It’s always a pleasure to welcome Sarah Mallory as my guest: her latest book, Rescued by her Highland Soldier was published by Mills and Boon Historical/Harlequin on 15th April, and is now available both for kindle and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US.
This is the second in her new series of early 18th century Highland-set adventure romances, Lairds of Ardvarrick – you might remember that Sarah joined me when the first, Forbidden to the Highland Laird, was published in December, and you can catch up on that post here. Let me hand over to Sarah, to tell us more…
It’s May, the sun is shining (or it was when I wrote this!) and I have a new book out. All is right with the world!
Rescued by her Highland Soldier is the second in my Laird of Ardvarrick series and so far, the reaction to it has been good – always a relief to any author! The story is set in the Scottish Highlands in the months following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden. Grant Rathmore, the son of the Laird of Ardvarrick, is fleeing from government troops when he meets Madeleine d’Evremont. She is trying to return to France and Grant agrees to help her.
Living in the Highlands during the 18th century could be difficult. The climate was colder than now because Britain was still in the grip of the Little Ice Age. Edmund Burt, travelling through Scotland in the first half of the 18th century, wrote that “young children of the ordinary Highlanders are miserable objects indeed…mostly overrun with that distemper* which some of the old men are hardly ever freed of from their infancy…. nor are the children of some gentlemen in much better condition…” However, he does say that the way to distinguish a gentleman’s children was the fact that they spoke English! (Burt’s Letters, first published in 1754. *by distemper Burt probably means diarrhoea).
Now that is hardly the stuff of romance! However, tales of Rob Roy and Bonnie Prince Charlie (not to mention the Outlander books and tv series) continue to fascinate us. Highland scenery is spectacular, the costume distinctive and the soldiers are renowned as fierce fighters.
When Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard at Glenfinnan in 1745, many Highlanders were still willing to join the Jacobite cause, despite the harsh restrictions imposed by the British government following earlier troubles.
After the Jacobite uprising of 1715, General Wade recommended the building of military roads in Scotland to make it easier for the army to move around. (This picture is Whitebridge, one of Wade’s bridges that crosses the River Fechlin on the military road that linked the forts of Inverness and Fort Augustus. The bridge is no longer used, but the road is and now forms part of the B862).
The government also built barracks such as the brooding Bernera Barracks at Glen Elg, pictured here, built between 1717 and 1723 and designed to control the crossing to Skye.
To write this book, I was anticipating a glorious few weeks travelling around the Cairngorms and Aberdeenshire but circumstances put paid to that! Fortunately, I had some memories and photos to fall back on, but for some places I had to make a virtual tour of my couple’s route with the help of Ordnance Survey maps and the internet.
Grant and Maddie’s story turned into something of a road trip, full of adventure and romance. Along the way they learn about themselves as well as each other. I thought, to finish, I would give you a short extract from the beginning of the book, just after Grant had saved Madeleine from a serious assault.
There was a self-sufficiency to Mistress d’Evremont that intrigued him. From what she had told him she could not be more than two-and-twenty, but she had the assurance of someone much older—witness how easily she now turned the conversation towards less personal matters.
He followed obligingly. They talked of food, of wine and the weather, neither of them mentioning the recent Jacobite defeat or the current apprehension that gripped the land as government soldiers roamed at will, striking terror into the local inhabitants with their violence and lawlessness. However, he guessed it was still in the lady’s mind, as it was in his. A constant, menacing presence, hanging around and over them like an ugly cloud.At last the meal was done and Grant reluctantly acknowledged that he could delay no longer. He wiped his mouth with the napkin and put it down on the table.
‘I am done. My grateful thanks for your hospitality, Miss d’Evremont, but alas, I cannot stay. The moon, such as it is, will be rising now and I must be on my way.’
‘You are going?’ She looked and sounded surprised.
He shrugged. ‘I have a long journey and I am travelling on foot. Besides, in these lawless times it is safer to travel at night. And if you will take my advice, you will not delay in setting off tomorrow.’ He pushed back his chair and stood up. ‘You should ask our host to let one of his men go with you, or two if he can spare them. It is not safe for a woman to be travelling alone.’
The easy mood had gone and she regarded him solemnly, acknowledging the danger they had tried so hard to ignore for the past few hours.
‘You are quite right, I need an escort.’ She raised her eyes to his. ‘Would you come with me?’
Thank you Sarah – a lovely post, as always!
Rescued by her Highland Soldier
Her rugged Highlander
Is the gallant son of a laird!
Travelling alone through the treacherous Scottish Highlands, Madeleine d’Evremont is saved by rough-looking soldier, Grant Rathmore. Attraction flares between them as he escorts Madeline on her perilous escape to France, until she discovers he’s the heir of a respected Laird! Madeleine knows she must let him go – surely the daughter of a humble adventurer could never be a suitable match for him now?
About the author
I write under the names of Melinda Hammond and Sarah Mallory: I am a proud patron of the Lancashire Authors Association and a long-time member of the Romantic Novelists Association.
I have been telling stories for as long as I can remember – many of them born of frustration when I was stuck in a classroom longing to be rescued! I love anything romantic, whether it is a grand opera or a beautiful painting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be happy, as long as it is inspiring.
I was born in Bristol and grew up on Barton Hill, an area of small terraced houses built in the nineteenth century between the mills and the railway. I think my love of adventure stories is due to the fact that I grew up with three older brothers and lived in a street full of boys! My love of history and the English language was fostered at grammar school, where I soon discovered the delights of Georgian and Regency fiction, first of all with the works of Jane Austen and then Georgette Heyer.
I left school at sixteen to work in companies as varied as stockbrokers, marine engineers, biscuit manufacturers and even a quarrying company, but I never lost my love of history, and when I wasn’t reading and researching the Georgian and Regency period I was writing stories about it.
When I was at home with my first child, I decided to try my hand at writing seriously, and my first historical novel, Fortune’s Lady, was published by Robert Hale in 1980. I have now published more than twenty novels, over a dozen of them as Melinda Hammond, winning the Reviewers Choice award in 2005 from Singletitles.com for Dance for a Diamond and the Historical Novel Society’s Editors Choice in 2006 for Gentlemen in Question. Writing as Sarah Mallory for Harlequin Mills & Boon, The Earl’s Runaway Bride won a coveted CataNetwork Reviewers Choice award for 2010 and I have won the the RNA’s RoNA Rose Award in 2012 and 2013.
After many years living on the West Yorkshire moors, I have now moved to the remote Scottish Highlands. The new house overlooks the sea, where the stunning scenery inspires me to write even more!