Today, our blog feature for the Christmas at Castle Keyvnor anthologies continues with a guest post by Ava Stone.
All that Glitters was…Copper?
By 1811, England had been at war with Napoleonic France for almost a decade. Heroes we still know today were born in those battles on land and at sea in both Arthur Wellseley (then Viscount Wellington) and Admiral Lord Nelson, respectively. Finding new ways to fight and hopefully defeat the French enemy were necessary for not only England’s survival, but in the returning of as many of her soldiers and seaman as possible back to her shores.
Mining in Wales was hardly a new endeavor at the time. A number of Welsh gold, lead and copper mines had been in operation as far back as the Iron Age, and on an even grander scale during the Roman occupation of the British Isles. Parys Mountain, right outside of Amlwch, is one of the oldest mines in Britain and was one of the world’s largest producers of copper, earning Amlwch the moniker “Copper Capital” and making it one of the wealthiest and most important ports during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Admiralty began sheathing Britain’s wooden naval ships with copper, which gave the Royal Navy an advantage over their adversaries. After all, ships sheathed in copper were more protected from seaweed, barnacles and shipworms. A copper coating also helped increase a ship’s speed and maneuverability, which is said to have aided Nelson in his victory during the Battle of Trafalgar. These sheathed warships were able to remain at sea for much longer periods of time as their need to return to port for regular maintenance was quite reduced over that of their wood only counterparts.
It is the Admiralty’s need for copper in 1811 that is the focus of my novella Once Upon a Midnight Clear and my hero, Lord Michael Beck’s, foray into trade. If a gentleman had the disadvantage of being a second, third or fourth born son of a nobleman, his prospects were generally limited to the military, the church or scholarly pursuits. Going into trade was frowned upon and could be quite ruinous to one’s reputation and that of one’s family. Work, after all, was a four-letter word and considered quite beneath the nobility. It would be better to be hungry and penniless than to work for a living.
However, Lord Michael, third son to the Marquess of Halesworth, has no desire to join the military. His rakish tendencies do not lend themselves to him taking a position in the church. And he much prefers his pursuits be more risky in nature than scholarly. Knowing he will never inherit his father’s title or lands, but having a desire to continue living the life to which he is accustomed, Michael decides his best option is to purchase an operational copper mine in Amlwhch and make his own fortune despite what such a scandalous decision will do to his reputation…
…and despite how such a decision might cost him the girl of his dreams – Lady Ivy Dallimore.
Lady Ivy is the slightly spoiled youngest sister of the Duke of Westbury. After watching her two older sisters marry for love but still end up unhappily married, she wholeheartedly believes that love is fleeting, but a title lasts forever. If a girl doesn’t look out for her own best interests while she can, she has no one else to blame except herself. Ivy is not the sort to listen to her heart over her head, and she’s not the sort who would ever consider a tradesman.
Is there anything Lord Michael can do to convince her to take a leap of faith with him? Or will he have to make due with only his copper mines to keep him warm at night?
USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Stone first fell in love with Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen, and Regency England at the age of twelve. And in the years since, that love has never diminished. If she isn’t writing Regency Era romance, she can be found reading it.
Her bestselling Scandalous Series is filled with witty humor and centers around the friends and family of the Machiavellian-like Lady Staveley, exploring deep themes but with a light touch. A single mother, Ava lives outside Raleigh NC, but she travels extensively, always looking for inspiration for new stories and characters in the various locales she visits.
Ava can be found regularly at Red Door Reads, on Facebook, Twitter and at Lady Jane’s Salon Raleigh-Durham, where she is one of the salon’s directors. Visit her website at http://www.AvaStoneAuthor.com
Kissed at Christmas includes
Ava Stone’s Once Upon a Midnight Clear
Only a duke will do for Lady Ivy Dallimore. If her unhappily married sisters have taught her anything, it’s that love is fleeting but a title lasts forever, which is all well and good in theory until she finds herself falling for the scandalous third son of a marquess who is bound and determined to make his fortune in trade! Lord Michael Beck courts scandal, living life to the fullest and dabbling in games of chance. Unfortunately, he’s neither heir nor spare to his father’s title, and the time has come to enter a profession. Michael is no soldier, and he certainly isn’t cut out for the cloth, so he embarks on the most scandalous and risky venture of his life. He will need capital, however, and collecting a number of outstanding gambling debts at a Christmas Eve wedding at Castle Keyvnor seems like the perfect place to start, at least until he stumbles across the lady of his dreams. But what are the odds the practiced gambler can win the girl without losing everything he’s worked for?
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