More than a year ago, a group of us joined together to create a new series of Regency-based stories. The premise behind the project was to take a “tragic figure” from classic literature and present him or her a happy ending. We would be moving the story, no matter the original setting, into the late Georgian to early Victorian era, roughly 1790 to 1840. The chosen characters are found in public domain stories, and the series is entitled “Love After All.” Releases will be staggered and published by each individual author. The idea is to present the “tragic character” a happy ending.
Earlier in November (November 7), Lindsay Downs released The Monster Within,The Monster Without, which is based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Today, November 30, 2020, I release I Shot the Sheriff, with a tale of the Sheriff of Nottingham.
December 8, 2020, will bring Audrey Harrison’s The Colonel’s Spinster, featuring Colonel Fitzwilliam from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
December 29, 2020, brings Alina K. Field and her tale of Lancelot and Guinevere, entitled, Fated Hearts.
January 1, 2021, will bring us Alanna Lucas’s tale of Catherine and Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights in the form of The Redemption of Heathcliff.
January 11, 2021, has the retelling of Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert tale from the pen of Nancy Lawrence. It will be entitled The Company She Keeps.
I will be back again on February 19, 2021, with the tale of Miles Standish from Longfellow’s “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” It will be entitled Captain Stanwick’s Bride.
Louisa Cornell will brings us the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice in Glorious Obsession, which will arrive on February 26, 2021.
NOTE: Additional stories will be added as they are arranged.
As most of you realize the Sheriff of Nottingham is the main antagonist in the Robin Hood stories—stories upon which I grew up reading on a regular basis. In fact, I still own a copy of 25 collected tales of Robin Hood, which my grandfather had received from his father when he was but 11 years of age. It has a 1912 copyright date, making it over 100 years old. The Sheriff is generally depicted as an unjust tyrant who mistreats the local people of Nottinghamshire, subjecting them to unaffordable taxes. Robin Hood fights against him, stealing from the rich, and the Sheriff, in order to give to the poor; a characteristic for which Robin Hood is best known. I grew up despising the Sheriff and adoring Robin Hood, so taking on this challenge was initially a bit daunting. Then I remembered how as a tongue-in-cheek moment, I added the Sheriff in book 6 of my Realm series, A Touch of Love, to see if anyone caught it. Ironically, if anyone did, he/she did not comment on my moment of brilliance some five years before this project fell into my lap. Little did I realize when I wrote A Touch of Love that it would serve as the basis for this new novel.
In I Shot the Sheriff, the reader will encounter several characters from the Realm series, most particularly, Mr. Aristotle Pennington, Aidan Kimbolt, Lord Lexford, and Mr. Henry Hill. This new story actually starts with a scene from A Touch of Love. As I said previously, I was simply wondering if any of the loyal readers of this Regency series would take note that I had used William de Wendenal, the suspected name of the Sheriff of Nottingham of the Robin Hood tales, in this new story? Now, I can do the reverse. Will readers of I Shot the Sheriff recognize the characters from my Realm series?
In the Realm series, Sir Carter Lowery, an agent for the Home Office, is hunting for a group of men involved in an art theft ring. In chapter eleven, we find the following mention of de Wendenal:
Carter met with the local sheriff regarding the attack. With McLauren’s assistance, he convinced Lord de Wendenal to leave the stranger in Carter’s custody overnight, but the effort proved fruitless. His assailant refused to provide his name or the reasons for the attack. What troubled Carter the most was he still held no idea whether he or Mrs. Warren was the shooter’s target.
Later, in Chapter Twenty-Four, when several of those involved in the theft ring have been caught, we find:
Pennington agreed and placed the finishing touches to their plans.
“If none of you object, I believe it might be best to have Lord de Wendenal involved in transporting our prisoners.”
“Why do we require the Sheriff of Nottingham?” Worthing asked. “Is there not someone closer?”
“First, de Wendenal’s auspices also covers Derbyshire. Moreover, my reports say some eight years prior, his lordship had several dealings with Ransing. At the time, I had no reason to think Ransing involved in stolen art, but I did think him connected to a smuggling ring in Kent. De Wendenal’s involvement in the case will provide the man the opportunity to turn over any stolen goods he might have acquired, setting an example for other members of the aristocracy,” Pennington explained.
“Do you think de Wendenal honest enough to respond as you wish?” Lexford inquired with a lift of his eyebrows in suspicion.
“I think Lord de Wendenal serves his office to the Crown well, and I do not place merit in the rumors of his dealings with the Earl of Sherwood. As to whether de Wendenal deals in stolen goods, I would say no more so than the average peer considers the brandy he drinks as contraband. Much of the so-called luxuries, we as a social class enjoy, are smuggled into the country. I am well aware of de Wendenal’s reputation, but Inot convinced he is corrupt. Unwise, very much so. Made many poor decisions in his youth, absolutely. But none worse than those owned by the Duke of Thornhill, and we all know Brantley Fowler’s true worth.”
They all nodded their agreement. “You know best in such matters,” Godown assured.
“I will have Henderson and Van Dyke accompany the sheriff and the prisoners to London. Give the event a more official look with local magistrates and the Home Office working together. I will send another of our men to take possession of Woodstone’s associates later in the week. From what Lexford and Worthing shared, I suspect the two who assisted with Mrs. Warren’s abduction were nothing more than a pair of unemployed lackeys.”
Finally, in Chapter Twenty-Six, two of the leaders of the theft ring stage an attack on Prince George, heir to the British throne. It is this attack which sets the beginning of I Shot the Sheriff. We read:
“Remain with me, my boy,” Prinny said through tight lips and a fake smile.
Through the champagne glass’s shine, Carter noted how Lord Worthing had crossed the musicians’ raised dais to stand some ten feet behind the prince’s attacker, and Swenton approached slowly from the man’s right. Surprisingly, Lord de Wendenal, the Sheriff of Nottingham, edged forward on the left.
In the original Robin Hood tales, we do not upon the sheriff’s character is based. More likely is a composite character, a mix of the stock characters at the time and the real people who served as the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and the Royal Forests. As most of the Robin Hood tales are set during the absence of King Richard I of England during the Third Crusade, the character of the Sheriff is likely based on the little-known William de Wendenal, which is what I have done in my tale.
The real William de Wendenal was the High Sheriff of Nottingham and Derbyshire from 1190 to 1194. We know little of his life. He assumed his duties in 1190 from baron Roger de Lizoures. However, when King Richard the Lionheart returned to England in March 1194, William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby succeeded William de Wendenal as the High Sheriff. After that, de Wendenal disappears from the historical record. That is, until I brought him back to life (so to speak) in I Shot the Sheriff.
How does one reform the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham? Easy. With Patience.
William de Wendenal, the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham, has come to London, finally having wormed his way back into the good graces of the Royal family. Yet, not all of Society is prepared to forgive his former “supposed” transgressions, especially the Earl of Sherwood.
However, when de Wendenal is wounded in an attempt to protect Prince George from an assassin, he becomes caught up in a plot involving stolen artwork, kidnapping, murder, and seduction that brings him to Cheshire where he must willingly face a gun pointed directly at his chest and held by the one woman who stirs his soul, Miss Patience Busnick, the daughter of a man de Wendenal once escorted to prison.
I Shot the Sheriff is based on the classic tales of Robin Hood, but it is given a twist and brought into the early 19th Century’s Regency era. Can even de Wendenal achieve a Happily Ever After? If anyone can have the reader cheering for the Sheriff of Nottingham’s happiness, it is award-winning author Regina Jeffers.
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY: I HAVE 3 eBOOK COPIES OF “I SHOT THE SHERIFF” AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO COMMENT BELOW. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AND PRIZES DELIVERED ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4. THE GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT EST ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2020.