On June 18th it will be 200 years since the battle of Waterloo

04 The lost love of a Soldier 300dbiOn the 18th June 2015 it will be 200 years since the battle of Waterloo took place, which was fought near Brussels in Belgium. This is the setting for scenes in my novel The Lost Love of a Soldier so I want to take this chance to share some of the things which I learned while researching the story of the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of foot which my fictional character, Paul, had a place within, to commemorate the anniversary of the battle.

I picked the name of a real regiment randomly when I began writing Paul’s and Ellen’s fictional story, in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and chose the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of foot. So when I decided to place the characters in a prequel, which would incorporate the battle of Waterloo, I had to research the background of the 52nd and develop an understanding of what happened to them before they reached the battle. Looking up where they’d come from before the battle? How they had lived? How would they have felt during the lead up to Waterloo?

I read records of the regiment’s history in the Peninsular war; a seven-year war, fought against Napoleon’s forces in Spain. This told me that when Napoleon surrendered, abdicating as emperor, and agreed to move to the isle of Elba, the 52nd came home to Britain in the summer of 1814. So this was my opportunity for Paul to meet Ellen, when he would have come home on leave, tired and recovering from a very brutal, long war, in which, on occasions, British officers had to turn against their own men when through hunger and deprivation they attacked women and stole food in a Spanish city.

In December 1814 the 52nd were ordered to sail to America, to fight there, as were many of the regiments who’d finished battling in Europe, so in the story Paul’s aim is to take Ellen with him. The regiment sailed to Cork in Ireland in January 1815, whether you consider it fortune or misfortune is a judgement we cannot make, but they were stranded at Cork for weeks due to the weather being too bad to sail, and then came the news that Napoleon had escaped Elba and was once again rallying an army.

It must have been devastating news—for men who had fought through hunger, heat and miles and miles of marching, who’d lost numerous men and friends to war and seen far too many horrors—to know that the war was no longer won and they had to go back. The 52nd Regiment were then ordered to Ostend and from there to Brussels. Those men who’d endured the Peninsular war knew what they were heading towards, but because the decision was made by the generals not to go to Napoleon but to wait and let Napoleon make his moves first then the atmosphere of the journey towards Brussels was party like. Napoleon was still miles away so the regiments were accompanied by the officers’ families and by hundreds of tourists who’d come to enjoy the entertainment of crushing Napoleon again.

200 years ago, the soldiers would have been gathered in and around Brussels, and they had been there for weeks, waiting for a battle that they all felt was inevitable.

I have a couple more posts on Waterloo to share with you, and I am lucky enough to be heading over to Brussels for the commemoration, so I will share everything I discover later this month when I come back too.

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The Lost Love of a Soldier – is here! The prequel to the Marlow Intrigues is out Today!

The Lost Love of a Soldier

The prequel to The Marlow Intrigues series

The lost love of a Soldier 300dbi

I am going to share some excerpts from The Lost Love of a Soldier, leading up to the release date July 17th

Dressing Ellen’s first husband in his Scarlet Military coat (The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)

and  adding flesh, blood and bones to John’s father (The Scandalous Love of a Duke)

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The Lost Love of a Soldier

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An excerpt

They’d spent a day and another night in the carriage. Paul ached from too many hours of confinement, so they’d stopped again to break their fast and for him to stretch a little. Now they’d eaten, he’d left Ellen to refresh herself and walked about the yard of the Bull’s Head in Leamington Spa. He did not dare take a proper walk and venture out onto the High Street in case Ellen followed. An officer and a dark haired beauty might be remembered. So he kept to the confined space at the inn, walking a circular route a dozen times.

Anxiety raced through his blood. His senses were as heightened as they would be before a battle. But he’d no idea where the enemy was. The Duke of Pembroke could still be in Kent, or he could be a few hours behind them, riding at a gallop, eating up the ground, pursuing them as they lingered here. Paul hated stopping and yet they had to eat, and… Well, they could not simply stay constantly in the carriage.

Bored with walking in a circle he stopped at the stable and moved to a stall where a horse whickered from within; one of those they’d just relinquished from their traces, to be returned to the Black Horse at Bicester, the inn they’d stopped at before nightfall.

“You have a connection with horses, and you ride well. I remember from the summer. Why did you not join a mounted regiment? I would have thought you’d be in the cavalry instead of a regiment of foot soldiers.” Ellen stood beside him.

Her fingers touched his arm as his reached out and patted the mare’s neck then stroked its cheek.

“Because I could not have borne to watch a horse that I’d brought to battle, die. I made my choice to fight. My horse would not have had the same luxury.” He patted the animal once more, denying the images of battles crowding into his head. He did not want to remember. He turned to her and immediately all the memories of war and brutality faded.

She did not answer; perhaps he’d said something too morbid.

Her pale blue eyes held questions. Maybe she had seen the memories in his eyes. He did not wish her to see – with her he wanted to forget those memories. Yet he was taking her to a battleground, albeit not to fight.

Perhaps it was wrong of him.

But he could not regret it. In their hours in the carriage, the attachment she’d planted in his heart in the summer had emerged like a shoot from a seed, germinating and growing to full flower. Ellen Pembroke was the woman his soul chose; he could not leave her behind. Love clutched about his heart, a vine wrapping around it. “I love you.” The words slipped from his mouth without thought.

She was young, she knew nothing about brutality. He did not wish her to, but she would learn.

He was young too, but the experiences of war, and now having her to protect, made him feel much older than he was.

She smiled. “And I you, Paul.”

“Come, we had better go. There is no knowing how much ground your father has gained on us, if he is following.” He gripped her elbow, gently, and turned them both.

When they were back in the carriage he kissed her, desire and need roaring in his blood. He could not wait until they were out of this damned carriage and in a bed. But he did not press her for anything more. She was innocent, and they were unwed, he could wait until the moment came. For now he just revelled in her kisses and her tender, beautiful responses as shallow sighs slipped across her lips and her tongue tentatively entwined with his, while the weight of her arms rested on his shoulders.

This girl was a treasure. He was going to protect her and love her all his life. He would not allow the brutality of war to touch her…

You can buy The Lost Love of a Soldier by clicking on the cover in the sidebar on the right hand side.

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For

  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired                                                 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2,                              A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3                                                                   The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

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