Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The terrible lie the courtesan who inspired Jane Lark’s Marlow Intrigues series told in her memoirs.

The concept for my Marlow Intrigues series began from a scene in Harriette Wilson’s, a real Regency courtesan’s, memoirs. Harriette made a fatal error for a courtesan, she fell in love with a client and in her memoirs she speaks of his kindness and devotion to her for the years she was his paid mistress. Harriette believed at the time that all this meant her love was returned. 

She told a story in her memoirs about how when their relationship came to an end, Lord Ponsonby, was quieter than normal, and agitated one evening. Harriette tells us that when he told her he had to leave to attend the House of Lords she accompanied him, wishing to spend a few more precious moments in his company before he had to return to his wife. She drove in his carriage to Westminster and sat within it waiting until he came out. Which she had done before. Only this time, when he returned, he told her with some difficulty and discomfort that he had to end their relationship.

Harriette says, when he offered her the usual sum as a final separation payment, she refused it, and she tells us in her memoirs that the only reason he ended their affair was through guilt, to be more faithful to his wife… 

This was the heart breaking story that began to unravel a fictional story in my imagination, and developed my character Ellen, a courtesan who first appears in the Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and then continues as a pivotal character throughout the Marlow Intrigues series.

But the real story which inspired Ellen’s fictional journey, was a lie, spun to try and mend Harriette Wilson’s broken heart. Lord Ponsonby, the love of Harriette’s life, did not love her. He ended his affair with Harriette, not to become faithful to his wife, but to begin a relationship with Harriette’s fourteen year old younger sister… 

I know the truth behind the lie Harriette told in her memoirs because she wrote many letters to Lord Ponsonby throughout her life after their affair, and he kept them. There are letters condemning his behaviour, letters asking him for the final payment she originally refused… Which makes me think when they separated she had no idea he was about to being an affair with her sister… And also letters stating she forgave him… I think she would have taken him back at a moment’s notice no matter his lack of love for her… 

So in the end the true story behind the Marlow Intrigues turned out even sadder than the fiction :/

The Marlow Intrigues Series

Book One  The Illicit Love of a Courtesan

Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/prVek

Book Two The Passionate Love of a Rake

Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/qbo8t

Book Three The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Barnes and Noble http://ow.ly/uNPtw

Out on 29th May, a free Novella Capturing The Earl’s Love

And coming soon, The Lost Love of a Soldier (the prequel to The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)

About Jane Lark

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,'The Illicit Love of a Courtesan', as well as a Kindle overall top 25, bestselling author in the United States of America. 

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. 

Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others' imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane's favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was 'Katherine' a story crafted from reality. 

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.

'Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it's wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.'

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Where to find out more about Jane Lark......

There is a fab competition running on Jane's facebook page. Check it out! https://www.facebook.com/Janelarkauthor/app_228910107186452

2 Responses so far.

  1. Jane Lark says:

    Thank you for hosting me :D XO

  2. Caroline says:

    Love, love, love, Jane's books. 'Nuff said really! Caroline x

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