THE HIGHEST STAKES - commentary author Emery Lee
Since THE HIGHEST STAKES' release, I have done a number of guest blogs to answer questions about my creative process, why I chose Georgian England and Colonial Virginia as my settings, and how I researched the novel. I also wrote about the history of horseracing and my own passion for equines. I would now like share some of these thoughts and add some background information on the novel itself.
It is always said that one should write one's passions. In my case, this would mean converging horses, history and romance, elements that at first glance appear very much at odds, but the combination, to me, was irresistible. I wanted to create a hero, (Robert Devington) who would overcome many obstacles to find love and happiness, with his ultimate fate hanging on a horse race.
A story of star-crossed lovers and horseracing, THE HIGHEST STAKES transports the reader to the hard-drinking, vice-ridden, horseracing world of Georgian England. Fascinating and titillating, this was an era of corruption, arranged marriages, and high stakes gambling; when racing and breeding became the obsession of the uppermost elite, and a match race might replace a duel in settling a point of honor. It was also an age in which a powerful and privileged aristocracy used an outer fa��ade of honor and politesse to cover its multifarious sins.
My research in this endeavor was both extensive and diverse, going back to the early 18th century and the creation of the Thoroughbred itself. The horses (all progeny of the Byerley Turk, and the Darley and Godolphin Arabians) are seamlessly woven into the plot in which the success of Sir Garfield's racing stud is elemental to his schemes of social advancement, and a racing wager becomes the only pathway Devington sees to win his true love, Charlotte.
Charlotte Wallace is a young girl who is orphaned and forced to live with uncaring and socially ambitious relatives. Lonely and neglected, she seeks solace within her uncle's racing stables where she meets the young man with whom she share's what will become her lifelong passion- racehorses.
The young and ambitious Robert Devington is a lowly, but talented stable groom, who leaves his employ for the military in order to better himself in the eyes of Charlotte's uncle. After some time passes, Robert returns to claim Charlotte's hand in any way possible, ultimately leading to a racing wager that sets the plot in motion.
Through the fictional love story of Robert Devington and Charlottte Wallace, a tale of drama, danger, thwarted love, and retribution unfurls...
Enjoy the ride!