Thursday, November 4, 2010

Guest Post/Virtual Tour ~ Hazel Statham

About three years ago, Regency Romance went into decline and many publishers dropped the line altogether. However, the good news for readers of the genre is that it is making a strong comeback and publishing houses are now opening up new lines. Several are offering to take previously published books to enable their readers to find out of print works.

Despite the temporary downturn, I resisted the pressure to write in other genres and remained true to the period I know and love. I love the romance and elegance of the Georgian and Regency eras and wish nothing more than to re-create them in my work.

My books remain ‘sweet’ and the bedroom door is firmly closed, but this does not mean they lack in romance. On the contrary. Remaining true to the period when innocence was prized, my heroines remain pure and my heroes strong. There is chemistry between the two and despite all that fate may throw in their way, they are destined to be together. There is often humor and pathos in their lives, but throughout it all, remains love. Sometimes they do not realize that their fate is to be together and they often fight the thought but, nonetheless, the fact remains irrefutable. Add to this the elegance of a bygone era and you have the perfect mix for a romance.

Although many readers will not admit to reading romance novels, they nevertheless remain one of the most popular genres with very respectable sales figures. Where else can you find the recipe for a happy life than between the covers of a good romantic book? You live the highs and lows of the characters’ lives and rejoice with them at the book’s conclusion.

As with everything else, reading trends run in cycles. Fortunately, romance in one form or another, remains throughout.

About the author ~ 

Hazel lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has been known to stray to Medieval times.

When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. There have however, been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no longer works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organisation that raised money for animal charities.

She currently shares her home with a lovely yellow Labrador named Mollie, who is her constant companions. She is a real sweetie, but it’s not always easy working at the computer with a large Labrador trying to get on your knee!

You can visit her online at and her blog at

Her latest book ~  

The Portrait 

England 1812

Severely injured at the battle of Salamanca, Edward Thurston, the new Earl of Sinclair, returns home to his beloved Fly Hall. Determined not to present his prospective bride with the wreck he believes himself to have become, he decides to end his betrothal, unaware that Lady Jennifer, for vastly differing reasons, has reached the selfsame decision.

Throughout the campaigns, Edward was often seen relying greatly on a miniature he carried, and it is to this token he clings upon his return. Will he eventually find happiness with the girl in the portrait, or will he remain firm in his resolve not to wed? Reason dictates one course, his heart another.

Read an excerpt ~ 

Entering the hallway at Fly, Jennifer asked her cousin Eleanor, who acted as chaperone, to await her there.  Despite the impropriety, she wished for no witness to the interview with her betrothed, desiring whatever words were spoken to remain private.  It took much persuading, but eventually Eleanor, much against her better judgment, succumbed to her young relative’s pleadings and allowed herself to be cozily seated by the large fireplace, glad of its welcoming warmth after the chills of the carriage.
Hearing the sounds of arrival, the earl rose from his chair in the morning room and prepared to meet his intended.  Something in the region of his chest clenched at the thought of the impending interview, but he schooled his countenance to greet her with an equanimity he was far from feeling.
Almost immediately, the door opened and Brough announced Lady Jennifer.  Full of resolve, her skirts swishing with the crispness of her step, she came quickly into the light-filled, blue and gold salon.  As the door closed quietly behind her, she came to an abrupt halt.
Finding it difficult to advance further into the room, she visibly blanched at the extend of Sinclair’s injuries, her expressive eyes wide at sight of his altered appearance.  Nothing could have prepared her for the emotions the mere sight of him evoked, and whatever words she would have uttered, died unsaid.
Ignoring his wildly leaping emotions at seeing her once more, Edward drank in the delicacy of her features and form and, gathering his cloak of resolve about him, quickly closed the gap between them.  Taking her cold fingers in his warm clasp, he raised them dutifully to his lips, feeling them tremble in his hold.  His eyes never left her face, and he realized that there was no guile about her as he watched the mix of emotions that chased across her pale countenance.  In that instant, he knew that he had made the right decision to end the betrothal.
“My lord, I…..” she began, but her voice failed and he saw the tears well up into her beautiful eyes.
 “Will you not be seated, Lady Jennifer?” he said, leading her to a chair by the hearth.  “Brough will bring refreshments and after a cup of tea I am sure you will feel more the thing.”  Releasing her hand he stood before her as she sank into the chair.  He found it necessary to concentrate, to keep his voice neutral, so that she would not be aware of his inner turmoil.  Grateful that he was at least allowed to retain his pride, he was relieved that he showed no signs of the physical weakness that had laid him so low.
“I realize my appearance must come as quite a shock to you,” he said with an incongruous smile.
She half rose but he held up his hand to forestall her and she once more sank back against the cushions.  All former irritation forgotten, she was unable to put into words what she was feeling at that precise moment and was relieved when a light tapping on the door heralded an interruption.
Brough came into the room with a tray full of a light repast which was placed on a low table set at their side, whilst a butler brought in a tea tray and set it on a small table beside Jennifer.
Busying herself with the pouring of the tea, she set up a flow of inconsequential conversation in the hope of presenting a diversion.  She never allowed her eyes to wander from her task, dreading the moment when she would be forced to acknowledge the situation.  However, as she handed the cup to Sinclair, the words died on her lips as she became aware of his intense scrutiny.
Seeing her unease, Edward straightened himself in his chair, saying in a subdued tone, “Lady Jennifer, I think it only fair that I bring about a swift end to your disquiet.  I see what affect my injuries have on you, and believe me when I say that I quite understand.  I am not so insensitive as to not realize just how devastating it would be if you were forced to ally yourself to such an individual as I have become.  I would not wish it on you.”
She would have given an answer but he slowly shook his head.  “There is no need to attempt to put the matter delicately.  I am quite sure you realize, as do I, that to continue with the engagement would be disastrous.  Therefore, I will not prevaricate on the issue.  I release you from your promise.  The wedding will not take place.” 
 “It is not your wish that we should marry?” she asked paling still further.
“It is not.  I will send a retraction to the Gazette immediately.  It will be seen that I have been too long away and who should blame us if our sentiments have undergone a change during that time.  Indeed, it will be seen that I am the cause of the rift, so you need not fear censure.”
“Are my feelings on the matter not to be considered then, sir?” she demanded.
“I don’t think you know what your feelings are at this precise moment,” he replied, noting the indignant tilt of her chin and the militant look in her eye.  “If you would but be guided by me, I’m sure you will see the right of it, and will be relieved to be rid of me.”
“I am beginning to think that I shall,” she said, coming abruptly to her feet and nearly upsetting the tea tray in the process.  “I’m excessively grateful to you for pointing it out to me.  You have saved me the need to deliberate further on the matter.”
He too came to his feet and bridged the distance between them to take her hand in his.
“You may not think it now, but you will come to be grateful to me for making the decision,” he said earnestly.  “Let not your sentiments at this moment in time cloud your judgment.  You see me as a case for pity, and it’s not what I would wish.  I will not allow you to take me when such emotions rule.”
“You are quite right, sir,” she snapped, withdrawing her hand from his warm clasp.  “I would not wish that you should think I take you out of sympathy, therefore I see the sense of it.”  She did not understand why his words piqued her so.  Had it not been her own intent to end the betrothal?
An unfathomable look came in his eyes.  “I hope we may still meet as friends?”
“As friends?  I see no reason why we should not,” she replied coolly, deciding her reaction was that of resentment because it had been he who had uttered the words that ended the betrothal and not she.
Relieved, he smiled.  “Then we are in agreement?”
“Most certainly.  You have taken a burden from my mind.  I too had wondered at the sense of continuing with the engagement and had reached the same decision as have you.  Now we are both free to continue with our lives unhindered!”
“Have you felt the betrothal a hindrance?” he asked with some concern.
She colored with confusion.  “Yes…no…I don’t know what I have felt.  We had become as strangers and you were so far away….”  Her voice faltered and she refused to meet his gaze.
“Then the decision to end it is the right one and you may recommence your life without its burden.  Now that the matter is settled, we can be easy in each other’s company.  Won’t you be seated and take some tea with me?  Talk to me for a while.  I am in dire need of civilized conversation.
When the time came for Jennifer to leave Fly, Edward escorted his former betrothed and her companion to their chaise.  Watching from the shallow steps that led to the gravel drive, he raised his hand in farewell as the equipage disappeared down the long driveway, waiting until it disappeared from view before turning back to the hall.
Repairing immediately to his apartment, he went straight to the dresser and pulled wide the drawer.  Without taking it from its resting-place, he opened up the handkerchief and looked once more at the delicate face in the portrait.
“The deed is done, my love.  The deed is done,” he said quietly, and once more folding the cloth, he gently closed the drawer.

Other books by Hazel ~


Visit Hazel on the rest of her tour ~ 

Friday, November 5
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Monday, November 8
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Tuesday, November 9
Character interviewed at The Plot
Book Reviewed at A Book Lover
Wednesday, November 10
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, November 11
Book reviewed at Life in Review
Friday, November 12
Book reviewed at Rundpinne
Monday, November 15
Book reviewed, guest blogging, and giveaway at Acting Balanced
Tuesday, November 16
Book reviewed at The Book Connection
Book reviewed at My Favorite Things
Wednesday, November 17
Book reviewed and guest blogging at Diva’s Bookcase
Thursday, November 18
Book reviewed at Making Time for Mommy
Friday, November 19
Book reviewed at The Review Stew
Book reviewed and giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews
Monday, November 22
Guest blogging at Life in the First Draft
Tuesday, November 23
Guest blogging at Life in the First Draft
Wednesday, November 24
Book reviewed at Book Reviews by Molly
Friday, November 26
Book reviewed by Okbo Lover
Book reviewed and giveaway at Mandy’s Escape
TBD:   Guest blogging at Historical Romance UK