Fun Friday: Another Ransome Spin-Off Story Idea
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on story ideas for the “next generation” of characters as a spin-off/sequel series from the Ransome Trilogy. You may not have seen others yet, so here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Working title: Her Independent Heart
This is the story that’s hinted at in the epilogue of Ransome’s Quest—the romance between Eleanor Ransome (older daughter of William and Julia) and James Yates (only son of Colin and Susan).
James Yates = Arthur Darvill
Eleanor Ransome = Karen Gillan (adjusted for hair/eye color)
Working Title: Secrets of His Heart
The romance story for Edward Ransome (older son of William and Julia), which involves the daughter of Sir Drake Pembroke, Cordelia (Pembroke) Eckley-Hibbitt.
Cordelia Pembroke Eckley-Hibbit = Holliday Grainger
Edward William Ransome = Tom Mison
Clara Eckley-Hibbitt = Catherine Steadman
Working Title: An Antiquities Affair
Telling the story of the eldest child of Ned and Charlotte (Ransome) Cochrane, Charles Lott Cochrane.
Charles Lott Cochrane = Chris Hemsworth
Olivia Ahern = Elsa Pataky
Working Title: My Fair . . . Lady?
Telling the story of the only daughter of Colin and Susan Yates, the Lady Marianne Yates; and the eldest son of Michael (a.k.a., El Salvador) and Serena Witherington, Michael Edward Witherington II.
Michael Witherington = Michiel Huisman
The Lady Marianne Yates = Sophie Turner
And now for the story that I’ve been working on for the better part of the last several days, featuring the fourth child of Ned and Charlotte (Ransome) Cochrane, Catherine Julia (“Kitty/Kit”) Cochrane.
Working Title: When First We Met
Four years ago, halfway into her second Season, Kitty Cochrane, fourth child of Admiral Ned and Charlotte Cochrane, was sent to Jamaica to stay with her uncle and his family on their sugar plantation. Though no one outside of the family knew why, she was sent to be protected by the distance the ocean provided. In the process of being one of the most sought-after young ladies of the London Season, Kitty drew most men’s attention. Including that of a man who became so obsessed with the belief that she was in love with him that he kidnapped her in an attempt to run away and elope. When she told him she didn’t want to marry him, that she didn’t love him (that she didn’t even remember meeting him), he was enraged and tried to strangle her. (Thus, she now cannot stand to have anything close around her throat—collar, necklace, scarf, etc.) she managed to fight him off and get away to get help. However, he disappeared before the constables could find him. Two nights later, back at home in Portsmouth, Kitty woke up to find him climbing into her bedroom window. Her vocal cords had not yet recovered from the strangling, but she was able to make enough noise throwing objects at him to draw her sister’s attention in the adjoining room—and to send him fleeing before he could be caught. Within a week, Kit was on a ship with her mother and older brother on the way to Jamaica.
Kit didn’t mean to stay in Jamaica for four years. In fact, she was certain a year would be long enough. However, occasional sightings of her stalker by the Bow Street Runners her parents hired over the next few years was enough for her to decide to stay put. And then, after a couple of years, she didn’t want to leave. She’d become part of the Ransome family, with her same-age cousin, Eleanor, who quickly became her closest friend and confidante. She even accompanied Eleanor to Philadelphia when Eleanor ran away to escape an arranged marriage. (See Her Independent Heart.) When Eleanor eventually fell in love with James Yates and agreed to marry him, the three returned to Jamaica for the wedding preparations to commence.
When her parents and siblings arrived in Jamaica, Kit learned that the last the detective had been able to track down about her attacker was that he’d been arrested and executed for a crime in the north part of the country. It was now safe for her to return to England. Kit was glad to hear this, since Eleanor had asked her to go with her, since she’d know no one else in Portsmouth when she returned with James.
Witherington House in Portsmouth is large enough that Kit has the entire third floor of guest rooms to herself, which alleviates any awkwardness of living with newlyweds. It’s a bit of a culture shock to return to England after so many years away. So much so that she’s almost physically ill at the idea of once again “debuting” into society. But, as her mother, sisters, and Eleanor remind her, at least it’s Portsmouth and not London. To ease the way into society for both of them, Eleanor enlists Kit’s help to plan a “small” card party at Witherington House, at which most of Kit’s family will be in attendance.
The evening goes fine, which helps Kit to set aside some of her anxiety—enough that she accepts an invitation to a ball a few nights later at the lavish home of the Dowager Countess Dalrymple (who was at the dinner) in order to be re-introduced to society. Lady Dalrymple’s guest list is always diverse and wide-ranging–from other aristocrats to many naval officers and genteel but solidly middle-class families like Kit’s. After dancing with James Yates and a few friends of her brothers’, Kit has finally started breathing easier and enjoying herself . . . Until she excuses herself to the ladies’ refreshing room after a couple of hours and finds herself alone and face-to-face with him. Although he doesn’t attempt to touch her, he is menacing and threatening, promising her that either he will have her or no one will.She spends a sleepless night at her parents’ home, guarded by several burly men from the naval yard. The next morning, her father introduces her to Philip Grantly, a former naval captain (and intelligence officer) whom Ned has hired to finally find the stalker and bring him to justice (and protect her, but he knows his daughter too well to tell her that). Philip believes that the only way to draw out this man is to ensure that Miss Cochrane remains as socially active and visible as possible. Which, of course, means that he must attend all social events she’s invited to as well. How else will he be able to catch the stalker (i.e., protect her)?
When her attendance at social events doesn’t draw the man out, Kit comes up with a drastic plan. She and Philip will pretend to become engaged, with banns read, an announcement in the newspaper, and a ball in their honor held at Witherington House. The ruse indeed draws him out. He sets fire to Kit’s bedroom as he makes his escape. The fire is put out without too much damage, but it’s decided that Kit is no longer safe in the city. However, they still must draw him out somehow.
It’s decided that Colin and Susan Yates, Earl and Countess Childers, will host a house party at their sprawling Hampshire estate. (Colin says that the stalker would be doing him a favor if he burned it to the ground, as the upkeep on the oft-remodeled Tudor manor costs far too much.)
A week passes with no hint of the stalker. It’s decided that the only way to get him to make another attempt is for the men, including Philip, to very publicly put it out that they’re leaving to spend three days at Colin’s hunting lodge half a day’s ride from the main house.
And then . . . some bad things happen. It looks like Kit’s relationship with Philip may end/may never happen/may be torn apart forever. There’s a crisis. And there’s a happy ending. I just haven’t figured all that out yet. (And you wouldn’t want me to give away the whole story, would you?
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