More than a year ago, I was approached by a small publishing print that I had worked with before about writing an original non-JAFF story for a multi-author themed series. Sir James Stirling is called “the Marriage Maker” and has an unusual ability to help people find their true love. Within the larger series, each month unveils a new theme. Four novellas are released, one each week. My book is in the “Flowers of Scotland” series. A part-time historian discovers four women who are illegitimate descendants of Robert the Bruce. In a bit of a Cinderella tale, this historian and the Marriage Maker are determined to find wealthy suitors for each lady.
The Maid of Inverness is set in Scotland during the Regency Era. As such, I had to do quite a bit of researching about Scotland. I was also the author who introduced the character of the historian and laid the groundwork for his obsession with Robert the Bruce. It was a delight!
I think JAFF lovers will enjoy this tale even if it’s not Jane Austen’s characters. Marigold is as aware of her place in the world and the unfairness of it as any of Austen’s heroines. Like most of them, she has suffered from circumstances, but it is her strength of character that attracts the love of a certain flawed gentleman.
Despite Douglas Randolph’s attempt to avoid Society and his responsibility as the future Duke of Inverness, news he has inherited the dukedom reaches him deep in the Highland hills of Scotland. That problem pales into comparison to the wager he makes with the man known as The Marriage Maker. Sir Stirling James swears he can find suitable husbands for four ladies directly descended from Robert the Bruce. Little does Douglas know he is to be the first groom.
Orphaned at a young age, Marigold Kincaid now works as a servant for her much older cousin. Knowing life would have been worse on the streets, she accepts her position in the household with grace and kindness.
After Marigold mistakes Douglas for a thief, an unlikely friendship forms between the two. Their friendship quickly blossoms into something more as each sees what they need most in the other. While love struggles to bloom, secrets come to light that threaten their friendship.
Somehow, they must break through the walls they have erected around their hearts and learn to trust one another.