Barbara Allen

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Laura Mills-Alcott who loves Barbara Allen and makes sure we do too.

When I decided to write my first romance, I needed a story to write. I decided to write a story inspired by the beloved old ballad “Barbara Allen”. 

I’d first heard the ballad on Dolly Parton’s “Heartsongs” album, with the Irish group Altan singing the Irish language lyrics. “Barbara Allen” was one of the favored ballads of immigrants who came to America from England, Ireland and Scotland, and was handed down from generation to generation. It has been recorded by many artists over the years, was one of Child’s ballads, has been included in many works of poetry and song, and can be traced at least back to the 1600s. It was also featured in the movie “Songcatcher”.

If you’ve never heard the ballad, it is haunting and the end of the song is positively tragic. 

They buried her ‘neath the old church wall
And William’s grave was neigh her
From William’s grave there grew a red rose
From Barbara’s grave a briar

They grew and grew up the old church wall
Til they could grow no higher
They lapped and tied in a true love knot
The rose wrapped ’round the briar

Now that I had my basic idea for a story, and had done a great deal of research on the ballad, I had to figure out how to turn a tragic ending into a “Happily Ever After”.

The good news is, there is, indeed, a happily ever after.

The Ballad—keep listening. There are many versions.


About the Book

THE BRIAR…One moment Raven is alone in the world and working as a maid in the gardens of a grand estate in Ireland; the next she finds herself handed the life of a lady by the dark and handsome Marquess of Castlereagh. Devan insists his intentions are honorable, and that he only wishes to help reunite her with her family. But Raven finds herself in a constant struggle to deny the smoldering attraction between them, and in her secret heart, wishes he wanted more.

THE ROSE…Devan, Marquess of Castlereagh, is tormented by his past and determined to live out his days in quiet solitude at his Ireland estate. That is until Raven enters his life. With the face of an angel, the body of Aphrodite, and the tongue of a drunken Irishman, he’s never met any woman so infuriating… so seductive… so… his match.

THE LEGEND…From historical Ireland and its mystical legends to the elegant ballrooms of Regency London, together Devan and Raven discover the truth of the past and a love so strong it cannot be denied.

About the Author

Laura Mills-Alcott’s first love was music, and she began her writing career at the age of eleven, when she wrote her first song. After graduating high school, she moved to Nashville, and some of her music was published. 

In The Briar and the Rose, she combines her love of music with her love for romantic novels and history.

Laura and her work have been featured in Romantic Times Magazine, on the “Talk America Radio Network”, and she acted as a consultant for the daytime talk show “The Other Half” on a segment dealing with why women read romance novels. Her non-fiction interviews have been published in newspapers and online, and her short stories have been published in a variety of print and electronic formats.

Laura currently resides in NE Ohio with her husband, where she spends her time restoring historical homes, and owns a remodeling company – Regency Remodeling – with her husband. She loves spending time with her children and two beautiful grandchildren, as well as her three dogs, and too many cats.

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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