It’s an absolute pleasure today to welcome Rachel Brimble as my guest – the second standalone book in her Ladies of Carson Street series, Trouble For The Leading Lady, was published by Aria on 4th March, and is now available for kindle (free with Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US.
You might have noticed that Rachel and her latest book have just completed a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources, so there are plenty of reviews to whet your appetite. I wish I could have been part of it, but I just couldn’t manage it this time – so (sadly) no review from me today. But I’m delighted she’s joined me today to tell us more about Nancy’s story…
My love of history and period drama started around the age of 12 when I sat beside my mum and tuned into the US series, North & South. Admittedly, I was probably too young to watch such an intense (somewhat sexy in places!) drama and likely was unable to follow most of the plot. But it was the costumes, the colour, the drama of romance, family connections and relationships that pulled me in and didn’t let go…
Having wanted to write for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t long after my first contemporary romance was published in 2007, that I embarked on my long-held dream to write historical romances. I decided to write a Victorian romance and was thrilled when The Arrival of Lily Curtis was published by the Wild Rose Press in 2010.
Since then, I have written both contemporary and historical romances (at least two books a year), but historical has remained my first love.
My latest series, the Ladies of Carson Street, is set in Bath and begins in 1851, centring around three women who live and work in a high-end brothel. Each of their backgrounds and the circumstances that led them into prostitution is different and was inspired by my reading of Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five. An in-depth exploration into the lives of The Ripper’s five victims, this book truly opens your eyes to how, in a time when women were almost always treated as second-class citizens, circumstances beyond their control meant they had extremely limited choices.
My series opens with A Widow’s Vow which is Louisa’s story – after her husband is found hanged, all Louisa is left with is a property in Bath which she had no idea existed. She and her best friend, Nancy, feel they have no option but to fall back on their previous occupation. The theme is survival, female empowerment and, of course, love!
Book 2 (both books can be read as single titles) is Trouble For The Leading Lady which is Nancy’s story. A feisty, loving, good-time girl, Nancy has had dreams of being on stage since she was a little girl but, after a terrible incident when she was barely fourteen, she purposefully buried her dreams… until she meets theatre manager, Francis Carlyle.
Could it finally be Nancy’s time to take the stage??
Thank you Rachel! Let’s take a look at the blurb…
As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath’s Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.
His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.
Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he’d find her standing on a table in one of Bath’s bawdiest pubs.
Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?
The second in Rachel Brimble’s thrilling new Victorian saga series, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.
And an extract too? My pleasure…
The good-humoured calls came from every direction as the woman held court. Francis shoved ever closer. Nancy. If he left the Hart with nothing else at least he had her name. Inhaling a deep breath, he pushed between the two men ahead of him and damn near fell against the bar right beside her.
She leaped out of the way, her eyebrows raised, her happy gaze immediately shadowing with a hint of wariness. ‘Well, who do we have here?’
Francis stood firm, his feet planted, and his arms crossed over his folder as he braced against the men shoving at his back. ‘A man determined to buy a drink for the woman with the most fantastic voice I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear.’
Her gaze travelled over his face and she took a step back, her eyes steely and body seeming to grow a little stiff. ‘Is that so? Well, I thank you, but there’s plenty around you looking to buy me a drink and that’s not something a girl likes to easily ignore.’
Francis stared into her eyes, fascinated that someone could produce such a soft, sentimental sound when she sang. ‘I think it would be wise that you allow me to buy you a drink.’
‘You do, do you?’
‘Yes, and then we should retire to a table where we can talk further.’
She studied him before she turned away to address the rather eager-looking young man standing on her other side. ‘Billy, I’ll have a glass of ale if you don’t mind.’
‘Coming right up, Nancy.’
Francis stood like a prize idiot staring at the back of her head, words flailing on his tongue. What in God’s name was he supposed to do now? Men jostled and shouted all around him as she engaged in conversation with the lad.
Francis looked to her female companion and was met by her amused gaze as she smiled at him with a certain air of pity.
The challenge was clear.
Riled, yet even more intrigued by the auburn-haired and considerably feisty Nancy, Francis cleared his throat and tapped her on the shoulder. ‘I really think you should accept my offer of a drink, miss.’
‘Is that so? Well, whether you think me rude, ungrateful or just not interested, I don’t take kindly to pushy strangers insisting I do anything. So, if you’d like to go about your business…’
‘I have a proposition I think you should at least listen to.’
‘You really think a lot of yourself don’t you, Mr…?’
‘Carlyle.’ He held out his hand. ‘Francis Carlyle. Nice meet you, Nancy.’
She tentatively slid her hand into his and spoke over her shoulder. ‘Sorry, Billy, but I think I’ll take a drink from Mr Carlyle here. He seems to think himself someone special.’
About the author
Rachel Brimble lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street series, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
In 2019 she signed a new three book contract with Aria Fiction for a Victorian trilogy set in a Bath brothel. The first book, A Widow’s Vow was released in September 2020 followed by book 2 Trouble For The Leading Lady in March 2021 – it is expected that the final instalment will be released in the Autumn 2021.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
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