Puritans and Roundheads at war with Cavaliers and Royalists provide a rich background for a story-teller.
I'm a history lover as much as a romance writer, so when I pitched my story idea for The Cavalier for inclusion in the collection of four stories that would make up TEB's 'Bodices & Boudoirs' collection, I was delighted to be given the go-ahead to write an erotic romance that has long been lodged in my mind.
With the English Civil War (1642–1651) as my background, I naturally chose to write a forbidden romance featuring star-crossed lovers on either side of the political divide.
In The Cavalier, I've shown two worlds through the eyes of my three male characters: The Puritans with their narrow moral world view and the flamboyant Cavaliers who supported King Charles. My dashing hero, Charles, is a Cavalier engaged in a power struggle with his flamboyant military commander, as well as the narrow-minded Puritan, Silas, who's forcibly wed my heroine, Elizabeth.
I enjoyed playing mind games with Elizabeth. Her former lover, Charles, is besieging her castle but she has no idea of his motives for the bargain he's struck to save her husband's life. Is his night with her to affirm his loyalty - or to have his revenge?
Here’s what some reviewers have to say about the book:
|Eight years before, Elizabeth suffered numerous beatings by her father because she wished to marry Cavalier Charles Threthveyan. At last, when she realizes her suitor has given up and abandoned her, she marries the man her father has chosen, Puritan Silas Drummond, who has long lusted after her, though he’d never admit it. Now, Drummond is besieged by Royalist forces and Elizabeth and her husband are captives of Captain Reynolds, the King’s Man, and his second-in-command, her former suitor.|
Striking a bargain with Reynolds to spend the night with both men in return for her husband’s safe release, Elizabeth doesn’t count on the response she has to Charles’ nearness. He swears he still loves her, asking for a charade of seduction to save her honor. Elizabeth agrees but can’t hide her own desire and soon their pretended lust becomes all too real. Or has it? Before his commander, Charles becomes the callous seducer. In private, he’s the protective lover she once knew. Elizabeth has been charged by her husband to poison both Charles and his commander. She goes to an arranged meeting bearing the vial containing the fatal dose, but will she use it on Charles and Reynolds, or on herself? Can she free her husband though it would mean losing forever the man she really loves, or will she once more try to fight for the chance for happiness?
Beverley Oakley has created in The Cavalier a short but intriguing historical piece, giving a great deal of insight into the war in which the Cavaliers and the Puritans participated. Even for such a limited length, the characters are well-delineated, and their aims and desires equally explained. Elizabeth is torn between wanting to believe Charles and keep her original assessment of him intact in spite of how she sees him now conducting himself.
Charles has to redefine his ideas of why Elizabeth jilted him in light of what he was told and what he now learns. The contrasts between the beliefs of the Cavaliers and the Puritans and the war they fought is defined and explained, and Elizabeth’s dilemma in meeting again her lost love, of whether to believe him or accept the public face he shows of the callous libertine is well set up. I’d definitely like to read a longer work by this author.
I picked this one up since I don’t spot many books set in the English Civil War and, given my love for the Chaloner series, I thought it might be interesting to see pre-Restoration Cavaliers from the Puritan viewpoint. This book surprised me by being even more fun than I expected, although it was naturally a little constrained by being so short and yet still having to fit in the requisite amount of sex for the genre. The ‘playacting’ scene when the couple know they are being watched was particularly good with respect to the latter.
END OF REVIEWS
With only two days before the end of the year I'm busy making resolutions for 2014 and one of them is to write more English Civil War-set romances.
Have a great New Year's Celebration and wishing you lots of happiness and success in the year ahead.