Yay! I am done with the book and with the revisions on my new Undone short estory and am momentarily free of all deadlines.

Which means I am in the throes of worrying what to write next. The field is a way open. I can write anything I want to–as long as it is set in Regency England.
So I’ve been thinking of what books I’ve enjoyed, and one keeps popping up in my mind: The Last Frost Fair by Joy Freemen, a Signet Regency from 1985.
I loved the set-up for this book. The heroine is the beauty of an impoverished family. Her sisters and mother toil endlessly while she must sit and watch, to save her hands. The survival of her family depends upon her making a good marriage. Then she meets and falls in love with the hero, a soldier, but they both know that they cannot marry. They reunite later in the story and attend the last frost fair. A happy ending seems almost impossible.
I love the drama of needing to marry for money but falling in love with someone else. And the excitement and danger of the last frost fair. I wrote a blog about the last frost fair, and it figures prominently in a book I started a long time ago, one that has paranormal elements so isn’t a fit for Harlequin Historicals.
Do you have a book that just continues to stick in your mind?
Do you have a favorite plot that you never tire of? Reunion stories. Cinderella stories. Marriage of convenience. (I’d love to know….I have to write a new book, you know…)
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11 years ago

Congratulations on completing the manuscript!

So many books…

I love beauty and the beast stories.

11 years ago

Diane, your post made me think of a Signet Regency from 1995 that I just loved–“An English Alliance” by Dawn Lindsey. It was set in and around Washington DC in the War of 1812. The heroine, Sorcha, is the daughter of a US Senator who hates the British, and the hero, Charles, is a British soldier. Sorcha and Charles escape the burning of Washington, Charles is injured, they stay at a creepy inn and have to pretend to be married, and of course along the way they are separated and there’s amnesia AND a secret baby before the dramatic happy ending. I wonder if the book was really that good or if it just lives large in my imagination–I suppose I should buy a copy on EBay sometime and find out!

Artie Mesia
11 years ago

Well I’m a bit of a contradiction because I love the plot of Persuasion by Jane Austen, but I HATE the books that are “the one who got away.” Now in my head they are different because in Persuasion neither Anne nor Frederick had moved on and in “the one who got away” the two have moved on and now have happy lives. I truly believe there is a reason why the one who got away got away and you’re better off.

In Regencies I always like the books where the bookish girl gets the guy, but this has been done over and over again. I also really like beta heroes, which is not overly typical of women. I guess I am not a Bronte even though I’m learning to appreciate the dark and brooding hero. But I really like the Henry Tilney heroes who are nice and can speak of muslin. What can I say? I am just a contradiction in reading.

11 years ago

I can never get enough of the wallflowers/bluestockings managing to snag the rake stories. For me, it is so easy to relate to those women who are standing on the edge of the ballroom, surrounded by all those ‘beautiful’ debutantes who have grace, poise, ability to converse on boring topics while you’d much rather be sitting at home with your nose in a book, conversing on topics of politics, science, etc. and when God was handing out grace, he seemed to have skipped over you and given you two left feet and the inability to do two things at once.

Susan in AZ
11 years ago

So it looks like your themes are:
a bluestocking
a military man
fell in love and were separated by their families (reasons vary, but the time period had numerous very good reasons to choose from)
Man was sent away by his familiy
They meet again, years later, at some sort of outdoor event, kind of like a Regency version of a County Fair.

See? Lots of material to work with.

Artie Mesia
11 years ago

Susan in AZ….I think you’ve summed it up nicely and all of them fit together in one book. I would read this book.

Cara King
11 years ago

As for plots I like, for some reason I’m always interested in amnesia stories, and marriages of convenience. I should just write a story in which an amnesiac woman is married off to a man she doesn’t remember: it can be a half-marriage-of-convenience story, because he knows her, but she doesn’t know him… 🙂


11 years ago

I like the falling for the older brother’s best friend, but my favorite is anything about that has the Napoleonic War as a backdrop and hero soldier. So thanks Diane for all the great reading lately.

11 years ago

Congratulations on the manuscript, Diane! Can’t wait to read it!

I adore the “want her, can’t have her” scenario. Because when the having comes… oh, it’s mighty delicious. “When He Was Wicked” by Julia Quinn comes to mind.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Judy, I like Beauty and the Beast stories too!

RevMelinda, I think I might have read that one. I did read a Regency set in 1812 around that time.

Artie Mesia, you are indeed a contradiction, but then, who said any of us have to make sense?

Dtchycat, the bluestocking and the rake….am thinking…

Susan in Az, don’t be surprised if I write that story!!

Cara, YOU should write that amnesia marriage of convenience story!!!

Kat, you are a girl after my own heart. I love writing about soldiers and the Napoleonic war. I think my editors want me to try something different.

Allysia, I like the ‘want her, can’t have her’ story, too.

11 years ago

I am a big fan of the Beauty and the Beast plot line as well as the Cinderella plot line.
I’ve read the suggestions here and pretty much like them all. All I need is a good book, any plot linewill do.

Elena Greene
11 years ago

I can’t say I have a favorite story trope–it’s all about the characters for me.

Diane, are you sure the story with paranormal elements wouldn’t fit? I ask because it sounds intriguing.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

librarypat, you make an important point. Almost any plot will do if the story is good enough!

Elena, I do intend to write that book. All I need is time!! It won’t be a Harlequin Historical, though, unless they change the guidelines.

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