by Amanda McCabe, author of A Stranger at Castonbury (Harlequin Historical)
When I was first asked to participate in a series described as “Downton Abbey in the Regency,” I jumped eagerly at the chance! Like so many other people, I am a Downton fanatic and have avidly followed the series from the beginning. (Mary and Matthew! Sybil and Branson! Bates and Anna! Thomas! The scandal! The clothes!). Mix it with another of my favorite things, the Regency period, and I was completely hooked. Also, I was very, very excited at the chance to work with so many authors whose books I love.
But then the reality set in. There were eight of us, and we had to work closely together to create a world as colorful and complex as that of Downton, with interlocking characters, upstairs/downstairs dynamics, scandal and passion. And I had to write the last story, tying it all together and making sure I stayed true to the world of Castonbury and other authors’ characters. Easy and simple, of course. Not!
Luckily one of the things I love best about Downton is how everyone’s lives interlock and entwine, and having the chance to create the same thing at Castonbury was great fun. (And luckily many of the other authors are much more organized than I am, and created spreadsheets and images that made the place come really alive for us all). Through the other stories, I could easily envision the house and the people in it, and by the time I finished writing Stranger at Castonbury, it felt like home.
I miss working on the project now, but I have to admit I cried just a bit when the grief-stricken, outcast Jamie and Catalina finally saw each other again across the crowded Castonbury drawing room. Could they ever find a way to be happy amid the shocking scandal of their past? Even as I wrote their story myself I was always on the edge of fear for them, I loved them so much and so many perils awaited them. But I will always remember the magical time I spent at Castonbury Park…
About the Book:
The obliterated battlefields of Spain are a world away from the privileged life of James Montague, Earl of Castonbury. Only nurse Catalina Moreno eases the deafening roar of mortar fire–and in a crumbling chapel by candlelight they make their vows. But before the sheets cool from their scorching wedding night Jamie leaves for a brutally dangerous mission…
Two years later, believing her husband dead, Catalina is shocked to see a man who looks and sounds like her Jamie at Castonbury–but where once there was warmth and charm now unflinching torment lies in the gaze of a man she barely recognises…
A Stranger at Castonbury
is part of a unique Harlequin Historical ebook collection, Castonbury Park. Love Regency romance? Love the upstairs/downstairs dynamic of Downton Abbey? Then check out the whole Castonbury Park series! It’s available on Harlequin.com along with the rest of series. Click for more Castonbury Park blog posts.