By the King’s Design

Thanks to her patron and great architect, John Nash, Belle Stirling is a rising star in the homes of London’s fashionable elite. Even the Prince Regent wants her elegant, high quality fabrics used in the decoration of his new palace, Brighton Pavilion. But when those closest to her conspire against Parliament, she risks losing her reputation, her business. . .and even her life.

“The book’s greatest strength is its sympathetic and interesting heroine, who manages to be capable and indomitable without being anachronistic…a fine quiet evening read, with a rare Regency heroine who loves her work and does it well.” Publishers Weekly

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The genesis for this story is all my husband’s fault.

As an avid woodworking hobbyist, he has many books on antique clocks, furniture, and interior decorative detailing.  Not to mention additional books on architecture.  I began flipping through his books one day, looking for a book idea in which I could do homage to his skills, when I stumbled upon the great architect, John Nash, who was responsible for much of London’s Regency-era design.

At first, I intended to make my heroine an interior designer (in those days referred to as an “artist-designer”), but my researched proved that this was such a man’s field that it didn’t seem realistic.  In fact, I could find only one case of even a female architect prior to the time.

So I decided instead to make my heroine, Belle, a cloth merchant, and to bring forward the hero’s cabinetmaking profession.  You’ll see inside the book how I tied the two together.  It was a lot of fun researching how beautiful pieces of furniture were made without the benefit of electric drills saws…or even sandpaper!

Here’s an example of one of my husband’s woodworking projects.  This is a piece we call The Barmoire, modeled after something I saw in a furniture store.  It has a wine bottle rack, a glass rack and door shelves, in addition to a drawer for holding supplies.  It’s made from cherry with crotch mahogany insets.  It’s a fun piece that I just love.  Now you know why I wanted to base a hero on my husband!