I’m also thrilled today to bring you an extract on the blog tour for The Second Mrs. Thistlewood by Dionne Haynes.….
book blurb & info
Regency England. A land of oppression and social discontent.
Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.
Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.
But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?
Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.
Published by: Allium Books on 15th August 2020
Formats available: Paperback & eBook
This extract is taken from Chapter 23 of The Second Mrs Thistlewood.
Regency England is a land of discontent. While the rich grow richer, the poor grow poorer with machines of the industrial revolution putting many out of work. The Corn Laws threaten to increase the price of bread and many other staples, resulting in many families going hungry. Meanwhile soldiers are returning from fighting in France to face unemployment and begging on the streets.
Arthur Thistlewood is intent on bringing about change in the British government to improve conditions for the working classes, but as his ideas grow more militant, his mistreatment of his wife escalates.
Arthur is arrested and charged with high treason, giving Susan a period of respite. By the time he is released, circumstances have forced Arthur and Susan to lodge with friends, but even they find his moods hard to tolerate. Having broken a promise to change his ways and be kinder to Susan, his violence resumes, leaving Susan determined to find a way to end their marriage.
A small mouthful of jellied eel hits the back of my throat and it’s a struggle not to gag. I have never understood the fascination for this East End dish, nor Beckey’s desire for her cook to recreate it in her kitchen, but I don’t wish to offend her by declaring my distaste for it.
Arthur devours his as if he hasn’t eaten for weeks. Beckey closes her eyes and savours every mouthful. Samuel, however, pushes his food around with a spoon, lost in contemplation. I think of a sugar plum, imagining the taste of the sweet hard shell while wet vinegary jelly slithers towards my stomach.
My spoon taunts me with an enormous piece of chopped eel and I shudder. It’s too big to swallow whole, so I hold my breath, force the mouthful of punishment between my lips, and chew.
‘I’m sorry, but there’s something I need to say.’ Samuel’s spoon clatters against the delicate rim of his china bowl. ‘Arthur, it’s time you moved out.’
‘Samuel?’ Beckey looks as shocked as I feel.
Samuel raises his hands in a gesture of despair. ‘I didn’t want it to come to this, but I can’t tolerate it any longer.’
‘Samuel, I’m sorry. I’m trying to… ’ My voice trembles and my fingernails dig into my palms.
‘It’s not you, Susan.’
We all look towards Arthur.
He draws himself to full height and glares at Samuel. ‘And what have I done to offend your delicate sensibilities?’
Samuel remains calm. ‘That’s it there, Arthur. Your tone, your manner, your complete disrespect for anyone other than yourself. After the judge directed a “not guilty” verdict, we welcomed you here. But as each day passes, your mood blackens and your language becomes more aggressive. No doubt it’s only a matter of time before you engage in violence, and I’ve no wish to associate with such a man. I’m disappointed because I hoped we would become the closest of friends.’
Samuel’s right. Arthur has slipped back into his old ways. For two days, he was a kind attentive husband, complimenting me on my appearance and making promises about a contented life. On the third day, he dropped the pretence. He pummelled me for knocking his snuff tin off the nightstand and spilling the contents across Beckey’s thick pile carpet. He has resumed weekly sessions at the Spenceans and, judging by his frequent absences during the evenings, several clandestine meetings elsewhere. The jingle in his pocket speaks of gaming tables and there’s an odour of debauchery clinging to his skin.
Eel sticks in my throat. What a fool I’ve been! Tiny cracks form in my heart. I can’t imagine resuming a life with only Arthur for company. I’m safer here.
‘We’ll move out tomorrow,’ declares Arthur.
about the author
Dionne is a retired doctor, living in Plymouth with her husband. She has a passion for history, the great outdoors, good food and life in general. With her medical career now well behind her, she is enjoying a second career as an author.
In 2015, Dionne finished writing her first novel The Provenance of Lilly, but after careful reflection and consideration of some harsh criticism, she decided not to put it into print. Instead, she worked hard at honing her writing skills, and published her debut novel, Running With The Wind, in 2019. She is currently working on a sequel which will form Book One of The Trelawney Wives series.
Dionne graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992, and started her medical career in the Royal Air Force. In 1998, she left the military to have her son, and worked in General Practice and Occupational Medicine. The opportunity to retire came in 2014 and Dionne did not hesitate to take it, relishing the opportunity to delve into history books and begin her writing career. Although no longer practising medicine, her medical background has some influence in the plotting of her stories.
While keen to maintain historical accuracy in her writing, Dionne creates stories from real events with sparse recorded details, allowing her imagination to take over and tell a tale of what may have occurred.
tour hosted by
Thank you to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to Dionne for sharing an extract with us!
One more post to come today guys so I’ll be back soon!
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