Who better to describe an English spring than William Wordsworth?
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
After the death of winter, spring brings burgeoning life and new beginnings. In my Regency novel, Rules of Conduct, Viola has lost her memory. Her new life at the beautiful, Vale Park dressed in its spring finery, is filled with uncertainty and frustration as she falls deeply in love with her new benefactor. Even if Viola had not broken the strict, Regency rules of conduct, Hugh Beauchamp, the Duke of Vale is promised to another.
Blurb: Viola has broken all the rules of conduct. Members of the Ton, including the Prince of Wales, circle like wolves. If she is to become a mistress, will it be to the man she loves, the Duke of Vale, after he marries another?
Here are two short excerpts from Rules of Conduct, coming to print in April/May.
Later that morning, the girl set out with the Duke in his phaeton. They bowled along a lane cutting across the top of a hill, the valley spread out below them in a patchwork of green fields and white blossoming hedgerows, dotted here and there with the vibrant red of the dog rose.
In different circumstances I would enjoy this, she thought, but bouncing around in the open carriage made her head pound again, and she longed to crawl back into bed. She gritted her teeth and clung to the plain straw bonnet Mrs. Moodie had provided for the trip.
The Duke glanced her way. “All right there?”
“Yes, thank you, your grace. This is a fine phaeton. You drive it to the inch.”
“A good vehicle, I find. It suits me.”
“The Phaeton was named after an ancient Greek. The son of Helios, wasn’t it? He borrowed his father’s chariot and would’ve set heaven and earth on fire with his fearless driving, if Zeus hadn’t slain him with a thunderbolt.”
The Duke’s eyebrows rose as he said, “Then it’s to be hoped the skies remain clear for us today.”
She glanced up at the sapphire arch of sky strewn with wisps of cloud like cracked old china. “Perhaps you should slow down just a little,” she said. “Cum feriunt unum non unum fulmina terrent.”
“My word!” he cried, almost overcorrecting on a tight bend. Once the bend had been negotiated and road straightened out again, he looked at her, shaking his head. “Latin. Ovid, I believe. Wait a minute. ‘When the lightning strikes but one…not one only does it alarm.’ It seems you’ve been educated in the Classics. Why, what a mystery you are proving to be.”
She smiled faintly. “I am, am I not?”
Hugh and Viola stopped at the top of the hill and looked down on the tiny farmhouses, on the far side of the river. Fields of wheat formed kaleidoscope shapes in the shifting breeze.
Hugh pointed to an area of lush green pastureland. “It floods at least once every year, cutting off the only road in and out of the valley.”
They rode down the hill, reigning in when they reached the bottom.
It was a very different world on this side of the hill. Oaks and chestnuts stood alone in the cleared fields, their spreading branches a shelter for the spring lambs. Crossing a small bridge, they trotted their horses along the edge of the river. A group of children played on the banks, tossing stones into the fast flowing water. They stopped to watch as Viola and Hugh rode up.
The tallest, a barefooted, shaggy-headed boy, ran up to Hugh. “It’s the Dook, it’s the Dook!” he cried. The rest held back shyly.
Hugh dismounted, took a pile of sweetmeats from his pocket, and tossed them to him. “Share them,” he instructed.
Rules of Conduct is published by Awe-Struck Publishing.
Bio: Maggi Andersen is an Australian author of Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense and Young Adult Novels. Maggi lives in the countryside outside Sydney with her husband and their demanding cat. Her novels can be found on Amazon.com and her website.