It’s #openinglines time!

I’m delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Rachel Brimble back to my blog, to talk about her latest novel – published this very day!

Over to you, Rachel…

Hi Jenny!

Thank you so much for having me back on your blog and the opportunity to share the first 500 words of my brand new novel Dressing the Countess, which comes out today!


Fans of Kristy Cambron and Mimi Matthews will adore this Victorian romance from historical fiction dynamo, Rachel Brimble.

Seamstress Rose Watson cannot believe her good fortune when she’s plucked from obscurity to work for Lady Christina, the Countess of Bath. Despite her parents’ distrust that the position will come with conditions, Rose accepts the unexpected offer. 

When she arrives at the royal residence of Henlow House, a strange sense of destiny whispers through her, and Rose cannot wait for this new adventure to begin. Although, she has Henry Ward to deal with, the handsome, risk-taking and—though she is loath to admit it—exciting royal saddler and horse trainer, who both fascinates and frustrates her in equal measure. 

Rose and Henry could not be more different…with the exception of their hunger for more.

But as they begin to trust one another, and their bond flourishes, Rose’s connection with Henry could cause her to lose her position at Henlow House, which would destroy her. Will she be forced to choose between love and ambition? Either choice will change her life irrevocably.

A captivating escape that will touch your heart and keep you turning pages with impatient hope for Rose… 

This is an historical romance set in the fictional court of the Earl and Countess of Bath and revolves around the lives and developing romance of royal seamstress Rose Watson and master saddler, Henry Ward.

The opening snippet I am sharing is the lead up to the most pivotal moment of Rose’s life. Enjoy!

Here’s the first 500 words, exactly…

Regent Street, London, March 1866

Rose Watson tightened her hold on her sketchbook and walked in a slow circle around the mannequin in front of her, her head tilted and eyes narrowed. A dart of hazy sunshine streaming through the shop window lit her work in a delicate glow, heartening Rose’s hope that the lady’s dresser—Mrs. Hayworth, who had ordered the dress—would be delighted with it. Despite her trepidation, the longer Rose stared at her creation, the more persistently a smile pulled at her lips. There could be no denying it. The dress was a triumph. Her best yet.

She lightly ran her hand over the emerald-green velvet of the embroidered bodice, her fingertips tracing the whorls and swirls of intertwined vines and the shimmering silver thread edging the butterflies’ wings as they frolicked from waist to décolletage. The jet beading on the sash, as well as trimming the cuffs and hem glinted, the delicate black overlay falling perfectly over the skirt, making the stiffness and aches Rose had suffered in her knuckles and back during the stitching worth every uncomfortable minute.

Oh, how desperate she was to know the identity of the woman who would wear it! Mrs. Hayworth had been so reticent, so discreet about her mistress, it was impossible to guess. Whoever she might be, her dimensions proved her fortunate enough to possess a perfectly proportioned figure and, although unusually tall, Rose had no doubt the woman’s height would only make her more striking. Mrs. Hayworth had shared with Rose’s father that her mistress had light-brown hair, blue eyes, an olive complexion, and a deep love of nature, especially of the world’s creatures. All details Rose had kept at the forefront of her mind while designing and making the dress.

She glanced at the wall clock and drew in a long, calming breath. Mrs. Hayworth was due at any moment for a final viewing and—fingers crossed—a concluding endorsement. If she approved…Rose closed her eyes. Please let her approve. Only then would Rose carefully remove the dress from its mannequin and prepare it for delivery.

“Oh, Rose. It’s marvelous.” Florence Davis, Rose’s friend and fellow seamstress, entered the shop from the back room and slid her arm around Rose’s waist, hugging her close. “Whoever this dress belongs to owes you a hundred thank-yous.”

Rare nerves took flight in Rose’s stomach as her confidence faltered. “Do you really believe it will meet her expectations?”

Florence laughed. “How could it not? It’s beautiful.”

“I am certainly proud of it, but…” Rose eased out of her friend’s embrace and circled the mannequin again, the heels of her shoes tapping the floorboards. “It doesn’t matter how much I believe this dress is my finest work. Not knowing who will wear it makes me uneasy. She could be anyone. Her taste a million miles from mine. Mrs. Hayworth was so very vague with her brief, leaving all to me and my imagination.”

“Which is a good sign. You have…

You can buy Dressing the Countess from all good retailers:


Rachel lives with her husband in a small town near Bath, England.

She is the author of 30 novels and has been published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, Kensington Books and others. Her most popular series include the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy and the Shop Girl series, both published with Aria Fiction. Her latest novel, Dressing the Countess is her debut novel with Harpeth Road Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Female Entrepreneur Association and has thousands of social media followers all over the world. She is also studying for a history degree with the Open University.

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Many thanks for your fabulous opening lines, Rachel.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x