Gold, Gems, and the New Aristocracy
By Jane Feather, author of Tempt Me with Diamonds
During the nineteenth century, the English were not alone in their quest for colonies—an endeavor that provided social status and prosperity to those who had the wit and the will to take advantage of the treasures on offer. The Dutch, Portuguese, and French were all competing for control of the next foreign territory, enriching themselves with the country’s wealth.
Since the early Tudor days, Britain had pursued possession of territories around the world. The East India Company had its own private army to safeguard its trading in India and China, until the Indian Rebellion of 1857, when it ceded control of Indian interests to the British Raj and the newly titled Queen Victoria, Empress of India. But the British army was sent to protect gold- and diamond-mining operations in South Africa against the armies of Boer farmers, originally Dutch colonialists who farmed large areas of the Veldt and were prepared to fight for dominion of the natural resources in the mines of the Transvaal.
The mines added enormously to the affluence of British aristocrats quick to set up their own mining operations. Middle-class investors from England gained enormous affluence and, as a result, sufficient prestige to move up in society. In much the same way, nabobs acquired great bounty in India through the East India Company and, thus, gained respectability in English society. Aristocratic families, while blessed with inherited land that could not be sold, were in many cases penniless. A daughter married to a nabob who had managed to buy a title could be considered well-matched, while sons went off to seek their fortunes in the colonies.
Colonizing countries fiercely protected their assets against rival claims. When the Boers fought to dispossess the British of the Transvaal and the riches it held, the nation was passionately supportive of the army sent to defend their colony. Families whose livelihoods were based on ownership of the mines sent their sons to fight for the holdings that had made them unimaginably wealthy.
Some families, like the Sommerville in Tempt Me With Diamonds, chose to build houses and till soil near their South African mines, establishing a personal foothold in the country. They did not, however, relinquish social rank in their homeland. They kept their property and titles, and their children were sent to boarding schools in England to prepare them to take their rightful places in society and to find suitable marriage partners, the brides adorned with the glittering gems from the colonial mines of the empire.
About Tempt Me with Diamonds
Three friends who met at an elite English boarding school take on the town—and the ton—one by one, in this sparkling new series about love, loss, and lustrous gemstones, from New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather …
A FINE ROMANCE
Diana Sommerville seems to have it all—beauty, brains, and vast wealth, thanks to her family’s ownership of a diamond mine abroad. But when her beloved brother dies in battle and leaves a lion’s share of his estate to his best friend, Diana finds herself in a situation that seems scripted for the stage: Sharing her family home with the man she used to love—and now loathes. Worse, her unfaithful former fiancé has already moved in.
OR AN EXCELLENT FAKE?
Rupert Lacey didn’t expect Diana to take the news without a fight. Still, he didn’t expect her to bring the battle directly to their newly shared doorstep—complete with a full set of trunks, and a full set of orders to the staff. Yet there she is, bold, regal, and magnificent as ever. Now they would face a formidable challenge: to ignore each other—and the unanswered questions that stood between them. The only sure thing is their still blazing desire. But with a woman like Diana, it will take nothing less than a momentous misunderstanding, a missing prized mare, and a shocking revelation to restore a love that hasn’t lost its shine.
About the Author
Jane Feather is the New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty historical romances, including Trapped by Scandal, Trapped at the Altar, and An Unsuitable Bride. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in the south of England. She currently lives in Washington, DC, with her family. There are more than 11 million copies of her books in print.