In Bella’s Band, the heroine, Annabelle Harris, takes a coach trip on a snowy December day. Research for her journey led me to E. W. Bovill’s English Country Life, 1780-1830, and a fascinating discussion of English hedgerows.
Because timber was a valuable commodity needed in ship construction, landowners planted trees in the boundaries of enclosed fields. Oak was too slow-growing to be an effective commodity. Ash was favored for its quick growth, but it competed with crops for nutrients. Landowners settled on the elm as the perfect hedge tree. Faster-growing than the oak, a good neighbor to other crops, it yielded a durable under-water timber used for ship keels, drain pipes, and canal gates.
Horticulturalists have been hard at work developing cultivars that are resistant to the Dutch elm disease that devastated the species in the last century. When Annabelle Harris was making her journey, the stately elms still ruled the hedgerows of England.
Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a mid-century home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.
She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases.
Excerpt for Bella’s Band:
Bullets, blades, and incendiary bombs—Major Steven Beauverde, the latest Earl of Hackwell, belongs in that world, and is determined to get back to it. His brother’s murder has forced Steven out of the army and into the title, but he has no interest in being the Earl, and worse, no idea how to salvage the depleted estate. A rumor that his brother had a son by a woman who may be a) the murderer, and b) his brother’s wife, sets Steven on a mission to find her, the boy, and—Steven ardently hopes—proof of a secret marriage that will set Steven free.
Annabelle Harris is a country heiress and a confirmed spinster resettled in London to find her sister, the mistress to the Earl of Hackwell. While she searches, she fills her home with orphans and street urchins. When the Earl is murdered, Annabelle’s sister thrusts the Earl’s illegitimate child into Annabelle’s care and disappears. Now, with suspicion pointing at her sister, Annabelle has begun a new quest—to find her sibling and clear her name.
When their paths converge, the reluctant Earl and the determined spinster find themselves rethinking their goals, and stepping up to fight back when the real murderer shows up.
Buy Bella’s Band at Amazon.