Highlighting Historical Fiction with Jude Knight and the facts behind Desperate Daughters
Horse racing was a Regency passion. Many gentlemen bred and trained racehorses. Even more, from all classes, watched and wagered on the races. Nor was it just men. Women, too, loved the sport, and the opportunity to dress up for a day at the trackside.
The best horses competed at famous race tracks around England. There were a number of these centres, all with their own champions, since transporting a horse by any means other than its own four legs was chancy.
In the North of England, that centre was York.
“It is reasonably believed there had always been some form of horseracing from the very earliest moment at which there were two horses and two Yorkshiremen in the county of Ridings.” Robert Black, a 19th-century authority on British racing.
North Yorkshire played its part in the development of the modern Thoroughbred, when Arabian stallions were imported and bred to strong local mares. From these lines came many great racehorses, including Gimcrack, who is still immortalised in the Gimcrack Stakes, the undefeated Eclipse, and Whistlejacket, who was owned by the Marquess of Rockingham.
From 1731, the races took place on the Knavesmire, and the major events of the year might attract crowds over 100,000. As well as racing, they were entertained by side shows, gypsy singers, cock fights, and even public executions.
The gentry combined evening balls at the York Assembly Rooms with afternoons at the races. They enjoyed watching the horses from a grandstand that overlooked the winning post, built in 1755, with a great room on the first floor and more viewing facilities on the roof.
By the mid-18th century, the races were held in August, at the time of the Assizes. By the early 19th century, a second meeting was held in May, finishing with the Race Ball, which marked the end of the York Social Season.
The new Bluestocking Belles collection, Desperate Daughters, features the Spring Social Season in York, and therefore the York Races.
About the Book: Desperate Daughters
The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.
The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.
When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.
They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.
So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and alfresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the Season to a close?
A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection. You can find the individual story blurbs here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/
Desperate Daughters is on preorder for publication on 17 May. Order now to get the preorder price of 99c https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17
About the Author
Jude write historical fiction with a large helping of romance, a splash of Regency, and a twist of suspense. She then tries to figure out how to slot the story into a genre category. She’s mad keen on history, enjoys what happens to people in the crucible of a passionate relationship, and loves to use a good mystery and some real danger as mechanisms to torture her characters.
Dip your toe into her world with one of her lunch-time reads collections or a novella, or dive into a novel. And let her know what you think.