From the archives: how my love of silver played out on the page!
I love silver. In all its guises. From silver cuffs and statement rings to sugar bowls and tea pots, the lure of a finely wrought piece of silver is irresistible. The hours I’ve spent in the silver hall at the Victoria & Albert museum gliding from one stunning display to the next, have given me an appreciation for silver as art, as utilitarian, and as historical record.
But, as a child, silver meant only one thing. We were eating in the dining room, and all the knives, forks and spoons had to be polished before company arrived. These days my flatware spends more time in the drawer than it does on the table, but not my silver candlesticks.
They are a thing of beauty.
Nothing is more elegant, or flattering, than basking in the soft glow of candlelight. Or more romantic. But before the advent of electricity and gas lighting, candles had a far more practical use, as did silver. Its reflective qualities made life, upstairs at any rate, a little easier and a whole lot brighter.
And there was the beginning of the story.
A single 18th century antique candlestick, rumored to be part of a much larger collection once belonging to King George II, has come on the market. Attracting our modern-day silver expert Samantha Redfern and her boss, Chas Porter, who for very different reasons, are both desperate to own it.
The candlestick was in superb condition.
Just under nine inches in height with a circular base, swirling shell motifs rising up its stem and a petal-shaped lip surrounding the socket. In a London sale, he would expect it to sell for another five hundred pounds. At least. A pair wouldn’t just double the price, it would triple it.
The candlestick’s monetary value has little to do with the story. It’s all about history, Chas’ and Sam’s, and how a single candlestick can change everything.
When Chas asks Sam about her interest in silver in Chapter Two of Outbid by the Boss, her passion bubbles to the surface. She reveals more than she knows, about herself, her childhood and her family.
…“I saw a painting when I was a young girl…called Five O’Clock Tea. It was only a picture in a book…about women silversmiths,” she blushed slightly. “Two young Victorian women sitting on a chintz sofa. There’s a silver tea service arranged on the table in front of them. One wears a hat and gloves and sips from a delicate porcelain cup. She’s the visitor. They’re just friends having tea, yet it was so…captivating.”
Enchanted, Chas watched the memories play across Sam’s face. She really was beautiful, and so much more real to him than she had ever been before.
She must have sensed he was looking at her. “I guess I was hooked.”
“On silver?” asked Chas.
Sam laughed. “Tea parties. My grandmother was a good sport.”
The painting Sam refers to is by Mary Cassatt, an American artist who lived and worked for much of her life in Paris. And the book Sam refers to is on my shelf. Published by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, it catalogues the museum’s collection of works by women silversmiths from 1685 to 1845.
“Businesswomen,” Philippa Glanville writes in the book’s opening chapter, “are not 20th-century phenomena.” Nor was their contribution to the silver industry. They were active business partners, owners and artisans making beautiful and functional objects from buttons and christening cups, to jewellery and candlesticks.
The threads of history continue to intrigue and inspire no matter what I write.
Outbid by the Boss is by Anne Stephenson & Susan Brown writing as Stephanie Browning.
The choice was hers. To follow her dream or stay home and live his.
THE BOY SHE LEFT BEHIND
Last spring Susan and I were asked by Seattle-based author Sierra Hill if we’d like to be part of The All-American Boy Series.
Fifteen stand-alone romances from fifteen best-selling authors all set in the fictional town of Merlot, California. It was a perfect fit for us. And a chance to explore the new adult market which has become increasingly popular in the last few years,. We knew right away we wanted to write a “second-chance” love story…
The second I saw Brock Jamieson, I knew I was in trouble.
The boy I’d left behind four years ago had become a man, rugged, handsome and oozing sex appeal. My mouth watered, but we weren’t high-school sweethearts anymore. And I’d be damned if I’d fall for him again.
My plan was to stay in Merlot for the summer, then head back to the big city and pursue my career. Unlike Brock, I wasn’t heir-apparent to a family winery. I’d fought hard to get into art school.
But none of that mattered to him. He wanted me, Zoe French, back in his arms and back in his life – and this time he was playing for keeps.
The Boy She Left Behind is ready and waiting for you on KIndle Unlimited!
And click here for more books to enjoy in The All American Boy Series
Welcome to Merlot, CA, an idyllic all-American town in wine country where love is in the air, the boys are grown as fine as the wine and the town is a breeding ground for second-chances, weddings, and brand-new beginnings.
The All-American Boy Series gives you a taste of 15 of your favorite bestselling authors’ brand new stories in this shared world experience. All books are standalone but may include cross-over in characters or scenes. Including our very own tale of lovers-reunited, The Boy She Left Behind.
Releases begin January 25th through February 12th on Kindle Unlimited and are now ready for you to pre-order.
Click here for more info and direct links to all 15 titles in the All American Boy Series!
Then grab a glass of wine, put your feet up and let us whisk you away to wine country.
It’s 2021 and we’re excited.
We have two new covers to share and another romance on the way!
When Susan and I first started writing romance as Stephanie Browning, we had three rules:
1. The bedroom door would only be slightly ajar;
2. Our women would be strong-willed and independent, and our men respectful. He could be a hottie on the page, but…
3., There would be no abs on the cover.
But with three contemporary romances and one boxed set already on the market, and a novella on its way, we realized it was time for a fresh look! So we’ve lightened up on the abs, made sure our covers reflected the story inside, and voilà! .
OUTBID BY THE BOSS
When Chas Porter catches Samantha Redfern bidding on an antique candlestick that rightfully belongs to him, he’s furious! But this is no ordinary candlestick; it’s the perfect mate to the only possession of worth Sam’s grandparents took when they fled England. One that Chas is desperate to recover.
MAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
If she’d known Jack Rutherford would walk back into her life, more ruggedly handsome than the day he left, Nicki Hamilton would have stayed in Toronto and left the past where it belonged. But he owes her. Big time. For fifteen years of silence, a dozen unanswered letters, and one broken teenaged heart.
UNDONE BY THE STAR
As heir-apparent to London’s most exclusive hotel, Alexis Kirkwood has spent her life preparing for the top job. But when she mistakes American film star Marc Daniels for a plumber, the sparks fly. An intense intimacy develops…until Marc’s celebrity gets in the way and hijacks Alex’s carefully-laid plans.