The Husband Campaign ~ Guest Post by Regina Scott

Like many of the wonderful writers on this blog, I work hard to make sure my stories are true to the historical period, but there are some areas of the Regency that frankly scare me. I am in awe of the writers who can name every battle Wellington fought in or the color of the braid on the 95th Rifle’s uniform. I admire authors who manage to study period medical books without growing queasy. And if you can figure out how to do more than describe the colors of horses as they pull the appropriate carriage to whisk a heroine away to a ball, well, you have my respect.

Regina Scott The Husband CampaignAnd then along came John, Lord Hascot, the hero of my April Regency-set romance from Love Inspired Historical, The Husband Campaign. John who raises hunters, those powerful horses that carried gentlemen into the hunting field and, occasionally, into battle. I was fairly certain I would never be able to think about horses the way John, Lord Hascot, does. Horses are John’s life. But they would need to become the life of any lady he wed. How could I possibly describe Lady Amelia’s response to John’s horses or her own?

Luckily, research led me to an exceptional little book, lovingly recreated online, called The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual. Though its original publication date of 1838 (taken from material dating from 1829) post-dates the Regency, it is close enough that I felt comfortable relying on it. The manual describes such things as how to choose a proper ladies mount, the various parts of the horse and its accoutrements, and how to mount, manage the reins, and find your seat. It confirms that the way a lady sat upon her horse was very important to many Regency era gentlemen, as this passage indicates:

“A lady seldom appears to greater advantage than when mounted on a fine horse, if her deportment be graceful, and her positions correspond with his paces and attitudes; but the reverse is the case, if, instead of acting with, and influencing the movements of the horse, she appear to be tossed to and fro, and overcome by them. She should rise, descend, advance, and stop with, and not after the animal. From this harmony of motion result ease, elegance, and the most brilliant effect.”

And how, you might ask, can a lady have the best deportment on horseback? The manual explains that as well. A lady must

• Keep her shoulders even but back
• Put no weight on the stirrup
• Incline partially backward
• Keep her head in an even, natural position looking straight ahead
• Hold her elbows steady and near her side, with the lower part of the arm at a right angle to the upper
• Above all, never carry the whip in a way that might tickle the horse.

Got all that? Good, because according to the manual, “Nothing can be more detrimental to the grace of a lady’s appearance on horseback, than a bad position: a recent author says, it is a sight that would spoil the finest landscape in the world.”

All I can say is that I’m glad Amelia gets to ride the horses and I only have to read about them. What about you? Do you ride? Were you given any rules of the road for how to sit on horseback? Are you glad women are no longer constrained to riding sidesaddle?

reginascott11-07mediumAfter 27 sweet historical romances set in the Regency period, Regina Scott knows there is still much to learn. You can learn more about her at her website at www.reginascott.com, her blog she shares with author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.com, and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorreginacott.

 

 

 

 

Book Blurb
The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal, and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents’ ire, he must propose. John’s ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want, except affection.

Amelia sees John’s true nature shine through when he cares for his horses. But the brooding aristocrat seems determined to keep her at arm’s length. Little by little Amelia will turn Hollyoak Farm into a home, but can she turn a marriage of convenience into a joyful union?

The Soldier’s Secrets Winners!

Congratulations! We have winners! And answers to the quiz questions!Naomi Rawlings The Soldier's Secret

First, our winners are:

Julie N.–winning a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets

Martha G.–winning a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets and A Tale of Two Cities

Note: We did feature two other giveaways over the past week and a half, but both were disqualified do to low contestant entries.

 

Now for the quiz questions.

On April 3, we asked: Name the famous prison in Paris that was stormed during the French Revolution.

Answer: The Bastille

 

On April 7, we asked: True or False–Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake,” at the beginning of the French Revolution.

Answer: False. Marie Antoinette never said, “Let them eat cake.” However, rumors that she had indeed responded to the plight of the peasants by uttering such a cruel statement spread through Paris, and the false quote found it’s way into many a political pamphlet at the beginning of the revolution.

 

On April 10, we asked: True or False–After it was stormed, the Bastille was torn down and the stones were used to build a bridge.

Answer: True. The stones from the Bastille were used to build the Pont de la Concorde (Concorde Bridge). The bridge, which crosses the Seine River, is still used today.

 

On April 14, we asked: True or False: The majority of the people killed during the Reign of Terror were peasants.

Answer: True. Sadly, most of France’s rich and affluent had fled France long before the Reign of Terror. Most historians estimate that 85% of those killed during this period were the very peasants that the revolution was supposed to be fighting for.

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to come back tomorrow for a guest post by Regency author Regina Scott!

Spiritual Truths Abound in “The Soldier’s Secrets”

Hi, all! Susan Karsten here…I’m bringing insights on the spiritual themes found in        “The Soldier’s Secrets” the latest release by our own dear Naomi Rawlings.

Not only does author Naomi Rawlings deliver a compelling read with this historical romance set during the early days of the French Republic, she gently brings home some serious spiritual truths.

The importance of honesty and truthfulness is drawn out in an unusual way. Both the hero, Jean Paul, and the heroine, Brigitte, are brought low by dishonesty. The unusual aspect of this is that some of their troubles are of their own doing. So often, we find idealistic, too-perfect heroines and heroes–this is not the case in this gripping novel.

Brigitte and Jean Paul should have abided by the following verses:

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight….Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool…2 Corinthians 8:21 For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man….Proverbs 6:16-20 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Forgiveness is another strong theme in “The Soldier’s Secrets“. To receive God’s forgiveness, to forgive other people who sin against you, and to forgive one’s self are all treated in the midst of this historically accurate gripping story.

Here are some pertinent verses on the facets of forgiveness–we can all keep in  mind:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you….Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets and a History Channel documentary: The French Revolution. 

Naomi Rawlings The Soldier's Secret
French Revolution DVD

 

I hope you read The Soldier’s Secrets — I think you’ll be happy you did. Leave a comment on your favorite verse on forgiveness or honesty. Thanks!

Susan Karsten
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Little Known Tidbits about the French Revolution

Hi Everyone,

Naomi here with another giveaway today to celebrate the release of The Soldier’s Secrets. I’m also doing a little history lesson about a very fascinating part of the Georgian and Regency years–or at least, I find it to be fascinating.

It’s no secret that I’ve written three books set during the French Revolution. The first is Sanctuary for a Lady, the second is The Soldier’s Secrets, and the third, which doesn’t have a title yet, comes out in January 2015. I often think the French Revolution is one of the most distorted and misunderstood time periods of European history.

Here’s a few facts that might help make the French Revolution a little more understandable:

Before the Revolution

French-Rev-Tax-system-web-pic-223x300

  • Before the Revolution started in 1789, a loaf of bread cost a week’s salary for the peasant class.
  • In 1789, the peasantry paid taxes to nobles, the king, and the church, while the aristocrats barely payed taxes.
  • The country was bankrupt.
  • The cost of France helping with the American Revolution was a contributing factor to its bankruptcy.

 

 

During the Revolution

Bastille-Website-pic-300x245

  • Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France before the Revolution, never said, “Let them eat cake.” However, the political pamphlets of the time reported that she said this (as well as several other untruths about her), and so the peasants of France believed it and got even more upset with her and King Louis XVI.
  • Marie Antoinette was Austrian born and never very popular with the French people–even before the alleged “let them eat cake” comment.
  • When the Bastille was stormed, only seven prisoners were being held there. The Bastille wasn’t stormed to liberate wrongfully imprisoned men, but to give the peasants access to the weapons stored inside the Bastille. The peasant class was convinced King Louis was going to send his army into Paris to kill political dissenters, and the people wanted weapons to defend themselves.
  • Most of the France’s aristocrats were ensconced in Versailles and ignored the famine and economic troubles until a mob of peasant women stormed the castle and demanded bread in August of 1789.Tale of Two Cities
  • The ideals behind the French Revolution were so looked down on by other European monarchies that France ended up fighting Prussia, Britain, Spain and Austria all while having their own internal revolution. Some of the fighting goes back to Marie Antoinette being Austrian born. Her brother, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, didn’t take kindly to Marie Antoinette being imprisoned, and then beheaded, which fueled the start of the French Revolutionary Wars.
  • The metric system was developed during the French Revolution.
  • The French Revolutionary Government also adopted its own calendar based on tens. Each week had ten days, each day had ten hours, each hour had 100 minutes, and each minute had 100 seconds. This meant the peasants who got one day a week off now had to work nine days before their break.
  • After the French Revolution ended, the metric system stayed in place, but the French Revolutionary Calender was set aside in favor of the Gregorian Calendar.

The first question people usually ask me after they find out where my novels are set is “Why the French Revolution?”

Oddly enough, I don’t find that question hard to answer, and now you know why. Do any of the facts mentioned above surprise you? Which ones?

Today I’m giving away a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets as well as a copy of A Tale of Two Cities. To enter the giveaway, fill out the drawing form at the end of the post. And don’t forget to come back on Monday for an review of The Soldier’s Secrets and a chance to win another copy of the novel plus a copy of the History Channel Documentary: The French Revolution.

 

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Deliciously Layered: An Interview with Naomi Rawlings

Vanessa here,

It is my great pleasure to have Naomi Rawlings with me on my southern porch. Glad you weathered the pollen to allow me to join the celebration for the release of The Soldiers Secrets. This is the sequel to your Love Inspired Historical debut, Sanctuary for A Lady.Naomi Rawlings The Soldier's Secret

Naomi: Yes, this story is actually the sequel to the first novel I ever wrote, Sanctuary for a Lady. It was exciting to take a character who had a less than stellar reputation in my first novel and transform him. I hope readers will be inspired by the transformation they see in Jean Paul Belanger.

Vanessa: Tell me about your heroine in this novel. What makes Brigitte tick?

Naomi: Brigitte Dubois will do anything to keep her family safe. When she is blackmailed by her father-in-law, his quest for revenge leaves her no choice. To protect her children, she must spy on the man who may have killed her husband. But Jean Paul Belanger is nothing like she expected. The dark, imposing farmer offers food to all who need it, and insists on helping Brigitte and her children . . .

Vanessa: Brooding is good. Is Mr. Rawlings a brooder? I mean, are there any similarities between this book and your life?

Naomi: No, they don’t model my own life experiences. I certainly hope I never have to live through the French Revolution or be left widowed with 5 children or asked to spy on someone. However, I think some of the mistakes Brigitte makes and lessons she learns about honesty and honoring God are universal to everyone, even if the situation itself is rather unique.

Vanessa: The French Revolution is an intense period in time. What shocked you about it?

Naomi: It’s rather sad, but I learned that 85% of people killed during the Reign of Terror were peasants, not your aristocrats or your clergy, but just regular people accused of being a “traitor to liberty.”

Vanessa: So everyone killed wasn’t Marie Antoinette. Why do I suddenly want cake? I’m digressing. Can you sum up Jean Paul’s and Brigitte’s journey in one word?

Naomi: Honesty—watching Jean Paul discover (the importance of being honest) that lesson for himself is an intrinsic part of the story. I enjoyed writing about the different choices both characters made until they realized where they went wrong and how to correct things.

Vanessa: You probably know I am a foodie. If you had to rate the passion of this novel (smokin’ like Louisiana ribs, tepid like warm chamomile tea, deliciously layered by red velvet cake, or some other food.) what would it be?

Naomi: Oh, good question! I would go with “deliciously layered by red velvet cake.” There are a lot of emotions and attraction swirling between Jean Paul and Brigitte, but things are definitely complicated and “layered.” Brigitte has her children to consider first, and then she’s not sure if she can trust Jean Paul. Jean Paul, on the

Picture from uwyoextension.org

other hand, has been hurt before and is still carrying wounds. When you put everything together, “deliciously complicated” is definitely a good description. 

Vanessa: Now I really want cake, something with a lot of layers and bliss icing. Tell me about your favorite scene. Kissing right?

Naomi: No. I have one instance where Brigitte is trying to defend Jean Paul to one of the guards. She’s very ardent in her defense, claiming he’s gentle, caring, and compassionate, but the entire time, she has doubts in her head. As much as she wants to believe Jean Paul, she doesn’t really know. It was a fun scene to write with the conflicting emotions and war inside my heroine’s head.

Vanessa: But there is kissing right. Fine don’t answer. I’ll get the book. Last question, is there one message you want the reader to take with them after finishing this book?

Naomi: The importance of honesty and trusting God, but I don’t want to say more than that lest I give the book away.

Vanessa: Thank you Naomi, for spending time on my porch. Congratulations on this book. Let’s all get it and enjoy the layers.

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The Other Side of the Channel and a Chance to Win

As part of our Spring New Release Extravaganza, we’re happy to highlight The Soldier’s Secrets by our own Naomi Rawlings.

While Jane Austen was writing her first novel in the 1790s, events across the English Channel were taking shape to form one of the most crucial aspects of the Regency era–a longer than twenty-year war with France. To write about the Regency, which was literally from 1811-1820, but has, for literary purposes, been extended from an event that didn’t even happen in England–1789 and the beginning of the French Revolution, until the end of the reign of George IV, formerly known as Prinny, the Prince Regent.

Naomi Rawlings The Soldier's SecretEvery one of our Regency England characters was influenced by what was going on in France. At first, the aristocracy grew leery of too much excess in their lifestyle. Though  they were still lavish in food and drink and parties, they began to dress more simply in the classical Greek-influenced styles…brought over from France. They began to enact reforms to make life easier for the poor and laboring classes. Why? Because they feared a revolution taking place in England as happened in France with aristocrats and royals getting their heads lopped of.

Therefore, including a book set in France in this era fits into our Regency world.

Book Description

Brigitte Dubois will do anything to keep her family safe. When she is blackmailed by her father-in-law, his quest for revenge leaves her no choice. To protect her children, she must spy on the man who may have killed her husband. But Jean Paul Belanger is nothing like she expected. The dark, imposing farmer offers food to all who need it, and insists on helping Brigitte and her children.

Everything Jean Paul did was in the name of liberty. Even so, he can never forgive himself for his actions during France’s revolution. Now a proud auburn-haired woman has come to his home seeking work and has found her way into his reclusive heart. But when she uncovers the truth, his past could drive them apart.

Naomi RawlingsThe first time I had the privilege of reading Naomi’s writing, I new I had found a new writer outside the box. She was  not only writing in Revolutionary France, a time period everyone said no one could sell, but writing with a sensitivity, artistry, and edge we don’t expect in a category romance, we rarely receive in mainstream books in the Christian market.

And yet, despite the alien setting in a time period about which few people have much knowledge, we can all relate to Brigitte and Jean-Luc. She is a woman of honor who will sacrifice everything she must to protect her children. He will do whatever he must to protect his secrets. Their struggles and anguish, yearnings and triumphs fairly leap off the page under Naomi’s skillful words.

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A Heart’s Rebellion Wrap Up

A Heart's RebellionThanks to everyone for stopping by our release celebration for A Heart’s Rebellion by Ruth Axtell. We have winners! And answers! And more information about the next book we’re promoting during our Spring Release Extravaganza!

The two winners of A Heart’s Rebellion are Collette C. and Kay M! Congratulations to both of you ladies.

If you’re wondering about the answers to our questions the answer to our first week’s question is:

1. In regency times, being the firstborn male was everything in terms of inheritance. What career avenues were open for younger sons?

Answer: Church and Military

2. What is a famous botanical garden in London, which existed in regency times (which is where Lancelot takes Jessamine)?

Answer: Kew GardensNaomi Rawlings The Soldier's Secret

Thanks to everyone who stopped by so far during our Spring Release Extravaganza, and remember to stop by tomorrow, when you’ll learn about The Soldier’s Secrets by Naomi Rawlings plus have a chance to win more prizes.

Heroine Rescued from Fruitless Vanity by Regency Hero! “A Heart’s Rebellion”

Lovely heroine, Jessamine Barry, daughter of a vicar no less, is tempted, and gives in to vanity when she allows a flattering knave to draw her away from her standards.

A Heart's RebellionYou may have noted my journalistic headline-style title, and the 30 word summary with which I started this post. I don’t know if I got your attention, but the book “A Heart’s Rebellion” got my attention as a wonderful read. And since it has simmered in my heart and mind for a few weeks, a marvelous truth-filled spiritual theme has surfaced from the book’s delight-filled sea of lavish plot, setting, and characterization.

The hero, Lancelot Marfleet, is a Christlike man.  However, he is not deliciously handsome like so many romance heroes. But from Scripture, we learn that our Lord himself was not particularly attractive or handsome:

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him,

nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.”  

Isaiah 53:2 

The heroine is Jessamine Barry, who sidetracks onto a tangent of worldliness, seeking satisfaction in being admired by a man…any man.

She reminds me of Folly, a name which could be used for Jessamine as she leaves her family home for the bright lights of London. She also discards the teachings of her youth:

“The wisest of women builds her house, but Folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1

Lancelot, in his Christlike way, shows grace to Jessamine, is patient, long-suffering, and kind, even when she is not.  He ultimately rescues her from her sin and gives her a way out.  He draws her to himself in love and completely saves her.  For me, this chain of events makes this book even more worthwhile for the picture of redemption shown through the character of Lancelot.

To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, author Ruth Axtell will be giving away two copies of her book. The first giveaway ended Monday, March 24 at midnight, and the second ends Monday, March 31 (today) at midnight. To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the comments below:

Giveaway Question: The hero in A Heart’s Rebellion, Lancelot Marfleet, has a hobby, which is botany. What is a famous botanical garden in London, which existed in regency times?

Also, If you’ve read the book, did you notice any other Christlike attributes of the hero? I’d love to read your comments on this post, Thanks for your time, Susan Karsten

 

A Walk Through a Botanical Garden in A Heart’s Rebellion

Since most of us in cold climates are thinking spring, I thought I’d take you on a tour of a botanical garden near London, just as my heroine, Jessamine Barry, does about two-thirds of the way through the story.
The hero, Lancelot Marfleet is an avid botanist and he wants nothing better than to invite the woman of his dreams, Jessamine, to view the exotic specimens in the botanical gardens. He knows her father is an amateur botanist, so he hopes Jessamine shares a love of plants and flowers.

paeonia moutan
The botanical gardens in London during the regency period were the largest in the world at the time. Plants had been brought back from all corners of the globe by renowned explorers and botanists such as Sir Joseph Banks on his exploration with Captain Cook. One of the plants introduced to Europe by Banks was the peony, a native bush of China. Lancelot shows Jessamine a specimen, because he knows her father is an avid peony enthusiast.

 

Hydrangea

Woodblock print, ‘Hydrangeas’ by Sakai Ōho (1808-1841)
Victoria and Albert Museum

strelitzia

Strelitzia reginae from the Botanists Repository by Henry Charles Andrews

 

Next, Lancelot leads her to an ornamental bush brought over from Japan by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the late 1780s, the common bush we know as the hydrangea, or in Lancelot’s terminology, Hydrangea hortensis.

 

 

 

He then shows her an exotic flower brought back by Banks’ trip to the Pacific with Captain Cook. It looks like a waterbird ready to take flight, Jessamine tells him. Appropriately names Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia reginae, she is properly impressed.

 

 

 

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Jasminum, William Farquhar Collection (1819-1823)

But it’s when they walk through the hothouses that things heat up (pun intended). Lancelot leads Jessamine toward a very special flower to him, the jasmine, for which her father named her. It’s a vine with a small, white star-like flower with a heady scent. Being so near it causes him to lose his head.

But you’ll have to read the book to find out what he does and how she reacts!

To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, I’m giving away two copies of my book. The second giveaway will end Monday, March 31 at midnight. To enter this week’s giveaway, answer this question in the comments below:

What is a famous botanical garden in London, which existed in regency times (which is where Lancelot takes Jessamine)?

Thanks for stopping by Regency Reflections for our Spring Release Extravaganza! Make sure to visit throughout the month of April to read about the other regency books coming out and have a chance at some great prizes.

Ruth Axtell

Interview with Ruth Axtell

Axtell_HeartRebellionOur beloved Ruth Axtell has a new Regency romance just out! Here’s the back cover blurb:

In a world governed by unspoken rules, one young woman is about to break them all . . .

Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future. So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as a suitor. Instead, she’s ready to take fashionable society by storm–and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it.

Can Jessamine trust her heart to lead her to a love that proves true through thick and thin? Or will her rash actions close the door on the life she really desires?

Lose yourself in Ruth Axtell’s sumptuous story of discovering one’s true self and finding true love.

Camy here: I have the honor of interviewing Ruth today!

The hero, Lancelot Marfleet’s, hobby in A Heart’s Rebellion is botany. How did you come up with this for a hobby?

The regency era was a time for amateur scientists. It was considered an appropriate pastime for the gentry and aristocracy. Lancelot studied some of it while at Cambridge pursuing his divinity studies, and when he went to India as a missionary, he was able to indulge his hobby, seeking out and identifying many new varieties of plants.

Did you learn any interesting facts from the regency period about botany?

Yes, I learned about Captain Cook’s travels to the Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands down there) and how many new plant specimens he brought back. This spurred on botanists like Carl Linnaeus, who laid the foundations of the modern classification system of genus & species.

The hero has been in India as a missionary. What was it like for a missionary in regency times?

Very difficult in tropical countries like India, mainly because of disease. Many died very quickly because of fevers and such, which their bodies were not immune to.

The heroine is a vicar’s daughter. She makes a brief appearance in the previous regency, Moonlight Masquerade. Did you already have a sequel in mind when you wrote Moonlight Masquerade?

Yes, I got the beginnings of an idea for her story while writing Moonlight Masquerade.

What interested you about her character?

I think some of Jane Austen’s heroines inspired me. A lady was supposed to be ladylike–self-controlled, gentle, well-mannered. So, even if her heart was trampled on, she was expected to take it like a “lady.” I wanted to explore what was really going on inside this ladylike facade when a woman’s heart was breaking.

Camy again: Thanks so much for the interview, Ruth!

To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, Ruth will be giving away two copies of her book. The first giveaway will end Monday, March 24 at midnight, and the second will end Monday, March 31 at midnight. To enter this week’s giveaway, answer this question in the comments below:

In regency times, being the firstborn male was everything in terms of inheritance. What career avenues were open for younger sons? 

Thanks for stopping by Regency Reflections for our Spring Release Extravaganza! Be sure to come back on Thursday for a history post by Ruth as well as another chance to win a copy of A Heart’s Rebellion.