About the Story: This is Ellen Harding and Lord Edward Marlow’s love story.
Ellen, a woman who came upon hard times, finds the only way to save herself was to be a courtesan. Past events trap her in a life she hadn’t wanted. Her father had banished her from his family – she an unclean woman.
As mistress to Lord Gainsborough, she lived in a house of his choosing, with his servants watching her every move. If Ellen stepped out of line, he became abusive. He controlled her by fear and through time she had nothing left to fight with. She had two people in her life she must protect and saw no alternative except to continue as she was.
Lord Edward Marlow, unhappy with his situation with his brother the earl who had recently returned to retake the reins of his estate, decides to drown his misery at a gaming hall. But when he sees Ellen something in the vicinity of his heart shifts. He has never seen anyone with such natural beauty.
Life takes a turn for both her and Lord Edward when she lays her eyes on him playing cards in a gaming hall seated opposite Lord Gainsborough. Will Ellen take the opportunity presented her? Is she brave enough? Does she have anything left to fight with?
My Thoughts: Jane Lark does a marvelous job with building character depiction, story plot and pacing. We know exactly what sort of people Jane and Lord Edward are. She eloquently portrays Ellen’s external and internal beauty. The love that develops between them is much like sipping a mellow brandy. It warmed my whole being.
I could feel through Ms. Lark’s words the reverence that Lord Edward had for Ellen’s physical beauty and his love for her blossoming as he gets to know her. Ellen has held herself apart from the physical act with a man to protect her inner self. She is starved emotionally and physically. Her desire for Lord Edward’s touch and his desire for her tears away long-held defenses set to protect her heart and her very soul.
Lord Edward was unwavering in his love for Jane and his desire to help her. He truly exemplifies what every woman would want in a man. Ellen’s struggle with her secrets and not trusting a man add more sorrow to this love affair.
Ms. Lark did a great job portraying evil Lord Gainsborough. Nothing like money or property to bring the worst out in a human being.
I think Lord Pembroke played an important role in the destruction of Ellen. I could understand why he did it, but he hadn’t really thought how his actions perpetuated her misery and destitution.
Aside from the story, the social issue arises how men ‘used’ women to satiate their sexual and lustful needs outside of marriage and then their condemnation of women who are forced into such a trade outrages my sensibilities of justice and fairness. We still live this evil with women slavery today.
I congratulate Ms. Lark on an excellent debut novel. If this is indicative of her work, I shall be one of her most ardent fans. I foresee a long writing career.
About the Author: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,’The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, as well as a Kindle overall Top 25, bestselling author.
She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.
Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.
You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.
Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.
‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’