Eleanor Leese

Eleanor Leese – Editor

Expert in women's fiction, romance, historical fiction and history non-fiction. Send me historical romance and I'll bite your hand off


I'm an experienced freelance editor who has worked with big-name publishers, exciting indies and directly with authors. I specialise in women's fiction, historical, and history non-fiction, and historical romance is my catnip.

I have a Master's degree in Historical Studies from the University of Oxford and my research is focussed on the history of romantic love.

Chick Lit Contemporary Fiction Contemporary Romance Historical Fiction Historical Romance Romantic Comedy
English (UK) English (US)
  • Publishing Training Centre

Work experience


Sep, 2010 — Present

I work with author clients at the start of their publishing journey, refining ideas and building on their writing craft to produce a polished manuscript. I focus on women’s and historical fiction and history non-fiction, although I have undertaken projects across a variety of genres.

I have worked with publishing companies and directly with authors to develop titles at all stages from outline to proofreading. Clients include: Penguin, Headline , Hodder & Stoughton, Ebury/Random House, Pan Macmillan, Choc Lit, Atlantic Books, Oneworld Publications, PS Publishing, DB Publishing, Icon Books, The Oxford Editors, Cornerstones and private clients.


Mar, 2014 — Present

I write contemporary, category-length romance under the pen name Ellie Darkins. My first novel was published in January 2014 and I have since published fifteen more with Harlequin Mills & Boon ! I was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year award in 2019.


Nov, 2006 — Aug, 2010 (over 3 years)

Key responsibilities:
• Commissioning new projects and new editions, writing strategy plans.
• Ensuring timely publication, liaising with freelancers, creating P&Ls, setting budgets, picture research, and briefing and proofreading covers.
• Managing author relationships, ensuring timely delivery of manuscripts.
• Working with editorial assistants and development editors to ensure administrative and development tasks were completed.


Love Songs for Sceptics

Christina Pishiris

A fantastic debut from a HILARIOUS and brilliantly ORIGINAL NEW VOICE in women’s fiction . . .LOVE IS FOR SUCKERS . . . ISN’T IT?My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Sla... read more
Read the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm! In this “charming debut” (People) from one of Sweden’s most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in ... read more
The Vanishing Tide

Tailor, Hilary

Essex Witches

Brown, Peter

"...full of sexual tension and political intrigue... For a terrific historical romance with a couple who can't keep their hands off each other, this is perfect."―RT Book ReviewsSet against the extravagant backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court, lady-in-wai... read more
Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the second installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy begun in Wolf Bride, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court by Elizabeth Moss. HE IS UNDER HER SPELL...Hugh Beaufort, favored courtier of King ... read more
Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But then she’s made redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to sunny Malta.Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards... read more
The Stonemason

Andrew Ziminski

A stonemason's story of the building of Britain: part archaeological history, part deeply personal insight into an ancient craft. In his thirty-year career, stonemason Andrew Ziminski has worked on many of our greatest monuments. From Neolithic monoliths to Ro... read more
The Furies

Irving McCabe

June 1914: In London, a militant suffragette plants a bomb on the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, while in Sarajevo, an idealistic young surgeon fights to save the life of the mortally wounded Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Four weeks later the Great War beg... read more
Hounslow, 1768. Jack Blythe, heir to the Earl of Lampton, is a man with great expectations.So when his stagecoach is held up by a masked woman, brandishing a pistol and dressed as a ‘gentleman’ of the road, he wholly expects to have his purse stolen. And when ... read more
Doctor January

Rhoda Baxter

Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth's finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific abilities and is willing to work hard to prove them. She's even beginning to see Hibbs (James Hibbotson), her dedicated lab part... read more

Eleanor has 20 reviews





Juliette T.

Juliette T.

Jul, 2024

Eleanor was great to work with. Supportive, insightful, clear and professional. She is an expert in her field and I would love to work with her again.
Laura J.

Laura J.

Jun, 2024

Eleanor has been a great supporter in my beginnings of writing my first novel. Being unsure as to whether my draft was actually any good, I thought it would be wise to ask for an assessment on a sample of my work before I dive deeper into completing a polished draft. Eleanor's love of history has inspired me to continue to work on my own historical fiction, with a twist of feminism. I truly va...
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Ann B.

Ann B.

Oct, 2023

Eleanor responded to my initial request very quickly. Her report was delivered promptly and was extremely thorough, with very helpful guidance. It included some lovely comments and positive suggestions, which have given me the motivation to keep working to develop my story to its full potential. I would certainly recommend her and I look forward to working with her again.
Paul J.

Paul J.

Sep, 2023

I enjoyed working with Eleanor. By highlighting a slightly different, and unintended theme within my HF manuscript, her comments brought very helpful perspective that allowed me to sharpen my protagonist's motivation. My manuscript is set in the turmoil of the English Reformation and my protagonist, the future Sir Francis Drake, transitions from a child to a young adult within that historical s...
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Maggie C.

Maggie C.

Aug, 2023

Eleanor is an excellent editor. She is open and friendly, also incisive and challenging, drawing the best out of you by her analytical eye and deep knowledge of how stories work. Working with her has been an extremely positive experience and has me returning to my manuscript with renewed enthusiasm to finish the story and get it out there to the reader.

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