Today’s guest has travelled here through air and time. Joseph Flynn comes from 18th Century Ireland, where he plays an important role in Heart of Stone by John Jackson. He is Agent to Lord Belvedere, the former Robert Rochfort. He also forms part of an intelligence network, put in place in a turbulent Ireland, following the Cromwellian Wars.
Joseph has brought a letter to Mr Stafford, a very highly placed functionary at the Horseguards, headquarters of the British Army. Let’s read what he wrote.
To Mr. Stafford,
My dear Mr Stafford,
As requested, I have been following the activities of my employer here in Westmeath.
As your Lordship knows, the Rochfort family remain a dominant force here. The harvest has been terrible, and Mr George Rochfort seems determined to force as many families from their farms as possible. Lord Robert and his lady wife are a curious couple. She is young and sweet natured. Everyone on the estate, and here in Mullingar, loves her. She always makes time to speak to those she meets, including myself. A most amiable lady.
His Lordship is not so amiable. He neglects his estate, and as his agent, that is a matter of much concern to me. I try frequently to bring important matters to his attention, but without success. He seems to have no time for anything but the plans for his new house.
I hear that recruiting for the Army is poor. If the local men can stay on their land, they will. Some of the recruits come from families who have been thrown off their land. They must join the Army or starve. We need a soft winter.
For the rest, the county of Westmeath remains calm. I hear no complaints from the garrison, other than the usual complaints of the soldiery. I have heard occasional reports of French priests wandering the land. Should I hear anything of a definite nature, I will inform your Lordship.
My contacts do advise me that Lord Belvedere, my employer, is most certainly not a popular person. When in his cups he has been known to blurt out matters which should better be left unsaid. Although his young wife seems a most engaging and delightful lady, and, as I stated, is extremely popular in Mullingar and the area, the same cannot be said of her husband. She has already given his lordship a daughter; an event which, for most men would be a cause for rejoicing. Not so for his lordship. He seems to be putting the lack of a son and heir before all other concerns.
I continue to observe all I can, and assuring you of my diligence in service of his Majesty, I remain your humble and obedient servant,
Joseph Flynn. Agent to the Lord Belvedere.
I see. You’re spying on your employer. I suppose you think that’s in a good cause, do you? Ah, he’s gone.
About Heart of Stone
When young and beautiful Mary Molesworth is forced to marry Robert Rochford, widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield, she finds that her idea of love is not returned. Jealous, cruel and manipulative, Robert ignores her after she has provided him with a male heir, preferring to spend his nights with his mistress. Power-hungry, Robert builds up a reputation that sees him reach for the highest positions in Ireland.
Caught in an unhappy marriage, Mary begins to grow closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. Acknowledging their love for each other, they will risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.
Will Mary and Arthur find a way to escape Robert’s clutches?
Based on real events, Heart of Stone is a tale of power, jealousy, imprisonment, and love, set in 1740s Ireland. It is available from Amazon.
About John Jackson
Following a lifetime at sea, John Jackson has now retired and lives in York. After thirty years of non-fiction writing, drafting safety procedures and the like, he has now turned his hand to writing fiction.
An avid genealogist, he found a rich vein of ancestors going back many generations. His forebears opened up Canada and Australia and fought at Waterloo.
A chance meeting with some authors, now increasingly successful, led him to try to turn some of his family history into historical novels.
John is a keen member of the Romantic Novelists Association and graduated through their New Writers Scheme. He is also a member of the Historic Novel Association and an enthusiastic conference-goer for both organizations.
He describes himself as being “Brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, and, like many of my age devoured R L Stevenson, Jane Austen, R M Ballantyne, and the like.”