#BlogTour #GuestPost: The Second Mrs Thistlewood by Dionne Haynes. @DionneHaynes_UK @rararesources

Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour. Sadly I wasn’t able to fit the book in to my reading list for this month so instead of a review I have a guest post from the author talking about her inspiration for the book and giving us a bit more of a realistic view of that period.

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour.

The Second Mrs Thistlewood

Blurb:   Regency England. A land of oppression and social discontent.

Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.

Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.

But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?

Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Second-Mrs-Thistlewood-Dionne-Haynes-ebook/dp/B08BCSQ7B7

US – https://www.amazon.com/Second-Mrs-Thistlewood-Dionne-Haynes-ebook/dp/B08BCSQ7B7

 

The Second Cover

Guest Post: The Turbulent Regency Era and the Thistlewoods

For many people, reference to the Regency era conjures images similar to Jane Austen’s characters – young ladies in high-waisted dresses with square-cut necklines, sharing gossip and drinking tea, or attending balls and seeking their own versions of Mr Darcy. While many privileged women may have enjoyed such a life, most endured a far more difficult time.

The Regency era started in 1811 when the Prince of Wales was appointed Prince Regent to rule in place of his father, King George III. While the king battled mental illness, his son lost the respect of the government and British public with his financial extravagance and scandalous behaviour. 

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. The Napoleonic wars from 1803 to 1815 were costly both financially and in lives. Almost two hundred thousand soldiers died, many on the battlefield, but most from wounds or disease. They left behind poor widows who struggled to heat their homes and raise their children. The Industrial Revolution was transforming production industries with machines replacing skilled workers and forcing many into unemployment. So, while rich factory owners grew richer from higher productivity and improved manufacturing efficiency, the poor grew poorer and artisans were no longer needed for their skills. The survivors from the battle fields returned home to a changed country lacking employment prospects and high prices, with many ex-soldiers reduced to begging on the streets.

Struggling for employment and a decent wage, the working classes faced added difficulties from the passing of the Corn Laws, legislation that prevented foreign corn imports. This resulted in lack of competition and sustained high prices for domestic corn, adding to the wealth of the British landowners and producers. A poor harvest in 1816 and resulting shortage of corn drove bread prices even higher and left men, women and children hungry.

It was therefore no wonder that a period of rioting ensued. 

Arthur Thistlewood is a less well-known character from this era. The illegitimate son of a prosperous stockbreeder, he was a radical political activist determined to bring about change to the government. As an advocate of the ideas of Thomas Spence (a believer in universal suffrage and nationalisation of land), Arthur tried to stir up a revolution similar to that which took place in France. Known for his violent tendencies, Arthur was on the government’s watch list when he became leader of what is known as the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820 – a plot to murder government ministers.

I have read that Susan Thistlewood supported her husband’s militant ambitions. Certainly, her name appears on a petition for the return of the bodies of the conspirators after their execution, but she did not sign the petition herself. This made me wonder if she really did support her husband’s murderous ideas, or did she feign support for some other reason? 

With Arthur having such radical ideas and a history of violence towards others, it is distinctly possible that his wife was afraid of him. With divorce difficult for a woman to obtain, and grounds even harder to prove, Susan may well have been trapped in an unpleasant marriage to her husband. Perhaps she appeared supportive of Arthur to keep his aggression channelled anywhere but towards her. 

All of the above provided rich material for a novel, and hence the story of The Second Mrs Thistlewood was born.

 

About the author: 

The Second Author

 

Dionne is a retired doctor, living in Plymouth with her husband. She has a passion for history, the great outdoors, good food and life in general. With her medical career now well behind her, she is enjoying a second career as an author.

In 2015, Dionne finished writing her first novel The Provenance of Lilly, but after careful reflection and consideration of some harsh criticism, she decided not to put it into print. Instead, she worked hard at honing her writing skills, and published her debut novel, Running With The Wind, in 2019. She is currently working on a sequel which will form Book One of The Trelawney Wives series.

Dionne graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992, and started her medical career in the Royal Air Force. In 1998, she left the military to have her son, and worked in General Practice and Occupational Medicine. The opportunity to retire came in 2014 and Dionne did not hesitate to take it, relishing the opportunity to delve into history books and begin her writing career. Although no longer practising medicine, her medical background has some influence in the plotting of her stories.

While keen to maintain historical accuracy in her writing, Dionne creates stories from real events with sparse recorded details, allowing her imagination to take over and tell a tale of what may have occurred.

 

 

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