Highlighting Historical Fiction with Alina K. Field, and the history behind the bubbly in Under the Champagne Moon, one of the stories in Under the Harvest Moon, a Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection
The Under the Harvest Moon Collection is set in the town of Reabridge, Cheshire around the time of the local Harvest Festival.
No Harvest Festival would be complete without raising a toast in gratitude to nature’s abundance. Appropriate libations are required—a nice cider, a good ale, or something stronger.
For Captain Gareth Ardleigh, hero of Under the Champagne Moon, the favored drink is a good French champagne.
Gareth has learned quite a bit about the bubbly drink, having been rescued from French patrols by a French winemaker, a woman famous in the champagne world.
When Gareth returns to England in late summer of 1815, he brings with him several cases of champagne, including some of the coveted Vin de Comète the 1811 vintage. Gareth’s stated purpose in visiting Reabridge is to return the personal effects of an old school friend, killed at Waterloo, to the man’s family. His secret mission is to find a young woman, Fleur Hardouin, who happens to the French winemaker’s long-lost granddaughter. The grandmother has plans to unite two branches of the winemaking business through Fleur’s marriage to a French cousin.
Gareth easily finds his quarry, Fleur Hardouin, but soon realizes Fleur is a poor match for the French cousin who is gallivanting about England meeting merchants and selling champagne at auctions.
My fictional Frenchwoman is based upon the very real Madame Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot. Widowed at a young age, she is famous as the Veuve (Widow) Clicquot, inventor of remuage, or in English, riddling, the technique of removing the sediment from sparkling wine. The Veuve Clicquot was also a savvy businesswoman. She kept her business intact and survived the age of Napoleon, then went on to cultivate markets in Europe and Russia. She’s said to be the first winemaker to sell champagne to the Unites States.
A note about the Vin de Comète
1811 was a banner year for winemakers. The Great Comet of 1811 was first spotted on March 25th that year and was seen as late as December. Apparently, in wine-making, comets have an unexplained favorable influence on crops and wine production. The 1811 wines are some of the most exceptional vintages, all attributed to the comet.
Of course, my hero, Gareth has managed to bring some to England with him. A second son with a very minimal income, his stockpile of Vin de Comète is a hedge against poverty.
About the Book
As the village of Reabridge in Cheshire prepares for the first Harvest Festival following Waterloo, families are overjoyed to welcome back their loved ones from the war.
But excitement quickly turns to mystery when mere weeks before the festival, an orphaned child turns up in the town—a toddler born near Toulouse to an English mother who left clues that tie her to Reabridge.
With two prominent families feuding for generations and the central event of the Harvest Moon festival looming, tensions rise, and secrets begin to surface.
Nine award winning and bestselling authors have combined their talents to create this engaging and enchanting collection of interrelated tales. Under the Harvest Moon promises an unforgettable read for fans of Regency romance.
About Under the Champagne Moon
Orphaned as a child by the French Revolution, Fleur Hardouin’s road has not been easy. Homeless again, she seeks an advantageous marriage as a matter of security. But when she crosses paths with a handsome young captain who, years ago, came to her rescue, she must choose between her heart’s desire and practicality.
Saved from French troops by a French vintner, Gareth Ardleigh promised to find his rescuer’s granddaughter, Fleur, for a marriage that will unite two branches of the family business. But when he finds her, he must choose between honoring a promise or pursuing the woman he loves.
Release day is October 10, 2023.
Pre-order your copy today: https://books2read.com/UnderHarvestMoon
USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature but prefers the happier world of romance fiction. Her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., but after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with a golden-eyed terrier and a feisty chihuahua and only occasionally misses snow.
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