New Release: An Historical Holiday Duet
It's true - I've got a #NewReleaseAlert for you. If you've been following me on any of my social media, you've probably gathered that I've got a new novella coming out as a 2023 #holidayread. I've partnered with Heather Hallman to bring you a #duetread.
What's a #duetread?
I'm glad you asked! It's two novellas in one volume - and what I love so much about this, is this is how novels were released, back in the early days of the format. This was the standard manner in which novels were published in the late 1790s and early 1800s. In other words, the Regency era (I know - squee!)
All Jane Austen’s novels were published as multi-volume editions. Her most famous title, Pride and Prejudice, was published in three volumes. Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Mansfield Park were also released in three volume sets. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published together as a four volume set. Each story appeared much as my holiday collection does now - in two novellas bound together in a single volume.
One of the reasons for this original format is that books were so expensive to print and bind that there weren't many copies of any one novel actually printed. Readers often accessed books via their nearest circulating library. Publishing longer works of fiction helped hold a reader's interest in between releases - and until the next installment arrived via the library.
A novel divided into three parts not only helped create a demand, it ensured the librarian had three volumes earning their keep, rather than one. I'm so excited this dual read carries on this tradition!
Which novellas are in this historical holiday duet?
There are two historical romance novellas in this; one set in turn of the century Tokyo by Heather Hallman (I read it twice because once wasn't enough), and my own novella that follows on from The King’s Mistress. Here's a little more about them both - and a few links to your free extracts.
Seduction of Tokyo by Heather Hallman:
Japan, 1900: As the owner of La France Boutique, Marcelle fights to be one of the finest French dressmakers in Tokyo. When Nobuyuki Koide opens his stylish new department store, Marcelle’s sure that behind all his traditional Japanese charm and entrepreneurial skill lurks a design thief who’s playing dirty. He intends to unravel everything she’s worked for, and she won't let him win...
Starlina ‘Stari’ Besnik’s been troubled with very intense dreams of Chal Brishen, her betrothed. Her dearest wish is to be married to him in a little church by Christmas. It’s not the usual Romany way of doing things but it’s important to her. She wishes he’d hurry up and finalise their wedding. People are saying he’s taking so long because he’s got cold feet. Stari isn't even sure why he agreed to their match. Chal doesn’t say much – at least not in real life. Her dreams are another matter entirely…
Chal Brishen is good with horses, and he loves Stari. He’s ready to start their lives together – as soon as he completes the arrangements with her family for her bride price. Arrangements that have so far taken a year and a half! Meanwhile, Stari grows impatient - and its nearly Christmas.
Chal Brishen isn’t the fastest rider in his family, and he’s not a leader like his eldest brother. Indeed, his brother’s known the length and breadth of England as the formidable Romany king. The rest of his family are equally well-known and highly skilled. Chal’s chancing a trade with Lord Roger Clifton that will finally help him bring home his bride, and wed Stari at the sweet little chapel at Clifton Hall.
All seems on track for their Christmas wedding – until Stari’s thrown in prison for theft: A hanging offense. A Romany girl in trouble with the law doesn't have many options. Chal needs to master his pride, and Stari must find her strength if this couple is going to get the happily ever after they deserve.
Can a mad dash through the night and trading favours free Stari without compromising the real culprits at Christmas (a destitute woman and her child)? Chal’s clever, caring family pull together as best they can, but can they outwit a bigoted magistrate? The law isn't kind to Romany so they'll need an irrefutable argument - or the help of an English lord.
Will Stari and Chal finally get their Romany marriage, and their church wedding? Will Lord Clifton offer his assistance, or is he merely here for his own purposes?
Did I say Lord Clifton? I did.
This novella includes the prologue to the final installment of the Clifton Hall novels: An Impossible Duchess.