Romancing History

Why I Chose the 18th Century for My Novel? by Izzy James & a Giveaway

I love discovering new-to-me historical romance authors. And while this week’s guest, Izzy James, is new-to-me she is not new to fans of contemporary romance. Her latest release, The Shopkeeper’s Widow, is her 6th book and her first full-length historical romance. And bonus points for Izzy, she is a both a fellow Virginian and a fellow Pelican Book Group author.

Izzy has graciously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. See the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post for details.

Before we hear why she chose the 18th century for the setting of her latest novel, here’s a little bit about the book.

About the Book


Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   GooglePlay   iBooks: The Shopkeeper’s Widow


Why I Chose the Eighteenth Century for My Novel,

The Shopkeeper’s Widow?

by Izzy James


I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia three to four blocks from the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a military/blue collar town surrounded by astounding beauty. So much of the Hampton Roads area is overlayed by modernity that it’s hard to believe it’s one of the oldest settlements in America. The bones of the old town are still there. We still drive on the imprint of the same roads. Three-hundred-year-old houses stand amidst their modern counterparts. This underlying history whispers to me.

At the weaver’s house, Colonial Williamsburg, VA

I’ve been interested in the Revolutionary time period for quite a few years now, and you know, I love Williamsburg. I’ve been there many times, but it wasn’t the only “Revolution City”. There were more Tea Parties than the one in Boston. Once I began to search maps and read diaries and histories of Virginia—Norfolk in particular—Delany’s story developed.

Science was the hobby of intellectually minded people of the time. Experiments in electricity were on going, people were inventing all time. So I made Delany scientifically minded with a strong faith. Then I thought about her freedom. There are many accounts of women taking over businesses when their husbands died during this time frame. It was also normal for people to remarry fairly quickly at the time. There is Delany’s conundrum. She has unprecedented freedom and wealth for her, when her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should she do? What would you do?

I’d love to hear what you think of The Shopkeeper’s Widow.

Excerpt from The Shopkeeper’s Widow


Delany swung back into her shop looking for something to punch and rushed right into Field Archer’s chest. At once surrounded by strong arms and a strong need to bathe, Delany forgot to breathe.

“Aunt Delany,” Ben laughed “Mr. Archer is here to see you.”

“So I see, Ben.” She looked up into his twinkling brown eyes and stepped back a proper distance. Of course his height had not changed, but he had filled out. His chest was broad and solid. She pulled her hands back to her chest before she let them slide over to his shoulders. It was Field Archer. He was right here in her shop.

“Mrs. Fleet.” His baritone strummed a girlish cord of humiliation that she thought long gone.

Before she could respond, the door opened again.

“Well, Mrs. Fleet, that’ll show them, won’t it?” John Crawley’s fat face was slick with glee. His small black eyes gave her the usual once over that made her feel exposed. She squelched a shudder and moved behind the counter.

Field turned his back to them and moved toward the toy shelves.

“The association will back down now.” Crawley wiped his hands down the front of his brown frock coat. “It won’t be long before we can get our ships out of here. We are saved, Mrs. Fleet.”

“What does his lordship want with a printing press?”

“To silence the dirty-shirts.”He hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his coat. “No voice. No followers.”

“It remains to be seen, Mr. Crawley, what the militia will do.”

“We just saw what those yellow-bellies will do.” He bent forward over the counter, enough that she could smell his luncheon ale. “It will all be over soon, and we can get back to business.”

“Was there something you needed, Mr. Crawley?” Delany stepped back from the counter and took a glance at Field hoping for an interruption. Seeing only his back, she gazed at the shelf beneath. A new box of wax inserts for missing teeth caught her eye. “Some plumpers for Mrs. Crawley, perhaps?”

The red in Crawley’s face deepened to crimson. “No, thank you.” He checked his tone. “My mother is in need of nothing at the moment.” This time when he leaned in, the gleam in his eye hinted of impropriety.

Delany leaned back.

“Were you frightened?” He rocked back on his heels, looked over his shoulder at Field, rested his elbows on the counter, and breathed a rotten cloud. “I will protect you.”

Over my dead body. “Thank you, Mr. Crawley, for your offer, but I can take care of myself.” She came out from behind the counter. “Now if there is nothing else” I really shouldn’t keep my customers waiting.” After a last glance at her” and then Field” he exited.

Delany wiped the counter of his greasy imprint.

When the doorbells tinkled, indicating the departure of Mr. Crawley, Field turned toward Mrs. Fleet. The insinuation in Mr. Crawley’s declaration of protection gave Field pause. Perhaps his mother had been wrong to send him here.

About Izzy


Izzy James is the pen name of Elizabeth Chevalier Hull. Elizabeth grew up in coastal Virginia surrounded by history. A geographer by degree, Elizabeth loves traveling the historic roads of the Old Dominion seeking the stories they have to tell. Elizabeth still lives in coastal Virginia with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

Connect with Izzy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




This Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Susan Sloan!

Izzy has generously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing let’s ponder the questions Izzy posed at the end of her post. Delany’s conundrum is that she experiences unprecedented freedom and wealth for a woman in the 18th century. When her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should Delaney do? What would you do?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, September 16th.


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  1. Connie Saunders

    Sounds so intriguing. It’s important to feel successful but even better to experience happiness and love! Trusting in God will show her the right choice.

    • I agree, you can’t go wrong trusting in God! It would be great if I could always be sure that I’m hearing Him correctly though 🙂

  2. Phyllis

    You are a new author to me and this book is calling my name! I love this period. Izzy should follow her dreams. Looking forward to this book and several more!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Phyllis, Isn’t discovering new authors fun! Thanks for visiting Romancing History and good luck in the drawing.

    • Hey Phyllis! I love this period too. I hope you like The Shopkeeper’s Widow! 🙂

  3. Jennifer Hibdon

    This sounds soooo good. Delany should enjoy her freedom and follow her heart.

  4. Denise

    Hey Izzy, Your are a new author to me and I Love Your Cover! Your story sounds very good and I too think she will follow her heart. She sounds strong & secure in the Lord. Personally, I’d love to see her with Mr. Fields (swoon).

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Denise, I’m so glad you’ve heard about Izzy’s books and Romancing History. It truly is a lovely cover! Good luck in the drawing!

    • Hey Denise, I’m so glad you like the cover. I thought it was brilliant! I’d love to hear what you think about how Delany goes about finding her happiness. 🙂

  5. Susan Sloan

    I love visiting Williamsburg and envisioning life during those times. The description of this book draws me in, will look forward to reading it.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Susan, Welcome to Romancing History. I love visiting Williamsburg, too. It really is a historical gem. Good luck in the drawing!

    • Me too, Susan. Currently my head’s in Yorktown. I could so move there and just wander around the streets imagining!

  6. First – I am so thrilled for you, Izzy.
    Second – In Dulaney’s shoes, I’d most likely give the old crush a chance… praying for wisdom and discernment the entire time.

    I am anxiously awaiting the news as to who the winner is!

    Many blessings on the success of your book and your future writing.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Joy, Welcome to Romancing History! I thing I agree with you. I guess we’re both just a couple of romantics at heart.

      • Rebekah Miller

        I was sort of in a similar situation. I was smitten by a gorgeous young man at Bible College, and he only saw me as a friend then and he actually dated some of my friends. A few years later we were both in different states and he sent me a random PM on Facebook and one message just led to another and another. So because I opened my heart to the second chance (which was scary!) we began a courtship that led to our marriage the following year. I would tell her to open her heart and see what happens.

        • romancinghistory

          Hi Rebekah, That is a great and encouraging story! Thanks for visiting the blog and good luck in the drawing!

        • Wow, Rebekah, just wow! God is good all the time 🙂 I hope you like The Shopkeeper’s Widow!

    • Thanks, Joy! I wish you much success with your books too! 🙂

  7. Deanne Patterson

    This book sounds fabulous and has been on my radar for some time. Really hope I get a chance to read it soon. In answer to the question, I think she should follow her heart.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Deanne, Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for visiting and good luck in the drawing!

    • Hi Deanne! You’ll have to let me know what you think about Delany’s choice. 🙂

  8. Keren Herrera

    Would enjoy reading this book. Reading the summary of the story. I think that it’s a hard decision to make. If I were in her place I would follow my heart as long as much information gathered doesn’t show he is a really bad person coming back.

    Thank you for this opportunity to win a copy.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Keren, I agree with you…follow your heart. Thanks for visiting Romancing History!

    • Hey Keren! That’s the trick isn’t it? It’s hard to know when you’re in a situation what the actual truth is. I’d love to hear what you think of how Delany handles her dilemma. 🙂

  9. Nicole

    I am looking forward to this story. I am looking forward to seeing how the characters overcome conflict

  10. Pamela Coleman

    I am writing my first book and it is a historical fiction.
    It starts about the year of 1919. I have always loved to read!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Pamela, Welcome to Romancing History and congratulations on writing your first novel!

    • Congratulations on writing your first novel😄 I hope I’ll get to read it one day!

  11. Alison Boss

    The Shopkeeper’s Widow sounds wonderful! I have added it to my TBR list! 🙂 In answer to your question, if I were Izzy I would pray and seek the Lord’s guidance to lead me and my heart in making the right decision.

    Thank you for the chance to win an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow!!


    • romancinghistory

      I agree, this book sounds so good and have also added it to my TBR pile. Thanks for visiting Romancing History and good luck in the drawing!

    • Sounds like a solid plan. Let me know how you think Delany does 😄

  12. Betsy Tieperman

    Sounds intriguing! Izzy needs to follow where her heart and God lead her. Thank you for this opportunity!

  13. Good morning, Kelly!

    Thanks for hosting The Shopkeeper’s Widow 🙂


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