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Here's a quick round up of news on a wet day in Oxfordshire!

First up, thank you to everyone who entered yesterday's blog contest to win a copy of Whisper of Scandal and the beautiful bookmark kindly donated by Mary Gramlich. The winner, chosen as ever by Monty the dog, was Zaziah! Congratulations!
Next book news, and the lovely Renee Olsthoorn has let me know that Confessions of a Duchess has just been published in Dutch and the other Brides of Fortune books are to follow. Thank you, Renee! It's always great to hear about foreign editions because I usually don't know until my copies arrive.
Today it is pouring with rain but at the weekend it was beautiful weather and I had the pleasure of a visit from romantic comedy author and fellow history enthusiast Victoria Connelly. Here is Victoria and her adorable dog Molly at my all time favourite historic house, Ashdown (of course!) No, I wasn't holding the camera at an angle - the house really is built on a slope!
Today i…
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The Regency Country Cottage!

Today I am blogging at the Word Wenches on the Regency country cottage and the fact that the "mean habitations" of the villagers were a far cry from the rustic prettiness of the "gentleman's cottage." Visit the Word Wenches blog here!
Meanwhile I have a giveaway here on the blog! Mary Gramlich "The Reading Reviewer" located at has very kindly donated her Advanced Reading Copy of Whisper of Scandal along with a lovely book mark to celebrate the start next month of my new series. If you would like to enter the contest for this ARC please go to her website and tell me what there is a picture of at the bottom left hand corner of her home page. Clue: It's most appropriate for "The Reading Reviewer"! Email me the answer at for the chance to win!

Wayward Women!

Thank you very much to all those who volunteered to help me test drive my new website!
Today I am blogging at the UK Historical Authors Blog about women travellers in the late 18th and early 19th century. Yes the photo is taken rather later than that (!) but I thought it summed up the intrepid spirit!

A Plea for Help!

Hello! Today I'm asking for help with a spot of website testing. I have a brand new, gorgeous website coming soon and next week we need to test it to make sure there are no problems before launch. What I am looking for is people who enjoy reading historical romance books and who can also:
Spend 1-2 hours on the site, see if all the links work, surf around and report anything confusing, spot any errors or typos and give an overall impression of the site. I'll want people to be honest. I'm (not) thick skinned but I need to know anyway. Did you get bored? Did you get frustrated? Did you get lost? Did you love it? Did you want more? Is anything missing?
If you would like to help, please email me on and I will send you all the details. I'm really excited about the site and want to make sure it's ready for launch.
And as a sign of my appreciation I am offering all my testers a small gift to say thank you for your work - an Amazon book token. Because …

Lost in a Forest

There aren't many places in England (as opposed to the UK) where you can still get lost in a wilderness and there are even fewer ancient forests where you can wander for hours without seeing another person. Savernake Forest is one of those few remaining places.

Last weekend we were on another of our "butterflies and history" trips, this time in pursuit of the Purple Emperor, a fabulous gold and purple butterfly that lives in the tree canopy where it feeds on aphid honeydew. Occasionally it will come down to the ground to find sap or in the case of the male, animal droppings, carrion or moist ground to provide salts and minerals. Apparently people will often try and lure the males down from the canopy using everything from banana skins to shrimp paste. I hadn't read this when we set off and so had neither shrimps nor bananas and although we had our own animal with us there were no droppings so perhaps not surprisingly we didn't see a Purple Emperor but we did have…

Off to the Regency Races!

Here is a picture of Manchester racecourse during the nineteenth century. Today I'm blogging over at the Word Wenches about the Georgian and Regency experience of the races and race-going. As this is a blog about gambling there is an ARC of my new book Whisper of Scandal to be won! Please come and join me!

The case of the rival 17th century swimming pools!

Yes, I'm blogging about swimming again, which for someone who is afraid of water seems a bit odd. It must be all the hot and sunny weather we're having. But something caught my eye when I was reading the newspaper over the weekend and sent me off researching the gardens of Oxford and Cambridge colleges, a mysterious and secret world that is fascinating to explore.

And so to Emmanuel College Cambridge which claims that it has (probably!) the oldest swimming bath in the country that is still in use. This glorious little pool was in use as early as 1690 or possibly even earlier. A changing hut in the classical style was built about 1745 and the present thatched hut dates from the mid-19th century. By 1745 a 'plunge' was regarded as good for headache, and 'against the vapours and impotence'. In living memory the water in the pool was dark green with algae, so dark that a Fellow who liked to swim the whole length along the bottom complained that he lost his way. A l…