Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Book Blog Blitz: The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Be calm, she thought.
Be gracious. Be twenty-two.
Lady Olivia Fanton is eager to prove she’s no longer a child. However, just as she thinks she’s found a suitable match in the suave Mr Manning, charismatic Captain Jem Ford walks back into her life, bringing with him all the embarrassment of her infatuation four years before! She’s determined to appear mature, distant, friendly. But does she dare hope he’ll notice her as the lady she’s become?

This extract is taken from the prologue, and sets the scene for the story. A very young Lady Olivia is infatuated with a dashing young soldier, and fantasises that he might propose to her.

Quite when she had fallen in love with Jem Ford, Olivia was not certain. Was it the first time she had seen his crooked smile, the day they had met? He had been carried into the Fanton town house by two of the footmen, the leg injury he had sustained at Waterloo still healing. Having made the long and tiring journey from France, he had then faced the entire Fanton family who were waiting to greet him, including the Earl of Shalford, Olivia’s eldest brother—an ordeal for any stranger. But how much harder must it have been for him? Olivia reflected. Unable to walk, exhausted and clearly feeling uncomfortable about the number of people waiting to receive him, he had nevertheless behaved impeccably. He had thanked his commanding officer, Olivia’s other brother Harry, for the invitation, but insisted he would remove to a hotel on the morrow.

Harry, of course, was having none of it. ‘Having resigned from the Army I am your Captain no longer,’ he had said, ‘and so I cannot command you. But I do hope you will stay with us until you are recovered.’

They had agreed to discuss the matter later, but even then—having known him for all of two minutes—Olivia had been conscious of a strong wish within herself for him to stay.

She had looked at him closely, noting the dust of travel on his clothes and the lines of pain and tiredness etched on his face, yet her thought had been ‘My! How handsome he is!’ Surely the beginnings of love had sprung into life in that moment? Like a trickle of water on a hillside in spring, it had begun almost silently.

But, during the months of his convalescence, as she had spent more and more time with him, the trickle had grown slowly and steadily, until now a flood of love for him consumed her. He was her first thought in the morning and the last at night. She lived for the times they spent together, especially the precious moments when they were occasionally alone.

He had been ever the gentleman, but she hoped he might love her the way she loved him. She had sometimes sensed something from the expression in his eyes. There was also, she reminded herself, the fact that he sought her out and seemed genuinely interested in all of her thoughts and feelings. There was hope!

And now, he wished to speak to her. Alone.

Heart pounding, she made her way downstairs, through the town house and out to the garden beyond. And there he was! Seated on the usual bench, waiting for her. No stick today, she noticed automatically. It had been over a week since he had used the stick to aid with his walking. His crutches had been dispensed with over three weeks ago and it was wonderful to see him healed further.

She smiled instinctively, gladness sweeping through her just on seeing him. Her eyes swept over him, noting the polished boots, the well-tailored breeches clinging to his muscular thighs, the smart military coat that suited him so well. How handsome he looked in his uniform! This was only the second time she had seen him fully attired in his dashing regimentals. She strongly approved.

Her eyes scanned upwards to his beloved face. No smile. He looked serious, grave, solemn. Of course he did! This was an important moment.

They exchanged greetings and he invited her to sit next to him. She did so, all the while her mind racing in anticipation of what he would do and say next.

‘Lady Olivia,’ he began, his deep blue eyes trapping hers. ‘I wanted to see you as there is something important I must say to you.’

She nodded. She was not normally tongue-tied, but the enormity of the moment had taken from her the power of speech.

‘I am lately returned from Horse Guards Parade. As you know I was also there two days ago, to report my leg is now fully healed.’

Olivia frowned—this was unexpected.

‘I returned today, to some surprising news.’ He paused, seemed to gather himself, then resumed. ‘I am to be posted to Australia.’

Australia?’ What on earth was he talking about? He couldn’t possibly be going to Australia! ‘For how long?’

‘For at least two years.’ He looked pale, she noticed absently, even as she felt the blood draining from her own face.

‘Two years?’ She echoed him mechanically, barely able to take it in.

‘At least. In reality I am likely to be gone for longer. I am transferring to the Forty-Eighth and am promoted to Lieutenant.’

‘Lieutenant?’ She swallowed. ‘But that is wonderful news! And well deserved. But—must it be Australia?’

He nodded grimly. ‘You know my situation. Although there is no shame in my lineage, my father died penniless. Thankfully he had paid for my army commission before his gambling debts overwhelmed him, and my sister Lizzie has a small income from our mother’s family. But—’ his eyes blazed into hers ‘—I have no choice. This is a chance to make something of myself. Today, I am nothing. I am no one. A young ensign, half-crippled, with no fortune, no position in society, nothing. I am truly grateful to your family for offering me a home here these past months, but it has only served to underline my determination to improve my station.’

But, no!’ she protested. ‘That does not matter! Money and station are not what is truly important!’ Her eyes were filling with tears as shock turned to a dawning realisation. He was leaving her. ‘You cannot leave—us!’ Almost, she had said ‘me’. They both knew it.

He stood. ‘I am truly sorry. I have allowed a…friendship to develop between us, even though I knew this parting must come. I had no intention of causing you hurt, Lady Olivia.’

She could not speak. Her heart was breaking. She looked up at him in mute appeal. His jaw hardened. He bowed, wished her farewell and was gone.

When she meets him again, she is a mature, sensible young lady of twenty-two – and with another suitor in tow. She vows that things will be different this time.

Author Bio – Catherine Tinley writes heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cat, and dog and can be reached at, as well as and @CatherineTinley on twitter.

Don’t forget to take a look at Catherine Tinley’s Social media accounts. She is running a giveaway to win a copy of the book, along with two other (surprise) romance novels by other writers.
2 x UK/Ireland Winners and 1 x International Winner.
For all the details look out for Catherine Tinley on Facebook and Twitter.