LASR Anniversary: Nicky Penttila – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Heading to the beach, Regency style

Back in the Regency, London was definitely not the place to be in the summer. Anyone who could did get out of the blistering, overcrowded city for the country, where at least there was a breeze and most places were naturally cooler.

In my story A Note of Scandal, Olivia Delancey is a Regency Uptown Girl, but her family stays in town over the summer to curry political favor. Her surprise beau, Will Marsh, is the publisher of a newspaper and can’t take the summer off. But they do manage to get away to Plymouth, for a rollicking boat ride.

Why Plymouth? Because in July 1815, that’s where Napoleon was. After the British government turned down the French request for a passport for Bonaparte to travel to the United States, he and his followers debated whether to ask again for a passport or to make a run for it, challenging the British blockade near Rochefort, France—or to request political asylum. Knowing that the British had a tradition of harboring political refugees (including his younger brother), he chose the latter.

Scene in Plymouth Sound in August 1815, an 1817 painting by John James Chalon. Bellerophon is at the center of the picture, surrounded by crowds of people in small boats who have come to see Napoleon. [Public domain image:]

Scene in Plymouth Sound in August 1815, an 1817 painting by John James Chalon. Bellerophon is at the center of the picture, surrounded by crowds of people in small boats who have come to see Napoleon.
[Public domain image:]

On the morning of July 15, Napoleon and some 33 retainers, including women and children, boarded His Majesty’s Ship Bellerophon. “I am come to throw myself on the protection of your Prince and your laws,” he said to the captain. After a day of settling in, including stringing nets along the sides so the children wouldn’t tumble off, they set off for England.

They arrived early on July 24, and immediately caused a sensation. Captain Maitland had received orders not to let “anyone” off the ship, so the sailors dropped anchor deep in Brixham Harbor, chasing off the usual bread and goods merchants who’d come out in their shore boats. But they couldn’t hide the news, and soon every inn was full, and people in boats and yachts came from up and down the coast to see if they could catch sight of the most famous man in the world. Two days later, the Bellerophon sailed for Plymouth, where it met with the same reception. On July 27, a lieutenant aboard ship estimated the crowd in the surrounding waters at 10,000 people, seeing roughly a thousand vessels, each with more than 8 people aboard.

A week later, the British government informed Bonaparte that it would not grant him asylum. On August 4, the Bellerophon and its attendant ships weighed anchor, to rendezvous with the Northumberland, which would take the former emperor and a few retainers to St Helena. By that time, thousands more tourists had glimpsed the boat, and perhaps the man.

Are you heading out anywhere this summer? Perhaps you’ll see a luminary or two, as well.

nicky ANOS-S (2)A desperate composer tricks a principled newspaper publisher into printing a false story, and then falls for him. How can she prove that she’s worth a second chance?

About the Author: Nicky Penttila writes stories with adventure and love, and often with ideas and history as well. She enjoys coming up with stories that are set in faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat.

Website ~ Twitter

Buy the book at the author’s website.

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  1. I am a big fan of regency books and this sounds good. I love the detail of why you chose Plymouth. I’m a big fan of finding out why authors make some of the choices they do.

  2. Hey, Nicky! Glad to see you here. Continued success with your books!

  3. Felecia Sidoma says:

    I like regency books. But what i like more is finding new writers to read their books.

  4. Felecia, you sure have come to the right place. I’ve found 3 new-to-me writers just today. Read on!

  5. no summer plans

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the interesting info, and the book sounds great!

  7. Fun and informative post!

  8. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    It’s nice to see a Regency book set in another city other than London I do enjoy reading Regency books with all the beautiful clothes and settings.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot) freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

  9. Very interesting and informative post! We actually went to visit my hometown this summer with my children and my mom. We had a great time and they all got to meet my youngest who is 4. It was quite cold though, which is unusual for this time of year. My little one had a lot of firsts. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing.

  10. Congrats to gift-card winner Shirley Ann! And many thanks to you all for reading. Hope you collected a giant TBR pile this week!

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