Tuesday, August 7, 2012

VBT - The Gold Crucifix by Nickie Fleming

Please join me in welcoming Nickie Fleming on her blog tour for "The Gold Crucifix".  Nickie has prepared a blog post for us on the topic of writing Historical Romance within the the framework of history itself.  Please make sure to leave a comment or question for Nickie below as she will be awarding two autographed copies of her novel, The Haversham Legacy, to two randomly drawn commenters during her tour.  You can follow her tour here.  

Romance Within the Confines of History

Lots of people will probably think that writing a historical romance has many limits. When you choose a particular era, you have to stick to the events happening in that time, to the habits people had, etc., etc.

This may all be true but in my case I don’t see it as limitations. I’m pretty confident with history, having spent most of my youth reading all about it, and when I set a story like The Gold Crucifix in a particular time frame, it is because I feel like this will give me some leverage into the development of the story.

What better frame than a civil war to spin a romance between two young people who are caught in the middle of this conflict? It being a war where everything was uncertain also explains why Davenport must leave Rebecca and can’t stay around to learn he’s becoming a father.

And later on in the story, I thought it a nice touch to have Sarah become one of the first female actresses in the Theatre Royal. I also let other characters explain why there weren’t any plays performed during Cromwell’s reign, so the reader will understand.

Sarah has also the right age to live through, the Great Fire of London, and being a witness at the disastrous effects of the Plague in the year 1665.  I always try to use as many historical events and real characters as possible in my novels. Here in The Gold Crucifix, King Charles the Second gets a human face, as the reader will learn about his frustrations and his hobbies.

About the romance in itself, putting it into the middle of the 16th century gives me more perspective. It’s not the honey-sweetened romance you can expect in a Regency romance, where all the proper misses don’t know anything about real life.

Sarah is a young woman who knows what life is about, having had first-hand experience of it during her days serving in the ale-house of her presumed father and later on at the manor house where she becomes a housekeeper. In those days of Restoration, morale was rather loose and every girl knew a rich nobleman would not marry a woman of low birth – and that is the real conflict in this novel. Sarah knows her real father was a nobleman, but she can’t find proof of it.

Sarah knows Richard only sees her as his brother’s housekeeper and the daughter of innkeeper Amos Jennings. He loves her, but feels it is his duty to marry a woman who can bring riches and a name to his family. Of course it all turns out nicely in the end, as love finally overcomes all obstacles and Sarah and Richard are able to become a couple.  And the icing on the cake is the revelation of Sarah’s father at the end…  But you must read the novel to find out who that is.


The Gold Crucifix
by Nickie Fleming


England, mid seventeenth century. When young Sarah finds out that innkeeper Amos Jennings is not her father, she feels uncertain and scared. Her problems grow bigger when she starts a job as housekeeper and gets involved with two men who both want her love: the earl of Linfield, and his younger brother Richard. To escape these problems, Sarah takes off to London to begin a new life as actress at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Richard cannot forget the young woman her met at his brother’s. He is determined to find Sarah and make her his own--even his wife, despite what his family thinks of it. But love never comes easy. Richard and Sarah will have to face many a storm--even the Great Fire of London--before they can become one.



As Hart had predicted the performance went smoothly. When Sarah appeared on the stage, her armpits were wet with transpiration. Nevertheless she said her first lines without the slightest hesitation and then became fully absorbed with her role.

She not once looked into the auditorium and therefore was not aware of the fact that most of the male audience was paying more attention to her than to the actual play.

In the royal box the king and his brother were more attentive than normal. Charles looked more than once at the leading actress, to his brother’s amusement.

“I won’t pretend Shakespeare is my favorite playwright,” the king whispered into James’s ear. “But this Ophelia… She’s a damned good actress and a pretty wench as well. Is she a new acquisition?”

“I don’t know,” James answered.

“Her name is Sarah Davenport,” George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, interrupted. The duke was one of the gentlemen in the king’s suit. He also was a frequent visitor of the theatre. “She is one of Hart’s new discoveries and he thinks rather well of her.”

“Davenport? Interesting,” Charles commented

He kept silent for a while, completely forgetting the presence of the others. His thoughts lingered away and a secretive smile curled his mouth.

Oh yes, this could become a special occasion indeed…


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Nickie Fleming was born and raised in the historical town of Dendermonde, Belgium – home of the legendary Horse Bayard.

She read English Literature at the University of Ghent, and got her master’s degree in philology. Since then, she has been working as a high school teacher.

Her interests besides reading and writing are travelling, skiing in winter and enjoying fine food.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nickie-Fleming/222668744458949


Please remember to leave a comment or question below for Nickie to be entered in her contest. You can follow her tour here.  


  1. Thank you for having me over, Maria, and I'll be pleased to answer any question a reader would ask.

  2. Very nice post and excerpt.