Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest Blog with Grace Elliot


A Dead Man's Debt - a story of blackmail, duty and an unexpected love.

After publically humiliating a suitor, Miss Celeste Armitage is sent from the Ton in disgrace and resolves never to marry. But when she finds a sketch book of nude studies and discovers the artist is her hostess's eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing, she finds herself dangerously attracted to exactly the sort of rogue she is sworn to avoid.
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf's life is a facade and he is being blackmailed over his late brother's debts. But just as the darkly restless Ranulf unexpectedly learns to love, the vengeful fury of his nemesis unleashed. In order to protect Celeste, Lord Ranulf faces a stark choice between duty and true love...
However Ranulf has underestimated Miss Armitage's stubborn resolve to clear his name, and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger....

20th Century Witchcraft.
Witchcraft has always had an aura about it; the fear of the unknown perhaps… and in the past an excuse for persecution. I write historical romance and it’s fascinating to look at how attitudes to the occult have changed over time, and to learn witchcraft laws still existed into the mid 20th century!
The peek of witch hunt fervor was 1480 – 1700 when many innocent women, many of whom were traditional healers or wise women and invaluable to the community, were persecuted and killed in a form a religious mania. During this period between 40,000 and 100,000 people were executed, for such flimsy reasons as living alone and keeping a cat for company!
Fortunately some long overdue common sense was asserted and the last executions for witchcraft took place in England in the 18th century. The law was changed such that witchcraft was no longer something to be feared and denied, but to be belittled and made fun of. King George II instituted the ‘Witchcraft Act of 1735’ where witchcraft ceased to be a capitol offence, and those that claimed to consort with spirits were prosecuted as ‘vagrants’ or ‘con-men’, with a punishment of fines or imprisonment rather than death.
Amazingly George II’s law still existed into the mid 20th century and was sited in 1944, during World War 2, to legally imprison a medium by the name of Helen Duncraft. Helen claimed to be able to summon spirits and was duly arrested, somewhat dramatically during a séance. Later, rumors spread through wartime Britain that she had to be silenced because superstitious military leaders feared her claims to speak with the dead were true and she might have revealed secret plans for D-day! Helen spent 9 months in jail and was released after D-day.
It took until 1951 for the 1735 Act to be replaced by the ‘Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951.’ It was suggested at the time that astrologers should be prosecuted under the Act. But from the 1930’s onwards horoscopes have been widely published in magazines and newspapers and so far there have been no prosecutions…food for thought though!
About the author:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day, and author of sensuous historical romance by night. She believes that intelligent people need to read romance as an antidote to the modern world! Her debut novel, ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available.
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