Maria Bertram’s Daughter Cover Reveal

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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. Before we talk much more about this novel and reveal its cover, let’s get to know Lucy a little better.

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 loves 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.

Lucy, it sounds like you live in a beautiful haven, a place of which dreams are made.

Now that you have met Lucy, shall we take a look at the back cover copy of her book?

Blurb

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.

What do you think? My heart hurts for little Dorothea Henrietta Rose. What about yours?

Are you ready to see the cover? Let’s begin with the front cover.

Isn’t the front cover lovely? Having read the story, the young woman in the painting makes a perfect Dorothea. I think you will agree when you’ve had a chance to read the book.

Are you ready to see the full wrapper? It was designed by the talented Ellen Pickels.

The painting on the back looks like it might be a scene taken from the excerpt below. I love the cover and its earth tone colors. It exudes warmth. The cover makes me want to look inside and find out more about Maria Bertram’s Daughter. What about you?

Lucy Knight would like to take a few minutes to tell us a little about the cover and why she chose the painting for the front cover.

Let’s Hear 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!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and research on the painting, Lucy. I found it all extremely interesting. The story, or rather the lack thereof, of Margaritta MacDonald, was fascinating in a sense. I find it intriguing that her husband, Robert Scott Moncrieff, never remarried and kept her painting always in his dining room. He must have loved her deeply. I wish we could know more about this woman whose facial expression is so eye-catching. I can see why it is one of Raeburn’s best loved portraits.

I think it is time for us to read the first excerpt from Maria Bertram’s Daughter. Shall we?

Excerpt

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.”

Aww, what a sweet and hope-filled little girl. Doesn’t she sound delightful, even if she is living with “the ladies”?

Lucy Knight made Dorothea real, relatable, and believable. My heart broke for little Dorothea Henrietta Rose so many times, especially when she was in a horrid school. I was engaged with her character from the beginning and enjoyed living with her through her experiences. Even though this is a Mansfield Park sequel, it is different in many ways. It focuses more on the daughter than the other characters. They play their part, but Dorothea is the main character. This story has quite a few twists and turns that will surprise you. I hope you will love Dorothea and her story as much as I did. 

Giveaway

Meryton Press is giving away 2 eBooks of Maria Bertram’s Daughter by Lucy Knight. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. We would love to hear from you. The worldwide giveaway ends at 12:00 midnight, Central Time on the 7th of April. Good luck to everyone.

Preorder Information

The book is available for preorder March 31st and will be released for purchase April 11th.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Blog Tour for Lucy Knight and Maria Bertram’s Daughter begins April 11th and runs through the 18th of April. We hope to see you at the various blogs. There will be several excerpts, an interview with Dorothea, and other exciting posts. As always, there will be a giveaway too. We look forward to hearing from you.

The blogs with links will be posted on the Meryton Press blog and Meryton Press Facebook page before the blog tour begins.

46 Responses

  1. Michelle David
    | Reply

    What a beautiful cover and the book sounds intriguing. Good luck with your new release 🍀

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for stopping by, Michelle. We appreciate your comment and are happy to hear you like the cover! Good luck in the giveaway.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Michelle! I’m delighted with the cover and excited that people will read my book. Dorothea is very dear to my heart!

  2. Joan
    | Reply

    This does sound like a delightful story and definitely piqued my interest. I don’t often read sequels to ” Mansfield Park”, but I will read this one!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Joan, that is wonderful to hear. We hope you will enjoy reading about Dorothea and her journeys. There are some twists and turns along the way, and lots of touching moments. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. Good luck.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Joan! Lots of people have now told me that Mansfield Park sequels are unusual and that surprises me, really. I love it because there are so many baddies. My heroine has plenty of battles to fight…

  3. Kelly Miller
    | Reply

    Congratulations and best wishes for your upcoming new release, Lucy! I love your photo with the dogs! The cover of Maria Bertram’s Daughter is stunning, and the story sounds intriguing! 🙂

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for stopping by, Kelly. We appreciate you supporting Lucy and her new novel. Isn’t the photo of Lucy and the dogs lovely? It is such a pretty setting.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Kelly! The photo was taken by a French photographer who was planning a series about British people living in France. I was amazed that he got my dogs to sit still (albeit with a bit of side eye from my girl). And he made me sit on my garden table…

      • Kelly Miller
        | Reply

        You’re very welcome, Lucy! That photographer had good instincts!

  4. Glory
    | Reply

    I love the painting on the back cover, it makes me think about time spent with my grandparents

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Lucy found that painting. It was so perfect for young Dorothea and William’s ventures. When you read the book, you will recognize scenes similar to the painting. Your grandparents must have had an awesome place. That’s neat that the painting brought back those fond memories. I believe it did the same for the author.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      I drew on many memories of playing on the North Yorkshire moors when I wrote the passage and the picture sums up a golden childhood… but I can’t say much more without spoilers!

  5. DarcyBennett
    | Reply

    Would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting. Good luck in the giveaway. We hope you get to read it soon.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      It’s so kind of you! Thank you so much.

  6. Carole in Canada
    | Reply

    Congratulations on your debut novel! What a gorgeous cover/painting! I love portraits done in the 19th Century. I have a Pinterest board full of them! I also have come to love Mansfield Park over the years. At first it wasn’t a favourite of mine, but after re-reading and various variations, I appreciate the depth of the novel on so many different levels. I do look forward to reading about Maria Bertram’s Daughter.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Hi Carole. We are so glad that you visited and told us about your love of 19th century portraits and of Mansfield Park. That is such good news. The cover is lovely. Lucy’s choice of painting and Ellen’s artistic design made for an excellent cover. We hope you get to read Maria Bertram’s Daughter soon and that you love it!

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Carole! I completely agree with you about MP. There’s a lot going on. I immersed myself in JA during lockdown and MP was the one I kept coming back to because it’s so rich. Then I asked myself “What if..?” and here we are…

  7. Sophia Rose
    | Reply

    Love the cover and the excerpt has me eager to read it.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Isn’t the cover lovely! We’re happy you like it and hope you get to read the book soon.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you! It means such a lot to me that people are looking forward to reading my book.

  8. Lúthien84
    | Reply

    As far as I know, there aren’t many Mansfield Park continuations in the market. I think Lucy is brave to write a sequel to Jane Austen’s least popular novel. The story is intriguing and I would love to know more about the poor and innocent girl. Even people speculate about who Dorothea’s family are. I hope she learn the truth one day.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you for posting! Not so much brave as “not realising that MP was not very popular” which, as I said above, surprises me because it’s so rich in drama. I introduce most of the MP cast, a decade or two on, and I have a lot of fun with them!

  9. Lois
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing the details of how you chose the image for the cover. I hope things work out for Dorothea!

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Yes, it’s such a personal thing, I always think, the image one has of characters in fiction. I know what I think they look like, but every reader might have their own image. Which is as it should be!

  10. Suzan Lauder
    | Reply

    The cover is amazing and I wonder about little Dorothea. Thanks for posting, and good luck on the release!

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Suzan, your comment means a lot!

  11. LesleyB
    | Reply

    Can’t wait to read this! Contrary to other opinions I love MP as I think it has some fantastic characters with many layers. Great choice of story and cover.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Lesley! Hoorah for MP fans! It really is a fabulous book. I haven’t messed with it at all but I am possibly a little unkind to some of the characters in their later lives, as I imagine them… I hope you enjoy the story!

  12. Colleen
    | Reply

    Curious angle. I am very interested.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Colleen! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

  13. Vicky Vagg
    | Reply

    It sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read. I think it would make an excellent series on TV. Georgette Heyer combined with Catherine Cookson and a voice all its own.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Vicky! That’s a marvellous thought… anyway, Dorothea will be out in the world and who knows where she might go?

  14. Grace Gibson
    | Reply

    Lovely cover and excerpt – congratulations on your new release, Lucy! I wish you and your story all the best.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you Grace – that means a lot! I think the cover is fantastic. I may have picked the image, but the dream team at Meryton Press did the rest. I am greatly indebted!

  15. Debbie
    | Reply

    The cover is beautiful and the concept is intriguing. Looking forward to reading this. Thank you for sharing the excerpt as well as information on the cover choices.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Debbie! I hope you’ll get to read it! I can’t take too much credit for the cover apart from helping to select the images, the magic is done by Meryton Press!

  16. Buturot
    | Reply

    Great cover ! I can see the want in her eyes, like she wants to chase something.it does portray some sadness but looking at/for a distant hope.

    Congratulations on this new book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like the cover picture, I really think she epitomizes my heroine. Best of luck to everyone!

  17. Vesper
    | Reply

    I have read quite a few Mansfield Park sequels so I am loking forward to reading this

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      That’s great to hear, I do hope you approve! I’d be so interested to hear what you think. I was a bit unkind to some of the original characters…

  18. Jessica Lowery
    | Reply

    Beautiful cover! Looking forward to reading it!

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Jessica! I’m thrilled that you want to read my book. I really loved writing it!

  19. Colleen
    | Reply

    Oh, I am so looking forward to this.

    • Lucy Knight
      | Reply

      Thank you, Colleen! I’m so looking forward to hearing what people think. Not long to go, now…

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