Hi Victorians, and thank you for having me today. I’m thrilled to be returning to Slip Into Something Victorian, and I’m happy to be talking about both my new novel, Deceptive Hearts, Book I of The Wild Geese Series, and an item that plays a very important part in my story: the Derringer.
Deceptive Hearts is set in New York City in 1865, in both elegant Gramercy Park and the Five Points, where my hero, Shane MacDermott grew up – and where my heroine, Lydia Daniels, visits on a regular basis. Lydia is determined to save the girls and women there from their abusive fathers and husband, no matter the risk to herself.
“Jamie brought word of another one.”
Alex tensed. “Where?”
“Five Points. Again.” Lydia’s lips twisted. “Apparently the combination of joblessness and Guinness makes a man…difficult.”
Difficult. The age-old euphemism. Alex nodded. “What’s her name?”
“Nan Daly.” Squaring her shoulders, Lydia vowed, “I am going there first thing tomorrow.”
Lydia’s mouth set into a stubborn line. “I must Alex. You know I have to.”
“At least take Jamie with you.”
Lydia shook her head, capturing Alex’s hand in hers and giving it a quick squeeze. “You know how hard it is to win the trust of these women. Jamie will drive me, stand by me if I need him, but I must see her alone. He might intimidate her. Do not worry,” she added. “I shall be perfectly safe.” She waved a shaky hand in the direction of the little locked drawer in her night table. “I will be armed.”
The Derringer is Lydia’s weapon of choice when she ventures into the Five Points, a notorious area of New York City dominated by run-down tenements and desperate immigrants.
A Derringer was a tiny handgun frequently used by women because of its ease of concealment. It was not a repeating gun, which would add size and bulk to the weapon. The original cartridge Derringer held only a single round, and the barrel pivoted sideways on the frame to allow access to the breech for reloading. These pocket pistols were tiny enough to be carried in a woman’s reticule or stocking and proved good protection for the city’s prostitutes. Though not very powerful, the bullet’s slow speed made them more dangerous.
The most important feature of a Derringer—both for Lydia and for the woman on the street—is that, though the bullet moved slowly enough to be seen in flight, at close range it could easily kill.
…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…
He survived war, and returned to devastation
A hero of the Irish Brigade, Shane MacDermott returned home to New York to find his family decimated and his world shattered.
She risks her life to save the people she loves
Lydia Daniels will risk anything to protect the women she shelters beneath the roof of her elegant Gramercy Park mansion—even if she has to trust the one man who can destroy her.
Shane and Lydia both hide secrets that could destroy them – and put their lives in jeopardy. Can their love overcome their carefully guarded deceptive hearts?
“We meet again.” Shane kept his voice quiet so as not to frighten Mary Kate any further. He let his gaze rest on her for a long silent moment. He’d learned long ago that a piercing stare would make the guilty guiltier. Kieran once told him his stare could cut right though a Reb line to the plantation they were set to defend.
“So we do, Officer…?” Lydia let her sentence trail off, obviously hoping he would offer the information she sought.
Ah, no, my lovely one. Not yet.
He kept his gaze on her face. “May I ask what you are doing—here?” Satisfaction gripped him as her lashes flickered and her hands clutched the folds of her gown more tightly. “The Five Points is hardly a neighborhood for a gently-bred young woman such as yourself to be taking a stroll.”
Behind him, Mary Kate’s breath caught on a sob. But he couldn’t spare her a look. Not yet. “What business have you with this young lady, Mrs…?”
Her chin jerked up, her eyes snapping as she refused the bait. Reluctant admiration curled in the pit of his stomach. He watched in fascination as she moved to place a gentle hand on the girl’s shoulder. “It is all right, Mary Kate. I understand why you feel you cannot leave your father.” To Shane, she said defensively, “I offered Mary Kate a position in my household, officer. I thought it might improve her circumstances.”
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three. I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond. The first three books in The Claddagh Series, In Sunshine or in Shadow, Coming Home, and Playing For Keeps, are all available from Highland Press.Deceptive Hearts, the first book in The Wild Geese Series, has just been released, and Book II, Keeper of the Light, will soon be released from Highland Press.
I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
Where to find Cynthia: