Book Excerpt | The Second Mrs. Thistlewood by Dionne Haynes

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on this blog tour.

For lovers of historical fiction or historical romance, I’m bringing you an excerpt of a book you might want to take a closer look at! Please enjoy this section provided by Dionne Haynes for readers of my blog.


This extract is taken from Chapter 19 of The Second Mrs Thistlewood.

Background: Regency England is a land of discontent. While the rich grow richer, the poor grow poorer with machines of the industrial revolution putting many out of work. The Corn Laws threaten to increase the price of bread and many other staples, resulting in many families going hungry. Meanwhile soldiers are returning from fighting in France to face unemployment and begging on the streets.

         Arthur Thistlewood is intent on bringing about change in the British government to improve conditions for the working classes, but as his ideas grow more militant, so does the treatment of his wife. Susan is offered sanctuary by a friend. Desperate for respite from her husband’s mistreatment of her, Susan gratefully accepts. This scene takes place after she pays a visit to her favourite bookshop in Paternoster Row.

There’s a break in the thick grey clouds and the sunlight beyond creates an alluring silver shimmer. The vision is ethereal, hypnotising, and for a few brief moments, I believe I have found contentment.

A powerful arm wraps around my body, pinning my elbows to my sides. A hand clamps across my mouth and I’m pulled backwards into a narrow alleyway. My heart beats so fast I fear it will burst. I try to wriggle free, but the arm tightens. I breathe through my nose but cannot get air to my lungs. My vision greys, the alleyway ripples and fades. And then, nothing.

When I come to, I’m lying across a seat inside a scruffy coach, bumping and jerking over cobbles. A man sits opposite, his legs clad in dark trousers. My head throbs and it hurts to move my eyes, but I lift my gaze to see who has rescued me.


My stomach lurches. There’s a roaring in my ears. This man is no rescuer.

‘Two nights away from home but no message to tell me where you are. What were you thinking by leaving without telling me?’

‘How did you find me?’ My voice is a ragged croak.

Arthur laughs. ‘You made a poor job of hiding. Your employer has a memorable name, and it wasn’t difficult to find a dress shop near Oxford Street run by a woman called Nelly. I had someone watch the store and when he sent word that you’d finished early today and gone to Paternoster Row, I came straight away.’

I touch the top of my head to discover a sizeable tender lump and my fingertips come away sticky with blood.

Arthur leans forward, lips stretched in a tight smile, his gaze intense. ‘As my wife, you belong at home with me. You took vows to serve and obey me for as long as we both live, and you will honour those vows. Otherwise, I’ll kill you.’

About the Book

Regency England. A land of oppression and social discontent.

Arthur Thistlewood is fighting for a revolution. Susan Thistlewood is fighting for freedom. From Arthur.

Battered and bruised by her violent husband, Susan finds comfort in food and books. As Arthur’s legal property, leaving the marriage seems an impossible dream — until a chance encounter with a charismatic Bow Street Runner. In the sanctuary of an inconspicuous London bookshop, the Runner’s easy manner and unexpected generosity compel Susan to pursue a life without her husband.

But will the Bow Street officer provide a key to Susan’s freedom? Or will he place her in the greatest danger of all?

Inspired by true events from the Cato Street Conspiracy of 1820, this is a tale of courage, determination, and love.

Purchase Links

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US –

About the Author

Dionne is a retired doctor, living in Plymouth with her husband. She has a passion for history, the great outdoors, good food and life in general. With her medical career now well behind her, she is enjoying a second career as an author.

In 2015, Dionne finished writing her first novel The Provenance of Lilly, but after careful reflection and consideration of some harsh criticism, she decided not to put it into print. Instead, she worked hard at honing her writing skills, and published her debut novel, Running With The Wind, in 2019. She is currently working on a sequel which will form Book One of The Trelawney Wives series.

Dionne graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992, and started her medical career in the Royal Air Force. In 1998, she left the military to have her son, and worked in General Practice and Occupational Medicine. The opportunity to retire came in 2014 and Dionne did not hesitate to take it, relishing the opportunity to delve into history books and begin her writing career. Although no longer practising medicine, her medical background has some influence in the plotting of her stories.

While keen to maintain historical accuracy in her writing, Dionne creates stories from real events with sparse recorded details, allowing her imagination to take over and tell a tale of what may have occurred.

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9 Replies to “Book Excerpt | The Second Mrs. Thistlewood by Dionne Haynes”

  1. I really like the cover, Tessa, and the blurb sounds intriguing. I’ve discovered that I enjoy historical fiction, so might give this a closer look. Thanks for sharing and congrats to Dionne on her book and tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shades of Georgette Heyer – I expect you’re too young to know who that is.. Well she wrote many romances set in this period and I loved them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely! The name doesn’t ring a bell but it sounds like her books re wonderful!


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