Saturday, October 3, 2015

For King Richard's Birthday

Born October 2, 1452, Richard was the fourth and last son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and his wife Cecily Neville, during the last convulsions of The Wars of Roses. As  Duke of Gloucester, he was his elder brother's right hand man both before and after Edward became Edward IV. Richard was also the last Yorkist King and the last Plantagenet King of England. From the Battle of Bosworth field in 1485 until today, England would be ruled by foreign families: Welsh (Tudors), Scots (Stuarts) and German (Saxe-Coburg).
Shakespeare famously created the image of a deep-dyed villain in his play, Richard III. However, scholars and historians from the 17th Century onwards have posed their doubts about the truth of  "history as written by the victors" in what was essentially a long, ugly turf war for possession of Britain.
One thing even Richard's enemies never denied was his bravery. Here, in an excerpt from The Song of the Lady Bessiye, probably written by man who'd heard an account from an actual veteran of Bosworth, Richard is portrayed as unwilling to flee the field, even though his cause is lost.
....“Heere is thy horse at thy hand readye;
another day thou may thy worshipp win,
& for to raigne with royaltye,
to weare the crowne, and be our King.” —
he said, “give me my battell axe to my hand,
set the crowne of England on my head so hye!
for by Him that shaped both sea and Land,
King of England this day I will dye!
“one foote will I neuer flee
whilest the breath is my brest within!”
as he said, so did it bee;
if hee lost his life, he were the King...."
It all happened 500 years ago, but this long ago, mysterious~perhaps murderous~Richard still has a host of loyal followers. The Richard III Society (English and American) is broadly dedicated to the scholarly study of Later Medieval Britain, and, in particular, to those last tumultuous fifty years of the Wars of Roses .

Recently, this once obscure corner of English history has received much attention in a flood of historical novels, often from the POV of the royal protagonists. My own Roan Rose, written after a lifetime of imagining Richard and his cousin-wife, Anne Neville, is told from the view of a "body" servant, one who shares the sometimes terrifying ups and downs of her lady's experience. Rose, a farmer's child, picked up by a countess in much the same way we'd pick up a barnyard puppy, sees far more than her "betters" imagine. She's an intimate witness to--and sometimes a secret participant in--the personal lives and loves of those she serves. 

  5 Star Reviews at Amazon:

..."With an interesting twist at the end, Rose's story is sure to delight."
..."If you are a fan of all things Richard III, as I am, don't pass this one up."
"...I loved the strength of this woman..."

"...Powerful Sense of Time and Place"

"A 'Downstairs' view of the Houses of Neville and York, narrated by a devoted servant, Rose, whose life is irrevocably entangled with the lethal schemes of her '"betters'."

"...Waldron certainly knows her history...Yet despite its accuracy ... Roan Rose is ultimately a book about character..."

ROAN ROSE is available at:

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Up the Hudson

"Above the joining of Fishkill and Hudson, the Catskills appeared. Betsy’s spirits lifted at the sight. Bearing the sloop on its back, the Hudson poured green water against the bow. Farms, orchards, forests, all were lush and green, high summer all around. Along the shores, people bathed and boated. In the early morning, deer drank. Betsy saw it all as she walked back and forth, carrying Johnny, querulous and delicate, in her arms.

It was cooler now. Betsy felt better at once in spite of the strain of traveling with a sick child. The nursemaid had all she could do to keep track of Jamie, who raced up and down the deck, in constant danger of falling overboard. The wind blew from the north, so they tacked back and forth, slowly making their way upriver.


Cool at last and fresh, cold mornings! The cabin was close, but once on deck, it was another world. The shimmering, stinking streets of Philadelphia were only a dreary memory.

At the first sight of the red brick house up the bank, of green lawn and orchards spilling toward the water, Betsy felt her heart leap, in spite of the ache of missing Alexander.

As they tied up at the quay, she saw dark towers crowding ominously in the west. Maybe there would be a storm this evening, a big one...."

~~Juliet Waldron
    Excerpt from:


Images: Schuyler Mansion Historic Site, Albany, NY, View from the upstairs Great Room, by Kathy Fischer-Brown

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Revolutionary War Wedding

September is almost as popular as June for weddings nowadays.
Here's the story of a wedding  that took place just before Christmas
in a country deep in it's first civil war.


"....The wedding took place in the yellow parlor in front of a crackling hearth. The Dutch Reformed minister performed the ceremony and everyone who was anyone for miles around attended. The room was packed with patriot gentry, all turned out in their finest wigs and lace. The young men present were almost universally in blue and buff.
Hamilton had gone to the expense of outfitting himself anew before the trip north and today he looked resplendent in a crisp new uniform. The epaulets of Lieutenant Colonel gleamed on his shoulders; his chest was crossed by the green sash worn by the aides de camp of a commanding general. His hair had been powdered, but not quite enough to extinguish a gingery glitter. Everyone agreed; he looked overwhelmingly handsome.
“If Mama hadn’t had all these months to prepare, I’m afraid my little sister would look like a hen pheasant beside that beautiful fellow.” Angelica whispered waspishly to the only woman present she considered her peer, tall blonde Arietta van Corlear. Diamond earrings flashed against creamy necks as the belles approvingly surveyed the lithe figure of the groom.
Still, few others present would have agreed. For the ceremony, Betsy had been transformed into a perfect, fashion plate angel. She had submitted to wearing a wig (sent through enemy lines from Philadelphia), which provided her with a tumble of snowy curls. Beneath this, her olive skin, black eyes, and long dark lashes made a magnificent contrast. Mama had insisted upon applying a delicate lamb’s wool brush of rouge to her high cheekbones, which hollowed the Dutch fullness. Her dress was a cream-colored sacque trimmed with lace and white satin bows.
When she entered the room upon the arm of her father, a number of Hudson valley cousins suffered unanticipated pangs of regret. Was this radiant bride really their own sweet, plain “Little Saint Bess”?
“They make a lovely couple.” Peggy sighed and slipped an arm around the waist of her younger cousin, Eliza van Rensselaer. Peggy had earlier confided to Miss van R. that she herself was secretly “a little in love with that rascal Alexander.”
The hordes of tow-headed children were cautioned, and the fire in Mrs. Schuyler’s eyes was sufficient to convince the most rambunctious that she meant business.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a plain gold band, an heirloom from long ago Amsterdam, was slipped onto the bride’s delicate finger. The old-fashioned lace veil that had belonged to Grandmother Angelica Livingston Van Rensselaer was turned back, and Colonel Hamilton, in his blue and buff uniform, gave his lovely blacked-eyed Betsy a worshipful kiss.
Mrs. Schuyler leaned on her husband’s arm. She, too, was radiant. Within, the baby she carried stirred restlessly, awakened by the triumphant emotion which coursed through her mother like the Hudson in full flood. To see a beloved daughter handed properly from father to husband, married in the midst of this sea of relations, was a supreme moment...."
~~ Juliet Waldron

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

HAND ME DOWN BRIDE ~ Sophie's Resolve


So far she had traveled, so far!  Here she was half a world away from her old home in a bent, medieval city.  Everything there was dark, everything constrained, careful, pinched and hard.

There was pain and hardship here, too, but there was openness in the sky, the pastures, the round shouldered, low blue mountains.  It made her heart expand with grief and joy, much like her first experience of the Atlantic, where the ship had risen and fallen in the troughs of great waves, bobbing like a cork upon an endless, glittering monster of water. 

Sinking to her knees, Sophie bowed her head against the cool, white sill.  After a time, she opened her eyes and fixed them once more upon the enormous night sky.  She had come safely to this fabled new land of plenty, but the kind, formal gentleman who was to have been her husband was dead.  Left with nothing, she was loosed alone into a strange, new world.

The race, the wheel and the little river sang a song together.  Sophie began to hear voices, but she couldn't understand them, for they seemed to speak in the tongue of this new place.  At first she felt fear, then another emotion sprang into her heart.

Freiheit!  Freedom!  Yes, this was freedom! 

Opportunity, certainly, but opportunity menaced by many dangers, some known, some yet to be learned.  With freedom came the possibility of sinking as well as rising.

"But I shall rise." Sophie promised the night.  "I will help my sisters, save my poor mother."

For a moment she felt invincible, proud and strong.  Then reality came down like a curtain.  How could a woman alone do all that?

I will work hard, she thought, as everyone says.  I will do my best and hold onto my goal.  I'll find a way to help my family, to bring them here!

~~Juliet Waldron

Find out what happens to Sophie, now a stranger in a strange land.


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Sunday, August 30, 2015


~The Revolutionary War inspires another story~

 In Which Angelica Refuses the Villain:


“Give me back my locket, you monster!” The skin of her throat burned as if she’d been garroted. His first act, after dragging her up the stairs, had been to tear away the locket she always wore—the one with that last precious lock of ‘Bram’s fair hair.
“How foolish to carry a dead man over your heart!”

“Who dared to tell you that?”

“Money buys everything, my dear, don’t you know? But it doesn’t really matter, does it? You’ll not need this anymore. I’m the man in your future.”

Jamming the necklace into his pocket, Armistead came at her like a whirlwind. Angelica seized a chair and held it in front of herself, attempting to ward him off. He pinned her and the chair together against the wall. She was not certain how long they’d been trapped together in this mean little room.

“My descent,” she raged, gripping the ladder back for dear life, “is from the first Patroon. The insult you offer me will bring the wrath of every gentleman in this state—Tory or Rebel—down upon you.”

“Marriage with a gentleman of my stature is hardly an insult, miss. Wouldn’t you like to be presented at court? Think of that! I have a charming little house in London. You can go there as soon as our solemnities have been adequately...celebrated.” ...

~~ Juliet Waldron
ANGEL'S FLIGHT, originally
published as Independent Heart

Is available at:


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Snippets~GENESEE Falls in Love~


~Genesee goes moonlight walking with the charming Alex Dunbar~

Next, they had gone into the set of a country dance. To take three dances in a row with the same partner was a breach of propriety that had set fans fluttering on every side.

     They flaunted convention still further, and walked the circular path that ran around Aunt Kitty's garden. A yellow moon, past full, was clearing the woods on the crest of the eastern shore.

     Their pace was a little fast, for the night was chilly and they were both, in spite of the dancing, full of nervous energy. Jenny felt ready to jump out of her skin. Alexander seemed to be in the same condition.

     In the darkness, here and there, they'd catch sight of other couples, sitting upon garden benches, leaning against each other or unabashedly embracing. It was cold, early in the year for strolls in the moonlight, but there were a lot of blue and buff uniforms here, young men who were soon leaving to fight.

     "I don't know what to say to you, sir," she finally said, ignoring the polite gambit he'd made about the beauty of the scene.

     Alexander halted. She gazed up at him, at his thin handsome face in the moonlight, wondering what he would do.

     In the next moment he'd clasped her in his arms, swept her close and kissed her. In the chilly darkness his mouth was warm and eager.

     What temptation, the wanting to let her arms go around his shoulders, the wanting to let him kiss and taste, do what he'd done at her grandparent's house! Instead, she kept her palms against the rough wool of that uniform jacket, held him in check.

     Feeling her reticence, he ended the kiss, although he kept his arms around her slender waist. "What's the matter?" he breathed.

     "You mustn't just – just – kiss me like that," she protested.

     His strong arms held her close. "Why not?" he murmured, his lips grazing her cheek. "Don't you like me to?"

     "Liking's not the point."

     "Since when is liking not the point of kissing?"

     "Do let me go," she whispered, trembling. "I can't think of what I mean to say."

     She saw him smile. He did, however, obediently relinquish the embrace, although not his hold upon her hands.

     From another pair of lovers, hidden somewhere nearby, came a gasp. Below, fine golden scales of moonshine shimmered upon the bosom of the river.

     "All right, Miss," he said. "Out with what you mean to say."

     "That– I don't generally ... I mean – I haven't ever – I mean that no one..." Jenny stammered. "Ah – that you may not just – "

     He pulled her close again. "Even," he whispered, "even if you haven't ever – even if no one has had the sense – even if I must not assume – I believe that a girl as beautiful as you must be kissed and kissed very often and very thoroughly. I look upon it as a duty."

     "Rubbish," she gasped, attempting severity, though it wasn't easy with that hard young body pressed so ardently against hers. "Stop teasing!"
~Juliet Waldron
In e and print
`Action, Adventure and Romance during the Revolution~


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Sunday, August 16, 2015

By Passion Undone~Book 2~ Glory Passes

(Excerpt from the Chapter By Passion Undone

“Sar.” A bare-legged servant stuck his head around the door. “There’s a gen’lewoman wantin’ to see you. Says she’s a cousin of Mr. Livingston of New York. She’s got trouble she needs your help about.”

“She didn’t happen to say which Mr. Livingston, did she?” Hamilton sprinkled sand on the paper. He knew at least eight New York “Mr. Livingstons.”

“No, Sar, she di’nt.”

Hamilton turned over the card the fellow brought, but aside from the name, “Maria Reynolds,” there was no other information. A supplicant at his door wasn’t unusual. Gentry in trouble were likely to call here, particularly at this time of year, when everyone else prominent was out of town.

“Show the lady in. But—give me a minute to get dressed.”

“You’ll be glad you saw ’er, Sar.” Hamilton noted an unaccountable smirk.

Shaking his head, he stood to slip on his waistcoat. The servant was impudent, but Alexander mostly overlooked it, for this ex-soldier generally had his wits about him.

At the mirror, he folded the stock around his throat and tied a loose knot. Next, he shrugged on a white linen coat. He often wished that he, like the servant, could get by wearing only a shirt and trousers. He mopped his brow again.

Philadelphia is even more like Hell than usual.

The door opened. “Mrs. James Reynolds, Sar.” The servant bowed her through.

As the woman approached, Hamilton’s eyes widened. She was young, straight-shouldered and tall enough to look him straight in the eye, but utterly female, all voluptuous curves and sway. Her hair was a glossy, rich brunette. Her skin, flushed by the heat, looked soft. Her cheeks were bright, her eyes deep blue.

Celestial Venus!

Hamilton was rarely at a loss for words, but he could barely summon sufficient courtesy to motion this fair creature to the chair the servant brought forward. When she smiled, a nervous, yet confiding smile, everything else in the room vanished.

Hamilton stayed behind his table, but even with this formidable bulk and all those stacks of paper, she was a palpable presence.

With charming diffidence, she explained that the Livingston’s she was kin to were the Livingstons of Red Hook. Hamilton had never heard of them.

More distant kin to my Betsy?

“How may I be of service to you, Mrs. Reynolds?”

As she replied, her creamy bosom began to rise and fall in agitation. “I know you’re a terrible busy man, sar, so I’ll come straight to it. I’m sore ashamed to come to you like this—like a—like a beggar—but my husband has left me in such straits I don’t know where else to turn.”

Her voice was teary, low and soft. An accent far more common than that of her initial speech came creeping in.

Not real gentry, or just clinging to the edge…? Alexander’s sympathies were immediately engaged.

“My Mister has found hi’self another woman, ya see, sar, and the night he left me and my little girl—she’s just five—and—and—why, sar, ’e—’e beatin’ me right in front of my little girl, for ’e’s the very devil when ’e’s drunk.” The blue eyes spilled over, brimming with shame and helpless rage. “I want to go home to my own people in New York, sar, and leave Mr. Reynolds for good—but I—I haven’t no means.”

What incredible skin—so fair and beaded with sweat! Five year old or no, this young mother was not even out of her teens.

“Please—please—don’t be offended, Colonel Hamilton.” She turned those luminous eyes sadly towards him and withdrew a handkerchief from the cleft which separated her round breasts. “I’m so ashamed for tellin’ you—a perfect stranger—’bout my disgrace, but I’ve seen you about the city and you always look like such a kind gentleman. My landlady said to me this very mornin’ that you’re a good Samaritan for helping out folks in trouble, ’specially New Yorkers. If you could just give me enough for the coach back to New York and—and—to settle with my landlady, I’d be ever so grateful.”

She was affectingly nervous, stammering and girlishly wringing the handkerchief.

“Really, Colonel, there’s no one else I’d dare ask.”

Hamilton removed his own handkerchief and mopped his brow, where sweat poured. Even his palms were perspiring! He wiped them surreptitiously, one at a time, upon his breeches. In this damnable, relentless heat, not even the linen jacket could be long endured.

He had to clear his throat before he could reply. All the time he was intently aware of those eyes fixed upon him, and of the heavy scent—sweating young female and a cheap floral perfume.

“Well, certainly, Mrs. Reynolds, it sounds a good plan. To return to your family, that is. I’ll be glad to assist you, but I don’t have so much as a dollar here.”

The dark eyes stared, incredulous. Her pink lips parted slightly. She looked, he thought, childishly expectant, in breathless suspense.

“Let me see. I will get a bank bill and send it to you. Will tomorrow be soon enough?”

“Oh, yes, Colonel.” The tears stopped as quickly as they’d started, and she sprang to her feet, dabbing her eyes. “Oh, thank you, Colonel! Everyone said you was a most kind gentleman, and indeed—indeed—so you are!”

Hamilton, following her lead, also stood.

“Here, sar.” She stepped forward and laid a folded bit of paper on the desk. “This is my address.” Then she cast her eyes down. “I’d be grateful, too, Colonel, if you would come yourself and—and—not send a servant. I—I shouldn’t like for anyone to see what I’m reduced to—me and my little girl.”


* * *


“Knew you wouldn’t be sorry to see her, Mr. Secretary. Weren’t that some fine piece of woman flesh? Her husband must have lost ’is mind. I ask you, where’s ’e goin’ to find another filly that’ll ride like that one?”

“Mr. Donelson,” Alexander said, “your eyes are obviously good, but your ears must be even better. I warn you, sir, if you ever listen at my door again, you will find yourself looking for another job.”

The man tugged his forelock and mumbled, “Yes, sar, Colonel, Mr. Secretary.” As he backed out the door, Alexander caught a flash of his mocking grin.

He removed his jacket, the stock and the waistcoat again. He sat and tried to go back to work, but he was no longer able to concentrate. The scent of woman, of her rose perfume, lingered in the room. Hamilton kept trying to bring himself back, to refocus upon his “Report on Manufactures.” He swatted at a mosquito that came buzzing by his head, while silently cursing the whole race of women. All he could think about was what he hadn’t had since Betsy had gone to Albany, well over a month ago.

What I should be cursing is sex itself.

Hamilton leaned back and stretched his arms over his head.

After only a few weeks without a wife, I’m like a bull locked in a barn, smelling cows down in the pasture. Here I sit, unable to think about anything but kicking the walls down and finding one of them….


~~ Juliet Waldron
(And if you think this sounds like trouble--it is.)

Available At: