3 in a row! It’s a hat-trick!

This has already been an incredible week with awards for
The Marigold Chain and The Mesalliance audio.
But now, to complete the hat-trick (and in addition to its 5 star  Readers’ Favorite!)  THE  PARFIT  KNIGHT has earned a B.R.A.G. Medallion
B.R.A.G. Reviewer’s comment …

‘I’ve found a new favorite author! I really enjoyed this book. I loved Amberley and Rosalind. I also enjoyed seeing how the characters grew over the course of the book – especially Philip. I plan to read the rest of the series.’

Another B.R.A.G. Medallion!

I’m delighted to announce that THE  MARIGOLD  CHAIN
has been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion.

B.R.A.G. stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group and of the titles submitted to it for consideration, only 20-25% achieve a medallion.  The Marigold Chain now joins  A Splendid Defiance in gaining this honour.

“A very enjoyable read. The writer has a talent that makes even a complicated historical story with many characters smooth reading. I definitely recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.”


A Readers’ Favorite Award for THE PLAYER!

THE PLAYER (Rockliffe #3)
has earned a 5 star Readers’ Favourite Award.

“An incredible, page turning historical romance, The Player held me captive until I had finished the last page. I found it difficult to put down; and when I did, it called me to go back to the stage set by Stella Riley and wait for the curtain to rise.”

Available as ebook and paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.  Also in audio from Amazon and Audible.


A cased pair of gentleman’s percussion pistols by S. W. Berry of Woodbridge – circa 1845 and all completely original.  Everything a gentleman would need; percussion caps, powder flask, mould for making lead shot … and none of it ever used.

Even the label inside the lid of the case is original  and apparently this is rare.  We know it’s original because it is embossed – copies are not.

The amount of detail in the engraving is incredible. Pretty things, aren’t they?

After my two 17th century swords – one cavalry and one naval – pistols seemed a logical step. For those who don’t recall the swords, here they are.

HAZARD a Desert Isle Keeper at AAR

“Hazard is a fabulous addition to this thoroughly enjoyable series of Georgian romances.  Ms. Riley’s writing is sharply focused and elegant, her characters are strongly drawn, the chemistry between the leads is undeniable and both romances are brought to immensely satisfying conclusions. It gets a very strong recommendation.”

Read the complete review by Caz Owens at All About Romance

Hazard by Stella Riley

HAZARD some useful tips!

The dice game, Hazard was immensely popular with Georgian gamblers.
However, if you’re planning to play in one of the less respectable houses – or even a hell – it’s worth taking a quick course in the correct lingo.
You wouldn’t want to be thought a flat or a bubble because this might result in you being targeted by a mace cove or a nickum – which, in turn would almost certainly see you thoroughly dished up or, worse still, lurched.


“Superbly-written and expertly narrated …”

The Marigold Chain is one of Stella Riley’s earliest published works, and, as it’s a long-time favourite of mine, I’ve been waiting not-at-all patiently for it to make an appearance in audiobook format. I first read it in the mid-1980s and loved it; for me, it ticks all the boxes. A brilliant, gorgeous, sharp-tongued hero enters into a marriage of convenience with a practical, quick-witted heroine who doesn’t take any of his crap; set that against the backdrop of the politics and intrigue-laden Restoration court of Charles II, and you’ve got another winner from a writer who really knows how to put the historical into historical romance while at the same time creating a tender, sensual love story. With the exceptionally talented Alex Wyndham once more at the microphone, there’s no question The Marigold Chain is a fabulous audio experience – so just sink into your favourite chair, lock the door, take the phone off the hook and let the world look after itself for a few hours while you get stuck in!

Alex Deveril is one of those heroes who, in the hands of a lesser author, could have been easy to dislike, but fortunately, while he’s definitely difficult, Ms. Riley makes him into a compelling and attractive character. He’s fiercely intelligent, handsome, and – when he wants to be – extremely charming; but he also has a tongue that could start a small war, and is prone to using it. Yet he also knows how to say exactly the right thing in a difficult situation and is loyal and honourable to a fault. And clever, pragmatic Chloe is perfect for him. She gives as good as she gets in verbal exchanges and doesn’t hesitate to call him out on his bad behaviour. She’s supportive and insightful, saving Alex from himself on more than one occasion, and the chemistry between them, while it builds gradually, is undeniable.
Anyone familiar with Alex Wyndham’s work will know that he’s an exceptionally talented vocal actor whose performances are always highly accomplished and most enjoyable, and that his ability to get into the heads of the characters and accurately convey their motivations and emotions is absolutely first-rate. He’s superb when it comes to conveying his namesake’s acerbic wit and blistering put-downs; wonderful at getting across Alex’s rarely-seen vulnerability in a most memorable scene near the end in which he manages to put his foot firmly in his mouth; and just as good at giving Chloe a no-nonsense, down-to-earth air while also letting us hear the truth of her feelings for her unpredictable husband. The secondary cast – Matt (a bluff northerner), Giles and Danny are all clearly differentiated and easy to tell apart, and Mr. Wyndham’s portrayal of His Majesty, King Charles II – who makes a few cameo appearances – is a nicely judged balance of gravitas and humour.
Superbly written and expertly narrated, The Marigold Chain is an utter delight from start to finish. Needless to say, it’s highly recommended.

Narration A
Story A

The Marigold Chain by Stella Riley


Edward Montagu
1st Earl of Sandwich 1625-1672

At the age of twenty, Edward Montagu was the youngest Colonel in the New Model Army. He fought in many of the major battles of the first Civil War and was raised to the rank of Major-General after the battle of Naseby in 1645. A member of the Protector’s Privy Council, he was one of Cromwell’s most loyal supporters – and he also served as an Admiral during the Anglo-French alliance of 1657-58.
Why am I skating over all this so quickly? Because the really interesting part is what happened after the death of Cromwell in 1658.
In February 1660, realising that the restoration of the monarchy was inevitable and joining forces with General Monck, Montagu entered into correspondence with Charles II. His old flagship, the Naseby, was renamed the Royal Charles, and his fleet sailed to the Netherlands to convey Charles II back to England. The royal party landed at Dover on 25 May.

For Charles II, rewarding loyal support when the treasury was all but empty and restoring lost lands virtually impossible, must have been a headache. He solved the problem by giving out titles and other inexpensive honours. General Monck, for example, would become the Duke of Albemarle. Henry Montagu was made a Knight of the Garter … and offered the title of either Earl of Portsmouth or Earl of Sandwich. Montagu (or perhaps the King) opted for the latter. It was to be, as you may already have realised, a far-reaching decision.
Montagu went on to lead a distinguished career as a diplomat, naval administrator and fighting admiral under Charles II. He was killed in action at the battle of Sole Bay in May 1672, going down with his flagship the Royal James which he refused to abandon.

The Battle of Sole Bay, May 1672

 ~  *  *  ~  *  *  ~

John Montagu
4th Earl of Sandwich

Having succeeded the 3rd Earl at the age of eleven, Lord Sandwich studied at Eton and Cambridge, and travelled abroad before taking his seat in the House of Lords in 1739. He served as Postmaster General and was also first Lord of the Admiralty twice. During his second term, critics accused him of taking bribes – but although he was frequently attacked for corruption, nothing seems to have been proved and there was no denying that his lordship worked long hours. However, during the American Revolutionary War (1776-81) he insisted upon keeping much of the British fleet close to home in case of a French attack – for which he was severely criticised and blamed for the loss of the American colonies.

Sandwich loved classical music, especially Handel, and it was through music that he met his long-time mistress, Martha Ray (shown above) who had an excellent voice. She also bore him five children – and the pair lived together for seventeen years as man and wife. However, Martha wanted Sandwich to make a settlement on her and her children in the event of his death but he couldn’t afford to do so.  This may have caused Martha to briefly encourage the advances of James Hackman – who was utterly besotted with her and offering marriage. When she refused him, he shot her in the head – publicly, on the steps of Covent Garden in 1779. Hackman then tried to kill himself; he failed and was hanged at Tyburn. Lord Sandwich was left devastated by her loss.

His interest in naval affairs and his promotion of exploration led the English explorer Captain Cook to name the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) after him in 1778. In his private life Sandwich was an enthusiastic gambler. The sandwich was named after him in 1762 when he asked to be brought meat between two slices of bread – though opinions differ as to whether this happened at the card-table or at the end of a long day at the Admiralty.

But only think … if the first Earl had chosen differently back in 1660, how would you feel about eating a ham-and-cheese portsmouth?