Let's get to know a little bit about Marlow and her title A Woman of Love.
A Woman of Love
Series Name: Honour, Love, and Courage Series
Theme(s): Scarred Hero/Heroine
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Keywords: Romance, Victorian, England, scarred hero
When her dissolute husband insists that Lady Annabel Peters bed one of his villainous cohorts to repay a gambling debt, she is scandalized. But she is forced to agree because he controls every aspect of her life.
A physically and emotionally crippled war hero, James Drake has retreated from society. At the request of his brother, he manipulates events so he can interrogate Annabel, a woman he thinks may be part of a ring of thieves.
Neither of them count on an instant and overwhelming attraction. James may now believe Annabel but she suspects her husband plans to kill her. As one of her husband’s friends, James is not to be trusted. Yet how can she escape a man who has the ability to control her with a gentle kiss?
She swung around, and came face to face with a demon. He was tall, and broad with long, black hair, a bushy beard, and a scar that traversed his right cheek, narrowly missing his eye. Shadows darkened his face with stark lines making him look like a man who had come straight from hell. She straightened her spine. He was a man, plain and simple. Not a demon, and certainly not from hell. She needed to keep her whimsical thoughts at bay, so she could form a plan.
“Have you changed your mind regarding our rendezvous?” His soft-spoken, polite manner seemed strangely at odds with his appearance.
“I-I never agreed to...” She licked her lips. Why was her mouth so dry? Had his intense gaze turned her into a blathering nitwit?
He clasped her hands, enfolding them in his warm touch. “You have a graze here. Did you fall?” He kissed each palm in turn, his warm breath making her quiver deep in her belly. She wrenched her hands away. Good God. Was she so starved for affection a simple touch could kindle her passion? Yes, she was. It had been years since a man had caressed her with anything close to tenderness.
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After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made
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Nellie BlyIn my story, A Woman of Love, Annabel is the abused wife of Lord Elliott Peters, but before her marriage she was a widow who successfully ran her husbands narrow boat business. (A narrow boat is a narrow barge used in the 19th century to transport goods on English canals and rivers.)
Is this realistic? Could a widow in this era legally run a business? Yes, this is seen in the extraordinary life of reporter Nellie Bly.
Nellie was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania on
5th May 1864. Her father, the founder of Cochran’s Mills, was a landowner, judge and businessman. Unfortunately, he died, without a will, when Elizabeth was six years old, leaving the family destitute. At the age of fifteen, Elizabeth attended the Indiana Normal School. Her plan was to become a teacher and help support her mother, but she was forced to quit the school after a year due to lack of funds. She moved with her mother to Pittsburgh where the pair ran a boarding house. Her lucky break came when she read an article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch written by Erasmus Wilson. The column stated that women belonged in the home doing domestic tasks, such as sewing, cooking and raising children.
Elizabeth, who was never one to back down from a fight, wrote an angry letter to the newspaper. She understood that many women had to work to support themselves, and their families. Her rebuttal so impressed the paper's managing editor, George Madden, that he offered her a job, giving her the pen name – Nellie Bly.
Nellie championed women’s issues. She posed as a sweatshop worker to expose poor working conditions. Then she wrote an article calling for a reform of the state’s divorce laws, but the newspaper editors did not appreciate her investigative, cutting-edge journalism and moved her to the newspaper’s women’s page where she was expected to write about fashion and flower shows.
Nellie left the Pittsburg Dispatch and headed to New York in search of a meaningful position. After a futile six months, she finally managed to get an interview with John Cockerill, editor of the New York World newspaper. He asked her to write a piece about the mentally ill housed at Blackwell’s Island, a large institution in New York City. (Now Roosevelt Island)
She accepted the challenge, going undercover as a woman with amnesia. She lived in the facility for ten days until lawyers for the New York World had her released. Her newspaper articles about her experiences included stories of cruel beatings, ice cold baths and forced meals of rancid food. Her story caused a sensation with the public and politicians alike. A grand jury was called to look into the conditions on Blackwell’s island, and reforms soon followed.
In the years that followed she went on to expose corruption and the injustice, revealing shady lobbyists, the way in which women prisoners were treated by police, and the in adequate medical care given to the poor. She identified with
In 1889 she took a whirlwind trip around the world in an attempt to prove and beat Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Travelling by ship, train and burro she finished the journey in 72 days and was hailed as a celebrity.
At the age of 30 she married industrialist Robert Seaman, he was 70 years old at the time. She gave up journalism and devoted her life to him and his business, the Ironclad Manufacturing Company, until he died ten years later. After his death she took over running his business, and held several US patents; one for a milk can, and another for a stacking garbage can.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t a great businesswoman; the company went bankrupt due to financial mismanagement and embezzlement. Impoverished, she began writing for the New York Evening Journal. She travelled to Vienna in 1914 where she watched as World War I unfolded. She visited battlefields, and the trenches and sent back articles to the Evening Journal.
In 1919 she returned to New York and was forced to sue her mother and brother for the return of her house. She started writing for the New York Evening Journal again. This time she wrote an advice column. She was in her fifties by this time and perhaps she was happy to let someone else do the undercover work.
She died of heart disease and pneumonia in 1922, and was heralded as the best reporter in America. Although Nelly wasn’t much of a businesswoman she was determined, and didn’t shirk the responsibility of running a business. She also tried to improve the lives of her workers, altering their pay from piecemeal to salary and providing them with recreation centers.
It is in her work as a journalist that she comes into her own. It is through the efforts of women like Nellie Bly that women enjoy the freedoms they have today.