It’s well over two years since I stayed in with Gwen, a character from Nicola Pryce’s novel The Cornish Dressmaker in a post you can read here and I thought it was about time I invited Nicola herself to stay in with me on Linda’s Book Bag. With a new book on its way tomorrow, let’s find out what Nicola has to tell me this evening.
Staying in with Nicola Pryce
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Nicola. It’s so good to meet you after being introduced to Gwen. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
It’s my absolute pleasure, I’m thrilled to be here. But to be honest, I’m not here just to chat. We have an important job to do.
We do. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought my new novel, A Cornish Betrothal. It’s the fifth in my series set on the south coast of Cornwall, 1793-1800. It takes place up on Bodmin Moor.
Crikey. Are there five books in the series already? I must catch up! I understand A Cornish Betrothal is out tomorrow so happy publication day for then.
What can we expect from an evening in with A Cornish Betrothal?
A bit of anxiety, I’m afraid. I don’t like to frighten you but I’m here on behalf of Amelia Carew and Dr Luke Bohenna. There’s a rogue doctor out there, peddling dangerous concoctions. He passes himself off as a physician from London but he’s a quack, no better than a horse doctor! His potions are harmful, if not downright dangerous. He’s been seen in Bodmin and we’re worried he’s coming here – if he hasn’t already!
Goodness me! That sounds disconcerting!
I’ve taken the liberty of bringing a basket of logs for the fire. Lady Carew is convinced this north wind is going to bring snow. It’s very cold, even for January, and especially bitter up here on the Moor. There’s a lot of sickness about. That’s why he’s so successful at peddling his potions.
Hmm. I think there has been quite a bit of peddling potions in recent times Nicola, never mind in A Cornish Betrothal.
If it’s alright by you, Linda, I’d like to spend the evening going through all your medicines.
You can, but what are you looking for?
We need to see if any have labels with Dr Lovelace on them. If we find any, Dr Bohenna would like me to take them away so he can test them.
That’s fine by me. I’m not sure I want them in the house actually.
But I’m forgetting – I’ve brought you a flagon of Lord Carew’s punch. He served it on Amelia’s birthday – it’s Madame Merrick’s recipe, but I think he makes it stronger. Have you got a punch bowl to hand?
I think this one will do.
And I mustn’t forget I’ve also brought you a jar of Amelia’s green salve. It’s wonderful for stopping lips and hands from getting chapped. The recipe is in her new herbal. She’s hoping … really hoping … that it’s going to be published under the title The Lady Herbalist. It’s very awkward as I believe it was going to be dedicated to her late fiancé Midshipman Edmund Melville, but that’s all changed now. Anyway, it’s packed full of her herbal recipes and good advice. She thinks it may look a bit like this.
That looks wonderful. We’ve decided to grow botanicals in our allotment next year so Amelia’s book would be really useful.
I’ve also brought you a beautifully crafted bone and wood games set … goodness, is it the fire as I’m suddenly rather hot? No, it’s true, I do have a soft spot for Captain Pierre de la Croix and I’m just a little jealous. A handsome man if ever there was, on parole in Bodmin, and crafting such a beautiful Ark for Amelia. They say these French trinkets fetch big money in London, and who’s to doubt it? I’ve never seen such beautiful marquetry. His bone animals are exquisite, and this games set he thought might help you pass the cold winter. He carved it especially for you.
That’s beautiful. I’ll have to see if I can think of a way to thank him!
I’ll head back out onto the Moor now, but I’m not cold – not after all that punch. Thank you so much for inviting me to stay in with you tonight. I’m very glad we didn’t find any poisons among your medicines. But do be warned. Don’t let this horse doctor in … don’t buy any of his potions.
I won’t! Thanks so much for staying in with me Nicola and warning me. Any last things to tell me before you go?
And for your ears only – not a word to anyone – we think Luke was about to propose to Amelia. Honestly, the timing was terrible. Poor Amelia! What must she be going through?
I think we need to read A Cornish Betrothal to find out, don’t you? I’m delighted I have it on my TRB pile and can’t wait to begin. Thank you so much for all your advice and information Nicola. Let me give blog readers the information they will need for tomorrow’s publication.
A Cornish Betrothal
Eighteen months have passed since Midshipman Edmund Melville was declared missing, presumed dead, and Amelia Carew has mended her heart and fallen in love with a young physician, Luke Bohenna. But, on her twenty-fifth birthday, Amelia suddenly receives a letter from Edmund announcing his imminent return. In a state of shock, devastated that she now loves Luke so passionately, she is torn between the two.
When Edmund returns, it is clear that his time away has changed him – he wears scars both mental and physical. Amelia, however, is determined to nurse him back to health and honour his heroic actions in the Navy by renouncing Luke.
But soon, Amelia begins to question what really happened to Edmund while he was missing. As the threads of truth slip through her fingers, she doesn’t know who to turn to: Edmund, or Luke?
A Cornish Betrothal is published by Corvus, tomorrow, 5th November 2020 and is available for purchase through the links here.
About Nicola Pryce
Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has always loved literature and completed an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.
Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Historical Writers Association.