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Minette Promo

By Mmeguillotine @MmeGuillotine
Minette promo My poor little mother was on the run from Parliament's forces when I was born. Sickly, exhausted, frantic about the fate of her husband and other children and massively pregnant, she was forced to seek refuge in the west country city of Exeter and gave birth to me there in a rickety little house close to the centre of town. Mam was so thin and unwell that she fully expected to die in childbirth and in her despair and anxiety even wrote a will and instructions for her burial in Exeter Cathedral.

She was also worried sick about the coming baby for I was born a month too soon and was very small, silent and weak when I eventually made my precipitous appearance on a bright June morning eleven years ago. However, to Mam's surprise and profound relief, we both survived the hideous ordeal of my birth and all was well for a time.
'I knew that you would be the last of my children,' she told me once, her dark eyes staring intently into my own. 'My enfant de bénédiction and little good luck charm. It seemed incredible to me that we should both have survived despite all the odds being against us and in a way that made you all the more mine in a way that your brothers and sisters could never be.'

Mam's happiness was to be short lived though as when I was just a few weeks old, the advancement of Cromwell's troops meant that she had to pack up her things and leave again to seek safety with her own family in France. She wanted to take me with her but due to my small size and feebleness, she was reluctantly persuaded to leave me behind with my governess and nurses in Exeter. There I remained, safe and snug in my borrowed wooden crib and with no idea that my mother had been forced to disguise herself and creep away in the dead of the night and that Cromwell's troops were preparing to lay siege to the city.

Too late to help his wife, my father arrived in Exeter a month later and insisted upon having me baptised in the nave of the beautiful cathedral in front of a small crowd of loyal witnesses. My name was to be Henrietta in honour of my poor Mam. He stayed just a few more days before he too had to leave like a thief in the night to rejoin his armies. I never saw him again.

When I was reunited with my mother in Paris two years later, she paid for several Masses to be said in honour of my safe arrival. She also gave me a new name: 'Henrietta-Anne', to honour Tante Anne and thank her for her great kindness to we poor exiles. I've been Henrietta-Anne ever since, although very few people call me that. It hardly trips off the tongue, does it.

To know her was to love her...

Born in the very heart of the dangers of the English Civil War, smuggled out of the clutches of Parliament as a toddler and then raised in near penury in exile in France, the charming and beautiful Princess Henrietta-Anne Stuart, youngest daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria is the original Cinderella, waiting breathlessly and with some trepidation for the moment when her family's fortunes will be restored and she can reclaim her proper place in the world.

Minette promo
Detail from a portrait of Henrietta Anne Stuart, Duchesse d'Orléans, French school, c1665. Photo: Royal Collection.

Oh, I loved writing Minette so much - it was such a frothy dream of a book and, to my delight, it has gone on to be, perhaps, the most popular of my five novels because, apparently, readers have fallen as much under her spell as I did when I was writing. It must seem a bit odd therefore that I haven't released part two of this series yet, but I am completely bogged down with other projects right now and am also, it transpires, just REALLY BAD at writing sequels. I'll try and get on with it soon though as I am as keen to finish writing Minette's story as you are to read it.

Minette promo
Henrietta Anne, Duchesse d'Orléans, Nocret, c1662. Photo: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, London/Melanie Clegg.

Anyway, hot on the heels of the From Whitechapel promotion (thanks SO much to everyone who bought a copy last week!), I'm delighted to announce that my lovely Minette is on sale for 99p from Amazon UK and 99c from Amazon US until next Monday.

Set against the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of autumn 1888 and based on the author's own family history, From Whitechapel is a dark and sumptuous tale of bittersweet love, friendship, loss and redemption and is available NOW from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Burning Eye.

'Frothy, light hearted, gorgeous. The perfect summer read.' Minette, my young adult novel of 17th century posh doom and intrigue is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US and is CHEAP AS CHIPS as we like to say in dear old Blighty.

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