Guest Post & Giveaway with Emery Lee, author of The Highest Stakes

Yours truly is pleased to bring you an...



THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF HANOVER The naissance of the Georgian age, made glorious under the House of Hanover, was the direct result of the Act of Settlement. Without going into tedious details, suffice to say that upon Queen Anne’s death, Great Britain passed-over fifty Catholic aspirants to the throne in order to settle it upon the closest Protestant, a German princeling who neither desired the crown, nor spoke the tongue!

JACOBITE INTRIGUE The Scots and English Jacobites, however, were never completely on board with this plan of succession, which would eventually result in several attempts over the next half-century to restore the Stuarts, all doomed to failure. They continued to try nonetheless!

THE BIRTH OF PLURALISTIC GOVERNMENT What history says of the reluctant but avaricious Georg Ludwig, is that he left England to rule itself as much as possible, and took his living from it as much as achievable. During his rather apathetic reign, Britain began a steady transition of power away from the absolute monarchy favored by the Stuarts of old, toward a government led by a cabinet of ministers. Chief among these was Sir Robert Walpole, who proved more than willing to take up the reins of government to become the first de facto Prime Minister.

THE AGE OF REASON The early Georgian Age was the age of enlightenment, ushered in by men such as Sir Isaac Newton, with the torch carried on by Henry Cavendish and Joseph Priestly.

THE GROWTH OF THE ARTS The literati were led by the poets Alexander Pope and John Gaye, who made their homes at Button’s or Will’s Coffee House. The modern novel was crafted by the hand of Samuel Richardson, only to be satirized by the brilliantly sardonic wit of Henry Fielding.

CULTURE AND SOCIETY Georgian Society was a fascinating paradox, with its powerful aristocracy using an outer fa├žade of honor and politesse to cover its multifarious sins. In the words of Dr. Johnson: “Vice, in its true light, is so deformed, that it shocks us at first sight; and would hardly ever seduce us, if it did not at first wear the mask of some virtue.”

Marriage in the upper classes was seldom pursued without social or financial gain. Gin was cheap and readily available. The cities were rife with prostitutes. All of these realities were readily lampooned by the pencil and brush of William Hogarth.

The Georgians by-and-large were a profligate and riotous breed: hard drinkers, with little regard to sexual morality. Brothels abounded to suit any particular fancy, from flagellation to sodomy, considered the “English” vice. Mercury pills may have killed more patients than the “French disease” it was meant to cure. 

ENTERTAINMENT AND PLEASURE The gentlemen of rank and title pursued every manner of pleasure, dissipation, and gaming. They lived hard and played harder – wagering on bare-fisted pugilism, (sometimes employing cudgels), cock fighting, bear, and bull bating. Astronomically high stakes were laid out at the hazard and card tables, and let us not forget the horses!

HORSERACING Horses, in particular were ideally suited for this fast-living crowd who admired no virtue more than “bottom.”

Following the example set by the voluptuary Charles II in the prior century, for whom horseracing came to be called “the sport of kings,” the aristocrats of the Georgian age wholeheartedly embraced horseracing.

Although twenty-eight Royal Plates were run under the patronage of Queen Anne, who first remarked the open heath near Windsor Castle (later Ascot) ideal to “gallop horses at full stretch,” the Georgian era breathed new life into the sport of kings. Ninety races were held under George I, but horseracing reached its true zenith under George II, with four-hundred-sixty-two Royal Plates run between 1727 and 1760!

With this growing fervor came the importation of Eastern blood horses, the kings of the desert well known for their unparalleled stamina. The Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, and later the Godolphin Arabian were some of the very best horses selectively crossed with the blood of the early mares of Charles II to create an entirely new type of horse. Bred specifically for racing, this horse became known around the world as the English Thoroughbred.

As fodder for a horse-loving historical novelist, the Georgian era offers untold delights. In writing THE HIGHEST STAKES, a novel of thwarted love, retribution and horseracing, I have barely scratched the surface of this bygone world. Nonetheless, I hope you “enjoy the ride.”

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Emery Lee is graciously providing 1 signed copy of THE HIGHEST STAKES to 1 of my lucky readers! Thank you Emery!

- To enter just leave a comment below and please include your email address
- Giveaway is open to US entries only.
- Only one entry per person.
- Giveaway ends on May 9th.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!

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39 comments:

  1. The Georgian era was certainly exciting! I wish that I could enter the competition but, unfortunately, I don't live in the US.

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  2. I haven't read much about the Georgian era, but it certainly sounded like an exciting but paradoxical time to live in England.I would love to read more about this era. Please enter me in this giveaway.

    bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

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  3. This is one of those stories that intrigues me because of the background information.. this one on the horses.. Please enter me for this! marieburton2004@ yahoo!

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  4. My knowledge of this period is sketchy so I'd like to be counted in for this giveaway. Thank you for hosting.

    mystica123athotmaildotcom

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  5. Very informative post! I think it's funny how everyone tried to pass sodomy off on each other. I've also seen the English refer to it as the "French vice" and the French refer to it as the "Italian vice". And the descendents of those Arabian horses would also cross the Atlantic, where colonists were also crazy about horse racing, and those descendents would eventually be cross-bred to create the American Quarter Horse. Anyway, I guess I'm trying to say this author sounds like she knows what she's writing about, so please enter me!
    JDQ1175@aol.com

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  6. This was such an interesting post! I am glad that Emery took the time to share it with us! Please count me in on the giveaway, the book sounds great!!

    zibilee(at)figearo(dot)net

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  7. What a great and informative guest post. Although I read a lot of English HF, my only exposure to the era of the Georges has been a couple of mysteries. I'd love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  8. Sounds exciting! Please include me in the giveaway.

    heatherzilla(at)care2(dot)com

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  9. Hi Ladies-

    First of all- Thank you Amy for allowing me to visit with you all today. I am honored, and so pleased that you all found the post as fascinating as I find this decadent era.

    Viola- thanks for commenting anyway!

    Barb- The very reason I adore George!

    Marie- You won't believe the research that went into this novel from an equine standpoint. When I didn't have the names of actual horses entered in a race, or I wrote a fictional race,I verified the foaling dates of every one of the horses I used to ensure that they "could have" run that particular race. Teazer vs. Regulus is a prime example.

    Mystica- I tried my best to "build my character's world" in this novel. I hope you'll be edified.

    Lady Q- Have you read my other guest blogs perhaps? The second half of THE HIGHEST STAKES carries over to the American Colonies where they imported English racehorses. Some of these were crossbred with the Chickasaw horses to create the supreme "Quarter mile" running horse. In the 1750s, a thoroughbred named Janus was particularly influential in creating what would later be called the American Quarter horse.
    My character Robert Devington also used this "cross breeding" to produce "Retribution."

    Zibilee- I am glad I piqued your interest and hope you will check out this book.

    Lastly - "Enyoy the Ride"

    Warmest regards - Emery Lee

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  10. Sounds like a great read! I'd like to learn more about this period. Please enter me in the giveaway! Thanks so much!!!!!!

    tiger_fan_1997(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. I would love to win.
    thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

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  12. would love a chance to read about these times.
    vvb32 at yahoo.com

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  13. Please include me in the drawing. Thank you!

    ajroyston@hotmail.com

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  14. Great post. I just read a really great work of historical fiction called Power of a Woman, which I really loved. A great read for anyone who loves the middle ages.

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  15. I have been looking forward to reading this book since I first heard about it a few months ago. Please enter me for a chance to win a copy.

    tmrtini at gmail dot com

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  16. Wonderful post - I didn't know any of those tidbits about modern horse racing. I used to ride a lot as a kid and loved it, I am so excited about this book.

    Please enter me!
    dolleygurl[at]hotmail[dot]com.

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  17. Great post and giveaway...I had no idea about how horses and racing were such a big part of this era. Would love to read and find out more, please enter me in the "race" :D
    Fondly, Roberta
    rlphilbr13@aol.com

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  18. This one sounds great. Please enter me in the drawing :)

    HPelkey1982@yahoo.com

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  19. Fascinating Guest post! I would love to read this book, please count me in!

    Nunezbella at hotma.com

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  20. I am very much interested in this giveaway.
    kzupancic[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  21. Just discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it. LOVED the 12 Historical Ladies photos!
    beket@comcast.net

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  22. This sounds like a most interesting read. This is yet another time period with which I need to become more familiar. This book sounds like a good way to do that.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

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  23. Sounds like an utterly fascinating book!~~

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  24. I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy of this book. It looks and sounds wonderful!!

    Dawn
    eatdrinkandremarry@verizon.net

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  25. This book truly intrigues me. Please enter me in the drawing!

    Teje
    sisusyster@yahoo.com

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  26. I would love to read this one. My husband and I had our own attempt at racing a few years back, and I'd love to learn a little bit more about racing from the Georgian era.
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(Dot)com

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  27. I don't think I've really ever read much about this period before, if any at all. I would certainly like to though.

    ~Briana
    thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  28. The Equine Mystique of horses I think can carry over to the mystique of animals in general. I like books that include animals in the overall plot of a novel. Maybe, my love for animals came about because of my ridding horses when I was young with my cousins or maybe it was brought about because of my raising rabbits for the 4-H fair. When I was in High School I took care of chinchillas as a part time job. My life has been filled with animals and we now have two Chihuahuas in our later years that we adore. This book sounds like a marvelous book to read and one that I would enjoy as I love animals and history.

    steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. I don't think i have read very much regarding the Georgian era. Thanks for the book giveaway and a chance to discover this era.
    jgoffice(at)cox(dot)net

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  30. Oh the English! God love them for their free wheeling, fun, and inventive ways. This time period is so fascinating, no wonder why the Puritan peeps were looking toward the new world.
    Thanks for the contest Ladies!

    jennygirl73(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  31. This sounds so intriguing! Would definitely love to read this book! Please enter me.

    Marie
    utah91960[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  32. would love to win!

    Thanks!
    Laura
    lmfries@aol.com

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  33. I forgot my email addy:

    BFish (dot) Reads (at) gmail (dot) come

    Thanks so much,

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  34. I would love to be entered into this giveaway. It would have been a great time to be alive (especially for men with money) -- but Johnson, Newton, Age of Reason -- exciting!

    Of course the Scots didn't have have great time.

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  35. Mmmm books!

    sidhekist at gmail dot com

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  36. I haven't read that much from the Georgian era. I had mo idea they were so um, pleaseure loving. Please count me in. Thanks.

    gevin13{at}gmail{dot}com

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  37. I have had this book on my TBR list, so I would love to win a copy. Please enter me!
    Thanks,
    candc320@gmail.com

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  38. I first heard of this book at Mason Canyon. It sounds quite interesting. Thanks

    chocolate and croissants at yahoo .c om

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  39. This is one of the (many) periods in history I want to know more - please enter me!

    (so glad you post these on Facebook!)

    teabird17atyahoodotcom

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