I’ve heard such good things about Rachel Brimble’s writing and have wanted to read her for simply ages. Sadly my TBR has not allowed it so instead I invited Rachel to stay in with me to tell me about one of her books. I’m glad she agreed to be here!
Staying in with Rachel Brimble
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Rachel. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I have brought along two books! I hope that’s okay? A Widow’s Vow and Trouble For The Leading Lady are the first two books in my latest Victorian trilogy so I thought I could share the two together.
Oo. A BOGOF – what a bookish bargain! Though here it’s bring one get one free. What can we expect from an evening in with A Widow’s Vow and Trouble For The Leading Lady?
Drama, intrigue and romance… the trilogy (third book due for release in the autumn) is set in a brothel in the Victorian city of Bath, England. When Louisa Hill’s husband commits suicide, he leaves her house she knew nothing and a mountain of debt. She and her best friend, Nancy Bloom, travel to Bath and soon realise if they are to survive they must make the house work for them and revert back to their old professions as prostitutes.
Having survived abuse, hunger and living on the streets, the women are determined that this time around their lives will be on their own terms. The books are filled with a cast of secondary characters that give a flavour of community, but also provide a canvas to the desolation and daily threats that surrounded those living in the Victorian underworld which I hope adds excitement and mystery to the stories.
That all sounds fantastic Rachel. How do the first two books fit in?
Book 1, A Widow’s Vow is Louisa’s story whose life starts to look better when she meets boxer Jacob Jackson and he comes to work at the house as the girls protector/doorman. Book 2, Trouble For The Leading Lady is Nancy’s story and is about her lifelong dream of being onstage and how, with the influence of theatre manager, Francis Carlyle, her impossible dream draws ever closer to reality…
So far the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy has been well received and I am thrilled with reader reviewers and feedback. I love writing about the lower classes of society and giving the less privileged the chance to seek their own success and, of course, find true love!
I love reading about the ‘real’ people in history Rachel. Too often we have had male HIStory of the upper classes and too little HERstory of the ordinary folk. I’ve been hearing very good things indeed about this series from other readers and bloggers.
What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
I have also brought along a picture of the books that inspired the trilogy so that you and your visitors can have a better idea of the period and conditions Louisa and Nancy have experienced and survived. There is nothing more inspiring to me that finding real-life women who have fought against the odds and won, or even the women who have lost but refused to give up until the very end.
There is nothing better than empowering strong heroines and having them find the men who will be true partners to them in every sense of the word. I like to write about struggles but also inject a good dose of humour and romance into the characters’ stories so that it is palatable enough to be enjoyable. I hope that makes sense!
It most certainly does and makes me want to read the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy as soon as I can!
Book 3 is currently sitting on my editor’s desk and will be Octavia’s story who is a third woman who works at the house after Louisa saves her from Bath’s streets…
I just loved the sound of this trilogy Rachel. Thank you so much for staying in with me to chat about the first two books A Widow’s Vow and Trouble For The Leading Lady. I rather think I’m going to have to add them to my towering TBR pile after all!
A Widow’s Vow
From grieving widow…
1851. After her merchant husband saved her from a life of prostitution, Louisa Hill was briefly happy as a housewife in Bristol. But then a constable arrives at her door. Her husband has been found hanged in a Bath hotel room, a note and a key to a property in Bath the only things she has left of him. And now the debt collectors will come calling.
To a new life as a madam.
Forced to leave everything she knows behind, Louisa finds more painful betrayals waiting for her in the house in Bath. Left with no means of income, Louisa knows she has nothing to turn to but her old way of life. But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms – by turning her home into a brothel for upper class gentleman. And she’s determined to spare the girls she saves from the street the horrors she endured in the past.
Enlisting the help of Jacob Jackson, a quiet but feared boxer, to watch over the house, Louisa is about to embark on a life she never envisaged. Can she find the courage to forge this new path?
A Widow’s Vow is the first in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series from Rachel Brimble. You won’t be able to put it down.
Published by Aria on 10th September 2020, A Widow’s Vow is available for purchase here and on other sites.
Trouble for the Leading Lady
As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath’s Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.
His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.
Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he’d find her standing on a table in one of Bath’s bawdiest pubs.
Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?
The second in Rachel Brimble’s thrilling new Victorian saga series, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.
Published by Aria on 4th March 2021, Trouble for the Leading Lady is available for purchase here and on other sites.
About Rachel Brimble
Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street series, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
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