Many of you will no doubt remember Erica & her first book  A DANGEROUS INVITATION (Rookery Rogues I).  Erica gives historical romance lovers a look at the darker side of history. Instead of the ballrooms, Hyde Park, and country estates Erica explores the Rookeries or slums.  Erica reveals there’s a comical edge to SECRETS IN SCARLET making me even more eager to read it.  I’l be sharing my thoughts later but if one of you beat me to reading it, let us know what you think!  

Thank you so much for having me at Miss Ivy’s Book Nook! I’m delighted to be here and get to talk to your readers.

We’re so happy to have you visit again, Erica.  Tell us about your new book, Secrets in Scarlet.

Secrets in Scarlet tells the story of Poppy O’Reilly and Thaddeus Knight, who both live in the Spitalfields rookery in 1832 London. Poppy works as a weaver at the factory that Thaddeus is called in to investigate after one of the other girls who works there is murdered. At first, Poppy wants nothing to do with Thaddeus—he’s the one man who could discover the secret she’s been hiding. For Poppy has been passing herself off as a war widow, pretending that her young daughter Moira is legitimate, so that Moira won’t grow up with the societal stain of being a bastard. In England at this time, it was considered a huge, huge deal to have sex outside of marriage—so much so that Poppy is basically run out of her hometown because they think she’s a sinful harlot.

But Thaddeus needs someone on the inside of the factory to help with this case, and pretty soon Poppy is involved with him. It starts out as a partnership to get justify for Poppy’s murdered friend, but it becomes so much more.

Thaddeus works for the Metropolitan Police?

Yes, indeed. He’s a Sergeant with the H-Division, which covers Whitechapel (where the Ripper murders would take place some 50 odd years later), Spitalfields, and the surrounding East End area. Basically, the way the Metropolitan Police was structured is that there’s about 15 Sergeants, 3 inspectors (above the Sergeants), and then a bunch of foot patrollers below everyone in these divisions. Thaddeus joins the Met because he believes strongly in the laws of the land, and he wants to help people feel safe in these very unsafe areas.

How does Secrets in Scarlet differ from the first Rookery Rogues novel, A Dangerous Invitation?

This book ended up being a lot more comical, which surprised me, as I am not traditionally a humor writer. ADI was very angsty, very gritty, and heavy on the suspense. There was an intense hero and a fiery heroine. Both Poppy and Thaddeus here are quieter characters, bookworms who are faced with these crazy circumstances when the investigation spirals out of control. Both are dealing with the fact that their initial idealism and hopefulness about the world around them has been challenged, and now they have to build a new world for themselves.

SecretsInScarlet-EricaMonroe 500x700When a girl is murdered at a factory in one of London’s rookeries, Sergeant Thaddeus Knight of the Metropolitan Police comes in to investigate. But it’s not just the factory owners that Thaddeus wants information on–the devilishly intriguing Poppy O’Reilly is a puzzle he’d like nothing more than to solve.

Protecting her young daughter is the most important thing to Poppy, and Thaddeus threatens the false identity she’s carefully constructed. The last thing she should do is allow Thaddeus close to her family, yet she can’t stay away from him. With danger around the corner, will the secrets of a scarlet woman lead to their undoing?

She gulped down a quarter of the cup. Not particularly well mannered, but expediency was in her best interests. The warm liquid flooded her throat with blessedly strong tea, as she drank when visiting Atlas. She had the sudden desire to seize the entire pot and run off, so that Edna might experience it too.
Poppy had been spending entirely too much time around thieves.
“Are you off to the factory today?” Knight supped casually, as if it was no great indulgence. As if he had never known reusing leaves until the last dregs of it came out like mud.
“Yeees,” she said, unsure if he was intent upon polite conversation or another round of interrogation.
“It’s this case. I cannot think about anything else when I’m on a case.” He leaned forward as he spoke, his usually stoic face transformed expressively. His deep baritone voice, once monotonous, now had a lilt of enjoyment to it.
She watched him closely, intrigued by the changes wrought. “I imagine it would be hard to think of anything else when a criminal is on the loose.”
“There is that to consider,” Knight acknowledged. “But I find it fascinating we are a nation that fears its police force, when the police should be beacons of safety and sanity.”
He peered at her expectantly, as if expecting her to voice her opinion.
“I suspect…” she began tentatively, “you presume the majority of London wishes to conduct themselves with decorum and rationality.”
When he nodded, she continued, warming up to her theory. “I have been in London for three months, but in that time I’ve worked beside children in the factories who are not much older than my own daughter. These conditions are not those that inspire one to be mindful, Sergeant.”
“Ah, so you support the theory that poverty shall breed revolution.” He propped his elbow up on his knee, resting his chin in his hand.
She’d pleased him.
“I’ve never thought of it in those terms.” She set her cup of tea back on the table. “I confess my knowledge of theory is rather limited.”
Poppy regretted this confession immediately. The first thread of panic occurring to her was that she didn’t live up to his expectations—she wasn’t intellectual enough—instead of worrying he’d discover her secret.
That alone should have been enough of a reason to flee. Yet his rapt gaze was still on her, and suddenly she wanted to be a part of this exchange. She could trace her usual conversations to four topics: weaving, the factory, her family, and Moira. No one had ever expected more from her.

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Erica Monroe is a USA Today Bestselling Author of emotional, suspenseful romance. Her debut novel, A Dangerous Invitation, was nominated in the published historical category for the prestigious 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Romantic Suspense. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, lover of pit bulls, and shoe fashionista. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.