Elizabeth Rolls Talks About Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride

The Riskies welcome back Elizabeth Rolls whose next Harlequin Historical, Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride, will be in bookstores in June. Elizabeth comes to us all the way from Down Under!

Elizabeth will give away one copy of the book to one lucky commenter chosen at random.

Elizabeth, tell us about Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride.

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me to visit again. You want to hear ALL about Braybrook and Christy? LOL! Just a little bit maybe. This is the story of a man who has a mental list, enumerated by his stepmother in front of the heroine, of the attributes he requires in a bride . . . and how he ends up having to marry Christy Daventry who embodies none of said attributes. Christy is a woman with only one thing to depend on – herself. She is capable, intelligent and more than aware that a man like Braybrook can only want one thing from a woman like her. She is also aware of her own deepest vulnerability- her loneliness.

How does Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride fit in with your previous books?

Braybrook was really an accidental character. He first appeared in His Lady Mistress and originally I intended him to be a bit of a rat bastard, in Anne Stuart’s immortal phrase. But he refused to behave badly and turned out to be rather nice. Still, he only had one scene, and a very minor part at that. Then I started writing A Compromised Lady and there he was again. This time muscling his way in on the action right from the start. I was starting to find out a little bit more about him and before I knew where I was, parts of his story were coming to me, so I wrote them down before I could forget them. The early parts of Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride were written at much the same time as parts of ACL. It turned out though, that the characters from the earlier books didn’t show up at all in this story. That surprised me, but the story just didn’t work out that way.

Did you come across any interesting research while you were writing the book?

I did quite a bit of reading up on illegitimacy. The situation for illegitimate children was really horrible. A child born out of wedlock had no legal rights of inheritance AT ALL. They were considered Filius Nullius – child of no one. There was absolutely nothing in the legal system to protect such children or force the father to take responsibility. Of course in those days there was no way to prove beyond all possible doubt that the father was the father. Children born into this situation were considered literally tainted. Julian’s actions are, I have to admit, historically fairly unlikely both in regard to Christy and Nan Roberts. What can I say? The man’s a hero. I had a weird experience with the last part of the book in terms of research. I really didn’t know how to end the story, and tie everything up so that Julian’s altered attitudes were believable. Not for the reader, but for Christy. Most of it was in place, but I needed some sort of context for him to make that final declaration. Not to force it, but to give it form. In the end I found a couple of books on antique toys and nursery furniture – talk about a blinding revelation! The moment I had those books in my hands I had my final scene. (Literally. I’d barely opened them except to check they covered the right period.) It’s completely sappy and sentimental, the rocking horse owes more than a passing swish of the tail to the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit, but I love it!

What is risky about Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride?

Risky?? Hmm. The risky part is that Christy is not your average well-bred heroine. That in itself is perhaps not risky, but Braybrook’s initial attitude towards her is typical of his time and rank, and is, as she later points out to him, deeply hypocritical. He is attracted to her, but because she is so far beneath him in the social scale he views her purely as mistress material. However, he is forced by circumstance and Christy’s nature to change his mind. I don’t want to give too much away in terms of spoilers, but he is also very much of his time in his attitude towards illegitimacy and some may find his initial views on this somewhat confronting. Possibly also those who don’t like children in a romance may find Braybrook’s youngest siblings annoying, so be warned if you are in that category. The man has a family and his story turned out to be very much about the importance of family and just what family involves. Braybrook’s conflict is that he is torn between what received social wisdom tells him he should feel about Christy, and what his heart is telling him.

What’s next for you?

I’m battling on with the next book. This one is a bit of a departure for me – a murder mystery. Don’t get too excited just yet. Murder is easy, but the plotting of the whole thing is giving me hell. I mean figuring out what happens is fine – the tricky bit is trying to make sure it isn’t obvious for the reader! Right now I’m hung up on the significance of a snuff box . . . This one is Regency set, but after that I have an idea for a Restoration story. So I’m reading about the English Civil War and the Restoration, and the 17th century generally. Lots of reading on both sides, Parliament and Royalist. I’m finding the differences and conflicts in religious thought fascinating, which may give the story a very different flavour to what I’ve written in the past. It’s hard to say at the moment. So far I have a premise and two characters and a couple of rough, VERY rough – did I say ROUGH? – scenes. It feels good though, but no doubt by the time I’m fully into the writing it will drive me mad! It’s nice to be doing something a little different though. I love Regency and will definitely come back to it, but this story doesn’t fit into a Regency setting and I really, really want to write it. I guess though I won’t be able to come back here and tell you all about that one – unless you want to make the blog Risky Regencies AND Restoration Drama for a day!

Elizabeth’s A Compromised Lady is a finalist for Australia’s Romance Novel of the Year!!

AND His Lady Mistress is still available as one of Harlequin’s 60th Anniversary Free Downloads.

Don’t you have a question you are dying to ask Elizabeth? Ask a question or leave a comment for a chance to win Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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44 Responses to Elizabeth Rolls Talks About Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride

  1. Maureen says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I think your cover is beautiful. Are you happy with it?

  2. Helen says:

    Great post Elizabeth and very informative will it be released in Australia in June as well because I have added it to my must get list.

    I have downloaded your book from Harliquin and need to find time just to sit at the computer and read it when no one else is home and wanting the computer.

    Congrats on the release and the new books you are writing sound very interesting as well do you find it hard moving from different time periods.

    Have Fun

  3. Carol L. says:

    Hi Elizabethh,
    I enjoyed the interview and now I want to read Braybrook’s Penniless Bride. thanks for sharing.Congrats on finaling. Nice meeting you here.
    Carol L.

  4. Maureen, I love the cover. It’s gorgeous and richly coloured and so romantic. The only thing that surprised me is that Christy is shown with dark hair, but she looks so lovely, I don’t care.

    Helen, it will available in Australia in December – sorry! Of course if you are desperate you can buy the ebook 😉 Or you could order it from The Book Depository in the UK – postage is free there and you’ll likely have it in about a week. I should know; I’ve been buying heaps from them!

    The hardest thing about trying another time period is all the stuff you don’t know. Knowing how people did things and what they ate, but most of all how they thought. It’s like what Atticus Finch says to Scout in To Kill a Mocking Bird – “You have to walk around in someone’s shoes for a while.”

    Thank you, Carol! I hope you enjoy Braybrook.

  5. Trish Morey says:

    Ms Rolls, I loved Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride and I’ve told you so before, but it’s worth saying again. Gorgeous story. Love the contrast between hero and heroine and the great(er) steps he has to breach that distance so they could both be together. Wonderfully evocative writing and simply heart wrenching stuff.

    Thank you, Elizabeth!

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Welcome, Elizabeth! Or I should say, welcome back.

    This book sounds delightful. I love it when a hero has to grow out of his chauvinistic ways.

    Hi, Trish Morey, Harlequin Presents author extraordinaire! So great to see you here!!!

  7. Hi Trish! Yes, Julian did have a bit of growing up to do. Poor man! I let him have all these prejudices and then landed him with a woman who turned them all upside down.

    Diane, it’s so lovely to be here again. And thanks for the congrats on A Compromised Lady. I had a lovely bottle of fizzy stuff from my editor which I took to Trish’s place last night. A bunch of us went out to a Scouts’ fundraising dinner – and I outbid her for a painting:-))

  8. Hi Elizabeth, welcome to the Riskies and I’m very excited to hear you’re writing about 17c England–it’s such an interesting period.

  9. Trish Morey says:

    Oh… the painting… I was hoping you wouldn’t mention that.

    My heart, as are my walls, is bereft. Gorgeous painting and you still got it for a steal. Ah well.

    Diane G, lovely to see you here, fellow Wetnoodleposse gal. And welcome Janet too!

  10. Hi Elizabeth,

    Great information in your post today. I have a copy of ‘His Lady Mistress’ on my computer…just need to get busy & read it! This new book sounds really good too.

    It amazes me that authors find the time to read the research books, write the books, read other books for enjoyment, run a family and in general ‘have a life’. How many hours are in your day?

  11. Linda says:

    I’m intrigued by the idea of a Restoration novel,the conflict between Royalists and Parliament.
    Would love to win this book.

  12. Hi Janet. Thanks for having me. The 17th century is fascinating. So many extremes. I’m really enjoying the reading and especially the primary sources to get a feel for the shifts in language. That’s one of the trickiest things – to give a feel for the language without sounding as though you’ve swallowed Pepys and Evelyn’s diaries!

  13. How many hours in my day, Karen? Either far too many, or not enough! As for having enough time to read, that’s why it has taken me a long time to get around to thinking about writing one set at/after the Restoration. I knew how much reading would be involved. I’m doing a lot of the reading while my sons are at soccer training.

    Janet, I hope it’s worth winning when it’s written. I need to hurry up with the book I’m on at the moment, though so I can get to it.

  14. Jane Austen says:

    I’m excited the Brayrook gets his own story.

    When I went to school in Wales we learned a lot about Oliver Cromwell and what a horrible preservationist he was. I think his theme song should be “I know how to blow things up”.

  15. Good evening, Miss Austen! (It’s evening here anyway.) Down there in Wales you might well have a jaundiced view of Oliver given the state he left many of your castles in! Then again, you might also want to weep over Tintern Abbey after it was stripped and left to fall into ruin during Henry VIII’s reign. Of course as women we could argue that Henry did worse things than that . . .

  16. Sorry about the painting, Trish – but you guys got the ride in the vintage car! DH and the boys would have killed for that.

  17. jcp says:

    I’ve heard so many great things about Lord Braybrok’s Penniless Bride.

  18. Jane Austen says:

    I actually think that Tintern Abbey would not be as beautiful if it was still whole. I think it’s way more mystical and beautiful. It was the first place I saw mistletoe growing on an oak and anyone who has read The Golden Bough knows how amazing that is.

  19. I think you’re right about Tintern, Miss Austen. There is something about the place that soothes and uplifts all at once.

    JCP, I hope the book lives up to what you have heard!

  20. Hello, Elizabeth! I am such a fan of your books!! The cover of this one is gorgeous and I know the story will be wonderful as well. His Lady Mistress was a great read. Thank you!

    I am presently writing a murder mystery as well, my second actually. How do you go about plotting it out? Do you plot it, then write it or do you plot it as you write? What sort of process do you use to make sure the clues are there, but not too obvious? And are there any problems that come in a Regency set murder that might be different from another era?

  21. Louisa, it’s largely a process of plotting backwards. Then I have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to help me figure out what comes next. Of course new things crop up in the writing and then I have stop and figure out if I want to weave them in. And of course you have to misdirect the reader wherever possible! It’s a bit of a learning curve to be honest. I love reading murder mysteries, but actually writing one is jolly hard.
    One thing that is easier in some ways I suppose is that forensic science was pretty much non-existent, so you don’t have to panic too much about that. One the other hand it’s not easy to find out exactly WHAT they knew. Also bodies were rarely autopsied, except it was not unknown for a “famous” corpse to be disinterred and sold to a surgeon – there was one guy who specialised in this. He was a sort of collector . . . so I might arrange my autopsy that way! Hope no one was eating her breakfast!

  22. Congrats on the release of your latest book, Elizabeth. Fantastic interview! I’m fascinated by all the customs of the era.

  23. Virginia says:

    Hi Elizabeth, welcome to Riskies. Your book sounds fantastic and I love the cover! I was wondering if you enjoy the research on your books and visit the settings your books take place? I think I would enjoy this.

  24. Thanks, Eleni. Nice to see you here!

    Virginia, I do enjoy the research for my books. Most of it I have to do at a distance. I just can’t afford to go whizzing off to the UK all the time. Most unfair! However in the case of this book I had visited many of the settings. I had a trip to the UK four years ago and stayed with another Harlequin Historical author, Joanna Maitland, who lives not far from Hereford. She took me all over the place so I based a great deal of it on that. I did make some things up though! Braybrook’s home, Amberley, was based largely on Berkely Castle which is still lived in, although I took the liberty of transporting it over to Herefordshire and placing it near the river Wye – a little like Goodrich Castle, which is in ruins.
    There is an early scene set in Bristol where Christy is living at the start of the book. I researched that setting on the internet. Google Earth helped A LOT, as did various photos I found. Then, quite coincidentally, I met an aspiring writer called Maggie who had actually lived in Bristol! Can you believe it? She was able to tell me all about the street Christy lived on – Christmas Steps – which was a huge help in getting the atmosphere right. She told me that it was a very dark street and could be quite creepy. Sometimes things just work out perfectly. Luckily Maggie is now a member of my writing group so next time I need a Bristol setting I know who to ask.

  25. I hope no one will be offended if I don’t answer for a while? It’s 1:30am down here and I really do need to get some sleep! I’ll come back later – probably it will be afternoon for those of you in the US or Canada.

  26. Don’t you just love it when a character has a mind of his or her own? They always remind me of the Bible story where the donkey sees the angel of death and refuses to go on despite the abuse of his rider who, of course, can’t see the angel and has no idea the donkey knows exactly what its doing; when you let them have their way, they get you where you want to go without the pitfalls.

    Great post. Looking forward to reading about Braybrook. Good luck with the Restoration story.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sounds intriguing! But I don’t remember that character from ACL and I know that’s going to drive me just nutty. :-\ — willaful

  28. Kit Donner says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    That’s the amazing thing about research- the tidbits you find that very few people know about. I can’t wait to read “Penniless Bride” and your upcoming murder mystery. One thing I like to do as an author is combine a romance with a murder mystery or some type of intrigue. Have you ever considered that idea? All the best, Kit

  29. robynl says:

    I can’t wait to read “Penniless Bride” and your upcoming murder mystery.
    The customs back then are sure interesting.

    Thanks for being here today.

  30. Your books sound delightful, and I will be a ready and willing reader whenever your write your Restoration story. I love that era!

  31. Gwynlyn, that’s exactly what it’s like! Something turns up, or a character refuses to behave in a certain way and somehow it gets you where you need to go.

    Willaful, Braybrook was one of the Richard’s friends who had acted as a second in the duel and turned out to know, or suspect, the whole story.
    Kit, the story is a romance with the murder thread throwing them together and providing a large part of the external conflict. It’s the murder part of the plot that is causing trouble.

    Thank you, Robyn. It’s lovely to be here. I sometimes wonder what people back then would think of our customs. Be horrified, I suspect. I know my grandmother was;)

  32. Thanks, Barbara! Great to know I have a few readers already.

  33. Diane Gaston says:

    It is so lovely to see some new names here. Welcome, everyone!

    Elizabeth, thanks again for coming to Risky Regencies and for having such an active conversation with our commenters!

  34. azteclady says:

    Hello, Ms Rolls!

    I was checking the blurb at your site, and… I am confused! Is Christy illegitimate?

  35. Elizabeth, what a great post. I’m looking forward to reading this one, will add it to my list. I love the cover. Now I’m all fired up to get back into my historical. Wish I didn’t need to sleep, I’d have more time to write. LOL.

  36. Caffey says:

    Hi Elizabeth!! I love hearing about your books! I love the theme of this one with the stepmother! I’m one who asked a few times about your connecting books so you answered my question here! Thanks! Its so neat on the research! I sometimes learn something new in a historical romance I read an look it up if I remember the next time I’m on the computer and end up getting lost into so much of the fascinating research! But its for me, more for being so curious about it! Are there places you’d like to visit to set a book in?

  37. Eva S says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I’m late as usual, just wanted to say that I love your books, I have them all on my keeper shelf and I’m looking forward to reading this new one some day!

  38. Um, that might constitute a spoiler, Azteclady! Let’s just say that the issue of illegitimacy does come up and Julian has to deal with it – on more than one front.

    Sandie, how nice to see you here. Always great to have a Bootcamper on board.

    Hi Caffey! Lovely to see you. It was fun doing a nice stepmother. Sometimes I think stepmothers get a bad press. Actually back then Serena probably would have been referred to as Braybrook’s mother-in-law because they used that expression in both contexts, but I thought that would just be too confusing. There are times when you need to sacrifice accuracy for comprehension.

    Eva – thank you! It’s wonderful to know my books are finding a good home with you. I hope you enjoy Braybrook just as much!

  39. Hi Elizabeth,
    I have to agree with the other comments about your cover – it’s lush and gorgeous and it’s enough to make me pick up this book alone. But add the teaser you’ve just given about the story? Now I *have* to read this!

  40. Judy says:

    Alas, I am late, but it is good to see you here, Elizabeth. LBPB was brilliant, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

  41. Hi, Rachel! Thanks for coming by. The cover is gorgeous and lush is exactly the right word.

    And here’s Judy to vouch for the contents because she’s already read it – Hi, Judy! Never mind being late. It’s always good to make an entrance.

  42. Caffey says:

    So true Elizabeth on the stepmothers! Most I read were more on the ‘evil or bad’ side with the heroine and turn out for the best, so it will be neat to read this that was on her side all the way through!

  43. flchen1 says:

    Just coming by late to say how many good things I’ve heard about your writing recently, Elizabeth! My circle of friends with excellent taste have all been recommending your books–I’ll definitely be adding them to my TBR! Congrats on your latest–I love how Lord Braybrook’s character took on a life of his own, so to speak 🙂 Best wishes with your new time/direction/story!

  44. Well that’s lovely to hear, Flchen1. Thank you! Obviously you and your friends do have wonderful taste. And thank you for the good wishes.

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