PRAISE FOR THE ROSE AND THE THISTLE:
“A masterful achievement of historical complexity and scintillating romance sure to thrill readers with its saga of love under siege.”— Booklist, starred review
“A deeply atmospheric story of faith, love, and sacrifice that is as captivating as it is enthralling.”— Sarah E. Ladd, bestselling author of The Cornwall Novels
“Marked by majestic Scottish scenery and a memorable trip to Edinburgh, The Rose and the Thistle is a delightful historical romance set during a tumultuous time.”— Forward Reviews
ABOUT THE ROSE AND THE THISTLE:
In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.
No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would
be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.
Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies--and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.
EXCERPT OF THE ROSE AND THE THISTLE:
Blessedly alone, Blythe sought an upholstered bench in a little alcove where she was hidden from sight, uncaring about the crush of her violet taffeta skirts. Her mind was on dusty roads, a watercrossing, cramped carriages, lukewarm cuisine, and questionable coaching inns.
She took her father’s letter from her pocket and smoothed the paper’s creases. The ducal seal bore a coronet, knight’s helmet, and quiver and arrows, each as familiar as his handsome, scrolling hand. She reread the last lines.
Perhaps I erred in sending you to France, though I sensed
you needed a change, a respite from your books and papers. I
misjudged how the frivolities and decadence found amongst
courtiers even in exile are so contrary to your nature that you
would feel a fish out of water. Though you rarely complain, I
sense this has been more trial than holiday for you. And since
you mention no suitor to sweeten your stay, thus ends the matter.
Foremost, I beg you to dismiss joining a religious order once and
for all. Your reasons for doing so are hardly holy.
How that last line stung. He sensed her desperation to quit this place. While she might have been dazzled by the French court as a girl of eight and ten, at eight and twenty she saw through the luster. Though the Stuarts had once reigned supreme, their royal trappings were now tarnished. They themselves were at the mercy of the French king, who stood to gain from his allegiance should the Stuarts be restored to the throne.
You asked in an earlier letter if you might tarry awhile at
Traquair House with Lady Catherine and Lady Mary before
your return home. By now you may know Charles Stuart has
told me his daughters are to continue in France, going with the
dowager Queen Mary to spend the summer in Lorraine.
I have a different plan in mind for you, which I will tell you
about once we are face-to-face.
She looked out the window. A different plan? How odd that sounded. And how intriguing.
You shall cross the channel and come north up the English
coast to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Arrangements have been secured,
and I caution you to stay close to Bell and heed the direction of
She refolded the letter. Not Dover to Calais as she’d come, which was always the most direct, preferred route. Why the change? She disliked the rigors of travel, but in the company of her maid and her family’s priest, she would make the best of it.
A footfall in the corridor made her press her back against the paneled wall. Someone hastened past, not bothering to look in the small alcove where she hid but stopping just beyond.
“How fortunate we are able to conduct business under the guise of a ball.” The male voice was subdued and clearly British. “And in King’s English too, though French shall forever be the language of intrigue.”
Another man chuckled. “For now, let us anticipate the coming campaign. We’ve not had such profitable news in some time as we’ve had tonight. At long last, Royalist armies are being raised in the north country—one in Northumberland and one in Scotland, is that correct?”
“Aye. A fleet of French ships will soon be at hand.”
“By June, ’tis said. Have you confirmation?”
“I do, indeed. Thrice. From Viscount Bolingbroke, the Earl of Mar, and the Duke of Ormonde. None better.”
“Brilliant! The current riots and protests in London and Edinburgh against the Hanoverian king are in our favor.”
“’Twould seem so. Still, his red-coated swine and a great many mounted government troops will soon be crawling all over the country.”
“They dare not encroach on the Highlands. All the dragoons in the kingdom are no match for a Highland charge.”
“Or a Lowland one if the Radcliffes and Swinburnes and Haggerstons have their way.”
“Dinna forget the Blacketts of Newcastle and the Forsters of Bamburgh, all leading, loyal Jacobites.”
Blythe listened with a sort of bemused detachment to the whispered names of powerful Catholic nobles she knew.
“And then there is the Duke of Northumbria, who has not only contributed so generously to the cause but stands to lose the most of any noble if the Rising fails.”
At the mention of her father, Blythe went still.
The Rising. Spoken of with such gravity, as if the whole world hinged upon it.
What did that even mean?
Chapter 3, pages 23-25
From The Rose and the Thistle © 2023, Laura Frantz, published by Revell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first.
Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage.
She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.
Twitter handles: @LFrantzauthor, @RevellBooks
Instagram handles: @laurafrantzauthor, @revellbooks