Today I have the great pleasure of having with me author Collette Cameron. Collette’s debut novel, Highlander’s Hope, is a fantastic and fast-paced Regency romance. You can head over to her blog for excerpts and amazing giveaways!
When I heard of Highlander’s Hope’s premise, the Scottish law intrigued me. I always knew that one could cross the border to Gretna Green and get married “over the anvil,” but Collette further opened my eyes to this crazy Scottish law. So, without further ado, join Collette as she talks about this fascinating law and its role in Highlander's Hope.
A Quirky Scot’s Law.
When Yvette Stapleton finds herself married to Laird Ewan McTavish, without benefit of a marriage ceremony, she’s more than a bit put out. In fact, it nearly destroys her trust in him.
My quandary was how to get Yvette married to Ewan without her knowing it. Was it possible to simply say you were married in 1817 Scotland and, poof, you were indeed legally married? Would the marriage be recognized by the Church of Scotland?
Those are the thoughts that sprang into my mind one day while contemplating the dilemma. I wasn’t considering handfasting either, which by the 18th century, was no longer recognized by the Kirk (Church) of Scotland.
No, I needed something recognized by the Scot’s Church. I starting digging into Scot’s marriage laws of the 1800s and was pleased-as-punch to come across Scot’s Canon Code and irregular marriages. In essence, anyone could perform a marriage ceremony as long as the parties involved expressed consent to the union, either in person or in writing. Most romance readers are familiar with Gretna Green, and the romantic notion of couples trotting off to Scotland to get married—quite literally over a blacksmith’s anvil. Well, that was part of the Canon Code.
Irregular and clandestine marriages—those not performed by a cleric of the church—included simply agreeing to take one another as husband and wife before two witnesses (Gretna Green), cohabitating in Scotland under the ruse of being wed, and finally, by merely declaring you were married—even if no ceremony had taken place. You could also agree to marriage in writing with express consent. There was no particular form, either verbally or written, required for the marriage to be valid and binding.
I arranged for Yvette and Ewan to claim they were married in the midst of a very dangerous situation in order to prevent Yvette from being ravished. I reinforced it by having Ewan declare to several kin and clans members that he and Yvette were married, and then I had them cohabitate at Craiglocky Keep under the guise of marriage. Yvette was unconscious for the first four days so she wasn’t in a position to protest the implied marriage.
I did take a bit of liberty with the code, but then, isn’t that what we authors do? I’ve got another story fermenting in my mind, and I do believe I’m going to use the written agreement as an segue to an irregular marriage.
Just an aside, Gretna Green is still a wildly popular marriage venue in Scotland. I have an unmarried daughter. She wants to get married in Scotland. . .
So, what intrigues you about Scottish law?
From the publisher:
Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn't dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He's determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress Yvette Stapleton is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn't recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London's docks, but Lord Sethwick's passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, "I do." Will Ewan's manipulation cost him her newfound love?
About the author:
In February 2011, Collette decided to sit down and write a Regency suspense romance. She wrote Highlander’s Hope, the first book in her Blue Rose Trilogy. She has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master's in Teaching. She's been married for 30 years, has 3 amazing adult children, and 5 dachshunds. Her puppy, Ayva, sits on her lap while she writes. Ayva also nibbles at and lies on the keyboard. Collette loves a good joke, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. She just finished The Viscount’s Vow, the second book in the series. It releases from Soul Mate Publishing next year. You'll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.
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