Rue Allyn joins me today to talk about UNDER THE HARVEST MOON, an anthology of nine novellas set during the Regency era. Rue will tell us about the novellas and the Bluestocking Belles who wrote them. Welcome Rue!
Five Important Things about Under the Harvest Moon
Hi Jana, thank you for having me on your blog today. I have a ‘five things’ list to present to your followers. The list is all about the novella collection, Under the Harvest Moon by the Bluestocking Belles with Friends
1. Let start with an explanation of what type of book Under the Harvest Moon is. Under the Harvest Moon is a collection of interlocking novellas by nine of the best authors in the business of writing romance novels. Why do I say ‘interlocking’? Because all of the stories take place in the same general setting, and characters in one story may have interactions with characters in other stories. We do have a central theme—soldiers returning from war—but the romance tropes represented are completely up to each author, and with nine of us you get quite a variety of tropes.
2. I wrote the third novella in the collection, A Harvest Blessing. What the description doesn’t tell you is that Thom first met his pseudo-fiancée during the siege of Badajoz when they each managed to save the other’s life. Of course, the war separated them, but Thom encountered her a second time on the docks in Dover. He’d hired the last carriage available, and she was dickering with the coachman to try to get a ride. Thom being the hero he is, offers to take her in the coach to her destination, which is a bit out of his way but not much. He even decides to ride up with the coachman to preserve the proprieties. So this story is very much about second chances. In love and with family, as Thom’s father did not want him to go to war, and their parting was contentious.
3. I think it important you understand who wrote Under the Harvest Moon. Many of the authors names are recognizable as rather famous and respected romance authors, for example: Collette Cameron, Cerise Deland, and Mary Lancaster among others. Some of us, like myself, are not so well known. However, it isn’t the individual authors that I think are so important. What is important is The Bluestocking Belles. There are eight of us. This time, one of us was not able to participate in writing the collection. As a group we make a lot of decisions about the collection before we invite our ‘With Friends.’ It is only fair and reasonable to have a rough story outline and a definite production timeline to present to guest authors, who may or may not have time to fit writing a novella for the collection into their busy lives. So before we even put our fingers on the keyboard to produce our personal novellas, we do a great deal of planning, discussing and deciding. All of that effort pays off with the production of best-selling award-winning collections.
Under the Harvest Moon is our tenth collection, although I joined the group in 2018 and have only been able to participate in five collections. While I have some biases, The Bluestocking Belles collections are head and shoulders above most novella collections out there. Very few do interlocking stories as we do. Very few have all authors whose writing is of a very high caliber, regardless of how well known we are. And yes, while the quality of some stories is a bit better than others, every author contributes engaging well researched novellas. That’s the other thing about The Bluestocking Belles, we write historical romance almost exclusively in the Regency Era of England. Last and most important, we love our readers. If you would like to learn more about us join our FB group The Belles Brigade. We hold a virtual ‘brunch’ every Saturday at 1:00 PM NYT. The brunch is open to the public, so you can get an idea of how we interact with readers without joining a group or anything. We’d love to have you join in the conversation
4. For Under the Harvest Moon, much of our research focused on soldiers returning from war, since that was a unifying theme. Aside from the physical wounds inflicted on men in battle, a great deal of research has been done and continues to be done on the mental wounds war inflicts. PTSD is very real (and not solely a problem for military men and women). However, few people tend to think that PTSD and its sister conditions existed before WW1. Even then ‘shell shock’ was considered a temporary problem from which a soldier could recover. War has never been the glorious, wonderful thing that it was once made out to be. Touting the glory of war is nothing more than a recruiting tactic. As a veteran (I never saw combat), I can say that each and every volunteer soldier, sailor, marine, airman, etc. regardless of the era in which he or she fought—each and every one of them is a hero. The Bluestocking Belles share some of my regard for service men and women, so when one of us suggested returning soldiers as a unifying element in each story, we were all on board immediately.
5. Last, as a group we’ve got a pretty good sense of humor. When it came to having a blog, we couldn’t help ourselves. We created The Teatime Tattler, where twice a week, we post scandalous gossip about our stories and the stories of other authors. You might want to check that out too.
Blurb, Under the Harvest Moon:
As the village of Reabridge in Cheshire prepares for the first Harvest Festival following Waterloo, families are overjoyed to welcome back their loved ones from the war.
But excitement quickly turns to mystery when mere weeks before the festival, an orphaned child turns up in the town—a toddler born near Toulouse to an English mother who left clues that tie her to Reabridge.
With two prominent families feuding for generations and the central event of the Harvest Moon festival looming, tensions rise, and secrets begin to surface.
Moonlight Wishes and Midnight Kisses by Collette Cameron
A scarred veteran with no future, Courtland Marlow-Westbrook wants to be left alone. Scottish heiress Avery Levingtone never stopped loving him and is determined to win his love again. Will these former sweethearts find happiness together, or will the wounds of the past keep them apart?
The Morning Light by Caroline Warfield
Adam Wagner is meant to save lives, not take them. He is haunted by Waterloo. The horror of it keeps him from those he loves. Meg Barlow doesn’t understand how Adam could turn his back on her so thoroughly, but she isn’t about to let him get away with it.
A Harvest Blessing by Rue Allen
All the battles are over, or are they? When Captain Thom Owen is forced into a false engagement, he must escort his pseudo-fiancée home to meet his father. Can an English vicar’s son and a French Comte’s daughter find love despite their differences?
Coming Home by Mary Lancaster
Old memories, new love
Home from Waterloo, Captain David Buckley contemplates settling down near his home town of Reabridge—only it is full of painful memories. The mysterious Lady Lorna falls literally into his arms, and he begins to understand the true meaning of love and home.
Under the Champagne Moon by Alina K Field
Fleur Hardouin’s heart longs for Captain Gareth Ardleigh, but she needs an advantageous marriage.
Gareth has promised to find Fleur—on behalf of another man.
Now he must choose between honoring a promise and trying to win the hand of the woman he loves.
A Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Widowed at Waterloo, where she also nursed the wounded, Veronica Petersham promised a dying man to bring his effects to a family in Reabridge. She falls ill just short of her goal, in the milking shed of kind and stoic Martin Bromelton.
Perhaps there is hope for the future after all and the opportunity to find love once more.
A Love Beyond Time by Sherry Ewing
Eight years ago, Hannah Pownall had her heart broken by a young lord.
Captain Brandon Worthington returns to the town of Reabridge to recover from the war and finds the girl he once loved still unwed. Can love at first sight be reborn after heartbreak, proving a second chance is all you need?
The Widow’s Harvest Hope by Cerise DeLand
The new Earl Barlow returns home from Waterloo, intending to live by his own rules. The woman he loved and lost years ago visits for the Harvest festival—and he plans to offer Vicky Wright what they both want. Can a lady who has lived by the rules throw them all away to seize her last chance for happiness?
Love In Its Season by Jude Knight
The Battle of Waterloo lost Jack Wrath the use of one arm and ended his career in the cavalry. He has no place to go and nothing to offer. Gwen Hughes has a business to run and no time for romance. Under the harvest moon, two people who believe romance has passed them finally reach their season for love.