What is all the fuss about the Battle of Waterloo?

by Alison Stuart

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo fell on June 18th this year, and the occasion was marked at the battle site itself with a weekend of re-enactments, presentations and memorial unveilings attended by 100,000 people. Church services and commemorations were held in London and Brussels (but in France it passed with barely a murmur. In fact, I suspect, the French probably think they won the battle.)

Not this Waterloo...

Not this Waterloo…

And I was there… or nearly! My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit the Battle Site the week before the commemoration. The new Visitor’s Centre (which is AMAZING!) had just opened and workmen were frantically laying paths and putting up the bleachers… and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves on a very warm, sunny day.


After a longish bus ride in a stuffy local bus from central Brussels, we had a whole day on our hands and we took the time to visit the Wellington Museum in Waterloo itself (the inn where Wellington stayed the night of the battle and from which he wrote his famous Waterloo despatch). At the site of the battle, we spent ages in the Visitors Centre, climbed the 200 steps to the top of Butte de Lion and walked the line of the ridge to Hougemont Farm with its brand new English Oak gate. Sadly without a car, time did not permit a visit to Napoleon’s headquarters.

Alison at Wellington's HQ 2015 Jun

Back in London we visited the Guards Museum which hosted an exhibit on Hougemont Farm (where the Guards regiments distinguished themselves), the National Portrait Gallery which had a whole exhibition devoted to Wellington, Apsley House on Waterloo Day and in Paris… at the Hotel de Ville (the military museum), there are galleries devoted to Napoleon’s glory years but blink and you miss any mention of Waterloo!

So… Waterloo is very much on my mind and I am thrilled that in honour of Waterloo, my ‘Waterloo’ story Lord Somerton’s Heir will be 99c (on Amazon and iBooks) from 4 -13 July only.

As I picked up a few little bits and pieces on my travels, I will be offering a Waterloo Commemoration prize as part of a Rafflecopter contest that will run all week (details are on my website at www.alisonstuart.com). But wait… there’s more… sign up to my Readers’ Group newsletter and not only do you get extra points in the contest, you will receive a short story, the ‘prequel’ to Lord Somerton’s Heir… SEBASTIAN’S WATERLOO.

Enough preamble… there is something about Waterloo that captured and held public attention like very few other battles in history. Why? I would be interested in your comments…

In the meantime, here are some facts about Waterloo…

  • It is the only battle in the long Napoleonic campaigns in which both Napoleon and Wellington faced each other.
  • The Prussians wanted to call the battle Belle Alliance after the village where Napoleon had his headquarters. Wellington’s practice was to name battles after the village in which he spent the night before the battle… hence Waterloo. 
  • The casualties numbered 200 000 men, 60 000 horses (apologies to horse lovers!), and 537 guns were in action, contributing havoc and destruction on an enormous scale. The action was fought in a relatively small space (5 square miles) and at 2291 casualties per square mile, Wellington’s losses were greater than the 234 casualties per square mile over the 120 days of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
  • Tourists flocked to the battlefield from the day after the battle and are still flocking.
  • Napoleon blamed General Grouchy for his defeat. Grouchy had misinterpreted an order from his commander. Napoleon’s Chief of Staff had scribbled ‘The battle is commenced’, intending for Grouchy to join in. Grouchy read the word ‘engagée’ (commenced) as ‘gagné’ (won)and stayed put. 
  • A good trade in false teeth went on for years after the battle – with the teeth of the dead being set in hippo bone and used as dentures.
  • Three days after the battle, in Paris, Napoleon attempted to commit suicide by swallowing poison. His doctors saved him but it is possible it hastened his death on St. Helena only a few years later.

And was it such a splendid victory? Well in the opinion of two old army officers (self and husband) it was indeed, as Wellington said, a ‘near run thing’.

  • IF Grouchy had not misunderstood his orders…
  • IF Ney had not led his cavalry off on a wild charge unsupported by artillery and infantry…

And, most importantly,

  • IF the Prussians had not turned up when they did, the outcome would have been totally different!

So please take a moment to enter the Rafflecopter contest. Details of the prize, which includes a reproduction of The Times with the Waterloo despatch, are on my website

And don’t forget to join up to my reader’s list and find out how the hero of Lord Somerton’s Heir, Sebastian Alder, passed the day of 18th June 1815.

20836Can the love of an honourable man save her from  the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams — only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. Except, her dreams are soon shattered from beyond the grave when she is not only left penniless, but once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?

March Madness – New Releases!

Books! For you! Available now!


From ground-breaking, breath-taking author Ainslie Paton comes a new contemporary romance: She could have him sacked quicker than licking her lips. He could ruin her reputation with an email. But the worst thing a man can do is not be with the woman he loves.

23522From the best-selling Darkon Warriors series comes an enemy-to-lover story about a brother, a best friend, and the precious gift they leave behind. 

23660Not up-to-date on your SE Gilchrist, but love your romance out of this world? Check out The Darkon Warriors Bundle, four great books, one hot price!

23523In Children of the Mist, we discovered the secret history of the Children. Now, in the wilds of Scotland, one of them has come of age…

23545From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them. 

All of the Housewives have revealed their secrets – have you learned them all?

SLAH_Camilla_FinalTo all of Sydney’s society, she’s just the upstart, gold-digging waitress that somehow managed to snare one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors.

SLAH_Darla_FinalIn the final instalment, Darla, our sad, funny housewife finds that being a little neighbourly can lead to so much more.

What’s Not to Love About Men With Long Swords?

By Alison Stuart

BTS_FINAL_GIFOn March 22, By The Sword hits the shelves of Escape Publishing, as the first in a three book series called The Guardians of the Crown, spanning the years 1650-1660.

This is not one of your better known periods of history, but it is a period of history I am passionate about – should I say passionate about. It spans the twenty years known as “The English Civil War and Interregnum” from 1642 to the execution of Charles I in 1649. The period from 1649 to the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 is properly called the “Interregnum” (translated as “between Kings”), although it is generally lumped in with the English Civil War period.

Perhaps it is best described in the romantic parlance of cavaliers and roundheads. The dashing cavalier with his long curls and wide brimmed beaver hat, and the sour faced round head with his cropped hair and puritan collar. In the 1930s a little book came out with a potted history of England called 1066 And All That in which the cavaliers are described a “wrong but wromantic” and the roundheads as “right but repulsive” which kind of sums it up!

alison-5My own love affair with the Roundheads and Cavaliers began when I was probably no more than about 8 or 9. My darling father would read to us every Sunday afternoon and one such book he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s The King’s General, the story of an ill fated (and fictional) love affair between Sir Richard Grenville and his crippled mistress Honour. The struggle between King and Parliament, laced with romance and skeletons in secret tunnels had me in a thrall. I was lost!

edit 2So here are five reasons why I, personally, love this period….

  1. Family legend has it that I am descended from a “regicide” (one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I) . However no evidence has been found to support that claim but who ever let fact get in the way of a good family legend!

  1. The very idea of a Civil War throws up so many possibilities for an over active imagination: father against son, brother against brother, friends destined to become foes! Intrigues, plots, assassinations, revenge… What about the families… the wives, the mothers…the lovers?

  1. You may (or may not) have seen the latest BBC series of the Three Musketeers. What is there not to love about men with broad brimmed hats, lace collars and bucket top boots. It is pure swashbuckling… every pirate fantasy you ever had (without the pirates!).

  1. Seriously… do you realize that the events of these twenty years established the foundations of our own system of democracy, the concept of a standing army and many of our legal privileges that we enjoy today?

  1. Just the sheer drama… a King executed! Unthinkable and yet to be repeated 150 years later during the French revolution. What did this mean for the ordinary people of England?

So, if you are bored with regencies, medieval and blokes in kilts, try a dashing cavalier such as Jonathan Thornton the hero of By The Sword. Later in the year, one of Jonathan’s friends and comrades at the Battle of Worcester, Kit Lovell, has his own story in The King’s Man and rounding off the GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN series with the Restoration of the King, will be Kit’s brother, Daniel in Exile’s Return.

And if you’ve got a minute, check out the trailer!

What is the period of history you are most passionate about and what kicked off that passion? 

(By the Sword is available for pre-order now. Please note, this is a digital book)

23545From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them. 

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

Books Seeking Readers

Books seeking readersDidn’t find your perfect match yesterday? Don’t worry – there are lots of lonely books out there. Here are today’s heartthrobs:

Matched set of dark, emotional romances seek reader who loves wolves, is up for adventure, and has faith in a meaningful happily ever after. Willingness to travel and put up with occasional brotherly bonding experiences a definite plus. Strong will, especially against attractive and charming men, highly suggested.

Meet your match here.


Book of hope, strength and healing love seeks reader with fetish for medieval Scotland, curses and men in kilts. Only those addicted to a Happily Ever After need apply.

Meet your match here.

Mild-mannered, unconventional romance seeks fun-loving youth for long walks to the spice shops and back, sojourns to secret vamp caves and patience with unresolved endings.  Must love tea, chocolate chip cookies and were-kangaroos.

Meet your match here.

Sparkly, sweet story set in the showbiz world seeks reader who likes quickies. It won’t take long to enjoy me, but good things come in small packages. If you like the idea of a moondance with your soul mate, and are open to a touch of magic in your life, I am your Love Angel.

Meet your match here.

Charming romance seeks reader who dreams of being swept off her feet in Paris. Must love food, sensuality and dizzying heights, including the Eiffel Tower.

Meet your match here.

Hot rock star romance seeks groupie who craves the limelight.  Access all areas backstage pass supplied.  No gender discrimination – the rock star is a chick.  Bonus points for strong interest in molesting the roadies.  Put your hands in the air.

Meet your match here.

Swashbuckling historical romance seeks readers with taste for cavaliers in wide brimmed hats with sharp swords for adventurous excursions, war-time drama, and deep family secrets. Courage in the face of certain death a bonus. A certain taste for military men a must.

Meet your match here.

Naive and innocent book seeks adventure and experience – but only with the right reader, not just anyone will do. A taste for rule-bending, unlikely attraction, and steamy nights essential. Curiosity about tent-based antics a must.

Meet your match here.

Have you been fumbling through the darkness, searching countless, pointless book relationships trying to find the story, yet only know the story exists because of the aching that has been left in your heart by its absence? Do you look at super-hot lead singers of rock bands and know you’re meant to read about them? Do you often long for the angst of a love triangle? If this sounds like you, then this sexy, deeply emotive story is a perfect match for you. But don’t try and find it, because it will most definitely find you.

Meet your match here.

What a Weekend!

Freshly back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, Romance Rocks, this past weekend in Sydney, with our heads still spinning and enormous grins on our faces.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kicking off the conference with a Literacy High Tea, where librarian Vassiliki Veros charmed the pants off everyone in the room with her romance journey, her study of librarian-heroes and heroines, and the work she’s doing now for her PhD.

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it...

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it…

  • The Harlequin Author dinner where we celebrated with our Harlequin family, including lovely international guests Flo Nicholl and Malle Vallik
  • We also celebrated with our lovely (shirtless) guests for the evening, Marco and Jeremy.

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and I, you know, hanging out, talking

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert, you know, hanging out, talking

  • Escape has had an amazing year, so it was fantastic to be in one room together, sharing our highs, and supporting each other.
  • The Leather and Lace opening cocktail party was a chance to catch up with people we haven’t seen for awhile (or have never actually seen in person!) While the lighting was decidedly purple (very strange), the food was great, the costumes inspired (hello Ros Baxter!), and the good times had by all.

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

  • Cherry Adair was an absolute delight and joy as an international guest. She was present, hilarious, generous with her time and her expertise, so very personable, and swore like a sailor when she realised we weren’t going to get offended. What a treat it was to spend time with her and listen to her speak.
  • The Saturday workshops were also really well-run, and we have to offer congrats to everyone who stepped up to share their expertise and teach what they know to others. This kind of resource sharing is a hallmark of RWA and one of the reasons that the conference and organisation is so successful, so should never be downplayed.
  • The day sessions also allowed for more chatting with less ambient noise, so a greater possibility of having a conversation with someone, rather than just a yelled greeting.
  • The Australian Romance Readers Association held their annual book-signing event on Saturday. This in an incredible (and incredibly well-organised!) organisation, and they do amazing things for the romance community in Australia. They also have a new website: www.ireadromance.com.au,so check them out if you are interested in talking about romance (yes), meeting other romance readers (yes), and attending fab reader-focused conventions (yes!).
    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison's first book with Escape - Lord Somerton's Heir

    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison’s first book with Escape – Lord Somerton’s Heir

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

  • Saturday night – WHAT A NIGHT. First we have to offer the biggest, hugest, most enormous congrats to our three Escape nominees: Julie Mac, Juanita Kees, and Kendall Talbot, and also to all the other nominees, including Amy Andrews, who was nominated for a book with another publisher.
  • Emma Darcy had us all in laughter and tears as she accepted her induction into the Hall of Fame. No one, and I mean no one, will ever forget her Five Fs.
  • We also have to congratulate Kat Mayo on her Romance in the Media Award (ROMA) for her article on ABC’s The Drum: Dear Columnists, Romance Fiction is not your bitch. We’re pretty much sure she’s the only person to ever have the word ‘bitch’ etched into a glass award.

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

  • Then this happened:
    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements



  • We are so so so so beyond thrilled to congratulate Kendall on her win – the first win for her book after countless award nominations, and the first win for Escape Publishing.
  • I’d like to show you photos of what the rest of the night looked like, but what happens at the Escape After Party (and the after-after party), stays at the Escape After Party.
  • Except these photos. These totally get distribution:

    Frickin' A, man!

    Frickin’ A, man!

  • Sunday was for recovering, and more learning from generous and talented presenters. Malle Vallik’s presentation on building an author brand was very well received by those brave enough (and smart enough) to be up at 8:30am.
  • The conference for next year has been announced, with very exciting new partnerships, and a beautiful venue in Melbourne. International guests are a bit hush-hush, though the Friday workshop instructors have been lined up.
  • Finally, the conference close with Anne Gracie’s now legendary Stand-Ups, which always leaves attendees feeling engaged, excited, and downright warm & fuzzy.
  • We cannot give enough props to Shannon Curtis and her crack team of conference organisers for a well-organised, well-run, fantastic conference, and to all the attendees who made it an amazing experience all around. We’ll see you all again next year!

See what’s blossoming in May – just in time for Mother’s Day!

20837Kicking us off this month is a favourite author going in new directions – Fiona Palmer introduces us to Jas, and the secret, shadowy world of the MTG Agency in this contemporary, action-adventure, YA/NA series debut!

20836Next, we’re thrilled to welcome Alison Stuart to the Escape family with this beautiful, pastoral regency about a woman who’s just escaped one dismal marriage, and has no interest in ever entering into another…if only her husband’s heir wasn’t quite so appealing.

20835Dark, violent, gripping, enthralling, thoroughly addictive – we’d never read anything like Daniel de Lorne‘s debut novel – the novel to read if you prefer your vampires to actually have bite.

20831Looking for something short and very sweet? May we recommend Jane O’Reilly’s latest – lovely – story about best friends on the cusp of something more – if only one of them dares to take that next step.

20834One of Escape’s best-loved contemporary authors, Elisabeth Rose, moves into Romantic Suspense this month with a gripping, harrowing tale about a mob widow, and what she’s willing to do to protect her son.

20832Trust us – after reading this fantastic corporate-set contemporary romance by debut author Alexa Bravo, you’ll never look at elevators the same way again!

20833Hot, steamy, sensual – suspenseful, this debut Romantic Suspense novel from debut author Wendy L Curtis takes on the people smugglers of Papua New Guinea, featuring an intrepid investigative journalist, a Federal Policeman, and one major one-night misunderstanding.

20830Last, but definitely not least, we welcome back Charmaine Ross with a fun, flirty contemporary romance, a David v Goliath story that celebrates the beauty that is Melbourne’s cafe culture.