From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
Hello Dear Readers,
Regency-era mysteries are like catnip to me. By combining two of my favorite genres, I get to vicariously live in the early nineteenth century and experience a hero or heroine sleuthing out clues to solve a crime.
That’s why I am so pleased to introduce you to a new historical mystery releasing in November from award-winning mystery writer Celeste Connally. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord sounds enchanting and I cannot wait to read it. Here’s the scoop…
Set in London, our heroine Lady Petra Forsyth shares many qualities, attitudes, and privileges as Jane Austen’s handsome, clever, and rich Emma Woodhouse. After the death of her fiancé weeks before their planned nuptials, she has no inducement to marry, instead choosing the freedom of an independent life.
Add in a mystery involving a missing friend and a dubious private asylum, and our trailblazing independent heroine is on the hunt for the truth.
Here is a special message from author Celeste Connally who shares with us the inspiration for her new series and the first novel, followed by the cover reveal, the official book description from the publisher, and a fabulous giveaway chance.
Best, Laurel Ann
MESSAGE FROM AUTHOR CELESTE CONNALLY
Hello, Dear Readers,
I’m incredibly honored you’re here to help me reveal the cover for the first book in my new historical mystery series, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord.
The idea for this book took hold during the pandemic, when I was watching period dramas on the regular, including all my favorite Jane Austen adaptations and Downton Abbey. And of course, in nearly every one, there was the notion of the unmarried woman being a rather pitiable character. I began thinking about how the spinsters never got to be in the limelight, especially in the Regency period. They were hardly ever seen as strong, or capable, or worthy of respect, and I thought to myself that a main character who valued her independence and embraced her decision not to marry would make for a heroine I would like to write.
And thus, dear readers, I am overjoyed to introduce you to Lady Petra Forsyth. Daughter of the Fifth Earl of Holbrook, accomplished equestrienne, goddaughter to the Duchess of Hillmorton, and a woman in possession of her own fortune.
After the death of her fiancé three years ago, Lady Petra’s already headstrong ways—which include occasionally riding astride in her brother’s old breeches—came to include living her life on her own terms. That is, without a husband—though not everyone sees her decision as the right one, or the ladylike one. And when the purported death of a dear friend seems intertwined with mentions of a mysterious physician, Petra does the most unladylike thing she can: she starts asking questions.
When Petra formed in my mind as a character, I saw her with little bits of some of my favorite…well, almost-spinsters. Such as Emma Woodhouse, who was initially willing to go her own way and remain unmarried in a time where doing just that was an incredible risk for a woman, no matter what her financial status. And then there’s Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith, who recognized her talents and carved out a satisfying life for herself as an entrepreneur and businesswoman. She didn’t let it stop her from romance, either…
Another thing my inspirations for Petra have in common is that I feel they would all have made excellent amateur sleuths. Some would say it’s because spinsters have an inclination toward nosiness, but I would say it’s their sharp minds and a refusal to give up on what’s important. I think Petra certainly begins to develop the knack for investigating—whether or not those around her approve—and I very much hope you’ll enjoy riding alongside her for her very first adventure.
All my best,
Without further ado, here is the gorgeous cover of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord.
A gasp escaped my lips when I first saw this cover. The colors and design are stunning. What do you think?
Bridgerton meets Agatha Christie in Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord, a dazzling first entry in a terrific new Regency-era cozy series with a feminist spin.
When Lady Petra Forsyth’s fiancé and soulmate dies just weeks ahead of their wedding, she makes the shocking proclamation―in front of London’s loosest lips―that she will never remarry. A woman of independent means, Petra sees no reason to cede her wealth and freedom to any man now that the love of her life has passed, nor does she intend to become confined to her country home. Instead, she uses her title to gain access to elite spaces and enjoy the best of society without expectations.
But when ballroom gossip suggests that a longtime friend has died of “melancholia” while in the care of a questionable physician, Petra vows to use her status to dig deeper―uncovering a private asylum where men pay to have their wives and daughters locked away, or worse. Just as Lady Petra has reason to believe her friend is not dead, but a prisoner, her own headstrong actions and thirst for independence are used to put her own freedom in jeopardy.
Celeste Connally is an Agatha Award nominee, and a former freelance writer and editor. A lifelong devotee of historical novels and adaptations fueled by her passion for history—plus weekly doses of PBS Masterpiece—Celeste loves reading and writing about women from the past who didn’t always do as they were told.
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Author Celeste Connally and her publisher Minotaur Books are generously offering a fabulous giveaway for our readers. Good luck to all.
Two (2) winners (selected at random by Rafflecopter) will receive one (1) advanced reader’s paperback copy of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord. One (1) winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) will receive one (1) advanced reader’s paperback copy of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord and a gift prize package containing the following:
- A Jane Austen ‘Obstinate, Headstrong Girl’ mug from the Jane Austen Centre giftshop.
- A bookmark, and a bookplate signed by the author.
- A medley of Harney & Sons teas in various flavors individually wrapped teabags.
- A handmade ceramic tea tidy in the shape of a teapot for teabags.
- A box of English tea biscuits.
Open from 12:01 am Pacific time 02/22/23 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 03/19/23.
Terms & Conditions:
The giveaway is hosted by Celeste Connally and Minotaur Books. No purchase is necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the books and prizes to the winners. Void where prohibited. One giveaway item per eligible entrant.
Announcement of Winner:
Visit author Celeste Connally’s website on March 20, 2023, to see if you won one of the three prizes.
Click on this Link to Rafflecopter to Enter the Giveaway:
- Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord: A Mystery, by Celeste Connally
- Minotaur Books (November 14, 2023)
- Hardcover, & eBook
- ISBN: 978-1250867551
- Genre: Historical Mystery, Regency Mystery, Cozy Mystery
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Cover image, author message, book description, and author bio courtesy of Celeste Connally and Minotaur Books © 2023; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2023, austenprose.com. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate.
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Laurel Ann, I’ve had such a wonderful time working with you on my cover reveal, and I’m so incredibly grateful for all you’ve done, especially on such a tight deadline, for both me and my book. It really means so much, and I won’t forget it! Thank you! xo, Celeste
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My pleasure, Celeste. I am really excited to read Act Like a Lady. Best wishes with its success.
Laurel — Agree the cover is stunning.
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I like the Obstinate Headstrong Girl cup more; good review of this new book and I think there was mention of tea. I have many books to read and can’t seem to find time for new ones as yet. And now I seem to be having trouble with my WordPress as it does not allow me to preview my post; unsure what the glitch is or if my blog is in limbo now that I’ve invested in purchasing a plan; no matter and not of interest to this discussion, sorry. Best in all with this new book.