Here’s the blurb:
Marcus Redwyck, Earl of Amberley, reluctantly agrees to wed an heiress in order to save his estate. But his equally reluctant bride, Juliana Hutton, runs away and masquerades as an opera dancer. When they meet, passion leads them to the edge of scandal. Even when all is revealed, it will take all of Marcus’s resolution and the fabled Redwyck charm to win the spirited Juliana’s heart.
I realize that it’s a bit of a stretch for a properly raised young woman to impersonate an opera-dancer. I work around that a bit by not having her dance that well! But also I did have some historical justification. In The Mirror of Graces (by a “Lady of Distinction, 1811) I read that young ladies sometimes took ballet-lessons to improve their ballroom performance.
“Extraordinary as it may seem, at a period when dancing is so entirely neglected by men in general, women appear to be taking the most pains to acquire the art. Our female youth are now not satisfied with what used to be considered a good dancing-master; that is, one who made teaching his sole profession; but now our girls must be taught by the leading dancers at the Opera-house.
“The consequence is, when a young lady rises to dance, we no longer see the graceful, easy step of the gentlewoman, but the laboured, and often indelicate exhibitions of the posture-mistress. Dances from ballets are introduced; and instead of the jocund and beautifully-organized movements of hilarity in concord, we are shocked by the most extravagant theatrical imitations. The chaste minuet is banished; and, in place of dignity and ease, we behold strange wheelings on one leg; stretching out the other till our eye meets the garter; and a variety of endless contortions, fitter for the zenana of an eastern satrap, or the gardens of Mahomet, than the ball-room of an Englishwoman of quality and virtue.
“These ballet dances are, we now see, generally attempted. I say attempted, for not one young woman in five hundred can, from the very nature of the thing, after all her study, perform them better than could be done any day by the commonest figurante on the stage. We all know, that, to be a fine opera-dancer, requires unremitting practice, and a certain disciplining of the limbs, which hardly any private gentlewoman would consent to undergo. Hence, ladies can never hope to arrive at any comparison with even the poorest public professor of the art; and therefore, to attempt the extravagancies of it, is as absurd as it is indelicate.”
This was a fun book to write, definitely in the category of “romp”. It was also a stretch for me to write a heroine like Juliana, who did things I’d never have dared. One reader did complain that Juliana is spoiled. But the way I look at it, even now a woman can be born to wealth and material advantages but still have to fight to determine her own destiny.
When Juliana is faced with the prospect of a marriage of convenience with Marcus, she is finally swayed by the fact that he needs her money to save his estate from falling into the hands of a man who would neglect his tenants for a quick profit. Juliana’s compassion surpasses her personal desires (at the time at least—once she realizes she’s in love with Marcus, it’s all good).
So I think it is fitting to donate the proceeds of this sale to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, dedicated to the “long term health and development needs of Flint children exposed to lead”. If you are not familiar, here is some background on the Flint water crisis and a more recent update.
If you’d like to donate directly, go to Flint Kids and just use the “Donate” button.
Do you like “heiress” stories? Do you have any favorites?
Meet the hero and heroine of The Redwyck Charm by Elena Greene, Book #6 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!
At the ballroom door…
Master of Ceremonies: Ah, I see the first guests are arriving. A tall gentleman, impeccably dressed, with a slight limp. And a flame-haired beauty wearing a peacock-colored dress in a peasant style, but with a tighter bodice and scandalously short skirt. Both are striving to seem disinterested, but cannot stop stealing glances at one another.
Smiles at the guests. “Welcome to our ball. I have not the pleasure…”
Lady and Gentleman: Look at each other briefly, then the gentleman bows, allowing her to introduce herself first.
Lady: “Bon soir! I am Juliette Lamant.”
Master of Ceremonies: “Ah, the famous dancer! All London is raving about your dancing, Mademoiselle.” Even while the bucks are taking bets as to how many mistakes you will make, and also which of them you will choose as your protector.
Lady: Looks momentarily surprised, then her eyes dance. “Monsieur, you flatter me! De vrai, everyone has been very—very welcoming.” She glances toward the gentleman beside her.
Gentleman: “Mademoiselle Lamant and I have just met. I am Lord Dare.”
Master of Ceremonies: “The same Lord Dare who has recently returned from the Continent? I suppose we cannot ask if the rumors are true that you had something to do with the intrigues surrounding the peace negotiations?”
Gentleman: Short pause. “No, I was—I was merely indulging a wish to travel more widely.”
Master of Ceremonies: “Then of course you must have seen Mademoiselle Lamant on the stage in Paris.”
Gentleman: Another short pause. “No, I regret I had not that pleasure.” His eyes linger briefly on Mademoiselle Lamant.
Master of Ceremonies: I wonder why they both look so flustered? “Be that as it may, now you may have the pleasure of dancing with her.”
Gentleman: Brief glance at his leg. “I regret to say I cannot dance.”
Master of Ceremonies: “Nonsense, your limp is very slight—barely noticeable! Perhaps you would be willing to attempt the waltz, if Mademoiselle Lamant were willing to teach you?”
Lady and Gentleman: Look at each other, both blushing a little. They nod and head into the room.
Behind a potted palm tree…
I’m Elena Greene, author of The Redwyck Charm, and I happen to know these people are not who they claim to be. Lord Dare is Marcus Redwyck, the Earl of Amberley, a hardworking young man who has reluctantly decided to try to restore the family fortunes by marrying an heiress. But when that heiress is indisposed (to see him, he thinks) he decides to enjoy himself for once, and visits the Green Room at the opera. To avoid gossip, he uses an assumed name, not realizing that the fascinating Juliette Lamant is actually his intended bride, Juliana Hutton, who longs for adventure and has run away in order to avoid the arranged marriage.
“I highly recommend The Redwyck Charm. Regency fans will adore this story, as will all readers who enjoy entertaining, well-written romances with marvelous characters and a dash of intrigue.” — Susan Lantz, in Romance Reviews Today
Read Marcus and Juliana’s story in The Redwyck Charm, just one of six sparkling Regencies in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood and Alicia Rasley. Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!
For updates and news on Regency Masquerades and the authors in the set, like us on Facebook.
And now for a giveaway!
Lord Langdon returns from war to find his family in debt and his brother courting Nell Ashley, the vicar’s daughter, whom he suspects of social climbing. His attempt to expose her backfires, creating a tangle of hearts that only true love can unravel.
“Lord Langdon’s Kiss is a fine Regency romp that will satisfy lovers of the genre like ice-cold lemonade on a hot afternoon. This is what Regency romance is all about.” (Four hearts) — The Romance Reader
Do you enjoy stories with characters in disguise and why? Comment for the chance to win a copy of Lord Langdon’s Kiss for Nook or Kindle. All winners will be announced on Sunday.
Comment on this post for the chance to win one of 5 copies on either Kindle or Nook. (Apple and Kobo are still in the works.)
The Three Disgraces includes reissues of The Incorrigible Lady Catherine, The Redwyck Charm, and Saving Lord Verwood. Although many Regency ladies were educated by governesses at hom, my three heroines met at one of those select schools for girls we sometimes read about. Although they’re very different in terms of birth, interests and temperament, none of them quite fit in for various reasons. And so they developed a warm friendship while defending themselves against the catty set at the school.
I had so much fun writing this trilogy. I didn’t really plot ahead, other than coming up with the issues each heroine would have to deal with and what sort of hero would challenge her the most. Somehow it all came together. I’ve mostly written standalone books, but I have to admit it’s also a lot of fun to spend some time with characters you loved in a previous book, and help beloved secondary characters get their own stories.
Now I’m contemplating another series. This one involves more characters over a longer period of time, so I’m thinking I should maybe plan a little. Luckily, I have a writers’ retreat coming up which will be a perfect time to brainstorm.
Do you enjoy series? Why or why not? And for my fellow authors, how much planning do you do up front for your series? Any tips and tricks?