Opinions on Merits and Mercenaries


Luminaries Who Fancied Dashing off Something on TBNLA ‘Classic Companion I’/ Merits and Mercenaries

  • ‘Gorgeous, and comes well recommended.’

    Patricia Rozema, Screenwriter/Director, Mansfield Park.

  • ‘Lady A~ has woven together a complex web of marriage plots - lots of Fanny Burney-cum-Jane Austen couples and themes that involve the reader from the very beginning. The dialogue is witty and sharp, and one can hear echoes of Mary Crawford, Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Lady Catherine. To read Merits and Mercenaries is to become immersed in a social life that has order, and the joy of reading is to see how the plot unfolds. The complex codes of civility and decorum, the ideas of duty and hospitality, and the country/city motif all support a nexus of relationships that are all touching, amusing, and refreshing today.’

    Laurie Kaplan, Professor of English and Academic Director of George Washington University’s English Center, and former editor of Persuasions.

  • ‘This was just a superbly written, cleverly concocted, shining example of what Historical Fiction ought to be but rarely is.’


    “Katherine grew naturally into a handsome, intelligent and truly generous young woman, drawing from her aunt’s strength of character--and her late uncle’s sorry lack of it.”

    ‘And so begins Lady A~’s exquisitely written Austen-esque masterpiece, Merits and Mercenaries. It isn’t very often I’m completely absorbed in a book. So absorbed that I go to bed thinking about the story’s many layered conflict, and dreaming about the characters, planning and plotting in their behalf, trying to sort out in my head just where the story might go, and all the seemingly impossible obstacles that must be overcome to get it there. It was just that way for me as I read this wonderful book.

    This was just a superbly written, cleverly concocted, shining example of what Historical Fiction ought be but rarely is. Here were no attempts to modernise the heroine, or even the conflicts of the story. So much of what motivated and concerned humanity two hundred years ago, motivates and concerns us today. On the other hand, here was no overwrought attempt to recreate Austen-esque literature. It was certainly recreated, but the product could hardly be called overwrought. The narrative was natural and flowing and the dialogue absolutely sparkling with wit and charm. The author never once talks over our heads, and when she fears a question may arise, she cleverly refers us to annotations kindly included in the back of the text. This is a welcome embrace to fellow fans of Jane Austen, and, too, of Literary Historical Fiction, as well.

    I like complex plots; I yearn for them. I like big, thick books with rich characters that are engaging and compulsively followable. This book gave me both, but in a way I found cleverly deceptive. The conflict was simple. A young woman, Katherine, is taken to the country by her guardian aunt, in the hopes of presenting her with some new prospects for marriage. Of course Katherine is naive to her motivations and goes about her life, adjusting, albeit reluctantly, to the countryside. In Hampshire we are introduced to country society, among them potential friends, some worthy, others not so much. Here among them as well are one or two--or perhaps four--potential suitors. It isn’t a grand mystery for whom Katherine is intended, but the hero is engaged to another. And it’s an unbreakable commitment, assigned to him upon his father’s deathbed. What are two people in love to do? Save, of course, to resign themselves to their unhappy fates. But it isn’t the hero’s prior commitments alone that stand in the way of our dear Katherine’s happiness, for an intricate web of deceit and interference is slowly woven to ensure that Katherine does not prove an irresistible temptation to our would-be hero. For he simply must marry as he has been charged to do. Mustn’t he?

    And so we are guided, led, drawn, through each and every page, as if the author were leading us on a long walk, on a warm spring day, on our very first journey through Holland Park, where some new bit of scenery, an unexpected but always pleasant surprise, awaits us at every turn. I look forward with great pleasure--with anticipation--for Lady A~’s next work.’

    V.R. Christensen, Author, Of Moths and Butterflies.

  • ‘I recommend this exceptional read to anyone who loves Jane Austen. A wonderful trip into Regency England. Lady A~ has a faithful new fan in me. Her wit and skill kept me in open-mouthed admiration ... and I loved the romance.’

    Wanda Luce, Regency author.

  • Merits and Mercenaries ... has all the hallmarks of a dashing Regency romp.... for all fans of Austen “tribute fiction”, this is a promising start to a fresh series of romances.’

    Joceline Bury, Jane Austen’s Regency World.

  • ‘What an adventure! Merits and Mercenaries is full of Austenesque heroes and villains. The protagonists are as endearing as our most favorite Austen characters and the story is witty, engaging and very cleverly written. A treat for every Janeite!’

    Karin Quint,

  • ‘What is remarkable is the skillful echoing of Jane Austen’s wit and irony through refined diction and detailed research.’ Read full review

    Maria Grazia, My Jane Austen Book Club

  • ‘Lady A~ has produced a book that fits the Austen universe, but is fully formed in a world of its own. The finely crafted writing is a delight.’ Read full review

    Tim Queeney, author of George in London

  • ‘A lovely novel, written in true style. Finely crafted characters, touching wit, delicate prose: reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Stands out as the finest Regency romance I have read in a long time. A perfect gift for a Janeite.’

    Michelle Franklin, author The Haanta Series

Hints from Various Quarters



Hints from Various Quarters

Hints From Various Quarters

Fix a penetrating eye upon this pidwidgeon piece of ivory for future pronouncements regarding TBNLA ‘Classic Companions III-V1I™’.

An arch clue to what beau or belle may be next in the ‘Bath Corner’…

‘Nottinghamshire is a county, which, by force of history, is steeped in notoriety. By this dubitable qualification, then, no better place could herald the arrival of one its inhabitants lately settled there—a much-talked-of gentleman, who went by the name of Mr. ______.’

If you have come to adore our beautiful and noble Mr. William Halford in M&M (Merits and Mercenaries), & if you have thence prostrated yourself at the fair feet of our dazzling Mr. John Lascelles in TAC (The Amiable Cassandra), then a measure of fascination will follow our third intriguing Buck as he challenges the state of the stately and the fate of fortunes won and lost…

Bath Corner

TBNLA™ Tidings Bubbling in Bath Corner!

Discover all of the ‘steamy’ particulars of each Bath Novel in every lavishly lathered ‘nook’ of our new ‘Bath Corner’ feature. Now Debuting in these Quarters ...

What Lies Beneath TBNLA™

Intrigued by such morsels of mystery? Well then, you must simply read what it is that lies behind the TBNLA concept entire! In an historically plausible preface text that precedes every Bath Novel, discover how TBNLA came to be and who held their secret for so long—and why such person chose to share them with the world at last. Purchase and Possess TBNLA’s Classic Companions, Merits and Mercenaries & The Amiable Cassandra, to read all about the enigmatic origins of this unknown oeuvre.

Hint! It all begins with an event well recorded in Jane Austen’s history, and this incident is related in startling detail in a letter from Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister, to the superb Miss Anne Sharp, Jane’s fast and firmly independent friend….

Theatrical Survey Inquiry

Theatrical Survey Inquiry

No contemporary Janeite will deny that a faithfully sublime adaptation of any of JA’s ‘sacred six’ is worth its weight in pewter. In the interest of probing Ladeite feelings to this end then, as far as any of TBNLA may be concerned, leave us a confidential Ladeite calling card to signify your interest in seeing any of our Bath Novel ‘Classic Companions’ adapted into film, starting with the first, Merits and Mercenaries.

Hye St. Press will not communicate, disclose or make available any of the confidential information provided to us to any third party and will not directly or indirectly use or allow others to use this information other than for the purpose for which it has been provided. View full privacy policy.



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