Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Moonstone Conspiracy (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Moonstone Conspiracy
Author: Elizabeth Ellen Carter 
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Etopia Press
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Revolution in France, rebels in England, and one woman caught in the crossfire...

For her unwitting participation in a plot to embezzle the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall has spent the last two years exiled to the city of Bath. A card sharp, sometime mistress, and target of scandalous gossip by the London Beau Monde, Lady Abigail plots to escape her gilded cage as well as the prudish society that condemns her. But the times are not easy. France is in chaos. The king has been executed, and whispers of a similar revolution are stirring in England. And because of her participation in the robbery plot, the Spymaster of England is blackmailing her into passing him information about the members of London’s upper crust.

When the dashing English spy Daniel Ridgeway takes a seat at her card table and threatens to expose her for cheating, she has no choice but to do as he demands: seduce the leader of the revolutionaries and learn what she can about their plot. As she’s drawn deeper into Daniel’s dangerous world, from the seedy backstreets of London to the claustrophobic catacombs of a war-torn Paris, she realizes an even more dangerous fact. She’s falling in love with her seductive partner. And the stakes of this game might just be too high, even for her.

I think a lot of us consider propaganda as being a relatively modern phenomenon – Lord Kitchener’s iconic ‘I Want You’, the poignant ‘What did you do in the war, Daddy?’ and the iconic Rosie the Riveter, are three which readily come to mind.

Propaganda is not just a 20th or 21st century phenomenon – it goes back right to time immemorial, but what intrigued me in the research for Moonstone Conspiracy is how savage it was during the French Revolution.

Of course to the French, the English monarchists were the enemy. In fact the Revolutionary Government specifically said in early 1793 that their declaration of war was against King George III of Britain. This was nothing new to the British who had been at war with France numerous times over the centuries.

The printing press, an increasingly literate population and news sheets spawned the rise of political cartoonists and satirists whose witty words and sharp drawings and painting presented a perspective could be rapidly understood and disseminated.

The French Revolution was more than just a military campaign between two powers, it was also a political campaign. The 18th century was the beginning of the Enlightenment movement which gave rise to and articulated two of the primary drivers of today’s politics – capitalism and socialism.

To muddy the waters further still were fundamental disagreements on how much needed social reform should be carried out.

The United States of America, arguably the most successful of two ‘new’ nations that emerged from this time (the other one being France), did so within the context of seeking natural justice, and that justice could not be denied them by any king or government – hence the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That spirit of social reform informed the changes across English during that time also. France took a different direction – the complete expunging of the previous social order, the monarchy, the church, the aristocracy.

The resulting death and chaos across the Channel made it very obvious to the British which was best and it’s articulated by the serene and prosperous Britannia verses the savage and demented looking Marianne.

And yet, it is a very different Marianne depicted by the French in Delacroix’s iconic painting of the emblem of France leading her people in armed revolution.

Propaganda – it is more than just a matter of equal opinion.

~Try an Excerpt!~
“I’m glad you remembered our appointment.”

Abigail recognised the droll voice and so did not even bother opening her eyes.

“It’s not yet midnight,” she replied and felt the couch shift as Daniel’s weight settled down into it.

“In our business, we take opportunities whenever they occur.”

Abigail opened her eyes and opened her fan to hide a yawn. He did not look fatigued. If one was to assign his expression right now, she would have described him as being studiously nonchalant.

“And what business are we in, Mr Ridgeway?”

“A very dangerous one.”

“I don’t recall signing up for a dangerous business,” she retorted, keeping her voice low to prevent anyone overhearing. “If my experience of your business over the past two years is any guide, stultifying boredom would be a better description.

“You can tell Aunt Druscilla that my obligation to her is complete. I’m going abroad at the end of this season.”

A slow feline grin spread across his face.

“Are you now?”

Fatigue fled and Abigail straightened in her seat, ready to rise to the challenge.

“Are you going to stop me?”

“I don’t particularly care what you do after this season,” he told her. “If you can’t give me what I want by the end of June, then you’re not half the woman Blakeney thinks you are.”
~Meet Elizabeth!~ 
Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was published in 2013 by Etopia Press. Earlier that year, the Regency adventure romance had been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Awards for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Set in England and France during the French Revolution, it was heralded as ‘edge-of-seat adventure and intrigue’ and ‘a rollercoaster of love, blackmail, ill-gotten gains, treason and trickery’ with Carter described as ‘a writer worth keeping an eye on’ with ‘a hint of classic suspense novelist Daphne du Maurier’.

Her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, was published by Etopia the following year. Set in Northumbria in 1077, it sets the relationship between a displaced Saxon noblewoman and a Norman baron against the turbulent backdrop of England in the years following the Norman invasion of 1066. Reviewers found the novel ‘a fast moving and passionate read’ with ‘strong characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of action… a sexy romance to be savoured’. Readers agreed, voting Warrior’s Surrender Favourite Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards.

Also in 2014, the short story Moonstone Promise, spinning off from Moonstone Obsession as part of Etopia’s Valentines Heat anthology, followed the fortunes of one of the supporting characters back home to 18th century Pittsburgh in a tale of ‘second chance romance’.

Warrior’s Surrender (now in print as well as eBook) was named Favourite Historical Fiction at the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards in March this year.

Carter moved up to 1802 for the light-hearted romantic short story Three Ships, part of the Christmas 2014 anthology A Season To Remember, and ventures briefly into contemporary romance for the first time with her Romance Writers of Australia annual Little Gems competition placegetter, The Tin Bear, publishing in August 2015.

And another Moonstone Obsession character, the sinful Lady Abigail Houghall, features in the full length novel Moonstone Conspiracy, coming from Etopia Press in 2015.

Carter is currently working on her fourth novel, set in ancient Rome and tentatively titled Dark Heart, which will bring together the elements for which she has become known in just a few years – in-depth historical detail woven through gripping adventure and captivating romance.

The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. A former newspaper journalist, she ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years.
Elizabeth will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Thank you for having me as a guest Andra!

  2. What is your favorite family vacation?

    1. My favourite family vacation is summer camping. No deadlines, no appointments, just a chance to read, go for a bush walk and a swim in the creek. Sitting around the camp fire chatting with old friends and new. Ahhhh.

  3. Sounds like a really good book, thanks for sharing!

  4. Great post, I'm looking forward to reading the book! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Thank you for your kind words everyone. I had so much fun with the research for Moonstone Conspiracy.

  6. "... in-depth historical detail woven through gripping adventure and captivating romance...." Sounds just right to me!