Welcome to Stella Riley’s Books


I am delighted to announce a
B.R.A.G. Medallion Award for A Splendid Defiance

B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group that brings together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe with a mission to discover talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves.

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.  The cover, as you can see, may not be the worst ever considering what else is around these days, but it still made my agent and I howl with laughter.

After Lucifer,  came The Marigold Chain .  I should mention that 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 further novels set in the same period.

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  and  The Wicked Cousin.  The fifth book in the series, Hazard, is now available for pre-order and will be released on February 23rd.

Along the way, I decided to venture into the world of audio books.  As a result, all four Rockliffe books and also A Splendid Defiance are currently available, narrated by superbly-talented Alex Wyndham.  He was kind enough to say that he is particularly proud of Defiance and that it was a rare pleasure to narrate.”  Alex is currently recording The Marigold Chain.

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

Happy reading!


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

  1. Have just binge read your Roundhead and Cavalier series.
    Love the spirit of freedom running through your novels.
    Good reading in the snowy weather and welcome antidote to
    the mangerialism now ruling academia.
    I like how you strive to get your characters to tell in each what is happening politically, and give us, your readers, the historical background in ways integrated into the plot.
    I’d like to join your Facebook group.

    1. Thank you, Vanessa. I’m glad you enjoyed the R&C books and particularly pleased that you liked my technique for imparting facts and events that might otherwise have been difficult to include. If you could spare a few minutes to review – any or all and however briefly – it would be greatly appreciated.
      Stella’s Historical Hussies (about 22 strong at present) are a lively and friendly group. They are all readers I’ve ‘known’ for some time through FB and their reviews and they are now getting to know each other – which is the point of the group. If you’re on FB, I can invite you directly from SHH – just need to know what name to put in. If not, I can do it be e-mail. Let me know which suits.

  2. Hello Stella, just ordered my print copy of ‘Hazard’, I do enjoy a good book in the old fashioned form! Many thanks shall look forward to re-reading it again.

    1. Glad you’ve got your print edition, Kate. It’s been touch-and-go these last few days – Amazon blaming Createspace and vice versa as to why it was so difficult for readers to find. Fortunately, after my extremely firm e-mails of first thing this morning, somebody got their act together!

  3. Thanks for the invite to the Hussies, Stella. And Margo Winchester is my online persona. There’s only one problem – when are you going to have time to write?
    And is Terry who I think he is? I went to put the cygnets, Full Page, Facebook disappeared and all I had was the hysterical laughter. I did get it column version, but then the whole PC crashed! Dangerous. I love your graphics for the group. Oh, and the latest cover for ‘Parfit Knight’ – are you going to do the whole series?

    1. I couldn’t find you on FB as Margo Winchester so I sent you an invitation by e-mail. I haven’t been on SHH yet this morning but I’m hoping you got it.
      Terry is the cygnet on the right – hope it wasn’t that which crashed your PC. It shouldn’t have been – it’s a U Tube clip and has done the rounds before.
      As for the Rockliffe covers – yes, Anna is doing them all but because Hazard was due out so soon, we started with that one, then began again at the beginning. Anna is currently working on The Mesalliance. Do you like them so far? She also did the covers for A Splendid Defiance (which won cover of the month in a BRAG affiliated competition in January) and The Marigold Chain.
      As for time to write … ahem.

      1. I think invite came through both ways – I did a Facebook Search and my page came up, but as this is one of the originating ‘puters, (?)
        There are 2 of us in Dunedin as well, though since Margo (2) has married she is now Margo Reid. But as I adopted the name early 1960’s, and so pre-date my cousin, I’m keeping it!
        And I really like the new “PK” cover; I will be interested to see what she achieves with “Mesalliance”. Rockliffe and The Trojan? Two gorgeous males! Just an idea.

        1. Well, no matter how the invite came through, you got it. They are a nice bunch and, though I’ve only ever met two of them, I know most of the others pretty well through FB and the face that they read and review. It’s also an interesting mix. 2 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 New Zealander (you!), 1 Green and 1 Hungarian … as well as folk dotted all over the UK.
          Re The Mesalliance cover, getting an image that looks anything like a specific character – particularly Rockliffe – is a non-starter. It can’t be done and is a stupid thing to try because what words for one person won’t work for another. So we’re going down a different path and I’m happy with it. Glad you like the PK cover, though. And Hazard?

          1. So far I’ve liked all her covers. and it was just an idea ( I love black horses). I glanced through Carol Cork’s page – absolutely beautiful photography. I’ll have to include some of my scenery on my page, though can’t compete with some of the architecture. Are the backdrops behind Terry, Mediterranean? The SHH’s is a great group – many met on your other sites, through Comments – nice to put a face to them. My child and pony was a snapshot at a show – just a reminder for acquaintances I met when I was doing equestrian photography years ago. Bye for now, and thanks again.

          2. Without going back to look, I imagine the scenery behind Terry is the bay of Kas in southern Turkey. We rent a villa overlooking that view every year. Meanwhile, I’ll look forward to seeing some of your photos.

  4. I will read whatever you write, usually withi a week of its publication date! I’m always happy to return to the Rockliffe universe, so I’m glad to hear you are thinking of at least one more. I know Amberley and Rosalind have had their HEA, but I would so love for them to get to be active secondary characters in another novel. I miss them!

    1. It’s very early days for Rock Six and I have several new characters to establish before getting the ‘old gang’ back together. But Amberley and Rosalind are on my radar – as much as anything because I’m a bit of a Round Robin nut.

      1. Further to previous, I now have a closed FB group if you’re interested, Margali – Stella’s Historical Hussies. Apply to join if you feel inclined.

  5. So glad you are continuing to write! I tore my way through Hazard in 2 days, and am considering a reread of all the R & C books next month. I am one of your readers who dearly loves both the R&C books and the Rockliffe series both. The Parfit Knight remains my favorite of all, and Amberley my favorite hero. (Though, since I read the book in its original hardback form, he will always and forever be Denzil to me!). I’ve been sharing my Goodreads reviews through Facebook, so hope to introduce some of my friends to your work. Thanks again for all the reading joy you bring me and all your other fans!

    1. Thanks, Margali – glad you’re still enjoying Rock & Co and thanks for writing (and sharing) reviews. I tend not to see comments on Goodreads as I rarely go there but I’ll make an effort in your case.

  6. Hello Stella
    First, let me say I loved “Hazard” – it gave me a very happy couple of hours, and I look forward to your next book.
    Second, I had a dig around and found the negative reviews you mention. I don’t agree with them, and I think one of the reviewers is confusing social history with fiction. I won’t identify them any further. I would say your books are extremely entertaining, and I like all the detail in them. I hope you will continue writing (I am one of the readers who trawled second hand bookshops looking for a copy of “The Black Madonna”, which I originally got from the library. I cheered when it was published on Kindle.)
    Third, have you read “Treason’s Daughter” and “The Tyrant’s Shadow” by Antonia Senior? If not, I recommend them, particularly “The Tyrant’s Shadow”, which I raced through.
    Back to the reviews. I am a bookseller, so I talk to people about books and recommend titles. Sometimes people agree with my recommendations, but not always. It seems to me that the negative reviews are very much in the minority, so whilst I understand that it is baffling and upsetting, it is just an opinion.
    Finally, I too would like to read Giles Beckwith’s story!

    1. Thank you, Fiona. I recognise that one can’t please everybody and that, as far as reviews go, it’s necessary to take the rough with the smooth. But occasionally something just smacks me between the eyes and I’m left thinking ‘Where did that come from?’
      Thanks for the recommendation to Antonia Shaw who I haven’t previously come across but now check out.
      I’ve been chatting with various folk about setting up a FB closed group for readers and there has been some debate about what to call it. I don’t know if this would interest you, Fiona. But since I’m aware that some site-visitors read new comments as they appear, I’ll take this opportunity to say that we have 2 front-runners. Stella’s Merry Minxes and Cavaliers & Courtesans. Votes, please!

  7. I have loved all your books but A Splendid Defiance is up there with best. Read and reread too many times!
    Separately Rockcliffe is as beguiling a character as Avon in Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. More of him please.
    I am happy to read that you might return to Giles Beckworth. his poignantdeparture made me cry.
    Thank you for giving me so much pleasure in reading your books and keep on writing.
    p.s. please note that there were quite a few typo errors in Hazard.

    1. Thank you for your comments re my books and I’m glad you have been enjoying them. With regard to your comment about Hazard, perhaps you could specify? No other reader has raised this issue.

      1. Blimey! Re the type set errors. There are too many instances of a “to” missed out. A better proof reader should have picked them out. It’s commonple in kindle books and I mind only because because I know your writing to be meticulous.
        I am lucky to have a few of the originals in hardback and the same books are very poorly proof read in the kindle edition.
        The same is true of the divine Heyer. I downloaded her The Grand Sophie and could not believe the errors and omissions in the script of an author revered for the purity of her language. You too write wonderfully well and I mind that kindle type errors mar your books.
        I’ll post proof read for no charge at all!

        1. Thanks, Ranji but, following your comment, I set two people to re-read Hazard and hope that we’ve now picked up all the errors. (Not at all sure how they crept in through!) Alex is due to start recording next week so the revised script has to be with him by close of play tomorrow. However, I do thank you for your offer – much appreciated.

  8. Stella Riley, my thanks is not nearly enough to express the pleasure I receive listening to your books. The ‘Parfit Knight ‘ was my introduction to your outstanding talent as an authoress.
    Thanks again for this website, for choosing audible, and Mr. Wyndham as your narrator. You are young as I am 4yrs your senior, and your adept skill translating a long past era through history and romance is amazing. I just had to let you know I will not get enough of your novels, and I look forward to a future that will include as many as possible.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Florence – so glad you are enjoying Rock & Co and lovely Alex’s incredible talent. If you don’t already do so, might you consider reviewing, perhaps? Every one counts – no matter how brief!

  9. Hello Stella. Thank you for another wonderfully uplifting story. I really enjoyed “Hazard” and loved how we found out more of Aristide and Genevieve’s back story as the novel progressed. It was also great to get a glimpse into the ongoing lives of Rockliffe’s set – especially Cassie in “full Valkyrie mode” and, of course, to find out if and how Nicholas and Madeleine reached their HEA. I think you may have read my review on Amazon – I do hope you are encouraged (but not pressurised) by all the positive reviews to continue to write. Best wishes, Jill

    1. Thank you so much for reviewing, Jill – obviously I’m delighted that you enjoyed Hazard and pleased that it is doing so well in its first week – at least, in the UK. The positive reviews encourage me to carry on. They also make it possible to shrug off the negative ones -and in the last few months, I seem to have attracted a troll or two. As for the future … some folk seem to feel that Rock & Co have run their course; others are asking for one more. What do you think?

      1. Please do not worry about the trolls – there will always be negative people who just like to pick holes in everything. Take heart from the positive reviews and the majority of your correspondents on this site who seem to speak with one voice – of love and approval. While the R&C novels are my very favourites of your books (I think there is a lot of hero potential in Toby and in Jude??), I do love the Rockliffe stories too and would always be happy to read more. There are a few questions as yet unanswered: Does Rock get his male heir? What is Bertrand’s back story? Do Philip and Isabel manage to have their own child? Is there any redemption for Diana Franklin once she has grown up a bit? What kind of person does Olivia DeLa Haye become? These are just my idle musings – please ignore as you see fit but the loose ends could be rounded up in one more story, possibly set a couple of years later than “Hazard”. In any case, you may well want a much-deserved rest for a while!! Just a quick question: will “Hazard” be out in paperback soon? Love my Kindle but can’t beat a physical book. Thanks.

        1. I should never have mentioned negative reviews. I’ve collected one today for Madonna which has baffled me completely. However, with regard to Toby and a final R&C novel taking us to the Restoration – I would hope to do that eventually. I’d also like to write – less a sequel than a companion novel – to The Marigold Chain; I think of it as The Giles Beckwith Story. But I think one last Rockliffe book first, while I’m still in that particular zone. The print edition of Hazard will be out fairly soon – a slight delay was caused by my forgetting to insert the credit to the cover designer. But I’ve already seen a proof and, though I probably shouldn’t say so, it looks wonderful. You’ll know when it’s out, Jill – I’ll be announcing it here on the website as soon as it’s available on Amazon.

        2. Further to previous, I’ve now set up a closed readers group on FB – Stella’s Historical Hussies. I don’t like adding folk without their permission or in-putting e-mail addresses as FB suggests. So if you’re interested, Jill – please do apply to join. Love to have you there.

          1. Now that is a good title, Stella. (H H) Please add me to your list. I did send in a Hazard review but was requested to revise. As I’m an Amazon.com.au customer, it will hopefully appear (and has) on their site. But not on Amazon.com. Still, the Amazon.com.au site does include the Amazon reviews.
            I’m not sure how it happened, but your Stella Riley Books has popped up on my Facebook page, maybe as a result of my spreading out more on Mobile Android and it syncs with my PC’s (both running Google Chrome)? Because of Jill’s Comment and Goodreads’ March newsletter has popped into my Inbox, I had a look at their reviews – some repeats and some new and lots of 5 and 4 star ratings without review. It seems a lot of your readers are Goodreads people!
            RE Ranji’s Comments
            There appear to be more errors than usual – mostly ?missing prepositions. May be Kindle – I haven’t hardback copies of the Rockliffe series – but if you’ve had the Kindle editions revised they should have updated? My K for PC is on ‘auto’ for that and I picked up several in the last couple of days when rechecking for my review.
            Re the Pantheon, sort of how I envisaged it – interesting about the Hagia Sophia inspiration, it was something I wondered about when reading Dorothy Dunnett’s “Pawn in Frankincense”.
            Re Rockliffe 6 – do Caroline’s half-sisters progress enough – I thought Sylvia in particular had possibilities – and I know Nicholas, in particular, disliked Mr Penhaligon, but he wasn’t completely beyond redemption? Bertrand needs someone – just so the others can get their own back!
            Thank you for producing another great read, I dive back in to the selection whenever I’m tired of ‘might be’s’ – even “Lucifer”! :))

          2. Hi Margo
            If you’re on FB, I can send you an invitation to SHH. I’ll try putting in Margo Winchester – if that’s wrong, you’ll have to let me know.
            I’ve had Hazard proof-read (yet again) and have re-loaded EVERYWHERE. This had to be done ASAP because Alex is due to start recording this week. Truth is, the exec producer at the audio company rushed me a bit to send the script and, once I’d done that, I didn’t re-proof because all copies have to agree. A lesson for next time!
            I’m not handing out clues about Rock Six just yet because it’s very early days (only 16,000 words so far) … but when I do, it will be on SHH so it will be nice if you can join us there. We have a really nice group – about 18 members so far – mostly ladies but including two gentlemen-hussies.

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