Sparked by Scandal!
Well, now I’ve got your attention, I’d like to thank Mary Anne for inviting me to visit her wonderful blog today. There’s so many fascinating posts here – love the element of myth and folklore in so many of the pieces, too.
One of the fun things about writing Regency Romance is that, very much like our own time, it was an age obsessed with celebrity and scandal. The press was thriving and multifarious, there was an endless hunger for scurrilous stories, and there was also a healthy market for topical cartoons sold as prints. Believe me, if you think some of the stuff that goes on today makes your hair curl, check out the satirical caricatures by people like Cruikshank, Gillray, and Rowlandson.
In this era, the prototypical figure of scandal was Lord Byron – his life still reads like a sensational novel, from his sudden worldwide literary fame, to his love affair with his half-sister and his numerous other affairs across Europe, to his hero’s death at the age of 36, fighting for Greek independence against the Ottoman Empire. When Lady Caroline Lamb called her lover “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” she knew what she was talking about.
The tag line for my Dashing Widows series of 6 novellas and now a full-lengther to bring the cycle to a close (at least for the moment – I’m thinking about writing stories for the next generation at some stage) was “Scandal is the new black.” The launching point for Lord Garson’s Bride – in fact the reason for the story being written at all – was a scandal of the kind that Regency audiences just devoured. Doings in high society. Romance and Passion. A heroic return from the dead. A touch of the exotic.
My Dashing Widows novellas feature women who decide they’ve had enough of mourning and that it’s time for them to seek out some fun. But book 6 in the series, Catching Captain Nash, is a variation on the theme because Morwenna, the heroine, isn’t actually a widow at all, even if she doesn’t know it yet. Her husband, the dashing naval captain Robert Nash, was lost at sea and she’s spent five years mourning him. For the sake of her young daughter, and because she knows it’s time to make some sort of life for herself, she agrees to marry all-round upstanding guy Hugh Rutherford, Lord Garson. Not very scandalous so far – but when her long-lost husband returns from the dead to disrupt the ball celebrating Morwenna’s engagement to Garson, the fallout occupies London’s gossips well into the future.
So Morwenna gets her happy ending because she never stopped loving Robert (although it’s not all plain sailing as you’ll discover if you read Catching Captain Nash, currently free on all ebook platforms). But after finishing Captain Nash, I found myself thinking about the runner-up in this particular romantic race, especially as Garson behaved so well when the woman he loved returned to her husband. He plays the least glamorous role in this drama, that of gallant loser, and there’s no way he can lick his wounds in private as Robert’s return to London occurred in the full glare of public attention.
Does the most famous rejected lover in England deserve a love of his own?
Of course he does!
It’s been a real emotional rollercoaster describing Garson’s journey into love with the childhood friend he marries, purely because he thinks she’s his most convenient option. I’ve always enjoyed marriage of convenience stories. There’s such high stakes when the couple are tied together for life – as they are in a historical romance. At the start of the story, neither Jane Norris nor Garson are in love, and both of them fight their inevitable fall tooth and nail. By the end of the story, they’ve both had to recognise that they’re not the people they thought they were, and in the process, they’ve had to face up to some agonising decisions.
There’s always a bittersweet touch to finishing a series because you’re letting go of characters you’ve loved and nurtured through sometimes years of personal growth. But I have to say when I finished writing Lord Garson’s Bride, I felt like the Dashing Widows and their friends had all found such happiness that I could safely leave them to their own devices.
On now to a bunch of Scottish lairds, who definitely need some help in the romance department. You get to meet such interesting people when you’re a writer! Even if they only live in your head!
I’d like you to imagine you live in the Regency. Would you be a good, demure girl with never a word of gossip whispered about you? Or would you be more likely to feature in one of those caricatures of society scandal I mentioned above? If that’s you, what sort of scandal do you think you’d get up to?
I’ve got 2 Kindle downloads of Lord Garson’s Bride to give away here. Just leave me a comment to be in the draw. No geographical restrictions.
*Entry to the Giveaway is now closed.*
*Entry to the Giveaway is now closed.*
Australian Anna Campbell has written 10 multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and 17 bestselling independently published novellas. Look out for her new series featuring three roguish Scottish lairds beginning in mid-2018.
Lord Garson's Bride
Hugh Rutherford, Lord Garson, loved and lost when his fiancée returned to the husband she’d believed drowned. In the three years since, Garson has come to loathe his notoriety as London’s most famous rejected suitor. It’s high time to find a bride, a level-headed, well-bred lady who will accept a loveless marriage and cause no trouble. Luckily he has just the candidate in mind.
A marriage of convenience…
When Lady Jane Norris receives an unexpected proposal from her childhood friend Lord Garson, marriage to the handsome baron rescues her from a grim future. At twenty-eight, Jane is on the shelf and under no illusions about her attractions. With her father’s death, she’s lost her home and faces life as an impecunious spinster. While she’s aware Garson will never love again, they have friendship and goodwill to build upon. What can possibly go wrong?
…becomes very inconvenient indeed.
From the first, things don’t go to plan, not least because Garson soon finds himself in thrall to his surprisingly intriguing bride. A union grounded in duty veers toward obsession. And when the Dashing Widows take Jane in hand and transform her into the toast of London, Garson isn’t the only man to notice his wife’s beauty and charm. He’s known Jane all her life, but suddenly she’s a dazzling stranger. This isn’t the uncomplicated, pragmatic match he signed up for. When Jane defies the final taboo and asks for his love, her impossible demand threatens to blast this convenient marriage to oblivion.