This week Highlighting Historical Romance will cover Book 1 in my Children of Empire series, which begins in Canada.
When I set out to create a series in which the descendants of my Regency heroes and heroines set out to the outposts of empire, the first setting that came to mind was our neighbor up north. There are several reasons for this.
Canada has been described to those of us in the U.S. as “friendly, familiar, foreign, and near.” It is all those things to me. I grew up crossing the border, usually at Detroit, to attend family reunions on the farm of my grandfather’s cousins. The crossing reinforced in my mind national sovereignty. The family reinforced familiarity.
As a life-long lover of history who spent a large part of her growing up years in Michigan and Ohio (with a bit in New England), it is impossible to study my own country’s history without a glimpse above the border. It made me more confident writing a story set in Upper Canada (what is now Ontario) than many other places. Along the way, I learned even more. I became quite enchanted by the building of Bytown (now Ottawa) and the Rideau Canal, which at the time of the story had just opened, but which is now a Unesco World Heritage site.
The third reason has to do with the hero of the story. Rand Wheatly first appears as a boy in my novella A Dangerous Nativity (which is always available for ***FREE***). The series concerns the three cousins who are boys in A Dangerous Nativity, who have been driven apart by a deceitful woman rebuild their lives in the far corners of the Empire. Love will of bring them all home to England and their aristocratic family, but each of them will have to find the courage to embrace it. Rand is no exception.
Rand was the sweetest of the cousins, the most sensitive, and therefore the one most hurt by the troubles between them. He not only flees from England and his family, he becomes a curmudgeonly recluse. He was also the one that loves the land, with a passion for growing things. His story opens with him happily living in an isolated cabin on the edge of the Canadian wilderness, growing food and flower, surrounded by animals. No other setting would do! Besides, the past has toughened him up and given him a ruthless streak. He is also buying up land and building a timber empire.
The result was The Renegade Wife.
About the Book
Betrayed by his cousin and the woman he loved, Rand Wheatly fled England, his dreams of a loving family shattered. He clings to his solitude in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. Returning from a business trip to find a widow and two children squatting in his house, he flies into a rage. He wants her gone, but her children are sick and injured, and his heart is not as hard as he likes to pretend.
Meggy Blair harbors a secret, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her children safe. She hopes to hide with her Ojibwa grandmother if she can find the woman and her people. She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a quiet, solitary man, a man who lowers his defensive walls enough to let Meggy and her children in.
Their idyllic interlude is shattered when Meggy’s brutal husband appears to claim his children. She isn’t a widow, but a wife, a woman who betrayed the man she was supposed to love, just as Rand’s sweetheart betrayed him. He soon discovers why Meggy is on the run, but time is running out. To save them all, Rand must return to his family in the highest society in England and face his demons.
Book 3, The Unexpected Wife, will launch July 25 (and bring the cousins’ journey to a close). This is a good time to begin the series!
You can find books 1 and 2 here: https://www.amazon.com/Renegade-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B01LY7IRT6/
About the Author
You know me, but if you’re interested my biography is here.