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Author Copies of Willoughby's Return and Dinner at the Reform Club

My author copies have arrived! I can't tell you how exciting it is when the box of books arrives - so much more thrilling because they have travelled 3963 miles to get here. I love the look of the book, it sounds silly, I know, but I can't stop stroking the cover - Sourcebooks have the most wonderful book designers. Thank you, Brenden Hitt, for an amazing cover, I couldn't have imagined anything as fabulous. Thank you very much to everyone at Sourcebooks - Dominique Raccah, Deb Werksman, Danielle Jackson, and to everyone else who has worked so hard to realise another of my dreams of seeing my work in print.
It's always very strange to think as I sit in my little room, here in England, sending files through the internet to America on the other side of the world, that they will be turned into a book that I can hold in my hands.

My Sourcebooks publisher, Dominique Raccah, invited me and some of the othor Sourcebooks authors to dinner at the Reform Club last week. It was a day where the rain lashed down relentlessly, so I was a bit damp when I arrived. However, just walking down Pall Mall was exciting enough in itself, the whole area is seeped in history, and as I walked past the scarlet-coated, busby-wearing soldiers guarding St. James's Palace, I couldn't help thinking of Pride and Prejudice, nor of how Lydia Bennet would have appreciated seeing the soldiers!

Do you remember the references to St. James's Palace in P&P? Here's one - Jane Austen is describing Sir William Lucas:

By nature inoffensive, friendly, and obliging, his presentation at St. James's had made him courteous.

The Reform Club was founded in 1836, in Pall Mall, in the centre of what is often called London’s Clubland. The founders commissioned a leading architect of the day, Charles Barry, to build an imposing and palatial clubhouse. Opened in 1841, membership was restricted to those who pledged support for the Great Reform Act of 1832, and the many MPs and Whig peers among the early members developed the Club as the political headquarters of the Liberal Party.

The Reform Club is no longer associated with any particular political party, and now serves a purely social function. While the Club presents a chaste and stately appearance on the outside, inside it is richly flamboyant. Large portraits of Whig and Radical leaders of the nineteenth century reform movement are set in panels in the upper and lower floors of the atrium. The walls and columns are faced with marble and scagliola, an artificial marble, the secrets of whose manufacture have only been rediscovered in recent years. The colours are deep red and green, white, sienna, black and gold.

Dominique and her husband were the most lovely and gracious hosts, and I was very lucky to meet four authors whose work I admire very much - Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell, Helen Hollis and last, but by no means least, the lovely Monica Fairview who I know from blogging with the Historical Romance UK authors. Sadly, Amanda Grange could not join us - she was greatly missed! A lovely evening was had by all, and will be one of those I have safely stored in my memory box of special treasures!

Pictures and photos:

Willoughby's Return
Monica Fairview, Jane Odiwe, Helen Hollis
Helen Hollis, Dominique Raccah, Elizabeth Chadwick, Jill Mansell
Reform Club
St. James's Palace (old print)
Elizabeth Chadwick and Jill Mansell