Welcome to Stella Riley’s Books


I am delighted to announce B.R.A.G. Medallions for:
A Splendid Defiance
The Marigold Chain 
The Parfit Knight
The Player

The Black Madonna

B.R.A.G. (Book Readers Appreciation Group) brings together a large group of readers located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe in search of talented self-published authors and help their work achieve the recognition it deserves.

And 2019 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award for:


With Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Awards for:
The Parfit Knight 
The Mésalliance
 The Player
The Wicked Cousin
The Marigold Chain

A Trick of Fate

Readers’ Favourite,  a fast-growing book review and award contest site, has earned the respect of renowned publishers such as Penguin, Random House and Harper Collins.  It has won “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors and is fully accredited.

About Me

I wrote my first novel, Lucifer’s Champion, to find out if I was actually capable of writing  a book . It turned out that I was … but that I had a lot to learn.  Consequently, by the time poor Lucifer was finally published, it had been through so many incarnations it was neither fish nor fowl – which is why I will never re-issue it.

After Lucifer,  came The Marigold Chain.  The version currently available, is not the 1983 original.  It was an early work and changes were needed so I used the opportunity to make them.

Next came A Splendid Defiance – the first of my Civil War novels and possibly, still, the one dearest to my heart.  Banbury made the perfect backdrop – a town full of Puritans and a castle held by the Cavaliers for four years and through an epic fourteen-week siege.  It was a wonderful opportunity to tell  the true story of just one English castle and the real men who defended it.

Inevitably, Defiance led to my Roundheads & Cavaliers series:-
The Black Madonna, Garland of Straw, The King’s Falcon and Lords of Misrule.
The series begins in 1639 and, by the end of Misrule, has reached 1655. There may be one more book to come, featuring Toby Maxwell and the Restoration … but only time will tell.

Part-way through writing the R&C books, I decided I needed a change of pace – hence The Parfit Knight and The Mésalliance.

So why the mid-Georgians rather than the Regency?
I could be flippant and say I’ve a fondness for men with long hair … which would be true but isn’t by any means the whole story.  I find the period more robust and less constrained; and the fashions in general – but particularly for the men – were much more flamboyant and, in my opinion, sexier.  The Rockliffe series has grown with the addition of The Player ,   The Wicked Cousin ,  Hazard  and now, Cadenza

Along the way, I decided to venture into the world of audio books.  As a result, the first five Rockliffe books and also A Splendid Defiance   and  The Marigold Chain are all available in audio, narrated by superbly talented Alex Wyndham.

All titles are available in paperback and e-versions can be purchased from  Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and i-Tunes.

Happy reading!

418 thoughts on “Welcome to Stella Riley’s Books”

  1. Hi Susana
    Thank you for your kind remarks – and also for your review on Amazon. The latter not only helps other potential readers but gives me tremendous encouragement to continue writing. I am working on something else at the moment but it’s too early to say just what!

  2. Hi Stella,

    Thank you for a wonderful book, I have left a review in amazon and now I can’t wait for the next story. Although I love the georgian books ( I am re reading The Parfit Knight ) i would love to see Eden Maxwell’s story …. but I’ll read anything you do next. Hope to see your next book in Amazon soon. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks, Kate.
    I’m glad you enjoyed ‘Falcon’ and really appreciate your posting a review as this not only helps promote the book but also maintains my morale.
    I chose to follow the court-in-exile rather than keep the story in England for several reasons. I like each book to be a little different; I don’t believe the early post-Worcester years-in-exile have been done; and I particularly didn’t want to get involved in endless politics (as in ‘Garland’) or tackle the 1st Dutch War, having already done the 2nd one in ‘The Marigold Chain’.
    Obviously, when we come to book 4, it will be back to England for Eden’s story. Like most people, you’re probably thinking ‘And about time, too.’
    Thank you again for your message. Although hard work and fairly time-consuming, ‘Falcon’ was a pleasure to write – so I’m delighted that people like you also find it a pleasure to read.

  4. Hi Stella
    Like others above I have just finished reading King’s Falcon – it was well worth the wait and I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with characters like Eden and Francis, Will and Nick could be useful in future instalments! (not that I want to put ideas into your head). I have left a review on Amazon for you and I like the way the story panned out, it is sometimes hard to remember that during this period it is not just the three kingdoms that are important but also the impoverished Court in Exile. I do hope we don’t have to wait too long for Book 4, but do understand that you may want time to plot the storyline.
    Many thanks for giving me many hours of enjoyment and look forward to more as I re-read the whole series.

  5. Hi Stella I have just finished reading “King’s Falcon” and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters are entrancing, and it was good to read “the bit in the middle”, by which I mean the period between the execution of Charles I and the restoration of his son. I remember studying the period of the Fronde at A level, but I had forgotten most of it. It’s probably a little soon to ask, but I’m looking forward to number 4!

    1. Hi Fiona
      I’m glad you enjoyed Falcon – I suspect reactions to it may be a bit mixed but only time will tell. I moved the story into the early part of Charles ll’s exile because it was a natural progression after Worcester and also because I’m not aware of any other author tackling that period. There again, in the technical sense the civil wars in England were finished.
      Number 4 will be along at some point but I’m making no promises as to when. As regards Falcon, if you wished to offer encouragement by way of a brief review, I would sincerely appreciate it.

  6. Stella. Finally got my iBooks copy of The King’s Falcon and finished it in one sitting. The long wait was worthwhile, meeting favourite characters again is always lovely. As others have said really love your books, I have them all having bought them when first published and also have the e versions you have published. My favourite is Splendid Defiance.

    1. Hi Hilary
      Thank you for reading Falcon and I’m glad you enjoyed it – though I’m not surprised that Defiance is your favourite. I have a very soft spot for that one myself.
      If you feel so inclined and can spare the time, it would be very helpful (not to mention encouraging!) if you could post a brief review on Amazon or wherever you purchased the book from. You’ll appreciate that, as a new title with no previous reviews, it will take time to gather momentum.

  7. Stella, I have just discovered your books (as e-reads on Amazon), and I am so glad that I did. I read the The Parfait Knight, adored it, and will be starting The Mesalliance tonight. I can’t wait to read Rock’s story. Thank you for hours of enjoyment.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed The Parfit Knight and suspect you may like The Mesalliance even better. Of the two, it’s my personal favourite and I enjoyed greatly extending the e-version.
      Book 3 of my Civil War series, The King’s Falcon, is due for release on October 3rd but, although a stand-alone story, is very much part of a series. If you consider trying these, I’d advise you to begin with The Black Madonna. If you liked Rock, you’ll love Luciano.

  8. Like your other fans, I was thrilled to find more of your books that I could buy on my Kindle. The first book of yours that I read was The Mesalliance and I still love it. I can’t remember now where or when I got it.
    Any chance of Lucifer’s Champion being available as an ebook? I can’t find it in a library anywhere in California and it’s out of print–right?
    Looking forward to The King’s Falcon.

    1. Hi Beth
      You’re not the first person to ask this question but sadly, despite that, I don’t have any plans to re-release Lucifer’s Champion. It’s a bit of a hybrid and, rather than spend time trying to fix it, I prefer to turn my efforts to something new. Sorry. The good news is that The King’s Falcon is now completely written and should be ready for release in the next 4 or 5 weeks.

  9. Hi, sorry to bother you, I am a primary school teacher and in Sept will teaching a topic on the Civil War for the first time in twenty years. Someone has recommendedThe Black Madonna to run alongside the topic and do a novel study. It’s proving difficult and costly to secure. Before I buy a copy on the off chance, could you comment on its suitability and readability for Y5 (9 & 10 yr olds) please?
    Many thanks
    Ian Beecroft

    1. Hi Ian
      The Black Madonna contains a great deal of detail about the Civil War but all of it is contained/related to the fictional story so it isn’t a complete over-all picture. Also, the book is far too weighty and long for the age group you mention – as an ex-primary teacher myself, I know this. You yourself might find it a good starting point to get a feel for the period – it’s not an essentially female book – but it’s not a book for kids.
      Best of luck with your project – I’m all for teachers covering this period as so few of them do. Maybe your class will not grow up thinking the whole thing was engineered and prosecuted by Cromwell!

      1. Hi, many thanks for that! I, too, love the period – it’s only just coming back into the primary curriculum after being banished for too long – I last taught it on third year TP …. oh too many years ago, now! I will seek it out for myself though, after all, the holiday are almost upon us!
        All the best,
        Ian Beecroft

  10. I am inquiring about another outstanding novel LUCIFERS CHAMPION, and if that book will be available as well electronically?
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent.

    1. Hi Debby
      No, I’m afraid I have no plans to re-release Lucifer’s Champion in e-format. I’m glad that you like it but – since it was a first novel and hugely messed about with during the publication process – it now falls well below the quality line and would require more work [and therefore time] than I think it’s really worth.
      Also, as you’ll probably know, I’m currently working hard to get The King’s Falcon ready for release in the autumn and can’t really think beyond that at the moment. But, once that’s done, I have been vaguely considering the possibility of taking a break from the Roundheads & Cavaliers to write a third novel in the Parfit Knight/Mesalliance series.
      Thank you for your interest.

  11. Hi Stella, I purchased The Black Madonna a few years ago in a library sale and its been one of my favourite books. Def one I read every year. I have found a few others in second hand shops (here in New Zealand) Having just completed a reread of Garland, I thought I would pop on the internet to see what other books might be about! Very excited to see that thry are available through Kindle. I remember a few years back considering purchasing some off Ebay at a ridiculous sum and also feeling the loss of not being able to afford them. I actually kept a search on NZ version of Ebay so that when your books came up I would get a notification. Anyway looking forward to reading the others very much now!!

    1. Hi Rebecca
      Thank you for your comments and for getting in touch. I apologise for the delay in replying but I am currently on holiday in Turkey and don’t check my mail every day. I also hate typing on an I-pad!
      You may or not be aware, but the e-format editions have all been revised/extended. You can also read the opening chapters of my new book, The King’s Falcon, here on my blog site. I hope to release it around November time.
      Best wishes,

  12. I was looking through my bookshelves today, and decided to reread The Marigold Chain, for what may be the 20th time, when I thought to go onto Google and to see whether Stella Riley had written any other books. To me excitement, she had. I then checked Amazon, and have now all available eBooks downloaded to my Kindle. What bliss!! I am now 66% through A Splendid Defiance, and loving it. I, too, prefer paper books, but love my Kindle for travel, and for instant gratification, as I don’t have to search for titles. Tricia Burton

    1. Hi Tricia
      I gather from your remarks that you had previously only read The Marigold Chain [I’m delighted that you enjoyed it enough to read several times!] and that my other titles are new to you. With the 3 civil war titles currently available, you will discover that, though A Splendid Defiance is a completely separate novel, it is linked to The Black Madonna and Garland of Straw in that our hero, Justin, makes further appearances. I hope you enjoy Defiance as much as Marigold – it’s probably my personal favourite, with The Mesalliance [completely different in content] running a close second. Since you’ve found this website, presumably you’ve seen that I’ve loaded the first couple of chapters of the book I’m currently writing – The King’s Falcon and which I hope to make available around the end of November.
      If you cared to post a few kind words on Amazon, this would be greatly appreciated!

  13. I discovered “The Marigold Chain” years ago, and have subsequently found all the remainder of your books-some as they were printed, some from second hand bookshops- they have travelled with me all the way around the world. I read and reread them over the years as I love the characters and the details of the history-I am really glad to see a favorite author writing again, please keep it up, I am really looking forward to your new book.

    1. Hi Jenni
      Thank you for your kind remarks – this kind of encouragement is always appreciated!
      I should probably say – though you may already have realised this – that The King’s Falcon will not be appearing in print, only in e-format. I’m enjoying writing again and wish to go on doing so – and self-publishing is the best way to ensure this.

      1. I have actually repurchased all your the books on kindle – so now have each in hardcopy and e-format-(i live on a small island, and with the increased restrictions in luggage weight on flights, the kindle has been a life saver for me). I’m delighted that self-publishing has enabled you to keep writing and reaching readers. Jenni

  14. So pleased that one of my favourite authors is still around 🙂 I first read A Splendid Defiance as a teenager from my local library in South Wales, and spent years looking for it in the shops, finally spending £30 on Amazon for a ‘rare’ book, so it’s fantastic I can get this and others online now. I reread the book often, and I look forward to any more.

    1. Hi Gillian
      I’m glad you enjoyed Defiance – it’s probably my own personal favourite – and hope you like my other titles as much. I realise some sellers on Amazon have been asking silly money for my books so I’m pleased to be able to offer them in e-format at more realistic prices. I still hold some remaindered stock of Garland of Straw which I’ve never got round to disposing of – and now, with a house-move in view – wish I had!

  15. I went to see the Cheapside Hoard very recently and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. I had in mind the “Garland of Straw” all the way round. I was amazed by the workmanship in the collection and staggered by the fact that the actual jewels came from so far away from London in days when travel was so difficult. Hope you have had a chance to see the latest museum arrangement.

    1. Hi Claudia
      No, I haven’t seen the increased exhibition yet – though I did see the previous one some years ago. My husband and I are about to exchange Shropshire for Kent so, once the house-move is complete, it will be much easier to get into London. The Hoard is one of the things at the top of my list to visit.

  16. I have been re reading The Mesalliance and am hoping that you will write more books from this era, I can see evidence of back stories (‘The Unknown’ in Paris) that I assume were meant to lead on to other plots.

    1. Yes – you’re quite right. I did set up the so-called unknown actor in Paris with a view to writing a third book in the series. Hopefully, this will happen one day. At the moment, however, I’m still working on The King’s Falcon – which, coincidentally, also has a strong Parisian theatrical feel although the period is different, of course. You don’t say if you’re reading the old print version or the revised e-format. If the former, you will find the e-book a vast improvement – longer and more in-depth.

      1. I had the civil war stories in paper back but came back to you when I saw you were on kindle (you sort of disappeared for a bit and I couldn’t afford the second hand prices for your books) so I am a recent convert to other eras in your books, though like many ‘The Splendid Defiance’ remains my favourite I suspect that The Mesalliance will run a very close second. I am looking forward to a new book from you, hopefully followed by many others.
        By the by, I also bought a Kindle on the back of seeing you were publishing again via e books, so you are responsible for also converting me to another form of modern technology where you are not the only author re publishing books that have gone out of print and are difficult to find, so thank you for that.

  17. I have just bought a kindle on the back of discovering you’re back! I have had Splendid Defiance since I was a teenager and in recent years bought Black Madonna, and Garland of Straw from Amazon. I re-read them every now and again as they are such wonderful stories.
    I also want to thank you for educating me on such a key part of our history which is still overlooked…why is it not in our national curriculum? I never learnt about the civil war at school and neither will my children by the looks of it.
    I’m so looking forward to your next novel but for now have downloaded Marigold Chain to my brand new kindle.
    Jo x

    1. Hi Jo
      Thank you for your kind remarks – and I hope you enjoy your new Kindle. Since I acquired mine, I have discovered authors I would never have found otherwise – some of them outstanding. [My current favourite is Laura Kinsale. I particularly recommend Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight and Seize the Fire.] Since you’ve found me on this site, I’m presuming you’ve read the first 2 chapters of my next book which is still very much under construction. Like you, I was never taught the English Civil War at school and I despair that such a key period continues to be overlooked.
      Of my other, non-civil-war novels, you might like The Mesalliance. In some ways, it follows The Parfit Knight but is much stronger than that and is a stand-alone story. Actually, it’s a favourite of mine.
      Thanks again for getting in touch – and drop in any time.

  18. Hi Stella, I discovered your books over Christmas – I downloaded one for a flight, and loved it so much that when I arrived, I got all the other ebooks and swallowed them all down, one after the other – I’m so excited to hear you’re now writing the next book, as I’m desperate to know what happens next! I’ve totally fallen in love with the characters you’ve created, and I love the historical detail. They’ve drawn me into the civil war era, which I knew very little about, but am now reading into. Thank you for your wonderful books, and please do keep writing!

    1. Hi Jo
      It’s always especially nice for me when I hear from a new – and, in your case, very appreciative, reader. As you’ll see from many of the other messages, quite a few of my readers discovered my books when they were originally published. Obviously, their loyalty [not to mention their memories!] makes this extremely flattering but it’s encouraging to know that I’m also reaching a new audience. The King’s Falcon won’t be available for some time yet – at present, I’ve only written about a third of it and can expect to lose some work time over the next few weeks in order to move house. But I do thank you most sincerely for your comments – and hope you had a good time wherever it was you were flying to. Out of interest, did you stick to the Roundheads & Cavaliers series – or did you try the Georgian ones as well?

  19. I have a very battered copy of Black Madonna, the poor thing has been read to death, I managed to find a copy of Garland & Defiance a few years ago & hoped against hope that you would complete the series, to that end I’ve Googled you for ages, then suddenly there you were. I gave a huge whoop of joy & have now read Mesalliance, Parfait Knight & Marigold Chain. I love them all. I am about to get all the others, I can only thank you & beg you tyo go on writing. The English Civil War is one of my favourite periods & I can’t get enough of your work.so thanks again.

    1. Hi Carol
      You don’t need to thank me – though it’s nice of you to do so. I’m just pleased that you like my books. If you felt inclined to post brief reviews on Amazon or Smashwords or wherever you bought the e-editions, it would be incredibly helpful – but don’t feel obliged to do so. As you may imagine, I’m now working on my first new novel in twenty years and feeling more than a little daunted. However, so far, Falcon is progressing reasonably well and will hopefully strike a slightly lighter note than Garland.

  20. Wow

    I am so pleased you are not dead! My favourite book has been A Splendid Defiance ever since I read it in the mid eighties and I have had copies of some of your others since they were originally published. I tried to track you down in the early nineties a couple of years after A Garland of Straw was published to find the third book in the quartet, even writing to your publisher who didn’t know what had happened to you (or perhaps couldn’t tell me). I don’t know why I suddenly looked up you name on the web today but I so pleased you are back into writing and I look forward to your next offering. I shall certainly be obtaining the books I am missing on my Kindle as I haven’t read them in more years that I care to remember.

    1. Hi Lucy
      As you’ll have seen, I’ve been ‘back’ for a while now. The e-format editions have all been revised/extended in some way, though not fundamentally changed. The only one that is substantially longer [and better!] than the print edition is The Mesalliance – on which I did a great deal of work to repair the damage caused to it by Robert Hale. I’m currently working on The King’s Falcon and, all being well, hope to publish it towards the end of this year.

  21. Hi Stella

    Thank you for your comments – I too think Tobias would be useful in another book as something other than Eden’s younger brother. I hope you pick up the threads for Phoebe too!

    Happy New Year

  22. Hello Stella – Thank you so much for revising and republishing your books for ereaders, I am currently reading Garland again in that format and savouring every page. I am looking forward to The King’s Falcon and very much appreciate the glimpses you have given us. I am an enormous fan of your books and each time I read them I am able to find something I missed on previous occasions. However, the name changes for Felix and Felicity to Tobias and Tabitha, why? Was this because the new names fitted the puritan age better or was there another reason?

    Like many or your readers I have had your books for a number of years, gleaned from market stalls, the internet and my mother’s attic! I even wrote to Headline asking when the next books would be published. I am so glad you are writing again and look forward very much to the next two books and hopefully more thereafter.

    1. Hi Kate
      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m delighted that you are enjoying the revised e-format editions.
      With regard to your query about Felix & Felicity turning into Tobias & Tabitha … I did it because it seemed possible that, in the future, I might need Felix as more than Eden’s younger brother and I didn’t want to be stuck with a lead character called Felix. Tobias is more hero-like, I think.
      I changed the christian name of the Marquis of Amberley in The Parfit Knight from Denzil to Dominic for similar reasons – and have received some flak from a certain American reader as a result!
      As you’ll have seen from my responses to previous messages, I hope to complete The King’s Falcon before the end of this year but can’t predict a likely date.
      Happy New Year to you and everyone else who has joined me here on WordPress.

  23. Hi Stella! Unlike many of your readers above I came across your writing for the first time earlier this year. A Splendid Defiance was my first book and I was immediately hooked. I love your writing especially the historical/ fictional/ romance mix! I read a lot -all genres and yet the characters you depict especially Justin/Abby in this novel were especially memorable. I keep coming back and see more each time. New or revised your work will be an immediate buy for me from now on! Please no more long breaks ;)!!!!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Defiance and hope you also enjoy Madonna and Garland. I’m just about to set off for a week in Cornwall but, once we’re home again, I hope to progress with The King’s Falcon – though it will take some months to finish, I’m afraid. In the meantime, if you haven’t read it already and like character/relationships, try The Mesalliance. It’s one of my favourites.

  24. Hello everyone, I’d just like to thank Stella very much indeed for the first chapters of the new novel, which are great – I can’t wait to read further! Now that’s what I call a Christmaa present! I’d also like to wish you all a very merry festive season with best wishes for the New Year (when I will be going to see the Cheapside Hoard, I hope – it’s at the Museum of London until 27 April so there’s still a good amount of time).

  25. My question concerns Garland of Straw……as I understand it Hugh Brandon was married to Katherine Swynford who was connected to and eventually became the wife of John of Gaunt and Phillipa, her sister, was married to Chaucer. Is this correct?

    1. Sorry – no. I never mentioned Katherine Swynford in Garland. Hugh Brandon’s wife’s name was indeed Philippa – but that was a very common name in the period and nothing to do with the Swynfords. If I’d done that, I’d have been re-writing history and that’s something I never do.

  26. I read your books years ago and have reread them since. Defiance was especially good as I live in Banbury.I have a hard copy of Garland but have reread it on Kindle and when I saw the title of your next book I thought it must be about Mr Peverell!! However, I am correct in thinking that you will be writing two more? The next one due for publishing in 2014 and one about Eden and Phoebe? They must get together surely?

    1. Yes – Ashley Peverell is the hero of The King’s Falcon with supporting roles for Eden Maxwell and Francis Langley. Assuming I get that far – and hoping that I do! – Eden’s book would be the next one along. You’re not the only one who would like to see him get together with Phoebe but I’m making no promises.
      If you’ve read Garland on Kindle, perhaps you’d like to post a short review? I’m not exactly a high-profile writer so all encouragement is greatly appreciated!

  27. Most definitely I’m also counting the days. I’ve got a train journey this Friday so it will be fab having something to read to pass the time.

  28. I just finished Garland of Straw and loved it! I read A Splendid Defiance prior to that. I look forward to reading all of your fiction set during the English Civil War.It is a interesting period and I enjoy reading about it.

    1. Thank you for your comments – I’m glad you enjoyed Garland of Straw. Obviously, you must have read the original print version as it won’t appear in e-format until Friday. Inevitably, I have made some changes/additions but, in essence, the revised edition remains the same.

  29. Stella,

    It’s great that you’re back writing, especially your Civil War trilogy that I thoroughly enjoyed both in book format years ago and latterly e-format. I was particularly interested in a programme last night (15th October) on BBC4 regard the Cheapside Hoard, which you featured in Black Madonna. Did you see the programme? Have you seen the hoard? I ask because in your author’s note in Black Madonna you say that Luciano had his shop on the corner of Friday Street, precisely at the location the hoard was found in 1912. You also add that … ‘ I do not, however, say that my version of how it came to be there is the true one …’ My real question is, why shouldn’t your version be true? Also, did you know about the hoard and it’s content when you first wrote Black Madonna? I went and see the hoard years ago and when I spoke to someone in the Museum, they added that what was on show was only a fraction of the total content. It appears that the full content will soon be available for public viewing.
    I’m fascinated by the whole story of Luciano and how it could well be his hoard. I’d be interested to have your thoughts.
    Also, I believe you’re now writing Garland of Straw. Is this true? If so, when will it be available?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Hazel,
      Yes, I did see last night’s programme about the Cheapside Hoard and yes, I did go to see the Hoard itself some years ago when there was much less of it on display. Now, I suspect that a re-visit is called for. As to your question re. Luciano … it’s one of those peculiar coincidences. I learned of the Hoard purely by chance when I was more than half-way through writing The Black Madonna – and, oddly enough, I’d already set Luciano’s business at the location where the Hoard was found. The corner of Friday Street and Cheapside. Naturally enough, the coincidence was too great to resist and so I had Luciano bury his wares in the cellar prior to leaving London. As you saw yesterday, there’s still no way of knowing with any certainty who buried the Hoard and why they never returned for it – so my ‘romantic’ theory is a good a guess as that of anyone else. Thankfully!
      I plan to release Garland in e-format at the end of November.
      By the way – did anyone else out there see the Cheapside Hoard programme? If so, what did you think?

  30. A friend bought me a paperback copy of The Black Madonna for my 17th birthday and I was immediately hooked. Luckily I was able to borrow most of your books from my local library and over the next ten years I was able to collect or read all of them, using the internet and second-hand bookshops. I even sat and read The Mésalliance and Turkish Delight in The National Library of Wales in between exams one hot June.
    Your books have led to a twenty year fascination with England in the seventeenth century and I am delighted that you are writing again and look forward to any future novels (after having reread your books again of course.)

    1. Hi Rachel-Jane
      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my books and hope, if you’ve read the revised editions, that you liked the changes. I hope to e-publish Garland around the end of November and will then be attempting to finish writing the third book in the series. Thank you for your interest.

    2. Turkish Delight? I thought I had collected (by various means and one, Garland of Straw, at extortionate cost from Australia) and read them all, but I seem to have missed this one?

  31. Sorry, I first posted my answer on the wrong place and I don’t know how to delete it.
    I’m not disappointed at all to have to wait for a novel with Eden as the leading hero. I can see that his character is full of possibilities for a good story, but I’m interested in so many others, as you manage to make them all likeable (except very unlikeable baddies!) though in different ways. That’s why it’s so nice to have news of the characters of the previous books in the following ones. And it also gives more reality to each story. Now reading Madonna, I’m enjoying having Kate as a leading character, after the bits about her in Defiance and Garland. In Garland, I was specially glad to know about Sam’s new life in London, and above all, to meet again my favourite character, Justin. I must confess I would indeed be a bit disappointed if none of the following books gave us any news of him and Abby, and I’d really like to know how you see the way he could get rid of the threats to his life from his strep-family.
    As for the leading character of the next book, as you said it was neither Francis nor Eden, but another character from Garland, my favourite guess was at first Pheobe, for I thought her particularly likeable, but now I rather think of someone about whom we don’t know much yet: Ashley Peverell. As the book will be partly set out of England, I suppose we could have Ashley leading us among the exiled Cavaliers on the continent, or maybe at sea with Rupert. A new aspect of that fascinating period ! Or maybe I have it all wrong… But whoever the character is, I’m sure I will greatly enjoy his or her adventures. How nice to learn that they are already partly written !

  32. No, I’m not disappointed at all. I can see that Eden’s character is full of possibilities for a good story, but I’m interested in so many others, as you manage to make them all likeable (except very unlikeable baddies!) though in different ways. That’s why it’s so nice to have news of the characters of the previous books in the following ones. And it also gives more reality to each story. Now beginning to read Madonna, I’m enjoying having Kate as a leading character, after the bits about her in Defiance and Garland. In Garland, I was specially glad to know about Sam’s new life in London, and above all, to meet again my favourite character, Justin. I must confess I would indeed be a bit disappointed if none of the following books gave us any news of him and Abby, and I’d really like to know how you see the way he could get rid of the threats to his life from his strep-family.
    As for the leading character of the next book, as you said it was neither Francis nor Eden, but another character from Garland, my favourite guess was at first Pheobe, for I thought her particularly likable, but now I rather think of someone about whom we don’t know much yet: Ashley Peverell. As the book will be partly set out of England, I suppose we could have Ashley leading us among the exiled Cavaliers on the continent, or maybe at sea with Rupert. A new aspect of that fascinating period ! Or maybe I have it all wrong… But whoever the character is, I’m sure I will greatly enjoy his or her adventures. How nice to learn that they are already partly written !

  33. Hi Stella. Can’t tell you how pleased I am to discover you are writing again. I have ALL of your books and have been hoping to rediscover you.again. I am a fan of historical fiction and yours are among the best I have read. I’m not fan of Kindle as I love books – they are old friends – but if you are republishing on e-books I may have to succumb!!. When do you think you will publish a new novel?

    1. Hi Victoria. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply – just back from a week away. Thank you for your kind remarks. I appreciate what you say about e-books – I always used to feel the same way myself until I was given a Kindle and discovered a whole new world. E-publishing has not only given my own work a new lease of life but also led me to authors I might never have found otherwise. The novels I’ve e-published so far have all been revised and/or extended in one way or another. This is particularly true of The Mesalliance. I’m currently working on Garland and hope to release it around the end of November. As for a new novel … ideally I’d like to get one out next year but, at present, it’s impossible to say.

  34. The battle of Worcester, the flight of the King… and many other events, what a context for the new book ! I can’t wait to read it ! I have different ideas (though one is my favourite) about that new leading character we have already met.

  35. Yes, it helps, thank you. About the English civil war, I barely knew more than the main reasons why it broke out and its main military or political events, before your books gave me a more detailed insight into it (and led me to make sometimes some researches to understand better, as your style, far from boring historical lesson, immerses us in the period). So I didn’t know if in that new parlementarian regime, the law would really have to be respected by one of its less scrupulous member, likely to have powerful connections. Whatever, still remained the illegal ways. As Bernard had already gone as far as murder attempt, I could not imagine him leaving meekly the estate to Justin. I had rather imagined him contriving an ambush, or having his step-brother accused of something again, an easy task at that moment for a Roundhead master-spy against a Cavalier. But I can’t go farther than this, for as much as I like historical novels, I have no talent for imagining good stories.
    And so I’m all the more delighted to learn that there will be more of yours and that you will complete the series. When will the next book be published ? I look forward to read it.

    1. The next book after Garland may be a while coming, I’m afraid. Some of it is written but I still have a lot of work to do in order to complete it – and, as you can imagine, the research takes some time. But just to give you a rough idea – it will be set between 1650 and 1653, covering the 3rd Civil War. You’ll be meeting Eden and Francis again but the leading role goes to … someone you’ve already met but not seen much of. I’ll let you guess.

      On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 9:47 AM, Stella Riley

  36. No, I haven’t read Madonna yet, and actually there were parts in Garland I could not understand well. But I knew from some readers’ reviews I read when I finished Defiance that Madonna was the first book of the series, and I had some hints at what it was about, so it helped. As there wasn’t any allusion at Madonna in Defiance I couln’t guess there were some in Garland and that it was better to follow the order.
    Besides, I must admit I decided to read Garland first just because I was impatient to know how Justin would get rid of his dangerous step-family, as it didn’t seem that easy in the context. Was it enough for a Cavalier to take the oaths to get his estate back, with a member of the Committee of Both Kingdom and a Roundhead master-spy so determined to keep it ? I didn’t find any answer on that point in Garland, but as compensation an even richer (and anything but boring) account of the political events so I was not disappointed. I like novels with strong historical material and I learnt a lot about the different parliamentary factions.
    In Defiance, I also liked the day-to-day decription of the siege and soldier life, very realistic and unusal, especially when matched with such a strong and beautiful love-story.
    Now I will read Madonna to fill the gaps. And then, probably, The Marigold Chain.


    1. Defiance was written some years before Madonna and Garland and, in many senses, is a stand-alone book. There are, however, numerous places where it ties in with the other two. Madonna is book one of what was originally planned as a quartet; Garland is book two. The remaining novels were never written – though I hope now to remedy this. The general idea was to follow the history between 1639 and 1660 in chronological order. This is how Defiance remains outside the box in that it’s set part-way through the time-frame of Madonna.
      As for your question regarding Justin’s ability to compound … it’s my understanding that, so long as he swore the 2 required oaths and found enough money to pay the fine, his horrible step-family couldn’t do much about it.
      Hope this helps!

      1. Hi Stella. I first read your books on the English Civil War about 20 years ago and have been optimistically googling you from time to time ever since. I was so excited to find this link and must ask you something.

        In Garland I got the strongest feeling you would address the story of Eden Maxwell next. He was punished so cruelly for his first love for Celia which embittered him and I felt sure you had planned to make his story the next in your series.

        Was I right and do you ever think you might write this story or did you and I simply didn’t find it.

        Thank you so much for making contact with your fans.

        1. I do hope to write Eden’s story – it was always the eventual intention. However, although he appears in the next book [not completely written as yet], he is not the leading character due to the nature of the story-line which takes us out of England for a time after the 3rd civil war. Hope you don’t find this too disappointing!

          1. My reply is just above. It didn’t appear under your last post, but as if it had been written before. I don’t know why.

          2. I was away last week and so have only just seen your message. I hope you are continuing to enjoy Madonna. It must be a bit odd coming to it after Garland rather than before. I found your choices of future leading characters extremely interesting. One of them is spot-on and another is a distinct possibility. I’d tell you which except that it’s too soon to be giving too much away.

  37. After « A splendid defiance », I’ve just finished « The Galand of Straw » (I ordered it immediately on Amazon, I couldn’t wait for the Kindle), another so very excellent book. I’ve learnt more and more about that difficult but fascinating period you describe so vividly, in particular about the Levellers as I knew very little about them. That John Lilburne was really a courageous man. I liked Gabriel and Venetia, two strong and interesting characters.
    As I still have a special fondness for Justin and Abby, I was glad to read again about them. The way their love grew through friendship, care and tenderness was so moving in Defiance. Their slight flaws (Justin’s recklessness and swings of moods, Abby’s lack of self-confidence in the beginning) made them all the more real. I find Justin a particularly appealing hero because of his humanity and fits of playfullness, in spite of his haunted past, and the need for trust he shows under his charm and ironic wit. With all what his step-brothers and sister had contrived to deprive him from his heritage, and especially with Bernard and John’s positions, I expected that he’d have to fight them again. I looked forward to see all of that family pay for what they had done. Would you write more about that for us, some day ?
    Now I’m still as impatient to read you other books ! I will first read the Black Madonna, as the three books are linked.


    1. Thank you for your comments re. Garland. I’m glad you enjoyed it and didn’t find the history too overwhelming. As you’ll appreciate, the book covers an extremely involved political period; factions in all directions, none of whom ever manage to agree with each other. Since one particular reviewer described Defiance as a boring history lesson, I can only hope he doesn’t read Garland! Speaking of Defiance … I, too, have a deep fondness for Justin and Abby but can’t say whether we’ll ever meet them again.
      I wasn’t sure from your message whether or not you had previously read Madonna. If you haven’t, parts of Garland must have left you wondering.

  38. I have all your books ( diligently sought in second hand stores and bought on the internet) and they are some of my absolute favourites!!, I have jealousy guarded them and only lent them out to trusted friends over the years. The only one I have never found or read is Lucifers Campion, any chance of it being published on smashwords as I would love to print a copy. Thanks for writing.
    Sonya (in Canada) but I found most of your books in South Africa

    1. You have amazed me, Sonya. You’re in Canada but have managed – with some difficulty, I imagine – to have found most of my work in South Africa? Wow! But I have bad news for you. I have no plans to publish Lucifer’s Champion in e-format. It was the first thing I ever wrote and went through so many changes prior to publication, that it has ended up a sort of hybrid. Basically, it’s nowhere near the standard of my other work and, short of starting again, I’m not sure I could get it up to scratch – so I’m content to let it languish in a black hole. I think the bottom line here is that you haven’t missed much – but thanks for getting in touch.

      1. It’s really interesting to read your own thoughts on Lucifer’s Champion. It was the last of your books I read, and I was – sorry! – so disappointed in it that I wrote to you to tell you so. Perhaps fortunately your publishers wouldn’t forward the letter. Then I reread it a couple of years ago, and – while it still reminds me forcibly of bits of Georgette Heyer – I enjoyed it much more on its own terms. No, it’s not as individual as your other books, but I don’t think it’s as awful as you make out!

        1. Kind of you to say so, Georgiana, but I still think it’s pretty bad. Certainly, I don’t feel up to doing a thorough revision of it. And, if I ever finish with the Roundheads & Cavaliers series -which won’t happen any time soon – I’ve an idea for a third in the Parfit Knight, Mesalliance family. I sewed bits of information into them when I did the revisions in the hope I might get round to it eventually. But only time will tell.

  39. I have had all your books on my shelves for years and loved them all, particularly A Splendid Defiance and Garland of Straw, and have lovingly re-read them in the barren years when there were no more. Now being a Kindle person I was chuffed to bits to find most of them now converted to e-books and am in the process of reading my way through them all again. I must say I think the new, revised versions are even better than the originals, and am really looking forward to the updated Garland of Straw whenever it makes it to e-book.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Vivienne. I’m particularly glad you like the revised versions since I’ve had a bit of flack from various quarters with regard to some of the changes I’ve made. So far, I haven’t made any really significant alterations to Garland but am now at the point of the book where this may change as we get more deeply into the relationship between Gabriel and Venetia.

  40. I have thoroughly enjoyed all your books and sincerely hope you will be able to write and publish some more. I was delighted that you were able to publish “The Mesalliance” on e-format so that I was finally able to read the story of your unforgettable character – the Duke of Rockliffe. I wish to thank you for many hours of great reading and admire your wit. So you can tell I am begging for some more “good reads”

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot, I can assure you. I was particularly happy to be able to re-publish The Mesalliance because the original print version was severely cut by the publisher and I enjoyed re-creating some of the missing scenes.

    1. Hi Claudia
      I’m not sure from your question whether or not you’ve read Garland of Straw. If you haven’t, you’ll meet Sam again there. I hope to publish the e-format around the end of November. As for whether he’ll crop up again in any future books – anything is possible!

  41. Hi Stella, I am thrilled that you are publishing your work for kindle and although I had all your books in papeback I have bought them again in e format. I would like to know if you will be writing another civil war book. I look foward to see more books writen by you. Thanks

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thank you for getting in touch. As you probably already know, I’m currently preparing Garland of Straw for publication in e-format. After that, I hope to continue the series but only time will tell!

  42. I’ve just finished A Splendid Defiance, and I found it absolutely captivating. It is so well documented, but always in an allusive way, which makes you feel completely immersed in the period. I’m very fond of the characters as well and the way their relationship slowly changes.
    What will become of them in such a troubled time ? Will Justin manage to have his estate back to sell it ? Will he face Bernard French again ? And what will become of Sam?
    I know there are some hints about these characters, in Garland of Straw and I plan to read the book as sooon as possible. I’m glad I’ve your other books left to read.
    Would you write another one focusing again on Abby and Justin’s further adventures ? It would be so wonderful, as it seems there are so many questions unsolved.
    Thank you for the enjoyable moments I already owe you.


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Defiance,Romane. Many of the other comments and reviews are from people who read the books when they were first published so I was very interested and pleased to hear from a first-time reader.

  43. I am thrilled you are “not dead yet”!. Like all your other readers, I have enjoyed all your books particularly ones written around the Civil War. I have only recently managed to get the full set thanks to the e-book publications. Thank you for providing these and I sincerely hope it provides the spur to get you writing again! Well researched and well written historical fiction is a rarity and I would rate yours as among the best I have ever read. Thank you for all the enjoyment it has already provided and I look forward to more.

    1. Thanks for that, Rose. I’m now back from holiday and will be starting work on the e-version of Garland tomorrow – though, judging by Madonna, it will be a few months before it’s complete. After that … who knows?

  44. I was thrilled when I found you were publishing your books on Smashwords. I own hard copies of all of them, but Black Madonna, Garland of Straw and A Splendid Defiance are particular favourites. I was very sorry when suddenly you stopped publishing and I couldn’t find any trace of you on the web, until about 6 months ago when I found your books on Smashwords. I think your civil war historical fiction is extraordinarily good, and I hope that you will write more fiction, although I realize it is very hard work.

  45. This reply might take me several days to finish because it is late and I get up very early in the morning but i felt that I must express my appreciation of the Civil War novels. I know how complex the issues are (just see the academic disputes still raging) and have been reading on the subject for a very long time myself. It took me quite a long time to form any conclusions about where I stand on matters.

    There are not that many novels set during the Civil War but more have begun to emerge. However, some of those are mostly concered with the battles and action scenes and those bore me rigid. I skip rapidly through them (even in War and Peace). The baddies tend to be one-dimensional and uninteresting (and so are the heros). The less said about the heroines the better.

    However, this period covers may issue that require sensitive handling particularly for a modern and audience. A light touch and an above average grasp of the subject is essential. This The Black Mad

  46. just found my 1980’s copy of a splendid defiance in the garden shed! i’d forgotten what an absolutely great novel this is .
    when are we going to find out what happens to Justin and Abby? I can’t be the only reader who wants to know how they’ll survive the years after the war -and under Cromwell.

    any chance of a sequel?


  47. The Parit Knight is one of my favorite books of all time, so I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. (Must admit, I did prefer the original hero’s name as Denzil, though!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.