Wednesday, 14 March 2012


THE BELLES DAMES CLUB (Robert Hale, April 2007)


Miss Clarissa Wyckenham comes to London to join her pretty step-mama and finds that Mama-Nell has formed a discreet club for ladies. Soon she is pitched headlong into the deliciously wicked antics of the Belles Dames Club, and finds herself in conflict with the disapproving Lord Alresford…..

A sparkling comedy of romance and adventure set at the end of the eighteenth century.

Read an extract.............................

. 'Ah, Simmons, good evening.' Clarissa stepped past the butler into the hall. 'You look surprised, and no wonder. I am sorry to arrive so late, but we were delayed on the road. Please have the footmen bring in the bags. Is my lady at home?'

'Miss Clarissa! No. That is …'

'Oh. Is she dining out?'

'No - yes.'

'No, yes? Simmons, this is not like you.' She pointed to a little black page asleep on a bench against one wall. 'Ah, my lady has visitors.'

'Miss Clarissa, you should not be here …'

She laughed as she removed her hat.

'And where else should I be? I know it is very late, but would you expect me to sleep in the street until morning? Now, if you will have my trunks taken up,' she stopped as the faint sound of laughter came to her ears.

The butler began to wring his hands.

'Miss Clarissa -'

She did not hear him. More shouts and laughter could be heard. She ran quickly up the stairs and opened the door to the drawing room.

Her entrance went unnoticed. The room was a large one, illuminated by dozens of candles blazing from a central chandelier and from the branched candlesticks placed about the room. The elegance of the room was enhanced by a series of large frescoes depicting stories from classical Greece, but on this occasion the scene that met Clarissa's stunned gaze rivalled anything she had heard of that ancient society. A roaring fire blazed beneath the ornate marble chimneypiece but all the furniture had been moved back to the edges of the room. A number of ladies were seated in a semi-circle facing the centre, their attention fixed on the only two men in the room: two wrestlers.

Two naked wrestlers. 

© Melinda Hammond

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