Please join me in welcoming Jennifer Delamere to the blog this week. She has a new release, The Captain’s Daughter, and a great story about how it came to be. First, here’s a peek at what the book is about.
Forced to Leave All She Loves Behind, She Seeks a New Life in a City Bursting with Opportunity, But Fraught with Danger
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.
After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.
Sounds great, Jennifer. What inspired you to write it?
Many scenes in The Captain’s Daughter take place backstage during the original production of HMS Pinafore by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Pinafore was their fourth collaboration, and they would go on to write ten more. This comic opera was wildly popular, and it is still enjoyed and performed today.
Most of the events referred to in relation to the show are based on actual history. There are a few “cameo” roles by real people, such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Helen Lenoir (assistant, and later wife, to Richard D’Oyly Carte, the show’s impresario and theater manager), and several of the actors who played starring roles. Jessie Bond, who performed the mezzo-soprano roles for many Gilbert and Sullivan operas, befriends Rosalyn, the heroine of The Captain’s Daughter. The title of the book is a reference to a line in Pinafore, as well as to Rosalyn’s own background.
The time frame of the story includes not only HMS Pinafore, but also preparations for the new show that was to come after it: The Pirates of Penzance. Gilbert and Sullivan had been frustrated because the popularity of Pinafore spurred many unauthorized productions in the United States. Not only did this deprive Gilbert and Sullivan of their rightful royalties, but the shows were often substandard as well. When it came time to produce The Pirates of Penzance, they enacted a plan to secure copyright on both sides of the Atlantic. A single performance was given in the seaside town of Paignton in Devon, England, the day before the grand premiere in New York. The official English premiere would not take place until four months later in London, but the performance in Paignton met the legal requirements for copyright protection. Or, as one of the characters in the book quips, the purpose of the Paignton show was to “protect Pirates from the pirates”!
The show in Paignton was bare bones, with almost no rehearsal time and minimal costumes or scenery. In fact, the performers held their sheet music during the show! It was a travel adventure, too, as getting to Paignton from London would have taken a good part of the day by train. The Paignton performance provided a fun and intriguing backdrop for several important scenes in The Captain’s Daughter. I hope the reader enjoys this foray into the world of the Victorian theater!
Jennifer Delamere writes tales of the past…and new beginnings. Her novels set in Victorian England have won numerous accolades, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and nomination for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award. Jennifer earned a B.A. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and has been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades. She loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the people and places in her books. A longtime resident of North Carolina, Jennifer can often be found hiking the mountains with her husband or planning their next travel adventure.
Jennifer is giving away a copy of the book. Follow the directions below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for joining us, Jennifer!