Love and War: Maggie Robinson Discusses Her Latest Novel's Historical Background

Secrets, haunting pasts and hot romance meet in Maggie Robinson’s latest release, In the Arms of the Heiress. The book features heiress Louisa Stratton, a woman in need of a fake husband who finds a willing accomplice in Charles Cooper, a troubled Boer War hero. These two are poised to light up the pages and readers are sure to be drawn in by Charles’ history as a soldier. Today, the author is here to shed light on the Boer War and how this particularly violent time in history affects her hero.

I loved creating Captain Charles Cooper in In the Arms of the Heiress, a troubled Boer War veteran who can’t find his footing in King Edward VII’s England. He’s not a duke or a dandy. He’s not rich, but a working class hero plucked off the pottery works floor and educated by its owner, an act of benevolence that earns Charles the beatings of his jealous brothers. The twentieth century may be on the horizon, but class distinctions still rule Britannia. After Charles has to deliver the beatings at Harrow to defend himself against the elite sons of society, he opts for the army instead of university.

Just in time for him to rise up the ranks for the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). All war is hell, but this one was particularly awful for the Dutch settlers in what eventually became British-controlled South Africa. Every obstacle in the British army’s path was burned (“scorched earth”), and civilian concentration camps were established, a first for modern conflict. The wives and children of the Boer fighters were virtually starved to put pressure on the men to give up the battle. Photographs of the camps are suitably horrific, and caused those at home in England to question the wisdom of their government. It’s one thing for soldiers to be killed, but to use their families as pawns was rightfully considered barbaric. To match the inhumanity, gun manufacturing was lethally improved, but more British troops actually died of disease and malnutrition than combat. Altogether it was a black mark for Britain, and by the time Charles comes home, half-blind and seriously depressed, he’s at the loosest of ends.

Along comes madcap heiress Louisa Stratton, who’s suffered her own kind of lonely imprisonment growing up, albeit in the gilded cage that is Rosemont, the family estate. Just as she made up imaginary friends as a child, she’s made up a fake husband to keep her interfering aunt at bay. But now her aunt wants to meet the man her niece has so impulsively married on the Continent. Can Charles be hired and cleaned up to pretend to be a suave art connoisseur? Yes. Charles discovers he can pretty much rise to any occasion if it involves Louisa. But can he find his way around a grand country house without barging into Louisa’s bedroom? Not exactly.

Now, some of this sounds like heavy going, doesn’t it? Charles may have lost some of his vision, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humor, nor have I. NYT best-selling author and RITA-winning Tessa Dare says: “Sexy intrigue, sharp wit, tender romance…In the Arms of the Heiress delivers them all, and in grand style. A must read!” RITA-nominated author Elizabeth Essex says it’s filled with “witty dialogue and scorching romance.” RT Book Reviews calls it “a marvelous read,” and has given Charles a coveted K.I.S.S. award. I’m so pleased to be able to introduce Charles and Louisa to twenty-first century readers and give them their well-deserved happy ending!

- Maggie Robinson

Are you as captivated as we are by the book’s intriguing hero, unexpected romance and rich background? Then be sure to pick up your copy of In the Arms of the Heiress today. And for more historical set romances, be sure to check out our Everything Romance Page