Book Jacket

 

rank 2106
word count 14409
date submitted 13.01.2012
date updated 20.04.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical Fictio...
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Merry Congress

Ingrid Rousselin

Spies, intrigue, romance and murder - at the Congress of Vienna in 1814.

 

Octavius Shute, most confidential associate of the British Foreign Minister, has enough on his mind, with the Congress of Vienna about to start, without having to deal with the most aggravating - and utterly irresistible - woman he has ever met, the Countess of Ponferrada. And things only get worse when there is a murder...

Lily Mackenzie Montoya, Countess of Ponferrada is a woman with a murky past and absolutely no interest in affairs of the heart. And Octavius is not exactly the type of man she would be interested in even if she were looking for a lover or a husband. Nevertheless he begins to wear down her defences...

But one of them has an unknown enemy, who will not stop until he has destroyed either of them, or both.

 
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tags

19th century, congress of vienna, historical, murder, napoleonic, regency, romance, spies

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29 comments

 

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Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 319 days ago

A very well written manuscript indeed. It has mystery, intrigue, romance and excitement. I believe you have written a nice book. It must have taken you a long time to write it and get it honed so nicely. I enjoyed reading it!
God bless you!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"The Sticks and Stones of Hannah Jones"
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"

Egon R. Tausch wrote 624 days ago

Hist.Fict. Readers Group Review
Dear Miss Rousselin,

Finally got a chance to read all the rest of your MS that you had posted. As a historian, I'm glad that you maintain the historical period throughout, and don't let it degenerate into a simple modern romantic mystery. You have the atmosphere, details, and viewpoints of your characters perfectly, along with a rousing good plot. You tell us of your heroine's actions in Spain just in time to satisfy one plot mystery, without spoiling the rest. Your writing style is smooth, not “patchy” as so many others. 6 stars and a shelf. Nevertheless, I am a very slow and careful reader, and must mention specifics, good and bad.

Ch 3:
---- Very good that you spelt “manoeuvre” properly, rather than the modern way.
---- “What could she has said without being insulting?” – – Suggest “have” for “has”.
---- Typo: “Her fist rebuke on the dance floor...”

Ch 4:
---- Typo: “Lily had not intention of doing so.”
---- Your description of the Volksfest is perfect, taking us throughout an Austrian fair with all classes. I can't believe you weren't there.
---- You switch points of view rather abruptly between Orlov, Octavius, and Lily, sometimes in the same paragraph.
---- Typo: “...more to the Countess than met he eye...”

Ch 5:
Suggest that at the time no one would have described the victims' bloody body to a lady in a drawing room, however much he wanted her help. He would have used euphemisms or omitted parts. Neither he nor she would have used the word “raped”. They would have said “violated” or “ravished”.

Ch 6 is perfect.

Please add more chapters. And if you can, please read further into mine.

Regards,
Egon R. Tausch
A Voice In Rama: A Novel of the Slaughter of the Innocents

jlbwye wrote 646 days ago

The Merry Congress.A Historical Fiction group read.
Ch.1. I like the way you begin with a letter, and an immediate mystery.

But this sentence reads oddly: 'This suited him very well and he never bothered to correct him.' I tend to notice nits, hope you dont mind.
Perhaps a search on all the 'was's and 'were's would highlight the need to address repetitions. And the large number of adjectives do become a little tedious after a while. But your stately style of writing I'm sure matches that of the times.
The description and back-story of Mr. Shute, while necessary, is rather a lot to swallow in one gulp. Perhaps the details could be spread out more, and the plot allowed to progress faster?
And unnecessary words may safely be omitted, like: obviously, also, particularly, still, beginning to , though (Ch.2) always, very (Ch.3) perfectly, almost, seemed, only, soon, really.

You provide an astounding surprise out of the seemingly harmless and gentle espionage attempts. The contrast is well drawn.

Love the humour of Lily's interview with Castlereagh - but you dont need to state that Lily was quite enjoying it. You show it well enough.

Ch.2-3. I am enjoying your merry tale which is refreshingly light, and you carry the reader along with gentle hooks. Love the image of two birds colliding over Lady C's head. And you handle the three viewpoints well.

Your writing needs refining, but we all need to edit, and re-edit.
I'm sorry I've been so long getting to your book, and thank you for your support of mine.
Jane (Breath of Africa).

jlbwye wrote 646 days ago

The Merry Congress.A Historical Fiction group read.
Ch.1. I like the way you begin with a letter, and an immediate mystery.

But this sentence reads oddly: 'This suited him very well and he never bothered to correct him.' I tend to notice nits, hope you dont mind.
Perhaps a search on all the 'was's and 'were's would highlight the need to address repetitions. And the large number of adjectives do become a little tedious after a while. But your stately style of writing I'm sure matches that of the times.
The description and back-story of Mr. Shute, while necessary, is rather a lot to swallow in one gulp. Perhaps the details could be spread out more, and the plot allowed to progress faster?
And unnecessary words may safely be omitted, like: obviously, also, particularly, still, beginning to , though (Ch.2) always, very (Ch.3) perfectly, almost, seemed, only, soon, really.

You provide an astounding surprise out of the seemingly harmless and gentle espionage attempts. The contrast is well drawn.

Love the humour of Lily's interview with Castlereagh - but you dont need to state that Lily was quite enjoying it. You show it well enough.

Ch.2-3. I am enjoying your merry tale which is refreshingly light, and you carry the reader along with gentle hooks. Love the image of two birds colliding over Lady C's head. And you handle the three viewpoints well.

Your writing needs refining, but we all need to edit, and re-edit.
I'm sorry I've been so long getting to your book, and thank you for your support of mine.
Jane (Breath of Africa).

Jack1761 wrote 666 days ago

Is congress a play on words as it means both an international gathering and rumpy pumpy? If so, nicely done ;)


The thought did cross my mind when I was thinking of the title ;o)

Jim Darcy wrote 666 days ago

Is congress a play on words as it means both an international gathering and rumpy pumpy? If so, nicely done ;)

whoster wrote 666 days ago

Hi Ingrid,

I enjoyed your first three chapters because of the originality of your voice; and whilst I can't be arsed to check the historical accuracy of your writing, it all seems painstakingly researched to me. You've got an engaging edge of slightly silly comedy to your narrative style also; something to be celebrated in this cold and weary world. Highly starred and on my watchlist. Pretty astonishing considering English isn't your native language.

Pete

Iva P. wrote 679 days ago

Congratulation, Ingrid! The Merry Congress is a very uncommon and enjoyable read. I know very little of the Congress of Vienna except that everybody had a good time and all danced the waltz (which is confirmed in chapter 3). You have obviously done your research and that is what counts in the historical fiction genre. Countess of Ponferrada is a woman after my own heart, she is as far as one can get away from a shrinking violet. And I liked the slight touches of humor. Happy to shelve this,

Iva P. / Fame and Infamy

Tod Schneider wrote 691 days ago

Hi,
This is very nicely written. I'd be tempted to start it farther in, at the paragraph where Octavius finds a knife at his throat. An irresistable hook to draw the reader in. But it really is well written either way. The tone reminds me somewhat of Game of Thrones, with the well woven combination of intrigue and humor. Best of luck with this. 5 stars.
You are of course invited to please take a look at my kid lit novel, The Lost Wink, when you get around to it..
Thanks!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

Sharda D wrote 691 days ago

Hi Ingrid,
here for our reading swap.
I like the fact that you've written this in a really pacy, modern style, despite the time. It works really well and is quite refreshing. There's no fake history here, it's a good honest story, told in a highly readable fashion.

Nice hook at the beginning, as we wonder about this mysterious, strong woman.

A touch more description would help us to visualise this world more. e.g. the "comfortable house in Milch Gasse" isn't really described at all. You're very good at describing people, but we need some of that for the surroundings too. You also brush over any description of what they pass on her walk. A little more description will help to build the atmosphere of the time a little better. A long conversation takes place in a sparsely furnished room at the top of the house, but this room is hardly described, a bit more description might serve to break up the dialogue a little. Also in Chp2, the balance of dialogue is a little overpowering.

I like the undertone of humour and cheekiness throughout. Again, it makes everything fresh and modern in feel. Lovely.

5 stars from me,
Sharda.
Please have a look at mine when you have time.
http://www.authonomy.com/books/42835/mr-unusually-s-circus-of-dreams/

Egon R. Tausch wrote 715 days ago

Hist. Fict. Reader Group
Dear Miss Rousselin, Have read only the first 2 ch's of your very fine MS, and really do, unlike most readers, intend soon to read all that you have up. Your writing style is almost flawless, and you start your suspense from page 1. This immediate beginning of plot, characters, action, and dialogue, is, in my opinion, an overrated quality within Authonomy, but yours works very well. I'm glad that your romantic characters aren't stereotypical -- -- the man isn't Apollo, but slightly pudgy, and screws up his first mission at the Congress, and the woman is too dark complexioned for beauty at that time. I must add a niggle -- -- a wide mouth can also be "cupid's bow" (even I, a male, have one), but it can't be "rosebud", which was then coming into fashion.

I admire your MS so much, thus far, that I will venture to point out 3 nitpicks.

Ch 1:
This suited him very well and never bothered to correct him." -- -- last "him" should be "them" or at least "it".
"...he suddenly found himself with his back shoved against a closed doorway..." yet "...his arms were immobilized by a tall man standing behind him." -- -- how can this be?

Ch 2:
"'And how come he sent you here?'" -- -- "how come" strikes me as modern slang -- -- suggest "...how came he to send...", or simply, "Why did he send..."

Please add more to your MS by the time I finish ch 6; I dread being left up in the air. I am a student of the Congress of Vienna, and hope you keep at least some of it within your plot. Stars and shelf come later, if you continue your excellence.

Regards,
Egon R. Tausch
A Voice In Rama: A Novel of the Slaughter of the Innocents

ceejezoid wrote 716 days ago

Hist Fiction Group Review

Hello. My head is somewhat chaotic, so apologies if the comments come in a slightly random order!

Soooooo.....I love the regency period. I'm a HUGE Austen fan, and I think I see some of that influence in the 4 chapters I've read so far. Plenty of slices of wit throughout to keep me interested!

You have a couple of fab characters in Octavius and Lily, and I'm looking forward to the romance aspect! You have great vocabulary throughout and a good sense of action to keep it moving along. Your dialogue, when employed, is excellent, and I like the shift between characters within scene to give me both sides.

Things I'd improve? Well, that sounds a bit wanky, so how about things I'd like to see that you are absolutely at liberty to ignore?

Its moving along at a fair canter; maybe slow things down a bit, stop to smell the roses. A bit more inclusion of the senses might help to make the world as tangible as the characters.

Also, would Octavius own up to being a spy straight off? It seems to me that Lily is already aware fo the fact, so he might refuse to tell her, but she's too smart for him anyway!

Will keep this on my watchlist, looking forward to more!

Emma.L.H. wrote 724 days ago

This is a very interesting story and your narrative voice is enjoyable to read. Believable characters (in particular Octavius) and good descriptions. Your work is very polished and I can offer no advice whatsoever on how to improve it; it's fine as it is. Very enjoyable read, highly starred and on my WL to return for more. Well done.

HGridley wrote 733 days ago

I've read chapters five and six. You do very well with building the plot; there's the threat of Orlov, and the murder of the young maid. How interesting to discover Lily's former occupation! I like the way the readers find out about her as Shute does.
~Hannah

katemb wrote 734 days ago

Hist Fic Review
Great premise and great descriptions. You establish your mystery very expertly and I'm desperate to know what's going to happen between Shute and Lily. Your dialogue is a real strength which you use to set up this amused tension between them.
I felt that there was a slightly lengthy explanation (telling) section about Shute which might have been better broken up into the action of the scene where he follows Lily. You do show his character well when he reacts to being caught though. And her character isn't being told to me at all, which completes hooks me.
Fun characters and I'll definitely keep reading.
Kate
The Licenser

HGridley wrote 735 days ago

I've read all that you have here in one sitting! I love spy/mystery stories, especially historical ones (Baronness Orczy, etc), and love the old-world feel of your story. The only editorial things I noticed were a few missing commas, but nothing that got in the way of my reading enjoyment. I love Lily's spirit! She is going to be such an interesting character...please post more!
~Hannah

Ms. J wrote 735 days ago

Hist Fiction Readers Group

Ingrid,
I just read the four chapters you posted and wanted to comment on them. The following is just my opinion. Take what you want and pitch the rest.

Ch. 1-4

Should by be capitalized in the letter? Also, there were several clauses that needed to be followed with a comma. For example, Infact, or As such, ...

I also noticed that you left the period off after Mr. Was that intentional?

Make sure your compound sentences have the needed comma. Not all of them do.

Try to avoid passive voice and helping verbs. i.e. pushed forward by... have the subject of the sentence do the acting no be acted upon. This will aid the flow. If you can avoid helping verbs that will also make your language more active.

There were a couple of run-on sentences in Chs 3 & 4.
She really did not miss... & They watched the races.

The last line of ch 3 needs a dash before for the moment.

Ok, now the grammar Nazi is gone.

I enjoy your voice. It sounds period. Salieri huh? You name dropper. :-)

You've got a good beginning. I like how the relationship between Octavius and Lily is developing. They are both reluctant to look for love, yet I have a feeling that is what they will find- rater Austen like, if you ask me.

I enjoyed the read and look forward to you posting more.

Regards,
Ms. J

Jay Le Frog wrote 737 days ago

Hi Ingrid,
What fun. It was like being back at school having history again (sorry, I am French. so it would have been from the French view point). This is a good romp through a story I know. But only four chapters published. I was hoping that Talleyrand (you know why) would have made an appearance, please say there is more and he is central to the plot. Putting you on the WL. and starring you.
Jerome

Andrew Hughes wrote 746 days ago

Hi Ingrid,

Just had time to read the first chapter but thought I’d leave a comment. The writing is excellent, really polished and a pleasure to read.

Octavius Shute is a great character, and I love the portrait of him in the first few paragraphs. I’d suggest starting the book there, and inserting the meeting with Castlereagh a bit later. Establishing voice is so important, and you do that so well after ‘Octavius Shute was a busy man…’. But your book starts with other voices: Wellington’s letter, then Castlereagh’s question. I think you’d be better off starting with Shute.

When Shute first begins looking for the Countess I think you could show his efforts with the concierge and servants in more detail. This is the first opportunity to see him at work and could let the reader know about his competence, (or lack of it!). And as he followed the woman I thought you could have a few more sentences to describe early 19th Century Vienna, to set the scene.

It’s great that Octavius was intrigued by his kidnapping! And I like how the countess considered being spied upon as a breach of etiquette. The exchange she has with Castlereagh is rendered very well. You have excellent control of dialogue.

The way the narrator shifts the point of view between Shute and the Countess is interesting. Though I thought it a little odd that there’s a shift when they’re both in the same scene, like when Castlereagh laughs at Shute trussed up in the carriage. Perhaps when they’re in a scene together the narrator should draw back to describe them both.

Overall it’s a very enjoyable beginning. Highly starred. Hope to read more soon.
Best of luck with it.
Andrew.
The Morning Drop

Adeel wrote 757 days ago

The book is on my WL and I will come back with my comments in couple of days.

rikasworld wrote 758 days ago

I think you do the Regency language and scene description very well. Your story is fast moving and twines the real historical characters in with your hero and heroine. I like the heroine. Tying the Ocatavius up is a neat way to establish her as a forceful lady. I also like the idea that she doesn't accept blatant flattery gracefully. Good for her!

Wanttobeawriter wrote 790 days ago

THE MERRY CONGRESS
This is an interesting story. You have a host of good characters in the Countess, Octavius and Castlereagh. It’s obvious the men are going to have to bring their A game to outwit the Countess. I thought the beginning was a little slow, altho I appreciate you have a lot of back story you want to introduce before you get to the Countess (where the story picks up). I liked the way you introduce small bits that let a reader recognize this is taking place in the 1800s. You’re a good writer of historical fiction. Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

A G Chaudhuri wrote 802 days ago

Dear Ingrid,

I’ve read the first two chapters and enjoyed them immensely.
The pace of the narrative is certainly higher than normal for historical fiction and quite a welcome relief too.
But what really kept me going was the subtle situational humour.

William Shute is an endearing character. His novice stakeout methods, his meek submission, his frustrations and his infatuation with Lily were downright funny and so very engaging. I loved that one line, ‘I have never been married.’
But, sorry, Shute’s no Liam Neeson. A younger Leslie Nielsen, maybe?

The two chapters laid out the plot well and introduced the lead characters effectively.
There is just that small hint of mystery and intrigue that will compel me to read on.
Best of luck with it.

My rating: 6 stars (with genuine pleasure!)

Best regards,
AGC


A G Chaudhuri wrote 803 days ago

Dear Ingrid,

I’ve just started reading your book and will get back to you with a detailed feedback shortly. Meanwhile, from what I’ve read so far, I found the character of William Shute very interesting. You’ve described him very well. It somehow reminded me of Liam Neeson. I don’t know if that’s the look you had in mind. I also noted a small typo. The second time you mentioned Milch Gasse; there may have been a small slip of your right hand’s index finger resulting in ? being punched instead of the one above it. :-)

Best regards,
AGC

Lara wrote 815 days ago

You haven\t uploaded much but what there is is very good. You have maintained a consistent tone and 'voice'. I liked some of the descriptions, such as Lady Castlereagh's hair decoration in 3. Backed.
Lara
A RELATIVE LOSS

elina914 wrote 816 days ago

I find the British v. Spanish situation very much -- our feuds go waaaay back!

Ingrid´s writing is smooth and gentle; it flows through needed descriptive paragraphs which set the stage; and there is much color and sexual tension in this story. Promising ...

Just one little tiny crit -- the name Rocío should have an accent on the "i."

This is good work.

Elina
CLASH

Warrick Mayes wrote 829 days ago

Ingrid,

I read your first chapter and found it to be very appealing. You have nice subtleties of writing, some lengthy but well managed descriptions and a gentle pace with easy narrative.

I wish I could add more. I found only one fault, so can not realistically be much more help.

In your sentence "...he might have been judged handsome is a slightly rugged and neglected way." you have used "is" instead of "in".

Best regards
Warrick

Jack1761 wrote 830 days ago

Thank you, Lara! I will upload more chapters as I go through them, doing a bit of editing.

I'll be sure to check out your book too!
Ingrid

This promises to be an exciting novel set in an exciting period. I shall read on with interest.
Lara
A RELATIVE LOSS

Lara wrote 830 days ago

This promises to be an exciting novel set in an exciting period. I shall read on with interest.
Lara
A RELATIVE LOSS

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