Tag: Alyssa Everett

A Roman Road Through Britain

by on Aug.03, 2015, under Blog posts, Historical background

My newest regency romance, The Marriage Act, begins as a cross-country “road” story, with an unhappily married husband and wife forced to spend time in each other’s company as they travel through England. The road that the hero and heroine take out of London is a real thoroughfare, parts of which were already more than a thousand years old at the time of the Norman conquest. It’s called Watling Street, and it’s a Roman-engineered relic of the first century occupation of Britain.

Before the Romans arrived in Britain, the native Britons had already established paths that ran from the English Channel to a point where the Thames was narrow enough to ford, then later split into separate western and northern routes. When the Emperor Claudius sent his legions to conquer Britain in 43 AD, the Romans made use of these routes in their new province of Brittania. They built a lighthouse and later a fort at Portus Dubris (the port of Dover), then a paved road that ran northwest to cross the river Stour at the Roman town of Duruvernum Cantiacorum (present day Canterbury).

London-Roman-model

A model in the Museum of London of the Roman bridge across the Thames into Londinium.

From there, the Roman road continued through present-day Rochester and on to Londinium (London). The Romans founded Londinium in 47 AD, building a bridge across the Thames and establishing a settlement on the north bank. That same winter, they paved the road that crossed the bridge.

What we now know as Watling Street ran in a westerly direction through Londinium and was nearly thirty feet wide in places. Leaving London, it turned to the northwest in a straight line corresponding to the present-day Edgware Road and continued through Verulamium (modern day St. Albans) and beyond. The Roman word for a paved road was strata, and many towns and villages along the route owe their names to the old road, including various forms of “Stratford” and “Stretton.” The name “Watling Street” comes from a tribe that lived in the region of St. Albans, the Wæcelinga.

Looking down Watling Street - geograph.org.uk - 643633

This photo shows a view along Watling Street in the heart of London to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Roman rule ended in Britain in the late fourth century, and subsequent centuries saw first Saxon and, later, Viking invasions. In 878, Alfred the Great defeated the Vikings, who withdrew into East Anglia, Essex and Eastern Mercia, rendering Watling Street the boundary between the Viking (Danelaw) and Saxon sections of Britain. The road went through various stages of disrepair and resurfacing over the centuries, but for the most part it remained well-traveled. Chaucer’s fictional pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales employ the London-to-Dover stretch of Watling Street in the late 1300s, and during the Great Fire of London in 1666, the diarist Samuel Pepys mentions how he “…walked along Watling Street as well as I could, every creature coming away loaden with goods to save – and here and there sick people carried away in beds.” Rebulding the church of St. Mary-Le-Bow after the fire, Sir Christopher Wren’s workmen discovered sections of the old Roman paving, and incorporated stones from the Roman road into the church foundation.

The Cock Hotel - geograph.org.uk - 569802

The Cock, a coaching inn established in the 15th century and rebuilt after a fire in 1745, stands on Watling Street in Stony Stratford. Its livery stable gave rise to the rhyme “Ride a Cock horse to Banbury Cross.”

Watling Street rose to greater prominence in the coaching era, and the first turnpike trust in England was established in 1707 to re-pave parts of it. Inns along the route thrived. The southeastern section of the road, from London to the coast, became known as the Great Dover Road. To the west, civil engineer Thomas Telford improved communications between London and Dublin by extending the road all the way to the port of Holyhead in Wales, an undertaking completed in 1826. It’s this section of Watling Street–the Holyhead Road–that my characters travel in The Marriage Act.

Today, the Great Dover Road is known as the A2, and the Holyhead Road is roughly the A5, though the name “Watling Street” is still in use at many points. You can even find evidence of the Roman occupation, such as sections of the ancient city walls in St. Albans. Not only did Watling Street link the eastern edge of Great Britain, the coast of Kent, with the western edge in Wales, but we owe much of the London we know today to the old Roman road and the settlement that grew up around it.

I hope you’ll take a look at The Marriage Act, and that reading it gives you a feel for what traveling along Watling Street might have been like during the golden age of coaching in the early 1800s. If you enjoy “second chance at love” romances, you’ll find lots of drama in this story of a married couple bringing their relationship back from the brink of disaster.

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All About Romance reviews The Marriage Act

by on Jul.21, 2015, under Author news, Reviews

Frederick Morgan - Off for the Honeymoon

“Off for the Honeymoon” by Frederick Morgan shows a regency couple about to embark on married life.

At All About Romance, reviewer Caz has posted her thoughts on The Marriage Act. She gives the book a grade of B+, writing, “I’m a sucker for a good second-chance romance, and this is one of the best I’ve read.”

Click here to read the full review.

Thanks, Caz!

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New cover and release date

by on Mar.20, 2015, under Author news, Bookshelf

Cover art for The Marriage Act.

John and Caro, the married-but-estranged hero and heroine of The Marriage Act.

I returned home from a short trip to discover a nice surprise in my inbox: the cover art for The Marriage Act. I love the expression on the heroine’s face. Is she nervous, excited, or merely wondering if she can turn the situation to her advantage? If you can’t tell, then you’re in the same boat as the hero.

And I have an official release date for The Marriage Act. It should be available on July 27.

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Best of 2014, New Book News

by on Jan.02, 2015, under Author news, Bookshelf, Reviews

What a nice way to start off 2015. Two different reviewers at Romantic Historical Reviews, Jill and Lady Wesley, both picked An Heir of Uncertainty as one of their favorite books of 2014. You can read their entire favorites list here: Favorite Books of 2014.

I also have an official title for my next regency: The Marriage Act.

When John, Viscount Welford, proposed at the age of twenty-six to the only daughter of the Bishop of Essex, he thought he knew exactly what he was getting—a lovely and warm-hearted bride, young and innocent but hardly a case of robbing the cradle. He had two excellent reasons to rush the wedding: the diplomatic post awaiting him in Vienna, and his own eagerness to marry the young lady of his dreams.

He never imagined that on their wedding night, his new bride would leave him for another man.

Caro Fleetwood had no thought of going through with the wedding when she accepted Lord Welford’s proposal. She simply wanted to make a certain dashing militia officer wish he’d asked her instead. Lord Welford was too old for her, and she scarcely knew him. But before she could muster the courage to confess her misguided impulse to her father, she was already walking down the aisle. Married to a near-stranger she didn’t love, what choice did she have except to run away once her new husband fell asleep? If only the furious and humiliated Lord Welford hadn’t caught up to her before she could reach her militia officer…

It should be out sometime in the second half of 2015. I’ll post more when I have a firm release date.

Happy New Year!

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Audiobook & contest news

by on Nov.17, 2014, under Author news, Bookshelf, Contests and giveaways

Two quick pieces of news.

First, the audiobook version of An Heir of Uncertainty is now available on Audible.com, and should appear on Amazon.com in the next day or two. Just click the link if you’d like to hear a sample: An Heir of Uncertainty on Audible.com.

Second, the cutoff date to enter my Rogues, Spies and Scoundrels Night “like my page” contest was midnight on 11/15. I had 22 new likes, and Random.org chose new like #1. That means the winner of my $15 Amazon gift card giveaway is Samantha Minter. Samantha, FB message or Tweet me the email address where you’d like your prize sent. (My social media links are in the “Find me here” box on the right.)

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Audiobook release date

by on Nov.11, 2014, under Author news, Bookshelf

An Heir of Uncertainty

The audiobook version of An Heir of Uncertainty will be voiced by actress Rebecca Courtney.

I have a release date for the audiobook version of An Heir of Uncertainty. It will be available on Audible.com this Thursday, 11/13. Amazon will pick up the release approximately 48 hours later. I can’t wait to hear the narration!

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Rogues Spies & Scoundrels giveaway

by on Nov.02, 2014, under Contests and giveaways

I had a great time appearing at the Rogues, Spies and Scoundrels party on Facebook last night. It’s not too late to drop by and read the posts or leave a comment. You can find the event here: Rogues, Spies & Scoundrels.

As part of the event, I’m giving away a $15 Amazon gift card. To be entered in the contest, all you have to do is “Like” my Facebook page before midnight on November 15. The page is here: http://www.facebook.com/TheAlyssaEverett. I’ll use random.org to choose the lucky winner. Good luck!

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I’m now available on Scribd

by on Oct.02, 2014, under Author news

If you’re a Scribd subscriber, three of my historical romance titles are now available from their digital library. Just click the link below to reach my Scribd page:

Alyssa Everett books on Scribd

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Contest winners

by on Sep.04, 2014, under Author news

Goodreads has determined the winners of my Ruined by Rumor giveaway. There were 881 entries and ten winners– eight in the United States, one in Canada, and one in the United Kingdom. Prizes went out in the mail on September 2, so if you were one of the lucky winners, watch your mailbox for your copy.

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Narrator cast for next audiobook

by on Aug.06, 2014, under Author news, Bookshelf

An Heir of Uncertainty

The audiobook version of An Heir of Uncertainty will be voiced by actress Rebecca Courtney.


I found out today that the narrator has been cast for An Heir of Uncertainty. She’s an actress named Rebecca Courtney, and she’s not only performed a wide variety of voiceover work, but also appeared on the stage and screen.

I’ll post a release date as soon as I have one.

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