can all connect with her Georgian nobles. If Ned embodies strength, character, and honesty, DeVere, beauty, lust and wisdom, then Sin recalls creativity, sensuality and innocence; the inner-child lured away by forbidden enticement to discover burns, bites and scrapes, yet always the sweetness of Mother is there to sweeten the sting. Upon reaching adulthood, Sin finds the world a deadlier foe, and Her weapons are avarice, violence and heartache; womanly companionship is fleeting and not constant as Mother, yet modest Love evades him as her gaudy sister, Infatuation lures him away. Sin chases the spangled hem of the ninth muse’s sheer gown around each blade-edged corner. To revisit, again and again, the fragrant alcove where first Erato, did lure him to her dewy bosom with lascivious words exhaled from ambrosia-perfumed breath.
I can’t wait to for him receive his HEA in distant years in the arms of seduction, fortitude and loyalty. After reading his story, you’ll agree. So now, dear readers, we all must share in the next league of Simon’s journey. Ms. Vane’s own personal muse has enticed and inspired her to writer yet another wondrous tale to stir our hearts and other sinful portions. It’s time for more wicked Georgian games.
A reluctant heiress resigned to her fate … Mary Elizabeth Edwardes has one of the largest fortune’s in England, but has no desire to leave her quiet country existence… and even less to acquire a husband she cannot choose for herself.
A dissolute nobleman bent on retribution … Trapped in a duplicitous existence since scandal destroyed his fortune and family name, Lord Hadley Blanchard has spent the better part of a decade posing as a disaffected exile while spying and seducing in the service of the English Crown.
A dangerous game of seduction, and intrigue …When summoned from abroad by a former lover, Lord Hadley perceives an opportunity for vengeance at last. By employing the full measure of his seductive charm, he woos the ward of the man who destroyed his life, little knowing that winning Mary’s fortune will mean risking his own treacherous heart.
BOOK REVIEW BY MAGGI ANDERSEN
TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS is the dark tale of an innocent surrounded by guile and complete disregard for her personal wellbeing by those expected to safeguard her. Her “protectors” are concerned only with their personal gain regardless of the price Mary will pay.
MaryElizabethEdwardes is on the wealthiest heiresses in England. When SirRichardFiske becomes her guardian her peaceful rural existence comes to an end. Mary becomes an unwilling pawn in SirRichard’s plans to advance his own fortunes.
Lord HadleyBlanchard seeks revenge on SirRichard for his role in the loss of his fortune and family reputation. What better way to avenge himself on SirRichard and gain back what rightfully belongs to him than the seduction of his ward?
TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS is strongly reminiscent of Les Liaisons Dangereuses however; Ms.Vane adroitly gives this classic trope a uniquely Georgian twist all her own, while weaving actual historical events into the story.
SirRichardFiske seeks political advancement.
Barbara, Lady Blanchard, seeks release from the onerous task of being SirRichard’s mistress, at his beck and call, beholden to him for the very roof over her head. Barbara is one of the coldest, cruelest most depraved women I’ve “met” lately. Nothing seems to be beyond her.
Hadley, Lord Blanchard, seeks the return of his title, estates and fortune. Hadley has sunk deeply into the abyss during his self imposed exile to the continent. The seduction and ruin of Mary would gain him revenge and freedom from the reins SirRichard holds so tightly.
Frederick, Lord Barnesley, the approved suitor whose twisted desires are rooted in pain being the path to pleasure. There’s a particularly unsettling and frightening rumor regarding Lord Barnesley.
MaryElizabethEdwardes, while unsophisticated, brightly illuminates the darkness of the surrounding cast and story with her innocence and honesty. Sadly she’s surrounded by duplicity. Will Mary perceive and overcome the deceit and machinations of those around her to find love and happiness or will she fall victim?
Is Hadley as perfidious as he appears or are those glimpses when he’s alone with Mary the true Hadley? One of my favorite scenes takes place in the pool on the Montague property during Mary and Hadley’s barge trip to Richmond. Mary is, simply put, amazing in her response to Hadley’s seduction. The whole Richmond episode is portentous. Will Mary be the catalyst for Hadley’s redemption or will he continue to wallow in the mire with Barbara and Fiske?
Barbara is without doubt one of the most unabashedly irredeemable villainesses I’ve encountered in some time. She takes perverse delight in her wickedness, making her contrast to Mary blatant. You can’t help but appreciate the depth she adds to the story.
Fiske is, for all the trouble and suffering he’s caused, a garden variety villain. He’s ruled by avarice and lacking in imagination.
Though introduced late in the story, Lord Barnesley, is the one who sent chills up my spine. Frederick is Barbara’s male counterpart. Creative and imaginative; the thought of the forms his cruelty would take were terrifying.
Mary herself was delightful. Her actions are always in character and never gave me a moment’s pause.
The darkness of TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS was a key factor in my enjoyment. Almost gothic but not quite, TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS is carefully balanced with just enough light to avoid stultification. My interest was captured and held from beginning to end. The danger that surrounded Mary was so vividly portrayed I felt it breathing down my neck. I read avidly as there was never a point where I felt her safety or HEA was a surety and I simply couldn’t leave her in such dire straits. Danger and treachery aside; there is one love scene that, for me, was sublime and the afterwards delightful adding the perfect touch of levity.
For those who enjoy well researched and written historicals heavy on dark and danger, TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS is a must read.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Author Maggi Andersen lives in the countryside outside Sydney, Australia, with her lawyer husband and their cat. Her study overlooks the creek at the bottom of the garden where ducks gather. Chickens peck around the yard and cockatoos call from the trees. After gaining a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and raising three children, Maggi now indulges her passion for writing. She writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances, mysteries and young adult novels. You’ll find adventure and elements of danger in every one.
As a devout Georgian junkie, I am frequently asked why I am so enamored of this particular historical era. My simplest answer is that I am in love with the glitz, glamour, and decadent opulence, and endeavor to vividly recreate this world in all of my books writing as both Emery Lee and Victoria Vane. Although I am fully aware that only a small percentage of people lived ensconced in such luxury, for the privileged few, how sumptuous it was!
In my desire to share my passion for the Georgians with you, I inadvertently stumbled upon an amazing exhibition by Austrian artist Andreas Franke that visually depicts all that I desired to say about my favorite era. In his brand new exhibit, this artist who obviously shares my fascination, pays tribute to the decadent Georgians in The Sinking World. To enhance your pleasure, I have set to Handel’s Water Music a video montage of Georgian decadence currently on display in the ocean depths! Here now is a video montage of The Sinking Wold Exhibit by Andreas Franke Set to Handel’s Water Music:
In my endeavor to bring this world more fully to life in my stories, I have recently commissioned character portraits and illustrations to compliment my Devil DeVere series: http://thedevildevere.com .
Every devil has a beginning…A rebellious young nobleman’s prank with the king’s lion goes comically awry, leading to a startling chain of events.
**This title is NOT a romance but a riotous Georgian romp in the tradition of Fielding’s Tom Jones and a prequel to the Devil DeVere series.**
A Note from the Author:
As fans of my work as both Emery Lee and Victoria Vane are already well aware, I delight in nothing more than using true historical details, to include real events and people, in order to give my fictional stories greater depth and dimension. Here are a few of those titillating tidbits from Devil in the Making:
1) Birching was a very common and frequently abuse practice of corporal punishment in the English School system with the humiliation of exposed buttocks considered a vital part of the punishment:
“a birch rod should be ‘green,’ or freshly cut before use, while English tradition was often to steep the rods in strong brine and vinegar for storage so as to be ready for use. The effectiveness of a birch rod for punishment is determined by the length and weight of the withes. The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine suggested that a governess birch should be a minimum of three feet long, with six to nine withes and weigh no less than six ounces for application to the bared bottom of a 16-year-old girl. With three inches and approximately two ounces added for each year of growth, “saving that the rod should not greatly exceed 42 inches” in length or 10 ounces in weight.
2) While my lion-napping episode is entirely fictional, the idea was inspired by a true incident regarding Philip Duke of Wharton who was probably much like the young Lord DeVere.
When Philip tired of his tutor while on the grand tour, he purchased a young bear and left it in his pedagogue’s chambers with the following note:
“Being no longer able to bear with your ill-usage I think proper to be gone from you. However, that you may not want company, I have left you the bear as the most sociable companion in the world that could be picked out for you.”
3) The brief anecdotes pertaining to the polar bear, and Indian Nawab’s gift of exotic species to King George are true.
For a long time, powerful rulers tried to impress each other by exchanging living gifts. The exotic animals kept at the Tower showed the wealth and strength of the king. Animals were sent to London from the furthest corners of the known world. In 1235, King Henry III received three lions (or leopards) from Emperor Frederick II. The animals matched the three lions on the King’s shield, which still appear on the badges of the English football and cricket teams. The Emperor had just married Henry’s sister Isabella so this gift was a sign of their alliance and friendship.
The ‘white bear’ who loved to fish
Henry III received ‘a white bear’ from King Haakon of Norway in 1252 (believed to be a polar bear). The bear was one of the luckiest animals at the Tower as it was given a long leash so it could swim in the river Thames and catch fish.
Interestingly, the work “Quack” originates from the German word for mercury or quicksilver — quacksalber and was first applied to those who poisoned their patients with mercury. Because the Arabians had successfully used mercurial ointment in the treatment of scabies (itch) and because “syphilis” produced sores somewhat like scabies, the ungentum Saracenicun was adopted by European physicians for treating the scurge of “syphilis.” Jacob Carpensic was the first to use mercury in treating syphilis in 1502.
In 1630 Fracastorius advised infusions of mint, hops, thyme, and guaiac. He insisted on sweating, saying: “when one perspires, the rottenness leaves the body with the drops of sweat.” He also advised purging and bleeding, but above all, he praised mercuric inunctions, which he pushed up to the point of salivation. In 1648 Femel sustained the original claim of Paracelsus that mercury is a specific and the only specific for “syphilis.”
Eventually, mercuric inunctions were employed to such an extent that the gums of “the patients softened and their teeth fell out.” The quacks, however, promising quicker results gave such huge doses that as many patients succumbed to the drug as to the disease.
“They filled their patients’ stomachs with mercury pills; painted and greased them with mercury salves, and as an afterthought baked them in ovens until one early author observed that ‘the stench of frying fat was through the air.'”
Mercury, however, was almost as dangerous to the patient as the disease, especially when supplemented by the bleeding, the purging, and the sweating that characterized the treatment of the day. With no standardized dosage, many patients were poisoned, and died at the hands of over zealous physicians. In the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries German candidates for the doctor’s degree were made to take an oath that they would under no conditions prescribe mercury for their patients. Doctors who did so were denounced as ‘poison mixers and murderers.'” (http://www.whale.to/a/shelton_sy.html#Chapter_9.__THE_BEGINNING_OF_QUACKERY_)
Worse than mercury treatment was the insidious myth that syphilis could be cured through sexual intercourse with a virgin (usually a child). It was not only a real practice in the 18th century, but sadly persists even today in AIDS infected third world nations.
5) Charles James Fox certainly would have been a contemporary of Ludovic DeVere. He was indeed raised by an absurdly indulgent father who took him on his Grand Tour at age fourteen, taught him to gamble, and arranged the loss of his virginity at a Parisian brothel. Fox’s subsequent escapades are the stuff of Georgian legend.
From Gale Encyclopedia of Biography:
The third son of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, Charles James Fox seemed destined almost from birth to follow his father’s political career. Although he held high office for a shorter time than his father, he became more famous and far better loved. He also seemed destined to continue with William Pitt the Younger the intense political rivalry that their fathers had begun.
Of his two older brothers, one died in infancy and the other was sickly, so the father heaped affection and attention on Charles. Overindulged in his youth, Charles never developed the qualities of restraint or self-discipline. Indeed, Charles’s father apparently preferred to encourage a lack of inhibition, for he introduced his son at a tender age to an extravagant and dissipated way of life that was to remain with him always.
Fox’s carefree, easygoing manner and his great personal charm won for him a large number of friends, although many people were shocked by his wild and irresponsible behavior. He was completely self-indulgent and undisciplined, and his manner of life was thoroughly irregular. Nothing better typifies that aspect of his character than his later relationship with his mistress, Mrs. Elizabeth Armistead. After his connection with her had lasted more than 10 years, he married her in 1795 but kept the marriage a secret until 1802.
6) The Hôtel Aphrodisiasis also entirely fictional, but was inspired by The famed Parc aux Cerfs of Louis XV, a private residence where the king housed his “harem.” From The Memoirs of the Comtesse Du Barry:
Since this word Parc-aux-Cerfs has escaped my pen, I will tell you something of it. Do you know, my friend, that but little is known of this place, of which so much has been said. I can tell you, better than any other person, what it really was, for I, like the marquise de Pompadour took upon myself the superintendence of it, and busied myself with what they did there. It was, entre nous, the black spot in the reign of Louis XV., and will cost me much pain to describe.
The vices of Louis XV. were the result of bad education. When an infant, they gave him for governor the vainest, most coxcombical, stupidest of men—the duc de Villeroi, who had so well served the king (si bien servi le rot).*Never had courtier so much courtiership as he. He saw the young prince from morning till night, and from morning till night he was incessantly repeating in his ears that his future subjects were born for him, and that they were all dependent on his good and gracious pleasure. Such lessons daily repeated, necessarily destroyed the wise instructions of Massillon. When grown up, Louis XV. saw the libertinism of cardinal Dubois and the orgies of the regency: madame de Maillis’ shameless conduct was before his eyes and Richelieu’s also. Louis XV. could not conduct himself differently from his ministers and his family. His timid character was formed upon the example of others. At first he selected his own mistresses, but afterwards he chose some one who took that trouble off his hands. Lebel became purveyor in chief to his pleasures; and controlled in Versailles the house known as the Parc-aux-Cerfs.
As soon as the courtiers knew of the existence and purposes of this house, they intrigued for the control of it. The king laughed at all their efforts, and left the whole management to Lebel, under the superintendence of the comte de Saint-Florentin, minister of the royal household. They installed there, however, a sort of military chief, formerly a major of infantry, who was called, jestingly, M. de Cervieres; his functions consisted in an active surveillance, and in preventing young men from penetrating the seraglio. The soldiers at the nearest station had orders to obey his first summons. His pay was twelve thousand livres a year.
A female styled the surintendante had the management of the domestic affairs; she ruled with despotic sway; controlled the expenses; preserved good order; and regulated the amusement of her charges, taking care that they did not mix one with the other. She was an elderly canoness of a noble order, belonging to one of the best families in Burgundy. She was only known at the Parc as Madame, and no one ventured to give her any other title. Shortly after the decease of Mme. de Pompadour, she had succeeded in this employ a woman of low rank, who had a most astonishing mind. Louis XV. thought very highly of her, and said that if she were a man he would have made her his minister. She had put the harem on an admirable system, and instructed the odalisques in all the necessary etiquette.
The Madame of my time was a woman of noble appearance, tall, ascetic, with a keen eye and imperious manner. She expressed a sovereign contempt for all the low-born beauties confided to her trust. However, she did not treat her wards ill, for some one of them might produce a passion in the heart of the king, and she was determined to be prepared for whatever might fall out. As to the noble ladies, they were her favourites. Madame did not divide her flock into fair and dark, which would have been natural, but into noble and ignoble.
Besides Madame, there were two under-mistresses, whose duties consisted in keeping company with the young ladies who were placed there. They sometimes dined with new comers, instructed them in polite behaviour, and aided them in their musical lessons, or in dancing, history, and literature in which these tftves were instructed. Then followed a dozen women of lower station, creatures for any service, half waiting women, half companions, who kept watch over the young ladies, and neglected nothing that could injure each other at every opportunity. The work of the house was performed by proper servants and male domestics, chosen expressly for their age and ugliness. They were paid high, but in return for the least indiscretion on their part, they were sent to linger out their existence in a state prison. A severe watch was kept over every person of either sex in this mysterious establishment. It was requisite, in fact, that an impenetrable veil should be cast over the frailties of the king; and that the public should know nothing of what occurred at the Parc-aux-Cerfs.
The harlot and the statesman: the story of Elizabeth Armistead & Charles James Fox by I.M. Davis
Memoirs of the Comtesse Du Barry: with minute details of her entire career … By Etienne-Léon Lamothe-Langon (baron de)
Is there any film more lush than DANGEROUS LIAISONS? Since this story took place in France, it can’t technically be considered a Georgian piece, but it was my first introduction into the world view of that culture, the hedonistic, pleasure-seeking of the eighteenth century aristocracy. From what I have read, this was as true in Georgian England as in pre-Revolutionary France.
In the fabulous Devil DeVere series written by my host, Emery Lee, under her alter ego’s nom de plume, Victoria Vane, we are given a look into that world. Innocent it is not, but there is a certain measure of joy the characters take in their debauchery that seems almost carefree.
While the nobility of both the Georgian and the Regency periods live in opulent luxury, the Regency brings us the Napoleonic wars and their aftermath. After the Revolution in France, the world is changed. Perhaps only the Prince Regent himself continues to embody the complete obsession with pleasure and self indulgence.
My heroine, Caroline Montague, becomes an adult just as the wars with Napoleon are ending. Those wars kept her from her father for much of her childhood. Though she was allowed to run almost wild across the moors in Yorkshire, she has a keen sense of duty and an almost worshipful devotion to her absent father. When Baron Montague returns from the war with the man he has chosen for her, it never occurs to Caroline to balk, though she is a strong-willed young woman. Though the Regency period allows for girls to embark on Seasons in London where they might catch a husband in the Marriage Mart just as they once had done during the Georgian period, marriages are still arranged primarily for family alliance financial gain.
Though Georgian England was often at war, the scope of the Napoleonic wars so close on the heels of the French Revolution engulfed the whole of Europe, changing history. Anthony Carrington and Caroline Montague, both of whom had their lives changed by those wars, come together with more of a somber attitude than the devil-may-care Georgians. The Regency a distinctly different world in which to fall in love.
ABOUT CHRISTY ENGLISH
After years of acting in Shakespeare’s plays, Christy is excited to bring the Bard to Regency England. She can often be found hunched over her computer, immersed in the past. Her latest novel is HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew. She is also the author of the historical novels TO BE QUEEN and THE QUEEN’S PAWN. Please join her on her website http://www.ChristyEnglish.com