Introduction

Rakehell was the Regency term for a man of daring, who was also a ladies’ man. He would often have a devil-may-care attitude regarding what the rest of Society thought about him.

Author Sorcha MacMurrough started writing historical fiction and romance in the 1990s, when traditional Regency Romances were still a viable market. She conceived of the Rakehells as a group of school friends from Eton and Oxford, who play fair, but very much by their own rules in a society which was rapidly changing due to modernization, power politics, and the war with France, which had been raging ever since the start of the French Revolution in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789.

From many different walks of life, and with all sorts of adventures befalling them, every one of the Rakehells, and their extended family circle, will find true love amid the backdrop of the late Napoleonic Wars, and the end of George III’s reign.

The Rakehell Regency Series starts in 1812, and is a bit more gritty, and more sensual, than the usual Regency romances, especially the latter books in the series. However, unlike many so-called historicals, Ms. MacMurrough takes great pains to present true stories and accurate historical details. It is a tribute to the men and women of that period that they were able to survive in a society which was one of contracts, savagism versus civility, wealth versus poverty, tradition versus modernity.

There is some comedy of manners, capturing the life andd concerns of the period, with liberal dashes of suspense and sensuality. It’s what Jane Austen would have written if only she had dared….

The Rakehell Regency series novels are each stand alones, powerful, often sensual or even erotic romances, with remarkable characters facing seemingly insurmountable odds. They can be enjoyed singly, or read in order.

The Regency Period, which runs nearly parallel to the Napoleonic Wars, is the beginning of the modern world as we know it. It was a time of revolution and the old world order being torn apart: what a remarkable time to fall in love.

Please click on the links to the right for more information about each novel in the series.

You might also be interested in romances set in the Napoleonic Period, which runs from roughly 1797 until the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Booklist

These are the titles of the Rakehell Regency Romance Series, listed in chronological order. The series starts in 1812 and continues to 1822.

Please note that each book is a stand-alone that can be read by itself, unless otherwise indicated by the title.

The Mad Mistress

The Missed Match

The Miss Matched

The Matchless Miss

*The Scarred Heart

Guardian of the Heart

The Mistaken Miss

The Model Master

The Model Mistress

Innocence

Innocence Afire

Ravished

Experience

The Model Husband

Ruthless

Madness

Beguiled

Beguiled Anew

NEW! Boxed Sets

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 1

Book 1 – THE MAD MISTRESS
Book 2 – THE MISSED MATCH
Book 3 – THE MISS MATCHED

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 2

Book 4 – THE MATCHLESS MISS
Book 5 – *THE SCARRED HEART
Book 6 – THE GUARDIAN OF THE HEART

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 3

Book 7: THE MISTAKEN MISS
Book 8: THE MODEL MASTER
Book 9: THE MODEL MISTRESS

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 4

Book 10: INNOCENCE
Book 11: INNOCENCE AFIRE
Book 12: RAVISHED

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 5

Book 13: EXPERIENCE
Book 14: THE MODEL HUSBAND
Book 15: RUTHLESS

The Rakehell Regency Romance Series Boxed Set 6

Book 16: MADNESS
Book 17: BEGUILED
Book 18: BEGUILED ANEW

Interview With Sorcha MacMurrough, Part 5

Q. So, we’ve talked about the Rakehell series a lot–what about your other novels?

A. Well, living in Ireland, it is certainly a place I draw my inspiration from, and I love the history and people. As for the contemporary romances I wrote, again, they were for series romance lines, and I did quite well with them. But while they were fun to write, I leave them to you.

Writing historicals are my greatest real love. I find it much easier to motivate the characters and have some real life and death situations that I can have them deal with as a major obstacle to the happily ever after. In contemporaries, the stakes are not so high. And I like suspense romance, but mostly, I find it to be a lot of suspense (and dumb moves on the part of the heroine) and not enough romance. Just a pet peeve of mine, but for me romance is a hero and heroine falling in love. I try to show that in every one of my novels, and hope I’ve succeeded.

Q-You certainly have with this reader. The Rakehell Regency romance novels are all great, but as you say, go from traditional to sensual romantic fiction as the series progresses, and no two books are alike.

A-Because no two heroes and heroines are alike. So for instance, two couples can meet in the same way, like in a coffee house, but what happens next will be based on who they are, their past, secrets, motives, and so on.

Q-Exactly. As you said, you say to yourself, “What would happen if…” and then spin off a dozen or so ideas and follow them to the startling conclusion.

A-I can see someone has been peeking in my Idea book! But yes, that’s pretty much it, and after the inspiration is the perspiration. But it’s all worth it if I capture the magic and power of falling in love, and true love being able to not only survive all things, but become all the stronger for having been tested and proven deep and true.

Q-A perfect way to describe them. So, what about the Renaissance Irish books? Sea of Love and The Faithful Heart were so good, I feel sure they should be made into a movie, with a soundtrack by Enya or Clannad.

A. I would love that. Yes, two different heroines, two impossible situations with Ireland being invaded, some great heroes, mix, and yes, explosions abound.

Q. Yes, sparks sure do fly, between your couples, and on the high seas in those books. Then you went back to the Middle Ages for The Hart and the Harp. That one is a bit of a sleeper novel for you. I mean, I couldn’t put it down, but I’m not as sure it’s as popular as the others?

A. It got sandwiched in between my agent at the time trying to get me to write even more than I already do, hence the contemporaries that I wrote. They were fun and certainly I loved writing the love scenes between the character. Star Attraction and Ghost from the Past also have a strong suspense element in them, along with Heart’s Desire too, to a certain extent. So that was a challenge and those three books sort of grabbed the limelight.

Q. Yes, what was that story you told about Ghost?

A. Oh, yes, we were all in a critique forum where you post a chapter at a time and everyone helps with grammar and so on. Well, I posted the first chapter and I had about 10 emails saying, “Oh, goodness, what happens next.” You’re only supposed to post one chapter a month to get one critique a month, but everyone said to put up Chapter 2. Then 3. Then 4.

By Chapter 6 the whole list decided to suspend their usual business to do my book because they couldn’t wait to see what happened next. It was very embarrassing but also very gratifying to get such a huge response. Now I know how Charles Dickens felt when he found out that people were lining the shores on either side of the harbor to get the next chapters of his novels.

Q. It certainly is a ripping tale, as you’d say.

A. And one that was well before its time, sadly, in terms of the world we live in now.

Q. Yes, a powerful biological weapon, extremists in the Middle East, very scary stuff in that book, and yet you wrote it long before 9/11.

A. True.

Q. And the heroine–she walks right into a spider web and wow, does she have a lot of hard decisions to make.

A. But she sure kicks butt in the end.

Q. (Laughs) Yes, another really unlikely heroine who rises to the occasion.

A. Well, who can say what any of us would be capable of doing to save the people we love?

Q. Too true. So let’s go back to The Sea of Love. If I’m not mistaken, Sea of Love was your first published romance?

A. That’s right. And first written one too. Sometimes that is not always the case. So, I read a single line from a history book one day when I was in the college library and the rest as they say, was history. I got the book done in less than 6 months and found a publisher within a week after the first polish of the novel. I tweaked it a bit for subsequent new editions, but yes, it was the first and the reviews and reception I got encouraged me to start writing even more.

Q. Was that hard?

A. Oh yeah. As I tell aspiring writers, the only thing harder than your first book is your second, then your third and fourth. If you have a hit on your hands, the second book is probably going to suffer a lot by the comparison. Not so much of a hit, well, you’re going to be in even more trouble if it’s not good to great.The third book is going to be make or break one way or the other and the fourth had better be spectacular, because if it isn’t, your writing career will probably fizzle, because either the first house will have dropped you and you need to find a new one, or your book contract is over and you need to come up with something attention-grabbing enough that will get them to keep you on.

Q. Wow, I never thought of it that way.

A. A lot of writers just think of the first book, and usually the New York Times Bestseller’s list in the same breath.

Q. (Laughs) Totally true.

A. I look at your books and I see the same thing, a good steady progression in books 1 through three, clear writing talent, then in books 4 and five you took off like a meteor.

Q. Uh-oh, sounds like you’re trying to interview me now.

A. Well, I think it’s only fair. (Winks)

Q. Next time for sure. For now let me just say thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to talk with us.

A-My pleasure. Thank you and all my readers for adoring the Rakehell series so much, and all my other books.

Q-With more to come soon, we hope?

A-Oh, yes, certainly! Ciao for now.

Interview With Sorcha MacMurrough, Part 4

Q. So is it really going to be the end of The Rakehells?

A. I don’t think so, I still have a few more characters who need to be revisited. The trouble is I might have to fill in some blanks, as it were, between some of the earlier books.

Q. But the last three books, Madness, Beguiled and Beguiled Anew really surprised me.

A. Great, I had hoped they would.

Q. I felt like I had really been on a journey with the whole Rakehell set, and the true end of the Napoleonic wars came as much of a relief to me as it was to them, I think.

A.Glad to hear it. Yes, as long as Napoleon was still alive, he would pose a threat to Europe, particularly England, and as long as that was the case, the Rakehells would be called upon to do their duty, with all the danger that would entail for them and their loved ones.

But, yes, I had to try to come to some sort of natural stopping point in the series. You don’t want to keep repeating yourself. I like the variations on a theme, hero and heroine meet, fall in love, rise to challenges, which is pretty much the formula for every romance, but I wanted to still keep coming up with something fresh and new.

Q. Yes, I recall you saying in another interview that all your books start out with, “I wonder what would happen if…”

A. Exactly. And then it can go in any direction, based of course on who the person is and what their challenges, issues or situations are. So for instance Lawrence is about to be married to another woman when he meets Juliet. Normally they would not have a chance at happiness no matter how well-suited they were to each other. Add to that his issues about trusting women and his horrendous background and all the things that are going on behind his back and hers, which the reader knows about but they don’t, and you have a powder keg ready to explode.

Q. Great stuff. And I thought that was so perfect, the way you tied up all the loose ends from The Matchless Miss and who Alexander REALLY was after all.

A. That was the idea, yes. Alistair is in the other books throughout the series in a supporting role as well, but he was such an outstanding hero, who had suffered a fair deal in his own right, so I was sure he deserved even more of a happily ever after and once I researched my political history of the period, well, he gets to be a near hero in the end. All of the Rakehells working together for the sake of justice and the women they love seemed really fitting as well to round out the series.

Q-And that’s the great thing about your heroines-there’s not a door mat insight, but no witches either. How do you strike the balance?

A-A woman can be soft on the outside, but strong on the inside, if she follows her inner goddess, as my heroines do in the love scenesI write, which you’ve been so kind as to compliment.

So they are ordinary women, who face extraordinary circumstances, and move heaven and earth to win their happily ever after. Sometimes the couples will pull themselves apart, but most of the time it is their enemies, or the march of history.

But let’s face it, if everything were smooth, fun and easy in the romance, would we really think that they had fallen in love, and that it would last for all time?

Q-True. Like Ellen in The Model Husband. I thought her transformation from teenager into woman was very well done. And Ash too, in the Model books. He really grows up as well throughout that story arc as a supporting character and then a hero in his own right once he is old enough to marry.

A-Love will do that to a person. Transform them, hopefully into a better person.

Q-Yes, they certainly do seem like real people to me, not just stock characters you would expect to see in romance novels. You only have a genuine rake or two in the whole series, in fact, compared to the entire Regency genre.

A-Well spotted. And done on purpose. A romantic hero has to be interesting for more reasons than simply the number of notches on his bed post, in my opinion. So yes, they are called Rakehells but really only a few of them have a romantic history that would make them really blush.

Q-So you would definitely describe yourself as a romance writer and a romantic?

A-Oh yes. Time and time again I’ve see love transform, and Tantric lovemaking, for instance, in which a couple aims for true spiritual union, can bring so many gifts to both the man and woman.

Not all the romances in the series are Tantric, mainly the Model ones, but I do get a lot of questions about those books, in particular about some of the love scenes in the later novels in the series.

A lot of people have commented on The Model Master, for instance, that there are a lot of love scenes. They are really only in about the last half of the book as they both start to learn to live again, and to really love for the first time. Every love scene is designed to advance character and story, as well as capture falling in love.

Q. I can just imagine what they ask. (Giggle)

A. It is possible. I can give you a non-fiction reading list if you like, but again, yes, everything about the history and the love scenes are ALL true.

The love scenes are an expression of each individual hero and heroine in each of the books, so they are NOT formula or cookie cutter. At the same time, there is nothing in bad taste-it is all100% heterosexual and consensual and in a loving context between the hero and heroine.

Q. Absolutely. Not a ripped bodice in sight. So, we’ve got more Rakehell novels to look forward to in the future, which is great. I can’t wait to see Sebastian redeemed.

A. And a few other people with colorful pasts, perhaps?

Q. Oh, good hint. So, we’ve talked about the Rakehell series a lot–what about your other novels?

A. Until next time…

An interview with Sorcha MacMurrough, Part 3

Q-So your mission is what, exactly, when it comes to the love scenes?

A-As I said, I started out pretty tamely when I was writing for certain traditional romance lines, but then I thought, “Why?” Falling in love is so exciting, and literally being laid bare–meeting,getting to know each other, becoming intimate. Revealing your innermost self to another human being, and
asking for unconditional love, and trying to offer it in return. I wanted to capture that whole experience, the highs, the lows, and the passion, above all.

I also got tired of the formula romances where there was a bit of action, so to speak, on set pages, and then you get the ‘big bang’on like page 200 of a 218 page book. LOOONG wait for sometimes a pretty lame payoff.

In addition, I think a lot of romances ‘cheat’ the reader, because,for instance, the couple already know each other, had issues in the past, and so on, and so we never really see the falling in love part.

Or, all we see is LUST. The Rake tomcats around until he finally finds his favorite sex kitten. Who is either a bluestocking and boring, and he brings out her hidden depths, so to speak, or she is a shrew and he has to tame her.

Q-Yes, that’s about the size of many of the romances I’ve read recently. Which is what I loved about The Model Master and The Model Mistress, and The Model Husband. They are all so ordinary,yet extraordinary in the way they fall in love.

A-Thank you, that was the intention, and also to give images of sex-positive, happy relationships, with couples who the reader will feel are genuinely committed to one another, not just ’settling’ as so many seem to in Regency romances, for the sake of money, status, because they have been blackmailed, and so on. I want to show couples who are wild about each other, and will continue to be, long after the reader has put down the book.

Q-Yes, and that’s another thing about this series–we get to see them develop and revisit the couples sometimes years after they met and married. How long is the time span on the books, roughly?

A-From 1812 to 1822, ten years from the events in The Mad Mistress to the end of the series, or at least what I think it going to be the end. So yes, 10 years, 18 books, and there is definitely a time span because some of the books, like Ruthless and the later ones, are very specific about dates and events.

As I said, the background to the events is the Napoleonic Wars, so you can expect soldiers, spies, a race against time, and so on in various of the novels. There is always some suspense, and more to things than you might think at first glance.

Q-Wow, yes, Ruthless. That’s another shocker of a romance. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I have to say, I read it in one sitting, I was so embroiled in the world you created in the book. Some of the characters we’ve seen in the background, as well as the ones we know and love, well, wow. What a shock.

A-I know what events you’re referring to, and yes, I had hysterical readers at the time screaming in agony “HOW COULD I?” until they read the whole of the book. Phew!

But all of the events in that book really DID happen. I just inserted my fictional characters into the action and let it rip, so to speak.

Q-Talk about love scenes there too, in Ruthless. Really magical.No ripped bodices! And the new characters we get to meet are amazing. Andironically, take us right back to where the series started.

A-Yes, Alistair Grant the barrister was a supporting character for so long in the book, all the way back to The Mad Mistress, in fact, and then throughout the series, Guardian of the Heart, and The Mistaken Miss, when he gives the fallen Philip Marshal a second chance on a wonderful life. And in Ravished too. As a lawyer, and a secondary character, he’s been very solid, and predictable, so I was not sure I could make him an out and out hottie, but everyone says he is, so I’m delighted. It’s amazing what falling in love can do for you.

Q. I loved him and the couple together. And you introduce some other great characters too.

A. Yes, some of them were in previous Rakehell novels and the different strands all start to come together in the middle of the crisis that they have to confront in Ruthless. And all of the new friends Alistair makes help continue the series in Madness, Beguiled, and Beguiled Anew.

Q. The last books certainly are shockers on a number of levels. And as you say, you are writing about the real history of the period, so that makes it even more interesting for all of us readers out there. You create, if anything, some even more exciting characters at what looks to be the end of the series. It really left me dying to read more. So is it really going to be the end of The Rakehells?
A. Until next time. . .

An Interview With Sorcha MacMurrough, Part 2

Journalist Evelyn Trimborn interviews Sorcha MacMurrough, author of The Rakehell Regency Romance Series:

Q-Where DO you get your heroes and villains? They are so amazing!

A-(Laughs and points to her head) All in here. I don’t even dare take credit for some of them. They literally pop right out, almost fully formed at times. For example, Philip Marshall in The Mistaken Miss, came into my head almost fully formed one Christmas morning, and was so compelling, instead of doing all the family things as promised, I wrote for most of the day. He certainly was a gift.

Simon in Madness was also fully formed from the moment he came into my head. The heroine’s predicament and the history of the time did the rest.

Lawrence in Experience was almost the same, except that as I have said, I like to set myself challenges in my writing, and I realized I had got all the way near the end (or what I thought would be the end) of the Rakehell series, over a dozen books, and had yet to deal directly with a marriage that was not so happily ever after. Experience was the hardest book I have ever had to write–the sensual parts were amazing to write, a nd definitely count as romantic erotica, women’s erotica, but Lawrence’s hard heart and head and actions towards Juliet the heroine had me (and many readers!) totally in tears.

But again, my heroines are tough, because I want to show how love can transform and heal.

Q-You mention an unhappy marriage here. That definitely is not the usual romance novel fare.

A-No, true, but as I said, it would have been true of that period of time, much more true, in fact, than the frothy Regencies and so-called historicals we get from certain authors and publishing houses. They are really just modern people in costume most of the time, frankly, and it does a disservice to the reader. I also wanted to show younger women readers that there are acceptable and unacceptable actions within romance and love, the difference especially between consensual and non-consensual love scenes. The bodice-ripper type scenes are still being churned out by certain authors who have been around for a while, and I have to admit it disturbs me, the message that this might be giving to young women. No means NO, end of story, and regardless of what the context might be (what she was wearing, where she was, and so on). Then there is emotional abuse. Neglect is also abuse. I deal with those topics in Experience.

Likewise we need to make it clear to younger women in our society that violence in a relationship is NEVER acceptable. Only the villains engage in any physical violence in my stories, but it is always there for a reason, never gratuitous or sensational, any more than the love scenes are there just for filler. They are there to reveal character, issues they might have, and the path of falling in love.

Q-Yes, your villains. Talk about creepy!

A-Well, that’s the whole point. To be a very strong contrast with the hero in each novel. But it is also fun to see the heroine sorting out who she can really trust, versus who is after her for their own agenda. After all, a villain has to be plausible, appear normal, otherwise everyone will know what he’s up to! The first three books of The Rakehell Regency Romance series, which were written for more traditional Regency romance publishers, were very much based on the idea of the heroine wanting to (or being pressured into) making a ’good match’, but having to learn to trust her judgment and sense, and her heart as her head, to sort the lies from the truth.

Jane Austen wrote about many unhappy marriages in her books-mainly based on fortune hunters or ill-matched couples, like Northanger Abbey, or Persuasion, so again, I was being true to life, and adding suspense, while still adding lots of romance.

Q-Like Beauty and the Beast?

A-Exactly. Only in my books, the reader, and sometimes the heroine, isn’t always sure who is the Beast. (Grins.)

Q-(Laughing) That’s certainly true. You really know how to surprise us, yet you’ve given us enough clues that we don’t feel, “Huh? Where did THAT come from.” Like in The Scarred Heart. I LOVED the way you let us in on the hero’s identity, while still keeping the heroine in the dark almost til the last minute when she gets engaged! Really well done.

A-Glad you liked it. It wasn’t easy, but very fun to write. I wanted to show that when it comes to love and relationships, you need to trust your instincts, head as well as heart, and vice versa.

Q-The way you wrote that book was very involving too–because we also start to guess who the villain is, and we’re terrified she’ll end up in his clutches. And of course it is durin the Napoleonic Wars, so you’ve got the hero and heroine’s high stakes in falling in love, and then the even bigger ones of what is going on in history at the time.

A-That’s exactly what I was aiming for, yes. A larger landscape than just rake meets debutante, so again, I am writing much more historical fiction than Regency romance, though the books are set in the Regency period. You still get plenty of balls, flirting and wittiness, but with real events underpinning the action.

Q-And that’s another thing,action. I really admire the way they are all pretty seemingly ordinary men and women, especially the women, who get thrust into the most amazing situations.

A-But that’s when we’re tested the most, don’t you think? We can only grow through being challenged.

Q-Great point. And I like the way the heroines are not really damsels in distress. That in some cases they actually rescue the hero, either emotionally or physically. Sarah the vicar’s sister helping the blind Alexander is a revelation in her novel.

A-Yes, The Matchless Miss. She does rise to the occasion indeed. A very passionate book, that one.

Q-But some of your heroines are not so lucky.

A-Ah, no, sadly, but again, true to life, some of them do fall into the villain’s clutches, alas. Like poor Arabella in Guardian of the Heart.

Q-Yes, how hard were those scenes to write?

A-Er, certainly not easy, but not graphic. I let much of it be implied, but some of the heroines do have to recover from some ordeals. Again, I am writing realistic historical romance, but it still has to be romance.

Q-Yes, it certainly is. I mean, your love scenes. Well. Wow.

A-Thank you.

Q-I am going to guess you enjoy writing them? Because a lot of writers don’t, and it shows. With yours, on the other hand, well, wow! The Matchless Miss, The Model Mistress, Ravished, Experience, those are just off the top of my head. Wow.

A-(Laughs) Thanks! That is sort of the idea. The lovemaking arises from who the characters are as people and the circumstances they find themselves in.

Q-And Michael Avenel in The Model Master. What an incredible hero and couple, and it all sets the stage for the later books, especially Innocence and Innocence Afire.

A-Thanks, yes, those three are closely connected, though they are quite separated in terms of the story arc, with time passing as the other stories occur, til all the lose ends are tied up in the series. They are all standalone, of course, but it was great seeing all my characters grow as people, especially Randall Avenel, after having such an amazing brother as Michael to live up to. So if you like the characters, and in particular, all the love scenes in each of those books, then I’ve succeeded in my mission.

Q-So your mission is what, exactly, when it comes to the love scenes?

A-To be continued….

An Interview with Author Sorcha MacMurrough Part 1

Author and journalist Evelyn Trimborn interviews the author of The Rakehell Regency Romance series and other top titles:

Q-How did you get started writing?

A-From the time I was a child, I loved to write stories, or even re-write popular ones, to give them a more interesting twist or better ending. Then I spent a lot of time doing academic writing, but one day, I saw a little line in a history book while I was in the library, and the rest, as they say, is history. I had my first novel completed and published within 6 months, and never looked back. That was the Sea of Love, set in Renaissance Ireland.

Q-What has your career been like as a writer so far?

A-I was extremely unfortunate, and fortunate, to be starting my romance writing career at about the turn of the 21st century, when things were changing very rapidly in the world of publishing, and romance publishing in particular. Unfortunate, in that traditional publishing was coming under a lot of pressure from new technology, reader preferences, new authors, and the need to be ultra-profitable. I was also fortunate for the same reasons. So while my books were accepted by traditional publishers and either made it to print, or not because the ”lines” I was writing for were ‘killed’, I also had numerous electronic publishing opportunities to explore. In addition, readers’ tastes had changed, to something beyond the sweet Regency, or the bodice ripping historical.Unfortunate, in that traditional publishing was coming under a lot of pressure from new technology, reader preferences, new authors, and the need to be ultra-profitable. I got some bad advice from certain agents I was working with and was encouraged to write for the market, rather than write what I was really passionate about, historical romances that have, for want of a better word, an ‘epic’ quality to them. In other words, that there is more at stake than just the two of them falling in love. I was also fortunate to have started my romance writing career then for the same reasons. While my books were accepted by traditional publishers and either made it to print, or not because the “lines”

I was writing for were ‘killed’, I also had numerous electronic publishing opportunities to explore. In addition, readers’ tastes had changed, to something beyond the sweet Regency, or the bodice-ripping historical.

So for example, the Rakehell Regency series started as a single book in the traditional Regency, sweet style, though with a lot of gritty issues to be deal with (and yes, I do love romantic suspense too, so every one of my novels has a mystery or crime to be solved). Then it became a fairly sweet trilogy (because my editor told me how much series titles sell compared to single title).

By the time Book 4, The Matchless Miss, was clamoring in my head to be written, I was looking to write the kinds of books I wanted to read, but could NOT find on the romance shelves. Or even online, at a lot of the electronic houses! Not erotica, for instance, but genuinely sensual couples we can believe really FALL in love in the course of the book and have to work towards their happily ever after. And couples who really engage, communicate, make love, not bicker all over the place and act like frustrated alley cats/fishwives.

My heroes are by no means bored aristocrats, and very few of them are actual rakes in the series. I also deal with REAL history (given my background as a literature and history teacher), and do not set my books in the Regency period only because the fashions were nice. A writer should never pen an historical romance if the history is not key in some way. You can just as easily write modern romance if that is going to be the case.

Q-You use the word gritty. At the same time, though, there is an almost magical quality to your writing.

A-Thank you, I do work hard at it, because I really want to capture in the couple not only the feeling of falling in love, but that it transforms, redeems, heals, makes each hero and heroine grow, and work to be worthy of the other.

Q-That is certainly true of The Scarred Heart, and Guardian of the Heart.

A-Mmm, yes, Books 5 and 6 of the series. As I said, once I got to the stage of producing more sensual novels, with more love scenes, I was looking to challenge myself in other ways. I had a fabulous heroine in the Duke of Ellesmere’s youngest sister, Elizabeth, and needed to find her an outstanding hero. At that time, everyone was asking me to do a sequel or 3 to Scars Upon Her Heart, or at least let them catch up with the main characters in that novel in some way. I did want to do a series, so it became the Scars of the Heart series, and The Scarred Heart one of the titles in it.

It was tough doing a crossover book, but the magic of the Irish setting and the way Elizabeth falls in love in the novel really did make the book almost write itself in the end.

As for Guardian of the Heart, I wanted Blake the diligent but repressed doctor to get the one thing he needs most in the world, true love, only to nearly lose it a couple of times through his own pride, or at least lack of awareness of who he is and how to love. Arabella becomes an amazing woman through her suffering in the course of the novel, and Blake rises to the occasion to be worthy of her.

I also put in a challenge many people can relate to nowadays, sadly: coming home from war and trying to live a ‘normal life’, and often finding that life after the war is MORE challenging that during it.

Q-A good point. When you started the series, the current war had started?

A-Yes. I think now, looking back, my reaction to 9/11 was to bury myself in my writing, with the thought that the power of love really can conquer all. Love, compassion, kindness, even in the face of some almost overwhelming obstacles, and some pretty nasty villains.

Q-Another good point. Where DO you get your heroes and villains? They are so amazing!

A-To be continued….

The Regency Period in England

There have been many Regents throughout the world, but the Regency period in England has become synonymous with a certain manner of living, dress and behavior which is revealed to us most typically through the novels of Jane Austen.  An entire Regency Romance industry arose in the 20th century in response to the enthusiasm for her books, and in particular to the writer Georgette Heyer, who published her first Regency romance as we came to understand the phrase, in 1935, and later Clare Darcy, who wrote in the 1970s.

The Regent in England at the period to which we are  referring was the eldest son of George III, who had periodic and increasing bouts of madness which left him unfit to rule. The Prince of Wales, or Prinny, as he was commonly referred to, was a rather flamboyant figure and attracted many different types of people around him in his endless pursuit of pleasure.

The Regency Period refers to the period from the end of the 18th century (1700s) until 1821 when George III died. During these latter years of George III’s very long reign (nearly 60 years!), he was mentally incapable, and so his son became the Regent, and thus the period was deemed the Regency.

The Regency period also runs nearly parallel to the Napoleonic Wars, and can be deemed to be the beginning of the modern world as we know it. It was a time of revolution, both political and industrial, of war overseas, and against poverty and ignorance at home, and of the old world order being torn apart. What an remarkable time to fall in love.

For many years the Regency Romance was considered the epitome of the romance novel, with dashing rakes, damsels in distress, or sharply intelligent women along the lines of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

However, the Regency period was by no means endless balls and soirees and the mindless pursuit of marriage. Nor are Regency novels in the 21st century simply the comedies of manners, all fluff and no substance, which caused them to fall into disrepute and even become objects of ridicule for a time.

The hallmark of a good historical novel is that the action should not be able to take place at any period of time other than the one it is set in.

The Regency romances you will find at this site fit those requirements to a tee. Be prepared for real men and women, not clothes horses. For social issues, not simply social teas.

Above all, be prepared for romance, the difficulties of falling in love and being intimate given society’s expectations regarding marriage at that time. We do not write modern characters in costumes, but characters very much of their own time, with all of the obstacles that can prevent a happily ever after.

Each novel aims to depict the ebullient and often excessive society of the pre-Victorian days before drabness and prudery became the by-words of that reign, rather than the sumptuousness and sensuality of the Prince Regent and his glittering court.

Beguiled Anew

The love story of Miranda Dane Lyons and George Davenant continues as George races against time to save the woman he loves from certain death. Miranda is determined to fight her way back to the man she loves, even though his secrets threaten any hope they may have of securing a happy future together.

But Miranda has secrets of her own, not least of which is her true identity as a wealthy heiress from a prominent family, not a country girl down on her luck as George has assumed.

Rather than allowing the Rakehells and her family to seek justice for all she endures at the hands of the cunning men who have been scheming to keep the couple apart, Miranda goes after the nest of intriguers who have wronged both her and all of the Rakehells ever since the war against Napoleon began.

Miranda is willing to carry her mission of justice and revenge right to the upper reaches of the shadowy halls of British power politics if it means keeping the people she loves most in the world safe from their nefarious plots.

As George and Miranda’s love grows through the adversity they share, so too does their danger, as the power-hungry plotters threaten to sweep aside the new King of England, George IV, and restore Napoleon to his former glory as master of all Europe….

Beguiled Anew:

PAGE COUNT=239 8.5 x 11″ pages

Word Count=78,254

RATING: Very sensual, with several explicit love scenes throughout the
book and explicit details of an erotic nature

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Beguiled

Beguiled, A Rakehell Regency Romance Novel

BEGUILED

Book 17 of The Rakehell Regency Romance Series
Sorcha MacMurrough

Fresh up from the country to visit her brother in London, Miranda Lyons Dane gets involved in a daring prank thanks to the notoriously wanton beauty Georgina Jerome. The seemingly harmless game turns dangerous as Miranda is attacked by a cutpurse. Her rescue at the hands of the mysterious George Davenant leaves her feeling sure she is out of the frying pan and straight into the fire, for no man has ever made her feel the torrid heat of desire.

Yet George is only ever spoken of in hushed whispers, for he is reputed to be the most vicious criminal mastermind the capital has ever seen. Suddenly all of the assumptions Miranda had ever made about her life are turned upside down. George offers her the role as his leading actress in the ramshackle theatre he manages.

Despite her fears, Miranda takes the job, and finds herself growing ever closer to her enigmatic but handsome employer. George is a master of many roles and disguises, the only way he can ever keep one step ahead of the peril that dogs his heels. Miranda’s entrance into his cold, hard world brings a warmth he never dared dream could be possible for a man with his dark past.

Soon the forces which have forced George to make the most hellish choices of his life threaten to take from him the woman who is coming to mean more to him than life itself. Can George save Miranda, or will the two of them be torn from each other forever?

BEGUILED
Book 17 of The Rakehell Regency Romance Series
Sorcha MacMurrough
Word count=83,300
Rating: Sensual

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