Message From The Author
Hi folks! It's lovely to be here at the RT Book Reviews website to chat about my new release, The Harlot.
The Harlot is a historical erotic romance with paranormal elements. It's set in Scotland in the early 1700s, shortly after the time of the union with England. It's also toward the end of the period in Scottish history when the persecution and execution of those charged with witchcraft took place. The main characters in the novel, Jessie and Gregor, are both Scottish, but they have very different backgrounds.
I grew up reading historical romances and loving my history classes. Like any teenager with a passion for historical romance novels I devoured all the descriptions of glittering ballrooms and aristocratic adventures, but I also had a healthy curiosity about how the other half live. I put this down to having a very good history teacher. I remember how she would always add a comment to the history lesson reminding us how much of a struggle life was for the everyday folk—so much harder than the lives we lead. This really stuck in my mind, and it was inevitable that I would write about people who were struggling to survive, as well as those with more privileged lifestyles.
The Harlot is a bawdy erotic novel and the central characters, Jessie and Gregor, both have mud on their boots! They've faced hardship and heartbreak, and they've had to survive on their wits. Jessie was orphaned when her mother was stoned to death and burned at the stake on an accusation of witchcraft. Jessie is a stubborn, wily young woman, but because of her upbringing she's had no schooling and cannot read. She also has few social skills, but she's canny and she can throw a good punch if she has to! She's a lusty sort, with an unruly, passionate nature and a tendency to cause mischief. How many options would there have been for a young woman like Jessie? At the tender age of eighteen—with the legacy of witchcraft in her family as a burden she must keep secret or else face the gallows—she's forced to sell her body to survive.
Gregor's upbringing was more stable and he had a solid education, but by his late teens he too was orphaned and left with no home or income, because of a wrongdoing against his family. An angry young man fuelled by the need to right wrongs, he fled to Dundee, signed up to work on a trade ship and left Scotland to make his fortune. At the outset of the novel Gregor has arrived back in Scotland after a decade away, with a decent stash of money behind him and a plan to regain his family's land. Then he meets Jessie, our stubborn, wily harlot...watch out Gregor!
Jessie and Gregor are both loners and—inevitably—they find it hard to trust others. Initially their relationship is built on a healthy dose of physical lust and what seems like a solid business arrangement. Gregor thinks Jessie will aid his plans by working for him and getting close to his enemy, but right from the outset these two are far too distracted by each other. Jessie is alluring and seductive to Gregor, and she would much rather dally with her attractive sponsor than discuss seducing his enemy. Each thinks they have the upper hand on the other, especially when it comes to matters of physical congress. How long can these two stubborn people stick to their personal goals when they are so passionate about each other?
Over the course of their story they become close, unearthing each other's silent histories, breaking down the need for self-reliance and making way for companionship and love. It's a rocky road though, and with enemies and witch hunters to watch out for as well, every bit of wit and skill they have amassed has to be pooled in order for them to survive. If you pick up their story, I hope you enjoy it!
- Saskia Walker
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