The Shamrock & the Rose
election in 1828 in County Clare in Ireland, and
though he was elected could not take a seat in the House of Commons
until 1829. He was a moderate and a brilliant voice speaking for
the Irish in a way that England could not ignore.
    Though a Deist in his youth, after the
infamous duel in 1815 where he killed John D’Esterre, a leading
member of the Protestant Ascendancy who challenged him, O’Connell
returned to his faith in 1816 and became a devout Catholic to the
great joy of his wife. In 1817, he stated,
    “My political creed is short and simple. It
consists in believing that all men are entitled as of right and
justice to religious and civil liberty…I have taken care to require
it only on that principle which would emancipate the Catholics in
Ireland, would protect the Protestants in France and Italy , and destroy the Inquisition, together with inquisitors, in Spain.
Religion is debased and degraded by human interference; and surely
the worship of the Deity cannot but be contaminated by the
admixture of worldly ambition or human force. ”
    Daniel O’Connell was a tall, handsome man
with a head of dark curls and shining blue eyes. I like to think my
hero, the fictional Morgan O’Connell, had the same appearance.
Daniel O’Connell did have a Protestant cousin and Protestant
friends, so it’s possible, right? In his younger days before he
married, when he was training in England, Daniel was quite the
rake. Perhaps my fictional Morgan O’Connell was one as well until
he met Rose Collingwood.
    As for my heroine, while she is fictional,
her family is not. Vice Admiral the Right Honourable Lord
Collingwood (1st Baron Collingwood) was an admiral in the Royal
Navy and a partner with Lord Nelson in several of England’s
victories in the wars with Napoleon. The title lapsed when Lord
Collingwood died without male heirs. He had two daughters, and but
for a brief visit ten years after their birth never returned home.
I like to think my fictional heroine was conceived when his ship
was in Portsmouth for repairs where his wife joined
him—theoretically, of course.
    If you’ve read The Holly & The
Thistle , which also takes place in 1818, but in December, you
know about Lady Emily Picton, whose husband, Sir Thomas Picton, a
real historic person, had a reputation as a cruel man. She is the
heroine in that tale and did not escape the countess’s matchmaking
    Lastly, in 1818 the Theatre-Royal at
Haymarket did feature the play The Merchant of Venice , and
Mr. Colman was the manager, though of course Rose Collingwood was
not the actress who played Portia. Like the two failed suitors in
that play, neither William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley (“Lord
Alvanley”), nor Colonel Sir Alexander Abercromby (“Sir Alex”) ever
    I hope you enjoyed my Valentine’s Day-St.
Patrick’s Day treat and will also enjoy my novels. In my latest,
the second in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, Against the
Wind , to be released in March 2013, you will see the Dowager
Countess of Claremont once again when she encounters Sir Martin
Powell—the spy.

    About the
    As a child, Regan Walker loved to write
stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time
she got to college, more serious pursuits took priority. One of her
professors thought her suited to the profession of law, and Regan
realized it would be better to be a hammer than a nail. Years of
serving clients in private practice and several stints in high
levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a
feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, her
first romance novel— Racing With the Wind , whose hero Lord
Ormond appears in this tale—involves a demanding Prince Regent who
thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.
    Regan lives in San Diego with her golden
retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and
smell the roses.


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