Monday 22 January 2024

Guest Post With Luisa A. Jones 

This week I'm delighted to welcome author Luisa A. Jones back to the blog for the first guest post of 2024 and the first in my series featuring my fellow Cariad writers. The Cariad Chapter meets in person each month in Cardiff and on Zoom, also monthly, where RNA members come together for writerly chat from Norway, Italy, Cornwall, the Midlands and the South of England as well as those authors living locally in South Wales. Luisa's second historical novel, The Broken Vow, is published by Storm today, 22nd January, so I'm honoured that she's going to share her publication day with us and tell us what it's been like writing a novel about a minor character from her wonderful first novel, The Gilded Cage

Luisa, welcome. It's over to you.

Hi Jan. Thank you very much for inviting me to explain how I tackled writing The Broken Vow using a minor character from book 1.

In my first historical novel, The Gilded Cage, I introduced Charlotte Fitznorton. Charlotte was a spoiled and dislikable character, rude to her stepmother Rosamund, and oblivious to her sufferings. Encouraged by her odious father and snooty aunt, Charlotte’s only goal in life was to bag herself an aristocratic husband, and thus improve the status of the Fitznorton family.

The obvious topic for a sequel to The Gilded Cage was a continuation of Rosamund’s story. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was attracted to the idea of exploring what had made Charlotte such a spiky, unpleasant character. I wanted to know whether such a selfish young miss could mature into a young woman with a more generous and empathetic heart. I was partly inspired by Jane Austen’s reference to her wonderful character Emma as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”. Could I achieve a plausible character growth with Charlotte, or had I made her too obnoxious? What would it take to transform her?

Charlotte’s redeeming feature in The Gilded Cage was her love for her father, the hateful Sir Lucien. This didn’t manifest in positive ways: she craved his attention and disliked her stepmother, whom she saw as a potential rival for his affection. Charlotte’s growth would depend upon her developing a better understanding of the harsh realities of the world. She wasn’t an educated girl, and had been brought up with limited ambition or expectation. As long as she got her society wedding and a handsome husband who satisfied her father’s ambitions, she would be content. In The Broken Vow, I needed her to discover that she could be more than a trophy wife, and that marriage might not be enough to satisfy her in the long run. She needed to witness and experience events which would force her to grow up; to make mistakes, but ultimately to understand the satisfaction to be gained from doing things for others and finding an interesting purpose in life.

As well as encountering events which would make her confront her mistaken ideas and become a better person, Charlotte needed a positive role model. One of my favourite characters in The Broken Vow is Charlotte’s friend Venetia Vaughan-Lloyd, a former suffragette, whose world view is poles apart from Charlotte’s. Venetia’s experience of disability and past heartbreak, and her charitable works, have given her insights into a darker side of life. She’s a few years older, and more politically aware than Charlotte, with a better understanding of what a woman might achieve. Her good-humoured honesty and can-do attitude make her a perfect mentor.

It was a joy to bombard Charlotte with problems which would eventually transform her (with a little help from her friends). I hope readers will love following her redemptive coming-of-age journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.



Booklink: The Broken Vow


Marriage was what Charlotte had been brought up to. After all, it provided a happy ending for all the heroines in the novels she sometimes read. So it would be for her... right?

Born into luxury, Charlotte Fitznorton has always known a life filled with lavish parties and a line of suitors, all part of a future neatly laid out for her by her father, Sir Lucien. She is to marry well and continue the line at Plas Norton, the family seat. When Eustace Chadwycke - the son of a viscount - proposes just before leaving to fight in France, it seems Charlotte's destiny is perfectly falling into place. 

Then, tragedy strikes. Her father dies unexpectedly, and her future hangs in the balance - threatened by her hated stepmother Rosamund's surprise pregnancy. News of Eustace, returning from the war broken by its horrors, leaves Charlotte fearing her engagement may be as fragile as her inheritance.

Determined to at least save her impending marriage, Charlotte pours her energy into turning Plas Norton into a healing place for Eustace and other war-weary soldiers. But small-minded townspeople, a bossy head nurse, and her newborn baby sister's arrival push Charlotte to her limits. 

Just as hope is slipping through her fingers, a mysterious stranger arrives at Plas Norton. This newcomer holds the power to upend everything Charlotte has fought to preserve. Will she have the strength to protect her legacy, or could this visitor awaken a desire in Charlotte for a different life altogether?

A beautiful and heartbreaking historical novel, if you loved anything by Fiona Valpy or Lucinda Riley, this book is for you.

Author bio:
Luisa A. Jones lives in South Wales and takes inspiration from the Welsh countryside, towns, history, and of course its people. Her writing explores the dynamics within relationships, the pressures that mental health issues can exert on people, and how these can be overcome. 

Luisa studied Classical Studies at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London. Her previous jobs have included tour guide in an historic house; teacher in both primary and secondary schools; careers adviser; and corporate trainer/assessor.

Luisa loves using her creativity for crafting and baking, as well as writing historical and contemporary fiction with romantic elements. She and her husband are the proud owners of Gwynnie, a Volkswagen camper van built in 1974, which inspired the story behind Luisa's first book, Goes Without Saying. They have three children, a dog and two cats.

Becoming an author fulfilled a lifelong ambition. Her first historical novel in The Fitznortons series, The Gilded Cage, was released by Storm Publishing in 2023, followed by the sequel, The Broken Vow, in January 2024.

Thank you, Luisa. After thoroughly enjoying The Gilded Cage where I met Charlotte Fitznorton for the first time, I can't wait to see how her character grows and changes in The Broken Vow. The stunning cover and intriguing blurb have made me even more impatient to start reading it.

Thank you for reading. I'm sure like me you found Luisa's post interesting. Have you read other books where a character changes and transforms as he/she matures? I'd love it if you shared the title in the comments. Thank you.
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'I just adore Jan Baynham's books - they each read like a beautiful saga - stretching over a couple of generations, the stories just grab you and draw you in.' 
Amazon Reviewer 5*


  1. Loved the debut novel. Wonderful to discover how the character took over. I can't wait to read this. Jessie x

  2. Thank you for commenting, Jessie. I love the idea that a character in The Gilded Cage will change and change for the better.