Meet the Characters – Emma Smythe from A Gentleman’s Promise by Penny Hampson

I’m delighted to welcome historical romance author Penny Hampson to my blog today. Penny is interviewing her protagonist Emma Smythe from her lastest Regency Romance novel, A Gentleman’s Promise.

Let’s find out a bit about the book first.


A docile wife is what he wants. A husband is the last thing she needs. Can a quest for a killer teach them that they are both wrong?

Emma Smythe and her brother arrive at Easterby Hall to discover that a handsome stranger has laid claim to their ancestral home and the family title. Have her relatives been murdered, and is her brother next? Determined to find the answers, she has no option but to trust the gentleman who insists that he will help. But danger appears in many guises, and for a woman intent on remaining single, her intriguing protector may prove the biggest threat of all.

The attempts on Richard Lacey’s life begin when he inherits a title and a rundown estate. A coincidence? He’s not so sure. Problems multiply with the unexpected arrival of Jamie and Emma Smythe. Long thought dead, they too are potential targets. Richard thinks he wants a docile, obedient wife, but will the task of keeping headstrong Emma safe from danger change his mind?

Embroiled in a sinister mystery, can Richard and Emma work together to catch a killer? And will this dangerous quest teach them that what they both wish to avoid is exactly what they need?

Filled with intrigue, unexpected twists, and faultless period detail, this slow-burn romance is a must-read for lovers of classic Regency fiction.

You can buy the book here:

Now let’s move onto Penny’s interview with Emma.

Hello Emma, it’s good to meet you. I understand that you have had a few challenges recently, is that right?

Oh, dear me, yes, you could say that. In fact there were times when I almost despaired of getting back to England. You see, my father, an avid antiquarian, was determined to make important archaeological discoveries and so he took us with him when he travelled down to the southernmost tip of Greece. I was only seventeen years old at the time and France and the United Kingdom had temporarily called a halt to hostilities. Alas, that didn’t last long.

Anyhow, that’s how the four of us – me, my parents, and my little brother, Jamie, found ourselves living in the small coastal village of Gytheion. It was fine for a while, in fact I quite enjoyed helping Father to write up his findings. I’m rather well educated for a female, you see.

That sounds idyllic.

I suppose it was. I enjoy using my brain, I’m not the sort of female who likes to sit and sew. However, something troubled me all the time we were living there. You see, once we arrived in Greece, all communication with my father’s family back in England ceased. Father dismissed my worries and told me all was well, but I knew that something was wrong. Anyway, there was nothing I could do but wait until Father decided it was time to return.

How long did you stay in Greece?

Nearly seven years, so quite a long time. We were all set to start our journey then disaster struck.

Goodness, what happened?

The day before we were due to set off overland, Mother and Father went for a last sail along the coast, leaving Jamie and I at home. It was the last time we saw them. It took a week before we discovered what had happened – a sudden storm and their boat capsized. I knew then that it was my responsibility to get my brother home. 

How did you manage that?

I can be quite determined, I’m not a milk-and-water miss. Of course, we had help to begin with; our Greek housekeeper’s family were merchants and they got us as far as Gibraltar. We made the rest of the way back on our own. I, erm, also disguised myself as a boy. I cut off my hair and dressed in my brother’s clothes. It’s terribly shocking, I know. You won’t tell anybody, will you?

So you got home safely, that must have been a relief.

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But I’m afraid that there was even worse to come. When we reached the gates of the family estate in Minster Lovell, I knew something was wrong. Everything looked neglected and not the way my grandfather would have left it. Even worse, when Jamie knocked on the door, the butler wouldn’t let us in – he said we were imposters! It was then that, overcome with exhaustion, I passed out.

How dreadful! What happened next?

I was told that the gentleman who now claims to hold our family title, ordered us to be brought in. Luckily, we were then recognised by the old retainers.

The gentleman, Richard Lacey, claims to be our distant cousin, says he doesn’t want the title, and has offered to help us sort things out. He told us that my uncle’s death was suspicious and that since he was granted the title there have been several attempts on his life. He’s worried that Jamie may also be at risk.

Oh dear, it’s all very troubling. I have to keep Jamie safe. And although Richard is very plausible, I’m not sure whether I can trust him. Besides, even if he is telling the truth, he’s far too dangerous.

What do you mean?

Well… I shouldn’t really say this, but I will. I’ve no intention of getting married. My mother warned me, you see. She told me that no matter how charming a gentleman is, once he has his ring on your finger he will change. I can’t pretend to be a docile female and I hate the idea of being someone’s chattel. My recent adventures have also given me a taste for adventure. No, I don’t see myself living the quiet domestic life that a husband would expect.

Richard Lacey however, is very charming and he has promised to treat me as an equal while we investigate what has been going on. It will take a great deal of willpower to resist the growing attraction that I feel towards him.  


‘The suspense surrounding the mystery makes this an incredibly compelling read, with a swoon-worthy romance interwoven seamlessly into the story. A definite 5 star read for me.’ Bookmadjo – Blogger

‘A fast-paced Regency whodunit that ticks all the right boxes. Highly recommended.’ Cathie Dunn – Bestselling Author.

It sounds a great read, doesn’t it? You can get a copy here:

Meet Penny

About Penny

Penny Hampson writes mysteries, and because she has a passion for history, you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel, which was shortly followed by more in the same genre. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romanceset in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog:



Penny’s Books:

THE GENTLEMEN SERIES (Regency Historical Mystery/Romances)

A Gentleman’s Promise (new edition): purchase link ~

An Officer’s Vow: purchase link ~

A Bachelor’s Pledge: purchase link ~

The Unquiet Spirit (A spooky contemporary mystery/romance) purchase link ~

Dark Scotland (An anthology of dark stories set in Scotland) includes ‘The Rowan Tree’, one of Penny’s short stories. All royalties got to two Scottish charities. Purchase link ~

Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Penny. I hope it flies!


Treat yourself to some sun, sea and romance set in gorgeous Cornwall!

Grab a copy here! Amazon

One thought on “Meet the Characters – Emma Smythe from A Gentleman’s Promise by Penny Hampson

  1. Thank you for featuring one of my characters on your blog, Karen. Emma enjoyed chatting to you!

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