Are you a fan of historical Victorian romance? You’ll want to check out an excerpt from Where Your Treasure Is by M.C. Bunn as well as this interview in which she tells us more about it. Be sure to also follow the rest of the tour for even more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!
Feisty, independent heiress Winifred de la Coeur has never wanted to live according to someone else’s rules—but even she didn’t plan on falling in love with a bank robber.
Winifred is a wealthy, nontraditional beauty who bridles against the strict rules and conventions of Victorian London society. When she gets caught up in the chaos of a bungled bank robbery, she is thrust unwillingly into an encounter with Court Furor, a reluctant getaway driver and prizefighter. In the bitter cold of a bleak London winter, sparks fly.
Winifred and Court are two misfits in their own circumscribed worlds—the fashionable beau monde with its rigorously upheld rules, and the gritty demimonde, where survival often means life-or-death choices.
Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they fall desperately in love while acknowledging the impossibility of remaining together. Returning to their own worlds, they try to make peace with their lives until a moment of unrestrained honesty and defiance threatens to topple the deceptions they have carefully constructed to protect each other.
A story of the overlapping entanglements of Victorian London’s social classes, the strength of family bonds and true friendship, and the power of love to heal a broken spirit.
Read an excerpt:
Chapter I A Spinster Reflects Winifred de la Coeur was not a traditional beauty, but she was one of a kind. Or so George had whispered while they played cards. He had won the hand and taken hers in his. After all these years, she ought to know better than to trust him. ******** On the day before she came up to London, she rode her horse Tulip across the fields to inspect the wood. Beyond it lay Hereford Hall’s brick towers, graceful lawns, and chestnut-lined drive. She had given Tulip a smart kick and galloped down the sandy lane that led to the sea. In spite of her elder cousins’ warnings, she and George had raced one another on it many times. She bent over her mare’s neck, urged her to go faster, and pretended to outdistance her neighbor. She was Queen Bess, who ruled a kingdom of her own. No need of any man! Her pride could not bear that George, or even her family, might suspect that while she had won the battle against her suitors, she had lost the war. At summer’s end, once the field cleared and the dust settled, she discovered she was tired of holding up the increasingly heavy standard of her virginity. The other debutantes of her year had long retired from the lists on their fiancés’ arms or were preoccupied by their confinements. She had attended so many weddings she lost track of the sprays of orange blossom Bettina cleared from her dressing table or the number of silver rattles that she and Amelie had wrapped. Her freedom was not the triumph she had imagined it would be. ******** The hackney she’d seen earlier pulled alongside them at the curb. A bright spot of purple in the cabby’s hatband, the flower girl’s bunch of violets, caught her eye. Bunched beneath his dark chin was a plum-colored neckerchief, gaudily spotted. His profile was partly hidden under his hat’s brim, and his long, dark hair was pulled back in an old-fashioned queue…. His deep voice and Cockney accent were audible when he spoke to his horse. He was not the sort one would want to meet in a dark alley.
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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
In Where Your Treasure Is, many of the characters have a person or dream they cherish (or are obsessed by), so the novel explores what they’re willing to risk to hold onto or obtain their “treasure” and how the lives of characters from different social classes collide and are transformed by these efforts.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
The book opens in London, 1892. I wrote the story first, then during revisions made adjustments to historical details, such as anachronisms or expressions that weren’t yet part of the language. The internet is extremely helpful, but I love old books and magazines. Random photographs of people and early films are wonderful too. Primary documents, novelists who are contemporary to the period, other writers’ and historians’ bibliographies, and annotated texts are rich resources.
Will we see these characters again?
Within a couple of months after completing Treasure’s first draft, I wrote the second novel in the series, Time’s Promise. Several characters from Treasure return, but it’s mainly the story of the next generation’s coming-of-age on the eve of World War I.
What do you hope people will get out of your book?
In Where Your Treasure Is there are all sorts of love, some of it selfish and misguided, some of it brave and true. Winifred de la Coeur and Court Furor might have easily categorized one another as a wealthy, unfulfilled spinster and an impoverished, desperate man of the streets. Love opens their eyes. The people in their lives come together in unexpected ways because of that love and are changed by it as well. People need hope. Sometimes they need a helping hand. Nothing is impossible because love is the greatest power on earth.
M. C. Bunn is a writer of Victorian romance and historical romance novels, a singer (in the indie rock band Mister Felix), and a songwriter. She holds an English degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from North Carolina State University.
“I’ve always loved writing. It’s a joy to do what makes me happy and to share it.
“My father was a great story-teller. He read to us at the dinner table and passed on his love of history. He’d haul me out of bed in the middle of the night if there was a great old movie on the late show, and family trips always included visits to historic sites. His father was born in 1888, and I have Granddaddy’s letters to his bride-to-be in my dresser. I’m working on the story of Daddy’s first ancestor in America. It’s set in Jamestown, 1690. My mother’s grandmother was placed in an orphanage after the Civil War because her father died on the way home, so I always felt that connection to and had a curiosity about the past. Both of my parents read to me before I could walk. Daddy gave me Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama put the dictionary in my hands and let me watch I, Claudius and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She told me I’d be a writer one day.”
Acting was another girlhood passion. “I wanted to play all the characters in the books I’d read, or in the stories I made up, like Dickens and Louisa May Alcott did. I also wanted to be an archaeologist because we knew one who worked on digs in Israel. There was never a time when I wasn’t making up a story, and it was always set ‘a long time ago.’ What I really wished for was the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I could fly back in time and see what it was actually like for women in Victorian and Edwardian England.”
When she’s not writing, she loves reading long old books. “I love Anthony Trollope’s series, and Anna Karenina. Of more recent vintage, I really enjoyed The Forsyte Saga and The Raj Quartet.”
Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down and read. To feed her soul, she takes a walk or makes music with friends. “I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their dog. Where Your Treasure Is is her first published novel.
M. C. Bunn will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.