The Styford Affair, Guest Post by Jen Black

Lizzy must break free…

Her odious guardian desires Lizzy’s inheritance and intends to force her into marriage with him. She must flee her only home on Newcastle’s quayside

Before it is too late…

In four days’ time she will come of age and the inheritance will be hers. Rich landowner Lord Styford saves her from near disaster and takes her to his mother, who hopes to turn this rough young woman into a cultured Regency beauty. But her guardian tracks Lizzy down and attempts a kidnap.

Whatever the cost…

Beautiful and quick-witted Lizzy considers handsome Lord Styford rather too high-handed for her liking, but Miss Tremaine, his ex-mistress, considers her a rival for his affections and soon becomes her enemy. Played out on the quayside and streets of  Newcastle, Lizzy is shocked when her rival goes too far and Styford is injured.

Bessie Surtees’ house on Newcastle quayside

A tale of forbidden love to rival Romeo and Juliet can be found in an unlikely spot – Bessie Surtees’ house on Newcastle quayside. The story is well-known in Tyneside, but possibly not in other parts of the UK.

In 1772, Bessie Surtees, daughter of a prominent banker, climbed out of the first-floor window of her home and escaped down a ladder to elope with John Scott. Only a coal merchant’s son, Bessie’s father did not approve of him. The young man persuaded Bessie to elope on horseback and ride to Scotland, and later became a prominent local and national figure whose name lives on in the city today. John Scott is remembered as a successful lawyer and, as Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor of England.

The Bessie Surtees House has stood since 1465 on a stretch of river frontage used as a quayside since Roman times, when the first bridge spanned the Tyne. By the 16th century many prominent merchants owned property there and Sandhill was the centre of the medieval town. Today the house is in the charge of English Heritage. It was familiarity with this story that nudged me into writing a tale that featured the heroine climbing down a ladder of that very same house in order to escape the threat of marriage to her guardian.

The house’s history gave me a start, and further research gave me loads of information about Old Newcastle to the point that I discovered a section of the old town walls, built in the 13th century, that I did not know still existed! Today, the wall is next door to a casino behind the railway station.

I originally set the story in 1815 but discovered a prominent landmark I wished my heroine to ride through was demolished in 1811 so I moved the story up four years and Lizzy rode in through the old West Gate. This story will be one of my Affair series and will be published on Amazon Kindle before or just after Christmas.

The Affair series is popular in the historical romance genre, and always features a romance plus a mystery of some kind. The Styford Affair will be the 7th title and joins :

The Silver Season Affair (Edwardian period)

The Elsdon Affair (Regency)

The Matfen Affair (Regency)

The Gybford Affair (Regency)

The Gavington Affair (Victorian)

The Craigsmuir Affair (Victorian)

There will be a Countdown offer on this the last title from 20th December.

Click here to view them all:

Meet Jen Black

Jen’s first love is historical fiction, from the serious to the frivolous depending on her mood.

She lives in the Tyne Valley, England, not far from the border with Scotland. Her stories are always set in the north but for one escapee where the only contemporary heroine enjoys a romantic holiday in France.

Being a keen amateur photographer, she uses her own pics to illustrate or amuse on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her blog at

Visit Jen on Twitter:

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