Friday 12 April 2024

1571, and the beautiful, headstrong daughter of a French Count marries the son of the Vice Admiral of the Fleet of the West in Queen Elizabeth’s chapel at Greenwich. It sounds like a marriage made in heaven...

The Dartington Bride
By Rosemary Griggs
Audiobook narrated by Rosemary Griggs

Publication Date: 28th March 2024
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Page Count: 368 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

1571, and the beautiful, headstrong daughter of a French Count marries the son of the Vice Admiral of the Fleet of the West in Queen Elizabeth’s chapel at Greenwich. It sounds like a marriage made in heaven...

Roberda’s father, the Count of Montgomery, is a prominent Huguenot leader in the French Wars of Religion. When her formidable mother follows him into battle, she takes all her children with her.

After a traumatic childhood in war-torn France, Roberda arrives in England full of hope for her wedding. But her ambitious bridegroom, Gawen, has little interest in taking a wife.

Received with suspicion by the servants at her new home, Dartington Hall in Devon, Roberda works hard to prove herself as mistress of the household and to be a good wife. But there are some who will never accept her as a true daughter of Devon.

After the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Gawen’s father welcomes Roberda’s family to Dartington as refugees. Compassionate Roberda is determined to help other French women left destitute by the wars. But her husband does not approve. Their differences will set them on an extraordinary path...


November 1573–1574

He hesitated on the threshold so I called out, gay as you please, ‘Come, husband. Is our daughter not the most beautiful babe you ever saw?’ But Gawen made no move. His eyes were fixed on the swaddled baby as I lay back on the pillows in the bed we had shared. 
A slow grin spread across his face, a flash of pride and wonder as he looked at our little girl. He reached into the cradle, touched the tiny fingers and sighed. But then he straightened up, and gave his shoulders a little shake as though he had just remembered something. When next he spoke stern lines had chased away the joyful countenance of a new father. 
‘Looks as red and wrinkled as any newborn babe to me!’ he answered gruffly, pulling his fingers through his disordered hair. ‘I rode hard to be here in time, thinking to welcome my son.’ My head jerked up as though he had struck me. 
‘She is a fine healthy child and we are young. Boys will follow,’ I snapped. 
‘Hmph! Perhaps... I leave at first light,’ was the only reply he gave. 
‘So soon? Why?’
‘Walsingham has need of me.’ 
‘Walsingham? So you go to France?’ 
‘Walsingham was recalled months ago,’ he sighed wearily. A vein stood out at his temple, a sure sign Gawen was not in a good mood. ‘He’s to be appointed to the Privy Council and made Principal Secretary to the queen. ’Twill be interesting to see how that goes!’ He flopped into a seat by the window. 
‘Why? What do you mean?’ 
‘She laughs at his sober ways and labels him a rank Puritan. Even calls him her moor for his dark dress. We’ll see some sparks fly, no doubt.’ Gawen looked up and gave me a gloomy stare. ‘Dale is the new ambassador in Paris. I can’t say what that may mean for me.’ 
‘I’m sure you’d rather be aboard ship,’ I answered and then, casting around for safer ground, ‘Jacques said your mission to relieve La Rochelle went well.’ 
‘Jacques! Pah! That fool!’ he exploded, tapping his fingers on the windowsill. ‘I expect he’s told you a fine tale!’ 
‘That your fleet took prizes but was forced back by bad weather,’ I answered. 
‘The truth of it is that your father blundered!’ he growled as his chin went up. ‘Completely misjudged the strength of the French fleet that opposed us. We had to turn tail and run for Belle Isle! Put into Plymouth briefly, after that on to Jersey.’ 
I remembered how he hadn’t even bothered to come to see me while he was in Plymouth. 
‘Pah!’ he exclaimed again. ‘The relief of La Rochelle was no great success and I will forever be associated with it.’ He crossed his arms over his chest. ‘It will be the other Champernowne who is remembered there. Henry! The heroic soldier who would die for his cause, not Gawen the failed sea captain who ran before the wind.’ Gawen’s expression became even harder and I could see the tension in his shoulders. With sudden clarity I understood how dark a shadow Henry Champernowne had cast over my husband’s young life. I ached to soothe his hurt, if only his pride would allow it. 
‘I’ve got your father to thank for that disaster. It will forever hang round my neck! And on top of that he sent your brother to William of Orange, not me!’ A sudden cloud blotted out the sun, pitching Gawen into murky shadow. I shifted my position on the bed and waited for him to speak again. 
‘Your father’s plans for the next sally had better be good,’ he said at last. 
‘What, more war? I thought after La Rochelle there was another peace agreement in France?’ 
‘It only grants limited freedom of worship to Protestants; only within three towns, and even then only in their own homes. Not enough to satisfy your father and others like him.’ 
‘So what does it mean for you? Will you be able to come home to Dartington?’ 
‘I doubt it. I must report to Walsingham. He might want me to keep watch on your father.’ 
‘You would spy on my papa?’ I snapped the question at him and he leaped up and crossed the room. With a face like thunder he picked up Diane the doll and turned her over in his hands, then looked at me. I shifted on the bed. I could feel Gawen’s angry eyes boring right through me, dissolving the spark of sympathy I’d felt for him just a moment earlier. 
‘Pah! French fripperies!’ he snorted as he set the doll down. ‘Spy on your father? You could say that, I suppose. They might send me to France to act as messenger boy again, but I’d far rather fight. Better still, I’d rather sail with Francis Drake.’ I sighed. So he’s still going on about that jumped-up sea captain …

Pick up your copy of
The Dartington Bride

Rosemary Griggs

Author and speaker Rosemary Griggs has been researching Devon’s sixteenth-century history for years. She has discovered a cast of fascinating characters and an intriguing network of families whose influence stretched far beyond the West Country and loves telling the stories of the forgotten women of history – the women beyond the royal court; wives, sisters, daughters and mothers who played their part during those tumultuous Tudor years: the Daughters of Devon. 
Her novel A Woman of Noble Wit tells the story of Katherine Champernowne, Sir Walter Raleigh’s mother, and features many of the county’s well-loved places. 
Rosemary creates and wears sixteenth-century clothing, a passion which complements her love for bringing the past to life through a unique blend of theatre, history and re-enactment. Her appearances and talks for museums and community groups all over the West Country draw on her extensive research into sixteenth-century Devon, Tudor life and Tudor dress, particularly Elizabethan. 
Out of costume, Rosemary leads heritage tours of the gardens at Dartington Hall, a fourteenth-century manor house and now a visitor destination and charity supporting learning in arts, ecology and social justice.

Connect with Rosemary:

#HistoricalFiction #Devon #Elizabethan #FrenchWarsOfReligion #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub


  1. Rosemary, your book sounds truly wonderful. Congratulations.

  2. Congratulations on your new release, Rosemary. I hope you are having fun on your tour! The Dartington Bride sounds like it is a really great read. What made you decide to write about this era in history?

  3. Thank you so much for featuring Rosemary Griggs today.

    Take care,
    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

    1. You are more than welcome. It is always a please to host The Coffee Pot Book Club blog tours!

  4. Congratulations on your new release.

  5. What a pretty cover. Your book sounds really good, Rosemary.

  6. Congratulations on your new release


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