Monday, February 10, 2014

Grace Elliot's Inspirational Heroines

Hello, I’m Grace and it seems I share a common interest with the Book Bake in that we both love strong heroines. Indeed, as an author of historical romance, it fascinates me how women strove to get what they wanted at a time when men dominated their world. Hundreds of years ago women had the same desires and hopes as we do today, and yet men conspired to keep them submissive and under the thumb. I love exploring how these women reacted and used whatever means they could to overcome prejudice and as a writer this can throw up some compelling dilemmas and wonderful storylines.

            This doesn’t mean my heroines are strident feminists, more that they are realists with an instinct for survival. I’m an avid reader, as well as writer, but as a reader it struck me there is a lack of stories featuring working class heroines.  I wanted to change this and in The Ringmaster’s Daughter, the romance features a working girl, Henrietta Hart. The book is set in the Georgian era when a woman’s best hope for leading a comfortable life was to snag a husband, and unmarried women were looked on as failures and housed by relatives out of charity.

            The setting for The Ringmaster’s Daughter is the Foxhall Gardens (the 18th century equivalent of an amusement park). Henrietta is the daughter of a circus ringmaster and a natural horsewoman, strong (both physically and mentally) and resourceful. When her father is taken ill she is determined to preserve their livelihood– and steps up into a man’s world. By placing Hetty in jeopardy, I wanted to stretch Hetty, to push her and see what she would and wouldn’t do to survive in an unfair world.  Even as a talented performer, Hetty is under the control of men: from the manager, Mr Wolfson, to the duke who owns the horse she performs with. There is an irony, as Hetty tries to protect a man, her father, she becomes vulnerable to the manipulations of another….

I love history, but it’s salient to remember how hard and unsatisfying life could be – especially for women. As to whether Hetty succeeds in a man’s world without sacrificing her morals…well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is housekeeping staff to five cats, two teenage sons, one husband and a bearded dragon.
Grace believes that everyone needs romance in their lives as an antidote to the modern world. The Ringmaster’s Daughter is Grace’s fifth novel, and the first in a new series of Georgian romances.


                       1700s, London

The ringmaster’s daughter, Henrietta Hart, was born and raised around the stables of Foxhall  Gardens. Now her father is gravely ill, and their livelihood in danger. The Harts' only hope is to convince Foxhall’s new manager, Mr Wolfson, to let Hetty wield the ringmaster’s whip. Hetty finds herself drawn to the arrogant Wolfson but, despite their mutual attraction, he gives her an ultimatum: entertain as never before – or leave Foxhall.

When the winsome Hetty defies society and performs in breeches, Wolfson’s stony heart is in danger. Loath as he is to admit it, Hetty has a way with horses…and men. Her audacity and determination awaken emotions long since suppressed.

But Hetty’s success in the ring threatens her future when she attracts the eye of the lascivious Lord Fordyce. The duke is determined, by fair means or foul, to possess Hetty as his mistress – and, as Wolfson’s feelings for Henrietta grow, disaster looms.

Buy Links


Subscribe to Grace’s quarterly newsletter here:

Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’


Grace on Twitter:        @Grace_Elliot

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Book Babe!
    Kind regards, Grace x