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Guest blogger: Bronwyn Parry

13 October 2019

After six romantic thrillers set on the edge of the NSW outback, three of which won ARRA awards for Favourite Romantic Suspense, I recently published my first Regency romance, The Clothier’s Daughter. I know that some of my readers are surprised with the change of sub-genre, some perhaps disappointed it’s not another contemporary, Australian-set book, and others are delighted to read anything I write.

So, what makes an author try a different genre from one she’s been successful in, with a loyal readership? In my case, it was a combination of factors. I’ve loved all my books, the characters, and the two fictional towns that my contemporary books are set in—Dungirri and Goodabri. But those books are quite gritty, with hard-hitting crimes, and the people in those towns have been through a great deal of murder and trauma. Oh, I do know they’re entirely fictional people and that what I’ve put them through in my books is purely imagination and Hasn’t Really Happened. But although I have some ideas for more stories, I felt that the characters (and perhaps I) needed a break from all that drama. There are only so many murders that a community can endure. The Christmas novella that I published in 2016, The North Wind, does give some optimism for the future of Dungirri and its community, and I enjoyed writing that. However, as north-west NSW has been gripped by a devastating drought for several years, I couldn’t write another convincing contemporary without also exploring that issue, and that’s emotionally and creatively hard when we have dust instead of grass, hundreds of trees dying, and our farming neighbours have destocked and are spending every day hand-feeding their few remaining breeding stock.

So, instead I wrote a book with a great deal of rain! I’ve always loved historical romance, and I am a historian at heart and by training, so it’s a natural sub-genre for me to explore. My honours thesis was on eighteenth century British worsted textiles, and I spent time researching in Yorkshire, an area that I love. I’ve had many ideas for stories bubbling away for years, and because I also needed to write a book that explored a new angle in my writing for my creative practice PhD, it was a logical choice.

The Clothier’s Daughter is set in Yorkshire in the summer of 1816, which was ‘the year without a summer’ and unseasonably wet. It was also a time of radical change, with the cotton factories of the Industrial Revolution spreading and replacing traditional wool textile manufacture, and thousands of soldiers returning to England after Waterloo, and trying to find their place in society after a generation of war.

I’ve always been interested in social history and I loved being able to explore various facets of life in 1816 and weave them through a story with drama and passion in a historical setting. As many ARRA members know, I’m also fascinated by historical costume, and have been to the Jane Austen Festival in Australia four times, making and wearing Regency outfits throughout the festival (and any other excuse I can find!). So I enjoyed imagining outfits for Emma, my heroine, as well as dressing (and undressing!) Adam, the hero.

Despite the change in setting, I aimed to include in The Clothier’s Daughter many of the elements that are characteristic of my novels—a fast-paced, gripping story; strong lead characters and an emotional romance; a vivid sense of place and community; and three-dimensional secondary characters. So I do hope that readers who have enjoyed my other books will enjoy The Clothier’s Daughter.

Although it’s the first in a planned series of loosely linked books, it does stand alone as a complete story. I’m currently working on the next book in the series; in it, my hero David Penry has reason to visit Sydney in 1817 …

I’m delighted that I’ll be visiting Sydney myself in 2020, as a signing author at A Romantic Rendezvous, and I look forward to seeing many ARRA readers there.

You can find Bronwyn here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Clothier’s Daughter

In the unusually wet summer of 1816, Emma Braithwaite struggles to keep her family’s traditional wool cloth manufacturing company afloat. Her father has died, her brother is missing, and the new cotton factories are spreading, rendering the fine worsted fabrics the Braithwaites have made for generations, expensive and unfashionable. Being a woman in a man’s world of trade is challenging enough, but when her warehouse catches fire it brings her only a step away from financial ruin and debtor’s prison.

After eight years of war, Major Adam Caldwell is returning for the first time to his family home, Rengarth Castle, when he stops to assist at a warehouse fire … and comes face-to-face with the woman he once loved and lost. Despite all his efforts to forget her, in truth she’s never been far from his thoughts. He was unworthy of her then, and even more so now.

But as the threats against Emma escalate, they discover that someone wants control of Emma’s family company and is prepared to murder anyone in the way of getting it—including Emma.

You can buy The Clothier’s Daughter here.

  1. 13 October 2019 8:26 pm

    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Barbara! All going well, there will be several more books in the series – there are a few characters who need their own stories!

  2. Barbara permalink
    13 October 2019 7:44 pm

    Loved this book ….and I am glad you are writing another one in this series.

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