Mystery, mayhem, murder. Danger, deception, devilry . . . spiced with a dash of chocolate.London, 1813 Lady Arianna Hadley’s desire to discover her disgraced father’s murderer has brought her back to London from exile in the Caribbean. Masquerading as a male chef, she is working in one of London’s aristocratic households in order to get close to her main suspect. But when the Prince Regent is taken ill after consuming Arianna’s special chocolate dessert, she unexpectedly finds herself at the center of a dangerous scandal.
Because of his expertise in chocolate, the eccentric Earl of Saybrook, a former military intelligence officer, is asked by the top brass at Horse Guards to investigate the suspected poisoning. But during his first interrogation of Arianna, someone tries to assassinate both of them, and it quickly becomes clear that something very sinister is afoot within the highest circles of government. They each have very different reasons for wanting to uncover the truth, yet to have any chance of doing so they must become allies.
Trust. Treachery. Arianna must assume yet another identity as their search takes them from the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the slums of St. Giles. And their reluctant alliance is tested in more ways that one as it becomes clear that someone is looking to plunge England into chaos . . .
Now I am going to steal SOS Aloha's interview with Lady Arianna.
Kim: Tell us about your exile in the Caribbean - what were your favorite sights, sounds, and food?
Arianna: In contrast to the well-manicured order of an English country estate, the Caribbean was a complete contrast—the tropical heat and the pungent perfumes, the lush textures and rich colors, the exuberant spirit and devil-may-care attitude toward rules. I loved the swagger of the sailors, the saucy confidence of the women, the sensual sounds of the music, the sweetness of the exotic fruits.
I had the freedom to explore my new world—which proved a good thing, for when my father was murdered I was left at a young age to fend for myself. Luckily I had learned to be strong, resourceful, and so had the skills for survival. But I always knew that one day I would return to England and seek justice . . . even if it meant taking matters into my own hands.
Kim: Where did you learn to cook to impersonate a chef? Who advised you on impersonating a male?
Arianna: I learned the art of cooking from Oribe, our housekeeper, who was renowned among the for her medicinal potions and healing powers. (Some people called her a witch doctor, but the secrets she passed to me were all for the good, not evil.) Her expertise with Theobroma cacao—what we English call chocolate—proved particularly helpful to me when my life took a dangerous turn. If there is one thing no man or woman can resist, it’s the sinfully sweet taste of the ground beans. So when I needed to seduce the truth from my enemies . . .
Kim: Your creator, Andrea Penrose, wrote, "who can resist men in breeches and boots!" How about you - what attracts you to the Regency gentleman?
Andrea: Ah, the Regency gentleman. There’s an air of aristocratic arrogance to him. He is strong, honorable, elegant, educated—which makes him supremely self-confident. And that’s why it’s so intriguing to match wits with him . . . and bring him to his knees!
Kim: Indeed, it is intriguing to bring a Regency man to his knees ... then reward him with chocolate! Mary Gramlich, the Reading Reviewer, posted her review of SWEET REVENGE:
Can love be as decedent at chocolate?
In honor of this blog, I am giving away a copy of SWEET REVENGE to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment and if possible go check out my review of SWEET REVENGE on Amazon and B&N and mark them as helpful and/or positive
2. This giveaway is open to US residents only but I encourage all readers to leave a comment.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, April 16, and I will notify the winner but please come back in case I need your email address. (if you are a new reader, send you email address email@example.com).
Andrea Penrose is the alter ego of Cara Elliott, "wickedly witty, sinfully sexy historical romance." Congratulations to Cara - TO SURRENDER TO A ROGUE has been nominated for the 211 RITA for Regency Historical Romance. Mary and I will be at the RWA National Convention to cheer on Cara!