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Guest blogger: Beverley Eikli

31 August 2014

Beverley EikliOne of my favourite characters from the Georgian period is the extraordinary Lady Emma Hamilton who, like flamboyant ‘socialite’ Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, raised eyebrows for living in a ménage a trois with her husband and lover, the famous naval hero, Horatio Nelson.

Emma’s life is a fabulous example of truth being stranger than fiction. At the age of twelve she was a servant before she took to the stage. Later she was a dancer at the ‘Temple of Health’, an establishment run by a quack doctor who enticed infertile couples to part with large sums of money to sleep on a bed that delivered mild, supposedly fertility-enhancing electric shocks.

Emma Hamilton was the Georgian equivalent of today’s most beautiful and photographed celebrities. As the lifelong muse and obsession of artist George Romney, she was painted in so many guises she became a well-known figure in society, even before her spectacular marriage.

Emma Hamilton

Emma, Lady Hamilton (1765 – 1815)

Emma’s complicated love life saw her wed Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to Naples and uncle to her then lover, who’d dispatched Emma to Italy so he could marry an heiress who refused to tolerate him having a mistress. In Naples, Emma’s theatrical ‘Attitudes’ became a sensation and a new art form. She combined classical poses with modern allure, and as the beautiful personable wife of a diplomat twice her age, she became friends with royalty across Europe.

However it was Emma’s affair with the famous war hero Horatio Nelson and the fact that the Hamiltons and Nelson lived openly together that made the trio such a sensation.

Now is not the place to follow Emma’s descent into debt and ruin, for it’s at the zenith of her flamboyant life that she provides the inspiration for my heroine, Adelaide, in my latest Regency romance, The Maid of Milan. Like Emma, Adelaide becomes the feted muse of a famous portraitist and basks in society’s adulation, though her love triangle is more complicated than Emma’s.

Adelaide resembles Lady Hamilton with her titian hair and her powerful sexual allure, but her past is more painful and her motivations for craving the love of her influential husband more complex. Especially when her ex lover walks back into her life as society’s latest literary darling.

The Maid of Milan was a fun book to write and I owe Lady Emma Hamilton a huge debt for it was the many biographies of this extraordinary woman that sparked the inspiration for my own unconventional Regency.

I’m delighted that it has just gone to audio book and large print.

I also have another racy Georgian romance in the pipeline with Choc Lit, as well as a couple of more sensual Georgian and Regency romances for Totally Bound, written under my Beverley Oakley name. Coming in a couple of months is Rogue’s Kiss, the sequel to my 2012 ARRA-nominated racy Regency romp, Rake’s Honour.

Maid of MilanThe Maid of Milan

After three years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan four years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

The Maid of Milan (audiobook, 12 hours and 7 minutes, narrated by Melody Grove) is available at: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks  | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The Reluctant BrideThe Reluctant Bride

A Napoleonic Wars espionage romance with a thriller ending.

Desperate circumstances following the death of her loving fiancé force Emily Micklen to marry taciturn soldier, Major Angus McCartney.

For years, brave, honourable Angus has loved Emily, though he remains haunted by the shocking death of his mysterious late French mistress who bore a strong resemblance to his new wife.

When Angus is sent to France on a mission to entrap the notorious French spy, Madame Fontenay, Angus discovers the real enemy is closer to home than he’d realised.

The Reluctant Bride is available at: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

You can find Beverley at: website | blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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4 Comments
  1. 1 September 2014 9:52 pm

    I love Emma Hamilton. I started writing a play about her years ago, but gave up – I think I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she did that I wanted to pack in! I might revisit the idea one day though.

  2. 31 August 2014 1:34 pm

    Oh my God she was my short story teacher last year. I loved her determination and hoped this book would be out when she mentioned it.

  3. 31 August 2014 10:58 am

    Great books, Beverley. Congratulations and Good luck. I’m sure they’ll fly off the shelves!

  4. beverleyeikli permalink
    31 August 2014 8:28 am

    Thanks so much for having me to blog today. Emma is a fabulous character, larger than life. If my characters did what she did, readers would feel I was stretching credulity 🙂

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