See you at The Soho Club
Updated: Aug 1, 2021
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I’ve been working with a bunch of talented Regency romance authors on a collection of novellas (heat levels variable). This anthology includes my first Regency romance mystery, based on a series of events that actually occurred in early 1820. The story gave rise to my new heroine who is so delightful, I feel she belongs in a series.
Meet Claire Ryan:
During the #copypastecris scandal that rocked the world of romance writing almost two years ago, one dedicated reader, who works as a data analyst, challenged herself to build a better mousetrap. She created an algorithm to detect plagiarism at a far more detailed level than anything Amazon offered.
I followed her tweets about her work in utter awe and amazement, feeling I may be witness to an Ada Lovelace-like channeling. I promised, in front of all of romance twitter, to place this woman in a story. Her name is Claire Ryan, and she’s known as the Shieldmaiden of Romancelandia. The heroine in The Case of the Black Diamond (Part I), is named for her. It’s also why my lady parfumiere wanders about London armed (the real Ms Ryan has a penchant for swords). In 1820, Ms Claire Ryan frequented the exclusive and secretive Soho Club.
The Soho Club
Secret clubs abounded in Regency London, and The Soho Club is as exclusive as they come. Admitting both men and women marks it as highly unusual, though there’s no doubt such libertine establishments existed in and around the capital at the time. The Hellfire Club is one such example of this (the women were not members at Hellfire - they were, rather, the entertainment).
The Soho Club has few rules, but demands discretion regarding its location, its activities, and its membership. Run by the mysterious Mrs Skarsgard, club members are afforded tea and privacy for their fees, but salmon sandwiches may not be enough to satisfy all members' desires. Some have other appetites entirely.
The Case of the Black Diamond
Our Miss Ryan uses the club premises to concoct her own secrets. This woman is far more than she seems, and it’s the aura of mystery and intelligence that attracts the attention of Lord Lindsey. As a spy for the king, he has every right to interrogate her thoroughly and he fully intends to do so. Meanwhile, our heroine has desires of her own – and they do not include waiting for a man to make his advances.
Lord Lindsey and Miss Ryan navigate the treacherous waters of palace politics and secret operatives with skill and efficiency. Now if only love were so easy…