Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Remember When . . . The Gang Was All Together?

Okay, I just spent a ridiculous amount of time doctoring that photo that you can barely see in the title image, trying to make this Edwardian family at least pretend to match mine, LOL. Anyway...

In a month, you'll get to meet The Family. The group of orphans and outcasts and misfits that have decided to stick together at all costs. To love each other. To sacrifice for each other. To beg, borrow, and steal to take care of each other. You're about to meet a gang of thieves with a strange code of honor. The family of the Shadows Over England Series.

I hope you like them as much as I do.

In a perfect world, y'all will love this series so much that books will fly off the shelves and my publisher will be begging me to extend the series (ahem). In all likelihood, we'll have only the three I've already sold to them, focusing on the eldest of the twelve children in this family--Rosemary Gresham, Willa Forsythe, and Barclay Pearce. But I wanted to take a minute to introduce you to the rest of the gang and tell you a bit about them, since the books, in an effort not to overwhelm you with names and identities, keep those details sparse.

For the purposes of this list, ages given are as they are in A Name Unknown.

The leader of this patchwork clan and hero of book 3, Barclay is the quintessential "big brother." Overprotective and often accused (lovingly) of being a tyrant, he's the one who set out the rules--never steal from those worse off, never give a gift that was stolen, etc--and enforces them. Though the other "siblings" occasionally resent him, they also adore him. He's the one who teaches them all how to blend in with society, though no one's quite sure how he learned. He's remained decidedly mum about his early history; he met Rosemary and Willa when he was about 11.

Our heroine in book 1, Rosemary is a Cockney girl whose parents died of fever when she was 8. Barkeeper Pauly found her rooting through his garbage and introduced her to Barclay and Willa. She's a whiz with a needle and can create clothing for them all to ensure they blend in when they sneak into galas in search of pretty baubles. And she's also a whiz with languages. It's the fact that she taught herself German for the British Museum heist that gets her the attention of Mr. V...which sets the whole series in motion.

WILLA (23)
Heroine in book 2, Willa is a cynical, untrusting young woman . . . and a violin prodigy. Abandoned by her parents when she was 6, Willa carried emotional baggage far heavier than her violin case--and is quite happy to stay forever with the family that chose her, and who she chose. So long as she has her beat-up instrument and the little stump of a stage that Pauly built for her in his pub, she'll be just fine.

RETTA (21)
 There's always a lover of beauty to be found in the dirtiest streets, and that's Retta. Art is her passion...and copying it her gift. Which translates to very helpful skills like forging invitations to events...or documents, passports, and the like. Orphaned in a fire when she was 5, the original trio took her in that night, and she's never looked back.

One of the oldest of the siblings but one of the newer additions to the family, Georgie hasn't ever quite submitted to Barclay's authority--but he's so stinking endearing about it that they all just roll their eyes and give him a hug. Georgie is one of the first to sign up when war is declared--can't beat 3 square meals a day, right?--and the family can't stop missing him, disobedience and all.

Ellie, it must be said, is getting far too pretty. And pretty doesn't blend in well, so they have to be very careful which jobs they give her these days--restrictions she chafes under. And of course, the less the family lets her do, the more determined she is to prove herself. Elinor generally puts on her very-pretty smile, but it's sometimes by sheer determination--she's the only member of the family who was a part of, and then escaped, the orphanage and work house system.

LUCY (16)
 Lucy was only a baby the night that same fire that orphaned Retta left her homeless as well. She remembers nothing but the family that took her in. They can tell by looking at her, of course, that she has a bit of India flowing in her veins, and the assumptions people in London make when they see her means that she can blend in perfectly with the servant class whenever she needs to find something out about a house or family. She's also just discovering a true passion for baking and cooking.

At that age when she's not quite a child and not quite a grown-up, Cress is still sheltered from the family "business"...and eager to become a part of it and truly be one of them.

Possessed with a sharp mind--and an equally sharp tongue--ginger-haired Fergus never minds telling people how it is, or how he wants it to be. And how can anyone turn down his freckle-faced charm? He's perfectly at home in the family that took him in six years ago and can't imagine life without them.

JORY (8)
Little Marjory has known nothing but the family either--and is a sister after Barclay's own heart, always having a book in hand. You won't ever hear her say much, but she quietly wraps the older ones around her finger and holds them there with a grin.

Nigel might have physically blended in better with another gang, being of African descent, but his heart is all the family's. He was another of Pauly's rescues, and never regrets for a minute choosing to put his hand in Barclay's and make their home his three years before.

The youngest of the crew, Olivia was just a tot when Rosemary and Willa found her in the arms of her dying mother, who begged them to see her to safety. They, of course, obliged and took her in. They don't even know her last name, but that's all right--when she's old enough, she can choose one of theirs.

Quite the gang, eh? I'm still getting to know some of them myself, but it's a joy to do so. They each have their quirks and charms, and I can't wait to introduce you all more thoroughly in the pages of the books! 


  1. Oooooooooooo, these sound like SUCH a fun gang. I'm glad that Discerning Lilies shared your post on Facebook so I could come upon it. Thanks for sharing the crew!

  2. I for one, after these descriptions, don't know WHY your publisher wouldn't jump at the chance for more books in the series. There is soooo much to discover! Just tell them Dee Henderson and Dani Pettrey did It!!! Tell them you are one of my top 10 favorite authors! Blessings!

  3. Well, I would definitely love to read the stories of the other family members! I've already pre-ordered A Name Unknown and I can't wait to read it!