Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Rebecca Cohen for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Saving Crofton Hall
Author: Rebecca Cohen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Benjamin Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, has no intention of giving up his beloved ancestral home without a fight. Faced with his mother’s gambling debts, forgery, and the possibility of foreclosure by the bank, Ben vows to make Crofton Hall pay for herself. But opening an Elizabethan manor house to the public isn’t a one man job. With time running out, Ben needs help—and fast.
Ashley Niven has experience managing events, and he also loves history. Being in charge of opening Crofton Hall is a dream come true. As he works with Ben to prepare the house as a venue for lavish weddings and receptions, Ashley finds himself drawn not just to the charm of the house but to the dashing Earl of Crofton. Even if Ashley can look past Ben’s playboy reputation, he fears an affair could prove too much of a distraction.
But Crofton Hall has many secrets, and something hidden for over four hundred years is about to change all their lives.
Historical vs. Contemporary:
With Saving Crofton Hall, I shift away from the historic setting for the Redbourn family, and instead arrive in the seemingly less daunting real world of twenty-first century England. Now, here’s me thinking that I can breathe easy: the research will be less involved, I know this place after all and it should be just a matter of sitting my arse down and writing. But then I’m not a 32-year old earl with a love of designer clothes (thank god for Google and designer websites), and my cosy apartment in Switzerland is a far cry from owning an Elizabethan manor house in the Home Countries of the UK. (But I am a Brit, and my husband’s family live in the area Crofton Hall is set so at least I knew the geography involved). And I’m very glad to reveal my mother doesn’t have a gambling habit that’s left me owing my bank £5 million. So let’s face it there’s still loads of research to do and, unlike lost primary source documents of the Elizabethan era, anyone can look up whether I’ve got the application process right for the a wedding licence for a particular council in the UK, or find out the real names and associated colours for the Cambridge colleges. So, while the research is in a different vein it’s still there.
Another difference I encountered in my adventure in contemporary romance writing is the tone and attitude of the characters. It was all fine and dandy to have the 1st Earl of Crofton act like he owned the place because, well, he did and he would have been incredibly influential but his modern day equivalent just doesn’t have that power. Gone are the days when an earl can start a land war by spilling the port, and I for one am very grateful. So yes, the characters have to play the role for the society they are part of. But it’s not all bad news for my modern earl. He’s free to marry whomever he pleases, the queen isn’t about to make him seduce the daughter of the French ambassador and, as he doesn’t have a seat in the House of Lords, he doesn’t have to worry about little things like helping to run the country.
I must say have enjoyed writing this contemporary, and I think I’ve a few more in me to come…
She wouldn’t meet his eye.
“Just short of five million to the bank.”
Ben lost his balance and landed heavily on his arse in a nearby chair.
“How the hell did you manage that? I only agreed to borrow five hundred thousand, and that was for essential repairs, and the estate could easily repay the loan in ten years.”
“I approached the bank with a business case for a visitor attraction. They were very enthusiastic.”
“What gave you the right?”
“Your father left us both in charge of Crofton Hall, Benjamin,” she said sharply.
He glowered at her and she deflated.
“I needed the money, and the only way I could get it was to tell the bank I wanted to open Crofton Hall to the public.”
“And they agreed to lend the money without my permission?” he asked carefully, hardly believing his mother’s audacity, but getting the feeling he knew what she was going to say next.
“They might have been under the impression that you’d agreed to it, and I was acting on both our behalves.”
“Really. And how would they have thought that?”
“Your signature isn’t exactly hard to copy.”
Ben covered his face with his hands, understanding what his mother had done.
“I know I shouldn’t have, not without your permission, but I was desperate. And the bank thought our business plan was excellent.”
He looked up at her. Elena’s eyes were red from crying, but there was still an edge of defiance in her face. “How much is left?”
She shrugged. “A few thousand, maybe.”
“And you used Crofton Hall as security?”
The anger flashed through him, burning through his usual amicable nature. “How could you have been so stupid? Were you even thinking past your own selfishness?”
Elena cowered in her seat.
“You’ve ruined us, destroyed this family!”
“I didn’t mean—”
Ben didn’t want to hear her feeble excuses. “Oh, that’s all right, then.
We’ll tell the bank, you didn’t mean it, and they’ll forget all about it.” Ben reined in his anger. Taking deep, slow breaths, he clenched and unclenched his fists as he regained his calm. He watched Catlin pace up and down. Harry stood slumped against the fireplace, shell-shocked. Now was not the time to panic. He needed to know exactly how much trouble they were in and deal with it. “Get me the paperwork.”
Without argument, Elena jumped to her feet and scurried over to the writing bureau in the corner. From the folds of frills and ruffles of her blouse, she fished out a key on a chain and unlocked the bureau. She drew out a sheaf of paper. “It’s all here.”
“Right, let’s hope my economics degree wasn’t for nothing.” Ben snatched the papers. “I suggest you all keep your distance until I’ve finished reading.”
He sank into a chair by the unlit fireplace, blocking out the angry thoughts as he scanned sheet after sheet. The figures danced before his eyes, and he saw the terms and conditions his mother had agreed to. The interest, compound interest, and payback terms were listed and categorized in black and white with no way of denying the facts. They were in deep shit, the bank would be at the door within weeks, and Ben seethed internally at his mother’s gall.
The effort she’d put into defrauding the bank was amazing, the business case had been full of fine details and promised an excellent return, but little help would that do them now.
Ben stared around the sitting room; generations of Redbourns had sat in here. Men who’d fought at Blenheim, Waterloo, and El Alamein —they would never have given in and surrendered Crofton Hall in the face of adversity. And it wasn’t about to happen while Ben was Earl of Crofton either. As much as he wanted to rail against it, their only hope was to convince the bank they were following through with the idea of opening the house to the public.
“We can probably sell the London apartment. That’ll raise around two million. Our trust funds are protected, so we can’t release the equity from those. If we’ve any hope of holding on to her, Crofton Hall is going have to earn her keep.”
About the Author:
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.
November 17: Amanda C. Stone, Hearts on Fire
November 18: My Fiction Nook, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Multitasking Mommas
November 19: Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic, Fallen Angel Reviews
November 20: 3 Chicks After Dark, Cathy Brockman Romances
November 21: Prism Book Alliance, Love Bytes
November 24: MM Good Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood
November 25: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Michael Mandrake
November 26: Nephylim, BFD Book Blog
November 27: The Novel Approach, Queer Town Abbey
November 28: Parker Williams, Full Moon Dreaming, Crystal’s Many Reviewers
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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