today we’re thrilled to be part of Gill Paul‘s blog tour for her new release, ‘No Place for a Lady’. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Many thanks to MidasPR and Avon UK for inviting us to be part of the blog tour. Read on for the extract and as always, buy links are at the bottom of the post.
Now, eleven months later, she is standing on a hilltop in the Crimean peninsula, and realising she might never see Charlie alive again. She could even be killed herself, or taken prisoner by the Russians – she’s not sure which would be worse. There is a bright flash down below, then a deafening explosion shakes the ground and she sinks to her knees interror. ‘Dear God,’ she prays silently. ‘Please save Charlie and please save me. I want to go home again. I want to go back where we belong.’
11th January, 1854
Dorothea Gray watched as Henderson walked slowly round the dining table dispensing devilled kidneys with a clatter of cutlery on a silver serving dish. Her sister Lucy waved him away but Dorothea accepted a modest portion, while their father licked his lips and directed the butler to heap his plate with spoonful after spoonful.
The meaty, tangy smell mingledwith that of freshly baked rolls and a certain mustiness that permeated the dining room, a mysterious odour no amount of spring-cleaning could shift. The girls’ father lifted The Times, neatly folded into quarters, intending to peruse the front page as he ate, but was interrupted by Lucy, who lobbed a question across the breakfast table with studied casualness.
‘Papa, would it be acceptable if Captain Harvington comes to call on you around eleven this morning? There’s something he wishes to discuss with you.’
Dorothea looked up, instantly suspicious.
‘What’s that? Captain Harvington? Do I know him?’ He frowned and peered over the rim of his glasses.
‘Of the 8th Hussars. You’ve met him several times, Papa. He joined us for dinner the evening before last. Remember he made you laugh with his impression of Lord Aberdeen?’
Still her father couldn’t recollect the man and he screwed up his eyes with the effort. Dorothea interrupted: ‘What might Captain Harvington wish to see Father about?’ As soon as she said the words, the answer came to her: ‘You’re not planning on getting engaged, are you? You’ve only known each other a matter of weeks. Besides, he may have to go to war soon if the Russians don’t withdraw from the Turkish territories on the Danube.’
Lucy tilted her chin defiantly. ‘No, we’re not bothering to get engaged; we plan to marry straight away so that I can sail with him if he has to go to the Turkish lands. He says officers are allowed to take their wives along.’
Dorothea gasped and put down her fork. ‘But that’s ridiculous! What gentleman would ask his wife to go to war with him? It’s an appalling idea.’ She glanced at her father but he was savouring a bite of kidney, oblivious to the storm brewing between his daughters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gill Paul is a writer of meticulously researched historical fiction. Her five novels include Women and Children First (set on the Titanic and published in 2012 for the centenary of the sinking) and The Affair (set in Rome in the early 1960s, and published in May 2013, on the 50th anniversary of the release of the Burton-TaylorCleopatra movie). Gill has written several non-fiction books, including Royal Love Stories and World War I Love Stories.
‘A wonderfully imagined peek into the fabulous excesses of the Burton-Taylor relationship, from booze-fuelled spats to their intoxicating chemistry.’ Hello! Magazine review of The Affair
“It’s a galloping good story, and the author has clearly done her research and has a good grasp of the period.” Natasha McEnroe, Director, Florence Nightingale Museum