Vol. 1: Vanilla Kisses
A delayed season.
An irregular debutante.
Dangerous Liaisons of an uncommon kind.
- A series.
It’s 1821 and Eleanor Ashlyn’s glittering debut has finally come about. She has been in training for this moment her whole life and is expected to make an excellent match, for she is a renowned beauty and has been well schooled by the finest tutors and masters. But it is not the train of her presentation gown, or her dance steps that trip her up and put her future prospects and reputation on the line...
There had been no learning to prepare her for mixing with the rising classes, or to interpret Mariella’s odd dancing in the orangery and how it would undo her, awaken her to parts of herself she never knew existed. How it would take the shine off the season’s offerings and lead to so much more than she could ever have bargained for.
Will the anticipated moment that should prove her making, instead spell her fall from grace?
Far from what she imagined possible, this turns out to be no ordinary season, but then, Eleanor is no ordinary debutante.
A tale of innocence, awakening, deceit, and scandal.
The first volume in a series of subversive tale’s from the life of an obstinate, headstrong female.
Vol. 2: Appetence.
.A failed marriage.
A longing for escape.
An unexpected romance.
With her girlish days of blind innocence behind her and her fall from grace complete, Eleanor finds herself more than just physically bruised, as she attempts to battle through her darkest days in the aftermath of an unprecedented season.
Traumatised, friendless and alone, there seems little left to live for and even less to find meaningful occupation in as she vows never to return to her husband after his vile treatment of her.
Far from being where she expected to be by now; prettily situated and much at her own leisure in a marriage of comfortable convenience, Eleanor’s future has never been more uncertain.
Taking refuge at Cuddington might keep her safe from his attempts to reclaim her, but shunned from society, dropped by her friends and sinking her family into ever deeper depths of disappointment with her failures, it is a bitter sweet refuge that soon has her longing for escape.
Just when all seems lost and bleak, something unexpected begins to emerge from a most unlikely quarter and reminds Eleanor that life is still worth living, love is not dead and not all new acquaintances are worthy of mistrust.
Will this emerging new relationship help to restore all that was set asunder and show her what it really means to find friendship, trust and love?
A cosy country Christmastide.
An ill-timed quest to expose injustice.
A determined pursuit that sets everything asunder.
When Eleanor and Annalise arrive at Stapleford Hall and begin to acclimatise to the slow rhythms of a secluded country life, they expect the remaining months of Eleanor’s confinement to continue as uneventfully as they began.
But then a Christmas outing sets them on an unexpected mission to seek justice for the women of Cambridgeshire who are subject to the tyranny of the University Proctors and the questionable practice of confining them to The Spinning House without reasonable cause or a fair trial.
Their quest to expose this unlawful custom leads them on a path of spontaneous adventure, new acquaintances, and a chance to test their thespian skills and new disguises.
It would be risky business in any event, but with Eleanor lying low and Giles expanding his countrywide search for her, the timing might have been better.
As the Midwinter winds set over the frost-bitten Fens, unforeseen danger begins to crystallise in the powdery snow trails of their perilous footprints.
Vol 3: Midwinter.
Available for Pre-order Now!
Volume 4: Cicisbeo.
An agonising separation.
A hard-won escape plan.
Eleanor finds herself on a ship headed to Venice with the last person in the world she would consent to go with.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She should be living out her confinement in the privacy of Stapleford, and comforting arms of her lover, Annalise.
But Annalise has abandoned her at the last, and though she can scarce believe it, she has a goodbye letter in Annalise’s hand setting out the reasons she could not go with her.
How will she survive without her? Powerless and totally at the mercy of the man she loathes and who is determined to mould her into the dutiful compliant wife she has, so far, failed to be.
When they arrive in Venice to the household of Giles's uncle, Eleanor is utterly bereft. All that mattered is lost to her now. All that remains to her is perdition. She has no money, no friends to seek assistance from and no one even knows where she is.
It seems as if there is no way out and she must somehow learn to endure this new existence, but allies, most unlikely, surface and help to rekindle her fighting spirit. Though the path is neither easy nor certain, once resurrected, the possibility of escape is enough to sustain her determination to achieve it, at any cost, by any means...
However, just as the way appears, she is caught in a new conundrum that was never part of the plan and derails her intended return to England.
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"A really brilliant book.."
"This book had me from the start, with quite surprising turns. At times it has you on the edge of your seat. The main character has you sympathizing, but at the same time wanting to give her a good shake. Can't wait for the next instalment."
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C.C. Burns is a writer of historical fiction.
Claire was born and raised in London. She graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Social Sciences from the OU, and a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway. She now lives in Surrey with her family where she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing full-time.