Thursday, 24 October 2013

Romy Gemmell: Midwinter Masquerade

Today we're welcoming back author, Romy Gemmell. She was with us back in May for the release of her book, The Aphrodite Touch, book one in the Aphrodite and Adonis Series. Today, we're talking about her latest release, Midwinter Masquerade.

For those who haven't discovered Romy, let me tell you a little about her --

Romy is a career freelance writer who decided to turn her attention to fiction in recent years. She calls herself a 'butterfly writer' because she flits between genres. To date, she has published historical romance, Dangerous Deceit with Champagne Books; paranormal romance, Mischief at Mulberry Manor; and her recent 'tween' novels as Ros Gemmell, Summer of Eagles and The Jigsaw Puzzle with MuseItUp Publishing. And of course The Aphrodite Touch with Tirgearr Publishing, and now Midwinter Masquerade.

Midwinter Masquerade is a unique take on the traditional Regency romance. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, in December 1816, recently widowed Lady Lenora Fitzallen has just received an invitation from a man she used to love--Edward Montgomery. She thought they'd marry, but then one day he was gone. She thought she'd never see him again. Edward's invitation is to a masked ball to be held on the winter solstice. She reluctantly accepts the invitation.While visiting his estate, she befriends Edward's niece and ward, Annabelle, a young woman who frequently finds herself getting into trouble, which adds to the intrigue of the story.

As the solstice nears, another guest arrives in the form of Mr. Henderson. He's there to attend the ball to meet Annabelle, who doesn't like him from their first meeting. While trying to keep Annabelle out of trouble, Lenora is also dealing with her own rekindled affection for Edward. She's meant to remarry on her return home--Robert Masters--and tries keeping this in mind every time her thoughts wander in Edward's direction.

Behind the scenes, there is a secret, the clues of which are starting to unfold. And with the arrival of a mysterious costumed guest at the ball, Lenora must face some truths.

Wow! Lots of intrigue here. At the heart of this story is a sweet romance we've come to expect with Regency romances. But looking deeper, we have an intricate story which revolves around family drama, secrets, mysterious strangers, a troublesome teen, and a villain who must be unmasked, both in the figurative and literal senses. Readers will be pulled in from page one and become one of the costumed ball attendees enjoying a Highland soirée. There are no slow spots in the story to bog down reading. The short chapters will have readers saying, 'Just one more before lights out' but finally turning the last page in the wee hours of the morning. Regency fan or not, this is a lovely story, not just for the holidays and not just for those who love Scotland and Scottish set books. This book has something for everyone who loves sweet romance in a time and place which can only be imagined. Give it a try.

To wet your appetite, here's an extract from the book.

First though, Romy is giving away a copy of Midwinter Masquerade to one random commenter, so be sure to drop her a comment or question (*don't forget your contact email address so we can reach you) to be automatically added in the draw.

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In Edinburgh, December 1816, young widow Lady Lenora Fitzallan accepts an invitation to the country estate of Edward Montgomery, the man she once thought to marry seventeen years previously. Until he left without explanation. Accompanied by her godmother, Lady Pettigrew, Lenora forms a friendship with Edward’s young niece and ward, Annabelle, who has a propensity for getting into scrapes and falling in love with the wrong man.

In the days leading up to the Masquerade Ball on the Winter Solstice, another guest arrives. Mr. Henderson has a particular reason for meeting Annabelle, who distrusts him on sight. Meanwhile, Lenora struggles with her rekindled feelings for Edward, while thinking of Robert Masters, the sophisticated man who hopes to marry her when he returns from abroad. As past secrets begin to unfold, Annabelle is rescued from harm, and a dashing, costumed stranger arrives at the Ball.

Once the past is revealed and the real villain unmasked, Lenora must decide where and with whom her future now lies.

As the carriage departed from her house in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square, Lady Lenora Fitzallan settled back in her seat and contemplated the change to her plans since receiving the unexpected correspondence.

“Let me read the letter again, Lenora, if you will.”

Lenora reached across the short distance and handed the well-folded paper to Lady Clarissa Pettigrew.

Lenora’s godmother read the letter twice over, then handed it back. “How mysterious, my dear. And you had no knowledge of this niece, Annabelle, whom he wishes you to meet?”

“Not only have I never heard of the girl, but I’ve had no contact from Edward Montgomery in seventeen years, which makes his invitation to a midwinter solstice house party and masquerade ball all the more intriguing.”

“One wonders how Mr. Montgomery knows you to be a widow. His invitation would not otherwise have been proffered.”

Lenora turned the letter over in her hand as if the answer to her godmother’s astute question could be found there. “I do not know, Godmother. It is exceedingly curious.” She fingered the firm, sloping signature before returning the missive to her reticule. She knew it by heart, especially the part concerning the unknown niece. A sudden vague remembrance surfaced of rumours about the birth of a child, and she recalled Edward had a younger brother but knew nothing of his life. But why should the girl be in Edward’s care, as the letter inferred?

“Annabelle is becoming even more unruly now she is almost of marriageable age. She appears to be forming an unsuitable attachment to Mr. Frederick Shaw. My purpose in writing is to ask if you might consent to joining a small house party we are to have at Marlings around the winter solstice as part of the festive period. Several of the large houses nearby will be celebrating midwinter with dances and concerts and I am concerned that Annabelle should be in good company.”

Lenora pushed aside her questions, and a niggling little doubt that refused be given substance. She would meet the girl herself soon enough when all questions would be answered.

As the carriage lurched over the cobblestones on its way through the New Town, Lenora had to admit to curiosity about Edward. She tried to picture how Edward Montgomery might now appear and could imagine only a more mature version of the handsome young man who had stolen her heart so many years ago. Now she was no longer a young girl in her first season with hope of an advantageous marriage, but a wealthy widow with several admirers. And yet, a deep part of her longed to fulfil the passion of which she was capable and that had been denied for too long.

As though hearing her thoughts, Lady Pettigrew spoke again. “I dare say Sir Charles Osborne will be nonplussed to find you gone over the festive period, my dear.”

Lenora sighed. “He must surely understand by now that I am not contemplating a future with him. I endured quite enough boredom in my marriage and will never marry again unless for love, for I have no need of security.”

She paused, then decided to keep her other thoughts to herself. There was one more reason for marrying again: to bear a child before she was beyond such a possibility. If she were honest, Edward’s description of a lively, wayward niece sparked more interest in her than the dull, gray streets of Edinburgh in late November.


• • •

A freelance writer for many years, Romy Gemmell’s short stories and articles are published in UK magazines, in the US, and Online and she has won a few short story prizes over the years. Her first historical novel, Dangerous Deceit, was published by Champagne Books in Canada in May 2011 (as Romy), and Victorian novella, Mischief at Mulberry Manor, was published on kindle in December 2012.
First tween novel, Summer of the Eagles, was published by MuseItUp Publishing in Canada in March 2012 (as Ros) and The Jigsaw Puzzle is now released in April 2013. She describes herself as a butterfly writer, as she writes in so many different genres and different styles. Rosemary is a member of the Society of Authors, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She indulged her love of literature and history by achieving a BA hons followed by a Masters in Humanities degree as a mature student. Happily married with two grown-up children, she loves to dance!

Find Romy online --

Tirgearr Publishing


32 comments:

  1. Welcome back, Romy. Congratulations on your latest story, Midwinter Masquerade. Living in Scotland, it's not hard to see why you used your homeland as a setting, but maybe you'll tell our readers why you chose the Regency era for this story. Scotland and Regency seem an unusual combination.

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    1. Thanks, Kemberlee. It's because Scotland is more unusual as a setting at this time, that I partly chose it. I also love winter and the scenery is wonderful here! It's also not such a traditional Regency but is very much set in 1816, the year after Waterloo when the now jobless soldiers had no work. It was also known as the 'year without a summer' - that inspired me to set the masked ball at the winter solstice - a time I love. The novel explores some of the meanings of that!

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    2. It was a good choice. Readers love Scottish romances and there's still a huge Regency fan base to draw from. Good plan to combine the two. Honestly, it would be so fun to have a masked ball in the Scottish Highlands in the winter, especially around the solstice. I particularly appreciated that this story wasn't necessarily a holiday story, steeped in Christmas, but centered around the shorted day of the year, which traditionally falls on 21 December. Not a St Nick in the house. Nice one!

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  2. Many thanks for hosting me here today at Heart of Fiction - excited that Midwinter Masquerade is released today!

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  3. This looks wonderful, everything I want in a Regency. Best luck Romy.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your lovely comment, Rose!

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  4. Congratulations on the release of Winter Masquerade. This novel sounds exciting - you had me at Edinburgh but then the thought of a winter solstice and a masked ball sealed this as a must read for me. I'm ready for some winter reading now!

    Janice xx

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    1. Hi Janice - many thanks for that! Hope you enjoy it.

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  5. It sounds like a richly textured story, Rosemary - my favourite kind. And I love the 'dull, grey streets of Edinburgh in late November.' I would like to be walking there now.
    I'm just rereading one of my favourite old books by Honor Arundel, set in those Edinburgh streets. They have a unique atmosphere.
    The masked ball for the winter solstice is a beautiful idea. I am really looking forward to reading Midwinter Masquerade and I'm sure it will be loved by many, Rosemary. xx

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Joanna! I do hope you enjoy it.

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  6. Hi Rosemary - I'm really looking forward to reading this - especially, I have to say, because it's set in Edinburgh.

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    1. Hi Jennifer - thanks for your comment. It's only partly in Edinburgh, then it moves to the countryside!

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  7. Congratulations on your latest release, Romy! I love the idea of a Regency set in Edinburgh. Wishing you lots of sales!

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    1. Many thanks for commenting, Lindsay, and your good wishes!

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  8. Romy - so looking forward to reading. There's something very evocative about the word Midwinter I think.

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    1. Hi Kate - you know, I feel exactly the same about that word! Thanks for commenting.

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  9. Congratulations once again, Rosemary. As Edinburgh is my home city, I have an extra reason for looking forward to reading Midwinter Masquerade.

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    1. Many thanks, Joan - I hope it doesn't disappoint! But I didn't keep them too long in the city.

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  10. Congratulations. This sounds like a perfect read.

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  11. Congrats on your new release, Rosemary. I'm not a great fan of Regency stories, but you have whetted my appetite with this one. It sounds very intriguing!

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    1. Hi Paula - thanks for that! I know you usually prefer contemporary stories.

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  12. Congratulations on your new release Romy! It sounds intriguing and I can't wait to dig into it. :)

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    1. Many thanks, Kate - I know how exhausted and excited you've been with your own new release, Bound to the Highlander!

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  13. Really looking forward to reading this; particularly love the sound of the masked ball! Congratulations on the release xx

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    1. Hi Vikki - thanks so much for all your support, daughter dear!

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  14. Congratulations on your new release, Ros. It sounds a delightfully romantic read and just the sort of story I love to read over my Christmas holiday. Good luck!

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    1. Many thanks for your lovely comment, Helena!

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  15. Congrats on the new book and I wish you much success! You're excerpt has really peaked my interest.

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  16. Your book sounds wonderful. I love Regencies. I also love your term, "butterfly writer." Best of luck.

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