Published by Harlequin April 2008 Also published in the UK March 2009 as a special for Mothering Sunday...
Collingham needs a governess to look after his children until he can
contract an advantageous marriage: impecunious Juliana Wrenn needs funds
to open a school of her own. A four-month contract suits them both, but
neither foresees the growing attraction that threatens the best laid
plans………..(scroll on down past the photos to read an extract)
"More than a Governess is a richly woven tale of passion, intrigue and suspense that deserves a place on your keeper shelf!" (Cataromance)
story is set in 1816, on record as one of the wettest ever. No one knew
it at the time, but volcanic activity on the other wide of the world in
1815 had released tonnes of ash into the atmosphere, and this affected
the weather the following summer. Not a very good setting for a
romantic novel, you may think! However, Major Collingham has to take
his family from London to his home in Lancashire, through some pretty
wild and desolate country and heavy rain often caused landslips and
washed away the roads, just what I needed to make the journey
interesting for my poor characters. Of course Juliana is a very
resourceful young woman, and rises to every challenge of the eventful
journey and soon Major Collingham realises that she is much more than
just a governess. England
at that time was far less densley populated, and if a traveller strayed
from the main coaching routes then they could go for miles without
seeing village. These pictures were taken in January on the bridle
paths near my home in the Pennines - I think this is how most roads
would have been in the early 19th century - difficult on foot or on
horseback and extremely uncomfortable in a carriage.
MORE THAN A GOVERNESS extract..............
hurried back to Bouverie Street and made her way directly to the
kitchens, where Mrs Churwell was waiting to hear her news. Juliana could
not suppress her elation. 'He's hired me,' she cried. 'Major
Collingham is sending the carriage here for me on Monday, and he says
Thomas and Amy can come too. I was most surprised at that, I can tell
you, but it is ideal for us all.' 'Oh well done, dearie! I'm that
pleased for you, I really am.' The housekeeper turned to the footman,
who was relaxing in a chair with his feet up on the fender. 'You hear
that, Lawrence? Miss Wrenn is to be a governess to the major, and him a
hero of Waterloo, no less!' 'Is he? I never knew that,' smiled Juliana, taking off her bonnet and placing it on a side table. 'Aye,'
Lawrence poured himself another mug of ale. 'My brother was in his
regiment, the 30th Foot. They fought off the French at Quatre Bras.
Praised by Lord Wellington hisself, they was. But that's not all,' he
grinned. 'Devil Collingham, they call him. Heard it from the man's groom
hisself, I did, last time I delivered some papers to the house and
stopped off for a glass of daffy on the way back. Devil Collingham -
devil on the battlefield, and devil in the bedroom. They say in Brussels
it was nothing for him to pleasure three women in one night.' With a shriek Mrs Churwell cuffed him round the ear. 'I'll
have none of that talk in my kitchen, my lad! You had best get back
upstairs, now, before the master starts shouting for you. Go on now!
Don't you be taking any notice of what Lawrence says,' she added, when
the footman had lounged away. 'I don't hold with servants tittle
tattle.' 'No more do I,' agreed Juliana. She looked up at the
housekeeper, a mischievous twinkle in her green eyes. 'However, it seems
I have just made a pact with the devil!'
great deal of the action in "More Than a Governess", my first Sarah
Mallory novel, takes place as Juliana travels with her young charges
from London to Lancashire, with one of the more dramatic episodes set in
Derbyshire. It is sometimes difficult
to visualise how an area looked two hundred years ago, but some areas
are not that different and I like to think that my characters crossed a
section of moorland very like the picture opposite. The land is rocky,
bleak and desolate. You can imagine the bad weather rolling in from the
west and covering the land in a blanket of cloud.....