I hate prologues. I don’t mind reading them, but honestly, I feel that they are a writer’s lazy way out–a way to get backstory to the reader without having to use the skill required to embed the backstory within the story.
But sometimes they’re necessary.
I’m in the throes of revising my Regency-set historical, Lessons In Love, and the idea of adding a prologue was gently suggested to me. I felt like a hypocrite, but I wrote one. And then I wrote one for the hero. So not only did I have a prologue, I had a DOUBLE prologue.
Then I came to and removed the hero’s prologue. I think I can get his essential backstory into the story itself.
And now comes the reader participation part: Below, I’ve posted my prologue. Do you like it (I will not be offended at all if you don’t–this is not fishing for compliments time)? Would you want to read the story that follows? Do you think it’s a lazy way out? What do you think about prologues? (btw, if anyone insists on an epilogue, I will have to take a stand. No cutesy post-baby scenes for me, thank you.) Which authors (cough*Loretta Chase*cough) have written effective prologues?
Thanks for the help!
Lessons In Love: Prologue
The first time her husband hit her, he almost had Athena convinced she deserved it.
The second time, she knew she didn’t.
By the time her husband died, she’d lost count of how many times it had happened. The day of Lord Carlyle’s funeral was the happiest of her life, because she was free. Free of anyone who would have control over her, whose temper ruled her every waking moment.
How many times had she cursed his charm, his easy good looks, his title, his flatteringly intent focus on her? If he hadn’t been so damned persuasive, she would still be in Greece, in the warm sunshine, not in England where even the sunny days had an edge of damp.
She could barely remember her first impressions of him. And how wrong they had been. They had met when he was in Athens excavating for treasures to add to his extensive collection. Her father, a Greek statuary expert, had worked for him on site. She was 16 years old and thought she was terribly sophisticated. She had paraded in front of the English lord, thirty years her senior, hoping to make him notice her. He had. And she had paid for it ever since.
Her father had been equally naïve, not realizing his employer’s gruff bonhomie disguised a ruthless arrogance that brooked no argument. He’d even let her go without any kind of settlement money. Nor did he realize the last sight he would have of his daughter was when she sailed off with her new husband. Athena was married on board that day and had grown up forever that night.
Eventually, they’d achieved a peace of sorts; Lord Carlyle only hit her about once a month, and he allowed her to pursue her interests, as long as she never left the estate. She’d read all the works deemed necessary to a classic English education, practiced fencing until she was winning half the matches with her instructor, and rode for hours at a time.
And now he was dead. And Athena was free with a modest widow’s portion, a pleasant Dower house, and the opportunity to do whatever she wanted. She couldn’t wait to leave, to travel, to live on her own schedule.
What she would never do again was allow herself to be seduced by a handsome, charming man whose pleasant exterior hid a burning passionate temper.
Jason Lewis, pictured above, is the way I imagine my hero looking. I thought you might want to have something nice to look at while you read my writing.