Monday, April 20, 2015

Get Lost in an Irish Love Story

Take a journey to Ireland with author Beppie Harrison in the historical romance Hearts Trilogy:

Lady Anne Hawthorne dearly loves Ireland, where she was born and raised. But she is the daughter of an English aristocrat, whose lands lie in Ireland, and the year is 1810. The Irish have resented the English rule more and more bitterly, and in 1798 and 1803 there were rebellions by the Irish, quickly snuffed by the British. So on which side does Lady Anne stand?

Complicating her decision are two men: the enigmatic red-headed Irishman she encounters unexpectedly and the handsome, responsible Englishman taking over his Irish estates.

So where do her loyalties lie? She has to choose between temptations and opportunities to define herself, each man claiming part of her heart and loyalty. Only when she discovers where her own fidelity must be placed—and how far into danger she is prepared to venture—can she truly give herself to the man she loves.

Here's an excerpt:
Anne regarded her sister in the flickering candlelight.
Caroline murmured, “Did you notice how attentive Lord Ashbourne was to you?”
“He was polite,” Anne said, but she felt a little rush of satisfaction.
“It was more than polite. If you are so attached to Ireland, why not marry him?”
“Marry him?” Anne squeaked, sitting straight up in her surprise. “Why in the world would he want to marry me?”
Caroline propped up her head with her elbow. “Well, why ever not? You are certainly eligible. You’re the daughter of an earl—”
“He’s a marquess,” Anne interrupted.
“Close enough, as well you know. He plans to stay in Ireland, and you love Ireland—out of all reason, if you ask me. He seems very interested already. All you need to do is charm him.”
Anne groaned. “How am I supposed to charm him? I can hardly ride over the Ballymuir tomorrow morning and announce there I am, prepared to be charming.”
Caroline muffled her giggle. “He found you out on the road once already. It’s too bad that isn’t likely to happen often.”
“Exactly.” Anne flung herself back against her pillow, noticing that she rocked the bed and not much caring. “Good night and do dream about something else.” Leaning over, she blew out the candle.
Caroline giggled again. “Good night,” she murmured, her voice coming out of the dark again.
The darkness was warm and familiar in the comfort of their bed. Images of Lord Ashbourne floated across Anne’s mind. Had he been attentive? He certainly was attractive. From what Papa had said, he was planning to make his life in Ireland, just as she wished she had the freedom to do. Presumably he would have to take a wife, sooner or later.
It was a pity that only men were allowed to decide those things. She wasn’t falling in love with him—that would be ridiculous—but the prospect of marrying him, should he ever propose such an arrangement, would not be distasteful.
But how were they ever to meet frequently enough to discover what attraction existed between them? The days were passing rapidly. What if he never pursued the business of marriage until after she had been sent to England?
She flounced over in the bed again. Caroline, who must have been half asleep already, murmured a drowsy protest. Anne ignored her.
If she could choose the man she would marry, what sort of man would she choose? It was willful even to think it, but if ever she had the choice, she would choose a man who planned to live in Ireland. Her own beautiful, confusing, secretive Ireland.

The Divided Heart is the first book in the Hearts Trilogy, which is on sale as a boxed set at Amazon:

Meet Beppie

Beppie Harrison lives in southeastern Michigan with her husband and two slightly addled cats, their four children having grown up and flown the coop. They live a somewhat cross-Atlantic lifestyle. Her husband is an English architect and they began their marriage living in London, only moving to the States when they had young children. In many ways, England still feels like home.

For Beppie, the pull from across the Atlantic comes not only from old friends and familiar places in England, but from Ireland. Did it start with its literature, its history, or its wonderful garrulous people? However it happened, she is addicted now.

Her first fiction trilogy, the Heart Trilogy, is placed primarily in Ireland during the Regency period. The Grandest Christmas, a novella for the holiday season, is a warm and cozy read for Christmastime.

You can contact Beppie on her website:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beppie.harrison
Twitter: @queenskeys
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Beppie-Harrison/e/B00UW5BS04

E.E.: How often do you get lost in a story?
Beppie: Every time I read a story I like. My mother tolerated it better when I was a child because she was pleased I read with such enthusiasm. She was less enthusiastic when I was a teenager because there were other things she would have liked me to do as well: homework, my assigned chores, and paying attention when she was trying to tell me something.

My husband puts up with it, and has learned that anything he tells me when I am reading a book probably has made no impact on my memory. I have four children: two of them get as lost in books as I do and consider it normal behavior; two of them cannot believe that I am not deliberately ignoring them—even now, when we’ve known each other for going on thirty years!

E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Beppie: I was fortunate enough to spend my childhood in Hawaii, and the sound that is the most wonderful in the world to me is the sound of moving water. Waves tumbling onto the shore is my favorite. I am always torn between staying awake to listen to it and drifting into sleep, lulled by the rhythm. But since I’ve lived on the mainland, I’ve discovered that creeks and rivers do quite nicely as well.

E.E.: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Beppie: I remember reading Heidi by Johanna Spryi. My mother gave me an edition that had a very few illustrations when I was about seven years old, and told me she thought I read well enough to be able to read it myself. I remember being monstrously proud, and then completely sucked into the story. To this day I remember the Alp Uncle and the old grandmother who was bedridden and only had hard brown buns to eat, and how proud and happy Heidi was when she was able to bring her soft white rolls. I remember thinking Heidi was a nicer little girl than I was! But I remember the old grandmother even now, every time I eat a whole wheat roll which I think must be much softer now than they were then.

E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? What kind?
Beppie: I always try to write with music, but it doesn’t always happen. What kind depends on my mood: what I like best is the Sirius subscription station Seriously Sinatra because it just goes on and on with no commercials or having to change disks, and it’s the easy listening sort of music that only seldom demands my complete attention. Sometimes a song I dearly love or that tugs at my heartstrings comes on and I stop to listen—but that doesn’t happen all the time. Or if it feels as if I’ve heard each of the songs too much, I’ll switch over to the classical station.

E.E.: What’s the best birthday (or any holiday) present you ever received?
Beppie: Once early in our marriage, when we really couldn’t afford it, my husband gave me the World Atlas published by the London Times. It’s huge and shows the whole world in exquisite detail. It’s still my treasure, even if many countries have changed their names. It’s the best.

E.E.: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why? Most?
Beppie: Whenever I think about comfort, I realize how fortunate I am to live when I do, when almost all our garments are more practical and easy to wear than they have ever been before. It amazes me what our ancestors were willing to put up with! I think it struck me most strongly when we took our family vacations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on those sandy strips where the women of the first settlers, during the Victorian period, wore long skirts and long sleeves and petticoats and who can fully say what underwear during those long hot summers. Of course, that’s the time of year when we chose to be there, but then we all ran around in bathing suits with maybe shorts pulled over them if there was a fancy excursion to buy scallops or crabs or on a sweltering afternoon, some ice cream to cool off.

Now if you just let me imagine, then I’d be a Regency lady in one of those wonderfully Greek-influenced thin dresses that were gathered under the bust with ribbons and a fichu of lace, and with my hair piled in splendid curls on my head. My hair would stay there, of course, unlike what it does now. And I’d be thin and willowy instead of cozy and friendly. But at the first chill breeze—and I’ve lived there; London does chill breezes very well—I’d run back to the 21st century as rapidly as possible.
 
E.E.: Where do you read and how often?
Beppie: I read wherever there’s a book, which is why I usually have one book in the kitchen, another in the bedroom, one in the bathroom cupboard, and of course a modest pile in the living room. Lots of books where I write, of course, but most of them are utilitarian histories, dictionaries, thesaurus, and multiple volumes concerning wherever I’m writing about at the time. Maybe a reading book tucked in somewhere for me to look at in moments of despair—and to put down firmly when I look at the clock and realize I’m supposed to be working.

I read whenever I can, which means I read in the morning, at lunchtime, in the afternoon, and after dinner. Unless I’m so caught up in writing my current book that my reality in this house and with these people fades away in the face of my fascination with the people I’m writing about and whose story I’m telling. Then I walk past all the objects in the real world—the books I was reading included—with blank eyes until I can sit down with my laptop and settle back into the world of my imagination.

E.E.: What does it mean to love someone?
Beppie: It means you can give them the freedom to be their best selves, and be content in the knowledge that they give you the same. It means you love who they are and who they may be becoming. It means accepting imperfection unless you are unfortunately perfect yourself. It also helps a lot if they make you laugh.

Today, Beppie will give away an autographed copy of The Divided Heart. Just enter the raffle and leave a comment.

If you could wave a magic wand and go anywhere on earth, where would you go, and why?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

15 comments:

  1. Hi, I would head to the Sunshine Coast QLD. A touch of paradise. I have family there too - bonus.

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    1. Absolutely! The word "coast" is like magic to me. And "family" is the welcome word for a place to stay and enjoy them as well as the place.

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  2. I would go somewhere warm with a beach since we have had a rough winter and it would be wonderful to relax.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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    1. I'm all for the beach as well. This winter Michigan tried to be as unpleasant as possible (it's very good at it) and an escape into the warmth would be wonderful. Well, warmth and water. We do warmth around here during the summer quite well.

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  3. What a great post! I would LOVE to go to New Zealand. The lush, green scenery and the Maori call to me!

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    1. Now there I've never been. Since I grew up in Hawaii, and the Maoris are Polynesian as well I'd expect some cultural aspects to be the same, but the glorious scenery--mountains and cliffs and beaches and the ocean surrounding you! Yum.

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  4. Scotland! Highlanders, kilts & that to die for brogue

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    1. Now there seems to be some division of opinion about Scotland vs. Ireland. Have to admit that if there were a direct competition, I'd plump for Ireland, but Scotland is beautiful. I want to go to Edinburgh and spend some time. Been through Glasgow, but generally on our way from Ireland to Lancashire, where my husband spent his childhood.

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  5. I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland although with as much rain that we have had lately I feel like I am already there. Entering under the name of Virginia

    lead at hotsheet dot com

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    1. Ah, the rain. That's why it's so green, the natives explain. Not being accustomed to carrying them about 24/7 12 months of the year I have become an expert in losing umbrellas there.

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  6. I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland although with as much rain that we have had lately I feel like I am already there. Entering under the name of Virginia

    lead at hotsheet dot com

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  7. It is a pleasure to learn about you and your books! Thanks for sharing! :)
    Ireland is on my wish list to see one day! greenshamrock at cox dot net

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    1. I resisted Ireland for a while. I lived in London during the first 10 years of our marriage, and it unfortunately at the same time as the Troubles in Northern Ireland. I got so impatient with everybody's stubbornness and inability to forget--they were still fighting about things that happened centuries before--that I almost crossed it off my list. Then we went there and I fell in love.

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  8. Tahiti- haven't been

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  9. Welcome to Get Lost in a Story Beppie! I love Ireland and Irish men...and Englishmen and Scots and American men...oh heck, I can't make up my mind.

    I spent five months in northern England in Carlisle on a newspaper internship. Saw quite a bit of Scotland, but sadly, didn't get to Ireland. I've always wanted to return and spend time seeing the country and getting to know my Irish roots.


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