Nightingale by Sharon Ervin

I'm pleased to welcome novelist and former newspaper reporter Sharon Ervin to SlingWords this morning. Sharon  has a B.A. degree in journalism from OU (Oklahoma University). She lives in McAlester, Oklahoma, is married and has four grown children.

Sharon said: "I like and write novels laced with a little romance. Nightingale, my first and only historical romance, is my 10th published novel."

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About Nightingale

England, 1840
Bright and enterprising, Jessica Blair, 18, supplements her scullery maid’s income by selling eggs from cast-off hens she has collected; therefore, she is alarmed when horsemen race along the footpath she has inadvertently cut to her coops. She waylays the charge to find the noisy threat is one huge, riderless horse. Ignorant of the danger of an overwrought stallion, she calms the animal, then backtracks to find the owner, wounded and waiting for daylight. But for Devlin Miracle, 29, the arrogant Twelfth Duke of Fornay, there will be no daylight. Thieves’ savage blows have left him blind.

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by Sharon Ervin

Nightingale was inspired by my innate nosiness and a writer friend who coaxed me to tour That place is tricky footing for a curious person who innocently ambles aboard. All I intended was to have a look-see and be on my way, only to find myself firmly stuck there.

Dabbling, I learned that Queen Victoria was only 17 when she took the throne of England. Soon after, she fell hopelessly in love––something that was simply not done among royals in 1840's England––with her cousin, Albert.

Victoria was a bit stodgy, preferred her dresses long and her necklines high, but she was smart and attractive and girls of the day emulated her.

I have read a lot of historical romance, but the genre was foreign to me as a writer. An hour into my tour of Victoria's time and life, a wistful character named Jessica Blair skipped through my imagination, and I was hooked.

Writing the book took less than three months. It flowed. Some manuscripts do that.

Jessica is bright and was well educated by her deceased professor father and a mother who can conjugate Latin verbs.

Sole support of her mother, but not to be defeated by her lowly status as a scullery maid's assistant in a country manor house, Jessica collects cast-off hens that she keeps in pens constructed of broken barrels. She is alarmed when horses race toward her little produce house, only to discover not many horses, but a single, noisy, riderless stallion. Jessica calms the animal, then guilt trips herself into backtracking to find his missing rider.

Jessica and the horse locate Devlin Miracle, the Twelfth Duke of Fornay, in the brush beside the highway waiting for daylight. But for the haughty duke, there will be no daylight. Injuries at the hands of thieves have left him blind.

Jessica is skeptical when Devlin claims to be a peer of the realm.

To his chagrin, the duke’s usually fractious stallion, Vindicator, follows and obeys Jessica like a pet. Further, the girl, repeatedly corrected, persists in referring to his warhorse as “Sweetness.”

For her part, Jessica rankles that the duke treats her as a child rather than the woman grown she claims to be, and orders her about as if she lacks good sense. Also grating, he calls her Nightingale, likening her voice to that bird’s calming trill.

Takeaway Truth

Sharon is giving away 1 print copy of Nightingale. To be entered to win, simply leave a comment with your email address. (Write it out, don't leave as a hot link because the spammers will get it.) Sharon will contact the winner by email to make arrangements to deliver the prize. Comments will be open until August 26. The winner will be notified on or after August 27.


  1. I love the Victorian time period and I really like the premise of your story, though I must admit an 18-year-old heroine throws me off a bit, especially with a hero so much older. Were you startled when that was how they appeared?

    1. Good morning, Liz. I guess to our contemporary sensibilities it does seem weird to have such a young heroine and older hero, but that was the mores of the Victorian era. Of course, if you look at wealthy men today, not much has changed. *g*

    2. Hi, Sharon,

      As you know, I very much enjoyed reading the novel and recommend it to others.

    3. Liz, you have won a print copy of NIGHTINGALE. Send me your U.S. Mail address and I will forward your copy of the book. And thank you for commenting.

    4. Hi, Jacquie, I wanted to thank you for visiting and also for the support you give our fellow Five Star Authors. You rock!

  2. Jessica Blair is 18 in NIGHTINGALE, set in 1840, because Queen Victoria, England's new monarch, was 20 that year. Victoria had fallen in love with Prince Albert, also age 20. A love match was unusual among royals, but they married and lived happily ever after, or it appears they did. They had nine children, an indication of something.