Published by Cranthorpe Millner Publishers
Mary Florida (ISBN: 978-1-80378-094-8)
Published on 26th July 2022
Available in paperback (£8.99) and Kindle format.
Mary Florida, A Romance
‘Mary Florida’ opens the window for readers to escape in the company of a forthright 17th Century Royalist faced with defeat, bastardy, espionage, hatred, and desire for the lady of his urgent dreams.
The man of the moment is the reinvention of what it means to be a hero.
Mary Florida is a romance. It concerns John Blackavise, who is a forthright and attractive man; an alternative to run-of-the-mill cardboard action men or to introverted sufferers. In essence, he is the reinvention of what it means to be a hero.
He has to confront King Charles’s defeat and deal with the decisive melting pot of his own life. The siren song of the Royalists’ lost cause is subdued by his adventures and his desire for an unattainable beauty. Will his bastard birth prevent Mary Florida loving him? Why do enemies gather to do him down? Will he inherit his Godmother’s fortune when she dies, or will he be dead in a ditch? Will Mary Florida awaken to his charms? All of which, vitally, depends on his survival.
Hugh Malahide has suffered the Royalist defeat. What can he do? Determined neither to sink nor go home, he supports an injured King’s man who has been disinherited by his Parliamentarian father.
Divided by the conflict, can father and son be reconciled? Is the young man a cuckoo in the nest? Will the young lady of this family respond when the ineligible Hugh desires her?
Will Hugh be able to pull chestnuts out of the fire of circumstance? He must hold fast to honesty, to the young lady, despite burglary, seduction, ineligibility, and the Parliamentarian’s urge to trample his neighbour and buy up his land.
A Better Domesday
The central character, Sholto, does a chance service to the local bigwig - as a result the old gentleman takes him up, takes a shine to him and transforms his chances in life.
But in becoming Sir Rufus's right-hand-man, he makes an enemy. The declared loyalties of family or persuasion in 1642 prove no barrier to jealousy. And Sholto does not notice.
The ebb and flow of intelligence, the concealment of religious belief, and the stimulus of bravery and action in a new life, form the background to a love affair. Sholto is instrumental in fetching Sir Rufus's grand-daughter to him from a turncoat's establishment; the girl sets out to manipulate him for her own ends but the result is a more genuine involvement with the characterful if unsuitable Sholto.
The question of how this can be resolved, if at all, forms the crisis of the finale.