Maria Bertram's Daughter

Today I have the special privilege of introducing you to one of the new authors at Meryton Press. Her name is Lucy Knight, and she is an English lady who lives in France. Lucy has written a delightful and poignant Mansfield Park sequel, Maria Bertram’s Daughter. We will get to know Lucy a little better later on in the newsletter. Now let's take a look at the front cover and full wrapper designed by Ellen Pickels.


She could be mistress of Mansfield Park. But is that what she wants?

An unwanted child—conceived in circumstances her mother would rather forget—Dorothea Henrietta Rose grows up solitary and neglected with her dissatisfied mother and unpleasant great-aunt Norris. Raised without the knowledge that her mother is her mother or that their occasional visitor, Sir Thomas Bertram, is her grandfather, she is forbidden ever to set foot in Mansfield Park.

Dorothea hopes for a happier life when sent away to school, but her difficulties are not over. She is obliged to make her way in the world as a governess and, thus, encounters human frailty, hypocrisy, good, and evil in her travels throughout England.

She meets the Crawfords—Henry and Mary (now Lady Drumroth)—and inevitably does the one thing she must not do: unwillingly makes herself known to the inhabitants of Mansfield Park.

From the author

Why Mrs Scott Moncrieff for the image of Dorothea?

I spent a long time looking through portraits of the period for someone who looked like Dorothea. This famous picture of Margaritta MacDonald by Raeburn (in the Sottish National Gallery) has exactly the look of wary optimism that Dorothea retains throughout the book, in my imagination.

The gallery blurb says: “This is one of Raeburn's best-loved portraits, but virtually nothing is known of Margaritta MacDonald's personality or life. She married Robert Scott Moncrieff, an Edinburgh wine-merchant and friend of Sir Walter Scott. She died in 1824 and her husband survived her for thirty years. During this time he kept her portrait permanently in his dining-room, and never remarried. The dating of the picture is a guess, based on stylistic grounds. In the last decade of his life Raeburn changed his style, partly influenced by Rembrandt's art, and worked in a more rounded manner, presenting forms in deliberate soft focus.”

In other words, nothing is known about Margaritta apart from the fact that she married Mr Scott Moncrieff and has consequently come to be known always by his name. (One of the themes of the book is that most women have very little power).

You can see that she is holding something back, that she is unable to express herself fully; she is also looking to the future with hope and a belief in beauty and truth, I think.

I often describe Dorothea as “brown-skinned” in the book so a note on that… people with Scottish heritage are often naturally very pale (not much sun up North in Britain) but tan very quickly and easily. (Some do not. The redheads, in particular, tend to freckle). Dorothea had Crawford blood and Crawford is a Lowland Scots surname.

It is often said to be because the Spanish Armada was wrecked off the coasts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland and the Spanish sailors intermarried with the local population. Or it may be a Celtic trait, no-one is certain.

A note on that – I have English, Scottish and Welsh heritage and when I did a DNA test recently, it came back with a large proportion of Scandinavian (from my Shetland forbears) and “Iberian peninsula”. So perhaps there’s something in the Armada theory.

Anyway, I think Margaritta is beautiful and luminous and I wanted her on the cover of my book!



This is the excerpt that was featured at the Meryton Press Blog, Maria Bertram's Daughter Cover Reveal.


Dorothea had a project on hand to dam the little beck and create a “lake” so she could hunt for crayfish. William had taught her about catching them. She chose the largest stones she could carry and, having picked her spot, was arranging them to form a dam when she heard a low whistle; there was William, coming quietly through the bracken with his dog, Peter. In her delight, Dorothea dropped the stone she was carrying, and it fell into the stream with a mighty splash that soaked yet another pinafore.

They both knew they must talk quietly and not be seen. William, though he had never met “the ladies” had heard about them from several quarters, including sources he never should have overheard if it had been known that he was there. The servants gossiped, and the farmers’ wives in the market exchanged scandalised rumours; even his parents had been overheard in speculation about the ladies. His two older brothers had been chased away by Mrs Norris on several occasions, and he had been warned to keep away. They were known to be reclusive and petulant, and while the child was so small and dark and the ladies so large and fair it could not be assumed their relationship was close, yet it was queer, was it not, that they had taken her in and kept her so secluded? They were ladies who appeared the opposite of philanthropic.

“I say,” said William, “it is a bit thick that you cannot come to study with me any longer. It is very dull without you. Father is cross, and mother is sad. We miss you,” he added, which was quite something from a big boy of nearly ten to a small girl of nearly eight.

Dorothea felt the compliment exceedingly.

“But, William,” she said, and in her excitement raised her voice so that he had to hush her, “but, William,” she went on, more quietly, “I shall go to school! I shall learn everything there. I shall learn everything in every book in the school. It will be wonderful. You must not be sad. I daresay I shall come home for the holidays.”


About the Author

Lucy Knight grew up in Whitby, North Yorkshire, now a tourist town but until recently a small and historic port which was known for shipbuilding, fishing (including whaling) and having an important Abbey. During her life she has moved around a great deal both in England and on the continent of Europe; she now lives in a tiny hamlet lost in the French countryside with two rescue dogs, two rescue chickens, an unknown number of bees and eight sheep.

Lucy has two children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in England.

Lucy has only recently begun to write historical fiction but she enjoys it so much she can’t stop! Her background is in comedy and drama, so there will always be some jokes and plenty of dialogue.

When she is not writing, Lucy teaches English and French, and she love to take long walks with her dogs during which she revels in the birds, butterflies, trees and flowers which are so abundant in her part of France.



It’s Giveaway time! Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of Maria Bertram's Daughter. Two lucky readers will each win an eBook. The giveaway is international and will end April 7th at midnight central time. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment at the Meryton Press Blog Post, Maria Bertram's Daughter Cover Reveal. Good luck to all!


Maria Bertram's Daughter may be preordered for delivery April 11th at:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon FR


Maria Bertram's Daughter Blog Tour Schedule

April 11 My Jane Austen Book Club

April 12 So little time…

April 13 Babblings of a Bookworm

April 14 From Pemberley to Milton

April 15 Austenesque Reviews

April 16 The Literary Assistant

April 18 My Vices and Weaknesses

The schedule with links will be featured on the Meryton Press Facebook page and the Meryton Press Blog during the blog tour. 


 Skirmish & Scandal Series

Schemes of Felicity by Suzan Lauder, The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson, Play with Fire by J. Marie Croft, Reckless, Headstrong Girl by Grace Gibson, A Consuming Love by Kelly Miller, Spies of Our Acquaintance by Brigid Huey, and Skirmish & Scandal by C. P. Odom. These are the seven novellas in the "Skirmish & Scandal" Series. If you haven't had a chance to read or listen to them, we hope you will soon.



Audiobooks recently released and available for your listening pleasure can be found at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

In Essentials - Helen Williams, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Old Boots - Grace Gibson, Narrated by Neil McFarlane

Interrupted Plans - Brigid Huey, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Spies of Our Acquaintance - Brigid Huey, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Skirmish & Scandal - C. P. Odom, Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman


Watch for these new & upcoming releases

Recently Released Novels:

Maria Bertram's Daughter - Lucy Knight

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy - Don Jacobson

Captive Hearts - Kelly Miller

Skirmish & Scandal - C. P. Odom

In Essentials  - Helen Williams

Spies of Our Acquaintance - Brigid Huey


Upcoming Novels:

A Dutiful Son - Kelly Miller

Georgiana's Friend - C. P. Odom

Persuaded - Clarisse Anne Scott

The Barrister's Bride - Suzan Lauder

A Chance Eavesdropping - C. P. Odom

Big Swamp - Kelly Dean Jolley

Kiss Me Goodnight, Major Darcy - Georgina Young-Ellis


Upcoming Audiobooks:

Perilous Siege - C. P. Odom, Narrated by Christopher Jarvis

Determination - C. P. Odom, Narrated by Christopher Jarvis

The Predisposition of Miss Elizabeth Bennet - Hunter Quinn

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy - Don Jacobson; Narrated by Amanda Berry

Captive Hearts - Kelly Miller; Narrated by Alan Aldersley-Byrne



And Remember...

It is a truth universally acknowledged: when one finishes a great love story, one always longs for more. Count on Meryton Press, an independent publisher of Austenesque and Romance, to provide that more.