I’m delighted to welcome historical romance author Beth Elliot to my blog today. Beth is interviewing her heroine, Louise Fauriel, from her lastest novel, The Rake and his Honour.
In the summer of 1813 Napoleon’s power is crumbling. Brave Louise Fauriel, from a family of Huguenots in Soho, and charming rake Arnaut de Montailhac, son of a marquis loyal to the French king living in exile in England, are involved in smuggling letters that can change the course of France’s future. Travelling between the Pyrenees, London and Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire, the unlikely pair are followed at every step by Napoleon’s fearsome secret agents. Enduring narrow escapes and last-minute rescues, Arnaut and Louise grow close, but in the desperate race to succeed in their mission, how can a rake find time for love? And Louise questions whether she will ever get what her heart truly desires.
BOOK link https://tinyurl.com/1i5hj34y
On Special Offer!
It sounds a lovely story, doesn’t it? Let’s move on to the interview between Beth and Louise
Good evening, Louise. I fear I’ve caught you at a bad moment.
Indeed, I have an urgent quest to carry out tonight,and beyond that, a huge personal dilemma to resolve. As for bad moments, there have been many. But tonight is truly the worst moment of all. The man I love is lying in the room behind me, too gravely wounded to complete his task and distraught at the idea of failure. For his sake I must succeed. This mission will change the future for most of Europe.
How did you get involved in such an important matter?
In the spring King Louis received reports that Napoleon’s grip on power was slipping. This was Louis’s opportunity to reclaim his throne if he could rally enough support in France. He asked me to make contact with his allies in the south-west. I should explain that we are a French speaking Huguenot family, and work as fine silversmiths in Soho. We get commissions from the French Royal Court in exile at Hartwell House. My grandfather secretly passes information between the King and his royalist agents. That’s why King Louis knew he could trust me to be his messenger.
He expected a young woman to travel alone to an enemy land on a dangerous errand?
‘It will be simply taking a letter and bringing back a reply,’ he told me. How could I refuse the King? Besides, it was a wonderful opportunity to escape from my dull and restricted life in Soho and see a bit of France – the land Grandfather came from as a small boy.
The boat journey went well and then, as it was a very mountainous region, the only way to travel was on horseback. I used to ride as a girl, so that was a treat for me – until two of Napoleon’s agents pursued me. I barely escaped with my life. And that was when I met Arnaut. I thought it very odd to find someone who was obviously an aristocrat living in a cavern.
Was this Arnaut your contact?
No, he was hiding there for reasons of his own. He was definitely a rake with far too much charm, but he saved me from Napoleon’s spies and directed me to my rendezvous with the marquis. My return journey was uneventful. I took the reply to King Louis. That seemed to be the end of my role.
And was it?
Hah! Once powerful people with great ambitions start to use you, it never ends. I had just disciplined myself to accept my normal, humdrum existence again, when Arnaut appeared in our boutique. He had a message from the marquis and needed an introduction to King Louis. Grandfather was unwell so I was obliged to accompany Arnaut to Hartwell House to vouch for him. You understand, Napoleon has spies even among King Louis’s courtiers.
On our journey I was attracted by Arnaut’s warm and lively personality and – well, I had to constantly remind myself we were simply partners in a mission, and hide my feelings.
After much wrangling and delay, Arnaut obtained the vital letter of consent from the king, and we set off to return to London. I could see how important it was to him to achieve this. In spite of his handsome face and charm, he was desperate to accomplish something worthwhile.
But unfortunately, those two agents were close behind us. They kidnapped me and Arnaut was forced to surrender his precious letter in order to obtain my release.
So Napoleon would learn of King Louis’s plans from this letter?
Louise I’ll pass over much of our adventures until we returned to France and reached this safe house. It turned out there was a second letter, and we’ve brought it all this way. Earlier today Napoleon’s agents ambushed us. Arnaut is badly wounded, so now it’s up to me to somehow get past that agent and his helpers, and deliver the letter. All this drama and violence for a piece of paper. But it will change the course of history – if I succeed in getting through.
And after that, will you return to Soho?
Louise No, I was never happy there. Besides, Grandfather has always wanted to return to France. This is a Protestant area, so he can live here safely and in accordance with his beliefs. The problem is that Grandfather dreams of seeing me marry Arnaut. He insists he knows we’re in love. [She sighs ] He refuses to understand we can’t have any further relationship once this adventure is over.
But after travelling with Arnaut for weeks, surely you are now compromised?
After facing so many dangers together, we have become close, – attached, even. But we cannot have a future together. His world is very different from mine. His mother is a princess. No doubt his family has plans for his future. [she blinks rapidly] I’ll always treasure the memory of the adventures we’ve shared. And now, for his sake, it’s urgent for me to set off and fulfil this last part of our quest.
Thank you, brave Louise. May you win through and deliver that important piece of paper safely. And, whatever the obstacles, keep hoping you’ll find happiness.
What readers said about ‘The Rake and his Honour’
5* Good escapism
Oh this was super! There was lots going on and it got a bit tense at times, but overall it was a lovely way to spend a few hours – good escapism, which is exactly what we all need just now. I liked the two central characters and I now want to spend some time with an atlas following all the journeys they made. Deborah
“Messages passed between nobles in France and England, spies bent on killing and maiming the messengers – a widow and a rake, gutsy chances that pay off despite serious injuries, and love that surmounts difference in status, this is a very enjoyable adventure and love story combined.” KF Andersen
Fancy reading it? Grab a copy while it’s on Special Offer!
BOOK link https://tinyurl.com/1i5hj34y
Beth Elliott’s childhood was spent either on the pancake-flat Lancashire plain [school] or in the green hills of wild Mid-Wales [holidays]. Her Welsh relatives were all musical but Beth never could sing a note. Her gift was for the spoken word, making up stories and acting them out with her friends. At school, she wrote long essays about travelling and adventures, based on the novels she devoured from the local library. After discovering Jane Austen, her favourite time and place became the long Regency era.
With her Turkish husband she travelled widely but in time their teaching careers led to them settling in the Thames Valley.
For relaxation, Beth always kept a pile of well-thumbed Georgette Heyer novels by her bed. Eventually, as there would be no more Heyer tales to come, Beth consoled herself by writing a story set in that period. The wit and flair of Georgette Heyer could not be imitated but she needed a new story, a comfort read, laced with adventure, glamour, and featuring handsome young bloods and elegant ladies.
One story led to others, especially as the Napoleonic era provides plot opportunities in plenty and dashing characters [real and imaginary] galore. And thanks to all that travelling, and life in Turkey, some of her tales feature exotic settings and events. According to one reviewer, her novels are “full of enjoyable moments”.
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