Lady Dearing’s Masquerade and Kindle Edition Giveaway!

One of the do’s and don’ts I’ve sometimes heard at romance writers’ conferences is to avoid social and political issues (“no saving the whales”). I understand the reasoning. Authors and publishers don’t want to alienate potential readers with controversial issues. And in a romance, the love story should be central.

On the other hand, if we write about characters who are interesting and well-rounded, their views and passions are going to creep into the story, and sometimes that includes social issues.

In coming up with the idea for LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, I started with the heroine, Livvy. She appeared briefly in a novella I’d written earlier, so I knew she was a childless, wealthy widow with a bad reputation and no desire to remarry. But when I started to think about her, I learned that she really wanted children. So it was natural for her to become involved with London’s Foundling Hospital.

The Foundling Hospital was founded in 1739 by Thomas Coram, who was appalled by the plight of abandoned children in London. The Hospital raised the children, provided a basic education and helped them find jobs. (Today, the Coram foundation continues to serve vulnerable children.) The Hospital took in foundlings but also had days during which mothers brought babies to the Hospital, generally because they could not afford to care for them. As there were always more babies than the Hospital could take in, admission was by lottery. The mothers who “won” cried as bitterly as those who “lost”. As a mother, I choke up whenever I think of this. Tokens (trinkets or scraps of fabric) were left with the children to aid in identification. Sometimes, though not often, parents were able to reclaim their children.

Strange as it may seem, the Foundling Hospital was controversial. Some people of the upper classes said it was immoral to succor children who were likely to have been born out of wedlock. I find this ironic, because many of the mothers bringing babies to the Hospital were servants who’d been impregnated by “gentlemen” of the households in which they served and in consequence, either lost their jobs or were in danger of losing their jobs.

While I was writing this book, I worried about the mix of elements. Could a story deal with such weighty issues and still be romantic and sexy? But in the end, I think I pulled it off, and I’m happy to be giving the story a new life in e-book form.

What do you think about social issues in romance novels? Should authors avoid them, or are there ways to make it work? Do you have any favorite romance novels that feature characters who feel passionately about some cause?

From comments on this post, I’ll draw five names to receive a Kindle edition of LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE. If you win, you can also suggest a friend who will receive one as well. You can comment through Friday (one entry per person) and I’ll announce the winners next Saturday.

Elena

www.elenagreene.com

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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