Today, we're doing something a little different. I wanted to bring a book to your attention. Beverley Oakley, an author I met on my journey, has a blog tour running right now. Let's check out the cool details, shall we?
Have you read Keeping Faith by Beverley Oakley yet? This new historical romantic suspense is sure to keep you on your toes!
Genre: Victorian Romance, Suspense
Heat Level: Medium
About the Book:
Four years ago, Faith’s mysterious benefactress falsely accused her of stealing and deposited her in Madame Chambon’s exclusive brothel.
There, Faith was to learn how to entrance London’s noble gentlemen with her learning in philosophy, politics and art.
Her body was to be saved for the greatest enticement of all: revenge.
Faith doesn’t care what she has to do. She lives only to fulfil a bargain that will set her free.
But when Faith is recruited as the muse of a talented, sensitive painter whose victory in a prestigious art competition turns them both into celebrities overnight, she discovers the reasons behind her mission are very different from what she'd been led to believe.
Now she is complicit in something dark and dangerous while riches, adulation and freedom are hers for the taking.
But what value are these if her heart has become a slave to the man she is required to destroy?
Keeping Faith is book 3 in the Fair Cyprians of London series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Here is a teaser.
And here's an excerpt from the book.
did you learn last night?”
gentleman must always believe he knows best.”
that her answer was pleasing, Faith reached across the table to help herself to
a macaroon but a sharp slap across the back of the hand stopped her progress by
the silver teapot.
smile of feigned contrition was rewarded with a raised eyebrow from Madame
Chambon. Not an invitation to partake of a macaroon, unfortunately. The table
laden with eclairs and petit fours in Madame’s private sitting room was merely
girl, Faith! You can eat at the Dorchester tomorrow and I daresay you won’t
even spare a thought for the other girls who are justified in being somewhat
jealous of your cossetted life.” Madame sniffed as she patted one of the
grizzled, orange curls of her elaborate coiffure. Faith suspected a squirrel’s
pelt had made its contribution. “I’m sure they wonder every day why you never
have to stir yourself – or anyone else, for that matter – to get your fine
clothes or a roof over your head.” Madame Chambon piled three macaroons onto
her already laden plate before making a sweeping gesture that encompassed the
furnishings of her surprisingly decorous private sitting room with its gold
tasseled green velvet curtains and flock wallpaper. “What have you told them,
Faith? About why you are here, I mean?”
stomach rumbled as she gazed from the prints of the famous artists that lined
the walls to the fine fare in front of her, ordered from Fortnum and Mason.
These monthly sessions in table manners were supposed to give Faith the
practice she needed to deport herself like a lady when eating in public.
However, under Madame’s guardianship, Faith never actually got to try the
me, Faith. In all the three years that you’ve been here, you’ve had to do
precisely nothing to justify your existence. Surely the girls have questioned
you? I have my own version of the truth for them, as you know, but I’d be
interested to hear what you have to say.”
didn’t answer. She already knew how lucky she was, but Madame was not ready to
drop the subject, despite having just crammed an entire chocolate éclair into
her mouth. Faith just managed to make out the muffled words, “Every night you
lie peacefully in your bed while the other girls have to earn their livings.”
peacefully in her bed was not how Faith would describe the restfulness of her
slumber. She was kept awake every night by the grunts and cries of ecstasy that
penetrated the thin walls of her attic chamber.
she’d finally learned when it was wise to respond meekly, so she bowed her head
and stared at her neat kid gloves while dreaming of the delicacies Mrs. Gedge
would order for them when Faith really was dining with her at the Dorchester
Hotel the following afternoon. The Sacher Torte Mrs. Gedge had ummed and aahed
over before finally choosing the baked Alaska from the sweets trolley last
month still haunted her. However, since part of Faith’s tutoring included how
to win over reluctant gentleman ‘and make them wild with wanting’, which was how
Madame phrased it, then surely Faith could persuade her American benefactress
to order the Austrian chocolate specialty?
was so busy rehearsing her words for tomorrow that she almost missed Madame’s
prophetic and appalling statement.
Faith, the time has come for you to start earning your way, now.”
brought her head up in shock. Was Madame teasing? When it appeared not, she
gripped the table edge as she struggled for composure. For so long she’d known
the reckoning would come. Yes, and with three years preparing for it, she’d
believed she could meet it head-on with the necessary fortitude.
there’d been no warning.
began to shake, biting into her bottom lip and clasping her hands in her lap to
try and keep secret the manifestations of her terror from Madame who’d only be
spurred onto gloating and make her suffer even more.
Gedge reported last month that she wasn’t entirely happy you were ready for
what she has in store for you when she took you to tea, Faith.” Madame chewed
noisily, unperturbed, it seemed, by the crumbs that landed on her gaudy
didn’t suggest that Mrs. Gedge’s dissatisfaction was perhaps the fault of
Faith’s tutor – the one sitting in front of her - who knew nothing about
deporting herself as a lady.
a dainty gesture using only her forefingers, Madame Chambon raised her plate
and licked at the crumbs that had not been dislodged before saying,
“Fortunately, Lady Vernon is recovered at last from her long indisposition and
has agreed to forget your rudeness to her from six months ago. In fact, she’ll
be here shortly. Yes, she’ll soon have you passing the scrutiny of the most
discerning duchess.” Madame gobbled down another macaroon with as much finesse
as the dogs Faith’s father used to goad into fighting each other after they’d
fought over the scraps from the scrubbed wooden table at the farm. Not that
there’d been many scraps with ten children to feed.
we not have waited for Lady Vernon?” Faith suggested, daringly. But she had to
say something to stop herself from launching into a volley of querulous
questions about exactly what form this ‘having to earn her own way’ might take.
Chambon pushed aside an untouched plate of bread and butter to reach for
another chocolate éclair and sighed. “There was just so much food on the table
it seemed unnecessary to wait if her ladyship was going to be late. Ah! And
here she is.” Madame’s orange painted mouth turned up at a knock on the door.
“Shoulders back, Faith! And make sure you don’t talk with your mouth full.”
this was not a danger, Faith supposed there might be some compensation in
having to face her former nemesis who surely must subscribe to the belief that
learning table manners required one having to eat.
threw her arms wide in a welcome as the door opened to admit the new arrival.
“Good evening, Lady Vernon. We’re so glad you’ve recovered from your chest
ailment,” she gushed. “A good rest has done you the world of good. Why, you
look ten years younger. Just as you do every time I see you, in fact. And we’re
indeed humbled that you’ve consented to return.” Madame simpered at the elderly
woman, dressed all in black who looked, Faith thought, even more wraith-like
than usual as she pinned up the veil of her bonnet and took the seat at the
table proffered by Madame who went on, “I’m sure you’ll feel even better once
you’ve heard Faith’s heartfelt apology.”
blushed under the scrutiny of the two pairs of expectant, unforgiving eyes, and
glanced longingly at the remaining macaroon.
there were times when it was worth being abject. She mightn’t mean what she
said, but if the last three years under Madame Chambon’s roof had taught her
one thing, it was how to sound heartfelt and sincere when she felt anything
sorry for my rude comments about…” Faith hesitated. Perhaps it was best not to
stir up old memories. While it must be perfectly obvious to anyone who met Lady
Vernon as to why an earl’s daughter could remain a spinster into her sixtieth
year, it hadn’t been in anyone’s interest – Faith’s least of all, it turned out
– for Faith to have gone into quite such specific and extensive detail
regarding her thoughts on the likely reasons. “I behaved like a child, though
it’s such a long time ago, now, I can barely remember what was going through my
head at the time. I was only seventeen and, in those days, prone to losing my
temper but now I’m eighteen and, thanks to all your efforts in teaching me how
to act like a lady, Lady Vernon, I’m so far from the rude and impulsive young
thing I was before, you’d not recognise me today. Thanks to your thorough
tutelage, I am determined that I will never speak out of turn, to you, or
anyone. Indeed, I have changed! I truly believe that, confronted by a table of
delicacies like this, for example, I would certainly not embarrass you or Mrs.
Gedge or any lovely young man or his mother who might take me out to tea by any
show of greediness or lack of restraint.”
Vernon’s eyes remained fixed firmly on Faith for the duration of this speech
with no indication of how forgiving or otherwise she might prove to be.
a long silence, she spoke. “Restraint?” She sniffed. “Restraint is the most
important requirement of any young lady, Faith. I’ve told you this many times,
so I’m glad it’s a lesson you claim to have finally learned.”
her eyes fixed on Faith, she reached towards the remaining macaroon that sat
lonely on its plate just in front of them both, her long-fingered hand hovering
just above. “Please pass that to me, Faith. I can’t seem to reach it.”
Faith complied, schooling her features into impassivity while she railed
inside, I hate you! I hate you! as she watched Lady Vernon transport the
coconut confection to her thin, bloodless lips.
Lady Vernon murmured. “In fact, I believe it is the best macaroon I have ever
tasted? You must surely agree, Faith, since the plate is now empty.”
looked pointedly at the two remaining crumbs that clung to the edge of the fine
china, as if to imply that Faith had eaten the rest. Then she indicated the
plate of bread and butter near Madame Chambon. “Please eat, Faith. Madame
Chambon and I have a leisurely afternoon at our disposal. She and I will
partake of the remaining chocolate eclairs --” Her pointed chin wobbled
slightly, whether from the suppression of mirth or the swallowing of bile,
Faith could only guess, “while you make good work of the bread and butter with
all the ladylike restraint you’re so anxious to prove.”
Readers, let's see where we can find Beverley Oakley's historical romantic suspense novel, Keeping Faith...
Universal Reader Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bP5pGY
Other Books in the Series:
Saving Grace Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2z7rVGx
Forsaking Hope Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2DlzV9M
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