Tuesday 14 July 2015

The Viking and the Courtesan - Time Travel with Shehanne Moore

Shehanne Moore is one of my favourite people - and one of my favourite authors. When I decide to take a break from horror, my preferred default genre is historical. I love losing myself in other worlds, other times. Shehanne has the ability to bring a fresh, new perspective to historical romance which, mercifully, takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride, far removed from heaving bosoms and fainting heroines. She has a fantastic new release - The Viking and the Courtesan - coming out on July 29th and is my guest today. At the heart of her new story is a timeslip and here she talks about a most curious incident involving a tragic Queen and a couple of Edwardian lady academics...


  "You’re face to face with the woman who ruined France.”

Time travel? It is possible? A large number of authors certainly think so. Look at all the films, books and TV series that have been made and written about just that subject. And even though it’s now 2015 and we don’t have hover boards like this...

... we still love the thought we might.

Surely this guy here is a time traveller….right?

The clothes, the sun glasses…everything is wrong for the vintage.

And this woman has no clue how she got there.

You could ask an aunt of mine, only she’s dead now, who was convinced she once met two women from the future. Well, she thought they were space travellers but their clothes would not be out of place today.

Anyway, the lovely and talented Catherine Cavendish, whose books I adore so much I am tapping my fingers waiting for her new one, Dark Avenging Angel:

(Blushes) Thank you, Shey!
and who has been kind enough to invite me here today, is famed not just for her wonderful, horror stories but her spooky blog. So, firstly, after thanking her, what I am going to talk about today, is the creepy Moberly-Jourdain incident and how two extremely well educated ladies came to be regarded as nutcases.

Eleanor Jourdain
Prior to taking up her appointment as Vice Principal St. Hughes College, of Charlotte Anne Moberly had gone to stay with Eleanor Jourdain in Paris. The possibility of going to the Palace of Versailles was discussed and they did indeed travel there with a Baedeker guidebook. As with all guidebooks—certainly ones I’ve come across—they found the description differed from what was clearly written on the page. What was that old deserted farmhouse doing smack bang in the middle of the road? In fact where was the road? As for the turning for the main avenue? How could the guidebook have it so wrong? 

They would be writing a strongly worded letter of complaint to Baedeker’s publishers when they got home.

Still, although everything began to look ‘wrong’ they hurried on, not wanting to ask directions of the ‘repulsive man in the shady hat’, skulking on a bench. Imagine their relief when they finally crossed a bridge and reached the gardens in front of the palace and saw a lady just like themselves. Only she wasn’t like themselves. She was like Marie Antoinette….with her head still attached of course. (Sorry Cat, your blog does this to me.) (
Quite understandable, Shey - Cat)

Anyway, the women found their way out of Versailles and back to Paris. After a while they began to question whether Versailles was haunted. The actual date they were there was the same date in 1792 when the Tuileries palace in Paris was besieged, the king's Swiss guards were massacred, and the monarchy itself was abolished six weeks later. Convinced that it was haunted they decided to go back but of farmhouse, bench and bridge, there was no sign. So, then, after trying to determine whether a private party had been taking place that day—apparently, the French poet Montesquiou did give parties there--where his guests dressed up in period costume, their next move was to publish a book. It was called An Adventure and caused something of a sensation. Marie Antoinette was alive and well and living in 1901 apparently.

Moberly, not content with the spectacle she was making of herself, went on to meet the Roman emperor Constantine, a man of unusual height wearing a gold crown and a toga, in the Louvre (as you do), while Jourdain caused a sensation during the First World War when she insisted a German spy was hiding in St Hugh’s College.

It’s very easy to dismiss these women and their fanciful claims. Let’s be clear, there is not a single documented piece of evidence to support the fact that time travel is possible and has ever happened. We writers know that a time travel story requires the suspension of disbelief.

Here’s the rub though, before we get too sceptical on the subject of time travel and these two ladies in particular. They went to Versailles in 1901. In 1903 an old map of the Trianon Gardens at Versailles was discovered. Remember that bridge, the one they couldn’t find when they went back there because it didn’t exist? It was on the map. 

Now read on, for an extract from The Viking and the Courtesan:

Malice shook her head fervently. “I have a husband.” It was true, wasn’t it? Even if that husband was Cyril and he wasn’t up to much.

“Then where is he?”


A good question. One she hadn’t considered. She was the first to admit Cyril and the Vikings wouldn’t be a good idea. He’d be sure to offer them a drink and her knowledge of them was it was the worst thing to offer a Viking--short of offering them a woman anyway. But just suppose he was about? Was she meant to believe she was the only one blighted by the intensity of that kiss? That he wasn’t about somewhere? Again, her mother crept into her head. It had been very strange behaviour for someone on their death bed. And now, she came to think of it, there hadn’t actually been a funeral, more a sort of memory planted by Aunt Carter eventually. Suppose--oh God—it was a family thing?

“See! She don’t have no husband because she’s one of them. Liar! Liar!”

Malice’s throat constricted. Once again she was the object of ridicule, the unloved child, the freak other children called names, pointed at because she was that tiny bit different and the world she inhabited was one they didn’t understand.

She would rather face the Vikings than this. Only that wasn’t an option. As for Cyril, he wasn’t an option either, whether he was here, or not. Nor could he very well raise any alarm about her disappearance when he didn’t even know it was her in that bedroom. There was only one thing she could do with her back against the wall like this even if she’d sooner swallow a crocodile, its Aunt Sally, its aged grandmother and the aged grandmother’s Uncle Herbert. It would be a hideous disfigurement.

What other choice did she have? If she didn’t they would kill her.

Very well.” She extended her hand. “Give me that knife.” 

Coming from Soul Mate Publishing 29th July 2015

In 898 AD she wasn’t just from another land.

Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce obtaining, Lady Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin--a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?

She came from another time.

Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice.

One kiss is all it takes to flash between two worlds

But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be? Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?

Where worlds collide can love melt the iciest heart? 

You can pre-order The Viking and the Courtesan here:

You can connect with Shehanne here:


  1. Cat, my own lovely angel, thank you so-oh much for this xxxxxxxxxx

  2. Cat Ps...... I love what yah say re heaving bosoms. This may yet become my tag lineX

    1. I can see that actually - 'no bosoms were heaved in the writing of this novel' - it could catch on! :)

    2. Love it. Gonna get a card up alter today..when I have done the boring stuff like the cleaning now! If only I could borrow one of Sin's house slaves for that.

  3. What a fabulous post! Time travel? I'd like to think its possible. While writing my (not yet released) historical book based on my family history I must admit I felt I was really there in 1914. Thank you to two of my favourite people for this wonderful post. xx

    1. Aw Noelle, lovely to see you. I tell you this I HAD to believe it was for this book! But you know I am sketching out book 2 in a series now

    2. Thank you for joining us, Noelle. I've been writing a story set in 1913 Vienna and it felt very real to me too!

    3. OOOH. The place to be eh! Got shivers on my spine already x

  4. What a fun post! And I loved the excerpt.

  5. Aubrey!!! Yir too kind. Lovely to see you though xxxx

  6. Lovely to see you Jane. I know how busy you are. x

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