Tuesday 9 March 2021

Head over to The Coffee Pot Book Club for a fun interview with Richard Lacey the protagonist of Penny Hampson's fabulous #NewRelease - A Gentleman's Promise @penny_hampson


A docile wife is what he wants. A husband is the last thing she needs. Can a quest for a killer teach them that they are both wrong?

Emma Smythe and her brother arrive at Easterby Hall to discover that a handsome stranger has laid claim to their ancestral home and the family title. Have her relatives been murdered, and is her brother next? Determined to find the answers, she has no option but to trust the gentleman who insists that he will help. But danger appears in many guises, and for a woman intent on remaining single, her intriguing protector may prove the biggest threat of all. 

The attempts on Richard Lacey’s life begin when he inherits a title and a rundown estate. A coincidence? He’s not so sure. Problems multiply with the unexpected arrival of Jamie and Emma Smythe. Long thought dead, they too are potential targets. Richard thinks he wants a docile, obedient wife, but will the task of keeping headstrong Emma safe from danger change his mind?

Embroiled in a sinister mystery, can Richard and Emma work together to catch a killer? And will this dangerous quest teach them that what they both wish to avoid is exactly what they need?

Filled with intrigue, unexpected twists, and faultless period detail, this slow-burn romance is a must-read for lovers of classic Regency fiction.

Hello, Miss Yarde, I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance, though I must say, I find it quite unsettling to be having a tête-à-tête with a young lady unaccompanied by her maid. However, it has been explained to me that in the 21st century, this sort of thing happens all the time and without any breath of scandal, so for the benefit of your readers I will be happy to make an exception.

My name is Richard Lacey, I’m thirty-two years old and I come from Cornwall. I’m the head of my family, and have been so since the death of my father some years ago. Of course, taking on the responsibility of not only my siblings, Julia and David, but also my father’s mining and manufacturing interests meant I had to grow up pretty fast. Julia often says that I’m far too serious and that I should enjoy myself more, but really, I haven’t the time.

And now, to add to my problems, I’ve recently inherited a title and a rundown estate from a distant relative. To be honest, I’m not bothered about being a viscount, but I’ll have to do something about the estate. It’s such a responsibility ensuring that all who are dependent upon my businesses and estates are cared for, and I take my responsibilities seriously, as every gentleman should. If I make a promise, you can be sure I will keep it. And there’s another troubling problem… from the day the notice of my title was posted, I’ve been the victim of several accidents. It could all just be coincidence, but there have been rumours about the death of one of my predecessors, not the accident it appeared apparently, so I suppose I’d better look in to things.    

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I enjoy living in London, I’ve got a townhouse there. It’s a bit lonely now though, as Julia recently got married and my younger brother David is still studying at Oxford. My main home is in Cornwall, a lovely place not far from the coast. However, I come up to London a lot in order to attend lectures on science and engineering. You’ve got to keep up to date with engineering, especially if you own mines. My favourite place in the world? My study. Everything is just as I want it - I can’t bear disorder - my study is where I go to think. 

What would you consider to be your greatest strength?

My greatest strength, you ask? Hmm, well, I’m organised. One has to be when looking after younger siblings and managing one’s business affairs. Of course, I have help, but I insist on knowing every last detail… yes, I like to be in control. Then if anything goes wrong, it’s my sole responsibility to put it right. Have I mentioned that I take my responsibilities seriously?

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day would begin with a ride on my favourite horse, Caesar. There’s nothing like a good gallop to clear the mind. Then once I’ve breakfasted, it’s into my study to start work. Before Julia married, she would always look over the accounts. She’s got a keen eye for numbers, and if Father was happy for her to undertake what some would call a gentleman’s task, then I am happy too. Why waste a good brain? I’ve never been one to regard females as mere decorative items - though I do appreciate a pretty face - I’m all in favour of ladies learning skills that have previously been denied to them. And when I marry, I’d quite enjoy having someone sensible to talk to of an evening. Alas, not many females are as educated my sister, so I suppose I’ll just have to look for a wife who is quiet and biddable.

Back to my perfect day. If I have time in the afternoon I’d enjoy a visit to Manton’s shooting parlour. It’s been a long time since I was there and I’m rather rusty. George, my brother-in-law and I made a rare trip to our club the other night - he doesn’t come out much now that he’s married Julia. Anyway, on our way home we were set upon by ruffians; it was a good thing that George had his pistol on him. To be honest, my perfect day wouldn’t include visiting my club, I find card games rather boring. No, what interests me are the scientific lectures given at the Royal Institution. I’ve seen Humphry Davy there several times, you must have heard of him. He’s a Cornishman too, you know.

Sir Humphry Davy, National Portrait Gallery 

You’ve mentioned that you’d like to get married at some point. Do you have anyone in mind?

Not at all. I haven’t had time to give the subject much thought actually, what with all my responsibilities. I know that I’d like someone who wouldn’t cause me too much trouble - Julia was enough of a handful and I’m glad that she is George’s problem now. Not that she did anything scandalous, it’s just that she was so lively and adventurous I spent half my time worrying about her. Yes, I’d like a docile wife who enjoys routine and who will be happy to stay at home and raise our children. I’m afraid that I’ve lost my taste for adventure.

Well, it’s been lovely chatting to you, Miss Yarde. I now need to make haste and journey to Minster Lovell and discover what’s been going on at this estate I’ve inherited. Yes, I’ll be relieved when that’s all sorted and I can get on with my quiet, ordered life.

Penny Hampson writes mysteries, and because she has a passion for history, you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel in 2018, soon followed by more in the same genre. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romance set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog. Penny can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Penny’s Books:
THE GENTLEMEN SERIES (Regency Historical Mystery/Romances)
A Gentleman’s Promise (revised 2nd edition coming soon!)
An Officer’s Vow: purchase link 
A Bachelor’s Pledge: purchase link
The Unquiet Spirit (A spooky contemporary mystery/romance) purchase link 

A short story by Penny ~ ‘The Rowan Tree’  A tale with a twist, is published in Dark Scotland, an anthology of dark tales. All royalties go to two Scottish charities ME Research UK and The Halliday Foundation.  Purchase link.


  1. Thank you for featuring Richard on your blog, Mary Anne. I think he's got over the shock of speaking to an unchaperoned young lady!

  2. Your new book sounds amazing, Penny. I really enjoyed your character's interview!!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx