The date is 1788 – the year before the French Revolution that spells the end for many a French aristocrat.
Tension is permanently in the air and France will soon be changed forever.
In England, however, Edward, the young Earl of Roxford is dead, caught by a stray bullet in a foreign land, fighting for his country. A widower for several years he leaves behind his only child, his adopted daughter, the Lady Sophia Catesby, only 19 years old but, on reaching the age of majority, she will be a considerable heiress.
To protect her from fortune hunters and to keep her as long as possible from the clutches of his loathed younger brother, William, now, of course, the new Earl of Roxford, Edward inserts a clause into his will. If he dies before she reaches 21 years, Lady Sophia is to become the ward, and reside, chaperoned, in the house of Edward’s first cousin and best friend, the Marquis Jacques St Aubin at his home on the Isle of Wight.
Furious at having to leave her lively London friends, Sophia has no option but to agree to the demand and accompanied by her nurse and ladies’ maid, with much reluctance but a degree of curiosity about this unknown cousin, they leave for the Isle of Wight.
She is met from the boat that ferries her to the Island by Jacques’ clerk, the young Robert Havering, unusually familiar and a very unservile servant. Her guardian is not there to greet her. He is away somewhere on his sailing boat but Robert tells her he will be home very soon – probably by the next morning. Sophia has to curb her curiosity for although he sounds deadly dull – a farmer and a magistrate, probably middle aged and set in his ways, albeit an heir to a dukedom, nonetheless her father has chosen him to care for her over many others who could fulfil that role.
She is to be very surprised – pleasantly surprised. But who really is Jacques? One thing is for sure he is not in the least dull or middle aged. Sophia’s life is to be changed forever but in the background is her dangerous Uncle William, who cares for nothing but money. And there is a clause in his late brother’s will that might just, if handled properly, make him a fortune. Sophia is a pawn and in danger but as yet, she does not know it…
Elizabeth was born in the South of England and grew up in The Isle of Wight where she rode and kept horses and learned to sail with the world famous yachtsman, Uffa Fox, a close friend of her father. Her father was a banker and my mother a professional artist. Elizabeth often uses her mother’s illustrations on the covers of her novels, sometimes she even uses her own drawings.
“The Gentlemen Go By” is the fifth fantastic novel written by Elizabeth, and her first foray in to historical fiction. Elizabeth’s other titles have never received less than four stars on Amazon.
For all of her novels she takes inspiration from a variety of sources and the titles of her novels are always quotes from somewhere. “The Gentlemen Go By” is inspired by the poem ‘A Smuggler’s Song’ by Rudyard Kipling. The refrain is mirrored by the book in outline and printed at the beginning and again at the end. Although completely imaginary, none the less it is based on a real life character who lived and worked on the Isle of Wight.
Elizabeth also did the painting that is used as the cover. Can you spot the “deliberate mistake” in it? (Remember it’s the Isle of Wight)
One thing readers all have in common is their appreciation and enjoyment of Elizabeth’s novels, every title has received a resounding, “ I look forward to reading my next Elizabeth Housden novel!“
This is a fantastic growing author; keep an eye on her for her latest work! http://housdenpublishing.co.uk/books/