Hey there, it’s Scarlett.
It’s release day for my new book, Jordan Reclaimed, and I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about The John Rylands Library – the too-wonderful-for-words place where I spent many hours writing most of the story.
The John Rylands Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband John Rylands. Enriqueta was born in Cuba, but was brought up in Liverpool and London after her parents died. She joined John Ryland’s household aged 20, as a companion to his wife, Martha. Following Martha’s death in 1875, the couple married and later adopted two children.
John Ryland was an extremely successful (and hugely wealthy) cotton merchant. He came from humble beginnings and remained a shy and unassuming man throughout his life. A dedicated man of faith, he supported many charitable causes even providing a town hall, public baths, a library and a coffeehouse for the town of Stretford, where he lived. He and Enriqueta shared this Christian outlook, as well as a love of literature, architecture and art.
Designed in 1889 by architect, Basil Champneys, the magnificent gothic building took ten years to build. Manchester academic, Alice Margaret Cooke, was commissioned to index it. It was opened to public readers on 1st January 1900. The library became part of The University of Manchester in 1972 and currently holds the Special Collections of The University of Manchester Library. Enriqueta’s memorial to her husband is now part of the third largest academic library in the UK.
Amongst the world class collection housed at the library, is the oldest known piece of the New Testament, the St John Fragment. There are also spectacular illuminated medieval manuscripts and a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
The library is Grade I listed and although I’ve visited hundreds of times, I’m still in awe of the striking Victorian architecture and imposing gothicness of the building. Although its scale and design give it the appearance of a church, it was originally intended to be reminiscent of an Oxford college library.
It took Enriqueta some effort to get building work started, as the position and shape of the site was unusual and there were concerns over the close proximity of neighbouring buildings and the possibility of smoke and soot contamination from local industries. Undeterred, she continued negotiations, and once completed, the building included an advanced ventilation system and dust-resistant bookcases to combat the effects of pollution. It was also one of the first public buildings in Manchester to be lit by electricity.
There are so many things I adore about this library – the atmosphere, the surroundings, the tranquility and sense of peace – but above all else, I love the fact it was built because of one woman’s desire to memorialise a man she loved so deeply. The core collection of the library started with 40,000 books and she continued to collect and add to this throughout her lifetime – she never stopped trying to keep the philanthropic spirit and reach of her husband alive. The building was even inaugurated on what would have been the couple’s wedding anniversary. On the same day, she was awarded the Freedom of the City of Manchester, the first woman to receive the honour. When she died, she was cremated and the ashes interred in the vault where her husband had been buried twenty years earlier.
I think a bit of that lifelong dedication, endearment, and enduring affection lends itself to me when I go there to think and to write, and I hope even a hint of that emotion and depth of feeling spills over into my characters and their relationships. It truly is a masterpiece of love. Thank you for the inspiration, Enriqueta.
He’s a rocker, she’s a ballerina, they’re worlds apart yet just what the other needs. From Scarlett Cole comes Jordan Reclaimed, the first emotional standalone romance that takes readers into the the band Preload.
Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.
Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan.
Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?
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