Evan Eldridge never meant to be a war hero--he just wanted to fight Napoleon for the future of his country. And he certainly didn't think that saving the life of a peer would mean being made the Earl of Whitelock. But when the life you save is dear to the Prince Regent, things can change in a hurry.
Now Evan has a new title, a manor house in shambles, and a stranger for a bride, all thrust upon him by a grateful ruler. What he doesn't have are all his memories. Traumatized as a result of his wounds and bravery on the battlefield, Evan knows there's something he can't quite remember. It's important, dangerous--and if he doesn't recall it in time, will jeopardize not only his marriage but someone's very life.
Readers who enjoy Julie Klassen, Carolyn Miller, and Kristi Ann Hunter will love diving into this brand-new Regency series filled with suspense, aristocratic struggles, and a firm foundation of faith.
He's doing what he can to save the Prince Regent's life . . . but can he save his new marriage as well?
About the Author
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
Q: Up until now, many of your books have been historical releases but set in the American West. Why the move to England for the new series?
If there is one thing my family and friends know about me, it is that I always want to be learning and researching new historical topics. Having written and researched so many books set in the American West, I found myself feeling as if I was in a bit of a rut. I was having difficulty coming up with something fresh and interesting, where I could really dive into the research.
I had been reading quite a bit of Regency, thanks to some recommendations from an author friend, and the more I read, the more I realized I didn’t know many specifics about the era. Suddenly, there were so many avenues to explore, like the aristocracy, the clothing, the amusements, the Napoleonic Wars, and much more! My imagination sparked, and I was hooked!
Q: For those who may not be familiar with the term, what is Regency fiction? Why do you think this genre is so popular with readers?
Regency fiction covers the time period of 1811–1820 in England, though books set between 1800 and 1830 are often classed as Regency. There’s always a bit of literary license about writing fiction, isn’t there?
The Regency period occurred at the end of the Georgian era in England, when King George III (monarch during the American Revolution) was deemed unfit to rule. Some historians believe he suffered from a blood disease called porphyria, which has cognitive side effects. Some believe it was schizophrenia or other mental illness. In any case, he was considered unable to fulfill his role as monarch, and in his stead his son, the Prince of Wales, became the Prince Regent. The near decade of his rule as substitute monarch is called the Regency.
Q: What kind of research goes into a series like this? Have you been able to go on a trip to see some of the sites you have written about?
There is a tremendous amount of research, especially when you’ve not written Regency much before. Readers of Regency fiction pay close attention to historical details, and they want you to get it right. As a historian myself, I want to get it right. I now possess a sizable research library of Regency history books. Some are encyclopedic in nature, covering the entire era, and some are quite specific, such as Georgian seaside villages or coaches of the Regency era.
As to traveling, I had tickets booked for a trip to England for May 2020, but due to COVID-19, those plans are in abeyance. Hopefully when the world is healed and no longer reeling from the virus, I will be able to rebook the trip and take in all the amazing places I long to see. Until then, I shall rely on the research of others through their books and the assistance of Google Maps satellite view!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Lost Lieutenant.
The Lost Lieutenant is a combination of an arranged-marriage and a fish-out-of-water story. The hero, Evan, continually finds himself having his life dictated by others and wondering if God has made a huge mistake. Evan is a soldier, a sharpshooter in the British Army. The son of a parson, he knows more about battlefield tactics than how to conduct himself in London society. And yet, when he is conferred an earldom and a bride to go along with the title, he is forced to accept his new role and make it his own.
While he’s struggling with his new responsibilities, his bride, Diana, is hiding secrets from her husband, her father, and the man who could destroy everything. If the truth gets out, it could cost a baby his life. What she doesn’t realize is that her husband is keeping secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him his freedom.
The Lost Lieutenant is a story of falling in love while learning to trust. Trust God. Trust your heart. Trust your spouse.
Q: In what situations do your characters find themselves at the beginning of the story?
Diana is in the untenable position of trying to keep her promise to her deceased sister while also obeying her controlling father. Is it permissible to lie if your motives are pure? Her father is forcing her to go to London for the Season so he can marry her off to the suitor of his choosing, and Diana is torn between what she promised to do and what her father is forcing her to do.
Evan is recovering in the hospital after being wounded in battle and shipped home from the Peninsular War. All he wants is to return to his regiment, but the Prince Regent has other plans. Evan is made a peer of the realm, and his hopes of returning to military duty go up in smoke.
Q: Diana and Evan both find themselves caught in circumstances beyond their control. How do they each handle themselves?
I think they each arrive at the same conclusion, that God is sovereign and God is good, but by different routes. Diana is used to being bossed and coerced by her domineering father, and she has less trouble with God’s sovereignty and more issue with whether God is good to someone like her—someone who keeps secrets and lies, even though she means well.
Evan continually wonders if God really intends him to be an earl, to have a wife, to abandon the life and career he built for himself. And if so, now what?
Through their circumstances, and through learning to love one another, each teaches the other the truth about God that they know, and they also discover a few truths together.
Q: What lessons in loyalty and responsibility can we learn that would benefit us in today’s culture?
Loyalty is an underlying theme. Evan is loyal to his regiment and other soldiers who had suffered injuries in battle. I especially like the relationship between Evan and his former sergeant, Shand. They’re loyal to one another, and Shand is the voice of reason and wisdom that Evan needs from time to time. Though Evan doesn’t realize it, especially at first, he is a natural leader, for whom responsibilities are a part of life. He feels the weight of them, but that doesn’t keep him from assuming them.
Diana’s responsibility is to her sister’s child, the child she promised to raise as her own, and she’s willing to go to great lengths to protect him. She’s loyal to her sister’s memory and, as a result, lavishes love on her sister’s child. Her loyalty creates her feelings of responsibility, and she doesn’t shirk her duty, and in fact embraces it.
Q: Evan never planned nor wanted the title and position he was given. What did he learn about nobility along the way?
Evan is slow to embrace his new title and position because he feels he was given them under false pretenses. He cannot remember what he did to earn them, and he’s fearful that someone will find out about his amnesia and his post-traumatic stress and consider him insane.
He considers much of what is “required” as aristocratic behavior to be either idle, empty action or downright wrong. He’s not even sure he wants to be considered part of the nobility.
In the end, Evan learns that nobility isn’t about the title you bear but the actions you show. Along the way, he’s got several helpers, especially Diana, who show him this truth.
Q: What role does faith play in the lives of your main characters, Diana and Evan?
Evan has a background and foundation of faith to draw on, being the son of a preacher. He has a good relationship with his father that helps him in his relationship with his heavenly Father. While Evan doesn’t always know what God is doing, he finds it quite easy to ask through prayer for God to help him make sense of things. He has enough faith to not fear asking and questioning when things aren’t going according to Evan’s plans.
Diana has some training, through a childhood teacher, about faith being more than a weekly ritual, about needing to have a personal relationship with God through His Son. She prays, but because her father is so domineering and mean, she wonders if God could possibly be good to her. She has very clear lines about what is right and wrong, but she also fears that if she crosses God, He will seek retribution.
Through seeing a godly man, her new husband, Diana is able to gain confidence that she is both loved and lovable, that a man can be kind and therefore demonstrate that God can be kind as well.
Q: Is there a spiritual takeaway that you hope will resonate with readers?
There’s not one specific takeaway or “lesson” I had in mind for readers. I love that through the power of story, God can use what we write and reach the people He wants to reach and teach them what He has for them.
Just as every reader brings their own imagination to a story when they read it, so too they bring their faith, their history, their experiences into the spiritual thread of the story. They start from where they currently are in their faith journey, and through the power of story, they can grow that faith and maturity through exploring the spiritual arcs of the characters.
Q: Without giving away too much, what can readers expect as the Serendipity & Secrets series continues?
Big things! There are two more stories in the Serendipity & Secrets series coming this summer and in early 2021, The Gentleman Spy and The Indebted Earl. And as a bonus, there’s a spin-off novella this Christmas in the Joy to the World novella collection. My story is “The Wonders of His Love,” and I think readers will enjoy visiting the characters in this series again.
The Gentleman Spy is the story of Marcus, Duke of Haverly, and a crusading bluestocking named Charlotte. Readers first meet Marcus, who becomes a good friend of Evan, in The Lost Lieutenant. Marcus marries Charlotte and thinks he can relegate her to the margins of his life so he doesn’t have to change too much, but Charlotte is not one to be pushed aside and ignored.
The Indebted Earl is Sophie Haverly’s story of loss and newfound love. When Sophie’s fiancé is killed in the war, his best friend and commanding officer returns to England to repay a debt. Charles carries the weight of guilt, feeling himself to be responsible for his friend’s death. If he can fulfill his promise to look after Sophie, maybe he can pay part of his debt.
“The Wonders of His Love” in the Joy to the World collection is the story of transformation and spreading wings for widow Cilla Haverly. With no real place now in society, she wonders if her future is as bleak as it feels. Enter Hamish, a Scottish painter brought in for the holidays to paint the portraits of the new Duke and Duchess of Haverly. But Hamish creates more than just likenesses in oil on canvas. He also creates a longing in Cilla that she can’t deny.
loved Erica Vetsch’s newest release, The Lost Lieutenant. It is a great
beginning to her series, Serendipity and Secrets. This Regency era tale has quite
a bit of what I enjoy in a book: adventure, action and romance. I loved the
characters, setting and vivid historical details. I loved every single page.
recommend The Lost Lieutenant for readers who love clean historical fiction. I
would give it one hundred stars if I could. I can not wait to read the next
installment from the Serendipity and Secrets series, The Gentleman Spy.
this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.