Today, I have a special guest on the blog. Please help me welcome Kate Dolan as she tells about her new book, Deceptive Behavior!
I wanted the hero of my new book, Deceptive Behavior, to be considered a bit strange by “society,” and so one of the ways I did that was to give him a tremendous aversion to London. For those of you not familiar with Regency romances, it would be like making a movie star allergic to Hollywood. It’s the center of the universe and everyone who’s anyone has to spend at least part of their time there.
But my hero is a bit odd.
He has his own reasons for disliking the city, but I thought today I’d share a Regency tourist’s impression of London – I think in many respects the tourist concurs with my hero.
“London does not strike with admiration,” he begins. While he admits the best parts of town are clean and convenient, he adds that “the site is flat; the plan monotonous; the predominant color of objects dingy and poor.”
Until I read this, I did not realize “dingy” was a color. Someone should notify the Crayola people.
My “tourist” is Louis Simond, a French émigré to America who titled his observations “An American in Regency England.” Since he could compare London to Paris in great detail, he was not a typical American, starting with the fact that most Americans did not have the time or money to tour England from December of 1809 to September of 1811. He is certainly not a Jed Clampett and he is not awed by being in one of the biggest cities in the western world as a more provincial American would be. For example, he complains that “[a]t night, you have eternal rows of lamps, making the straightness of the streets still more conspicuous and tiresome. This palpable immensity has something in it very heavy and stupifying.”
Most American towns had almost no streets, let alone streetlamps. So where most Americans might have said “wow!” at the sight of so many long rows of flickering lamps, Simond says “ho hum.”
He finds the Tower of London similarly unimpressive – “an irregular collection of buildings” which included a strong room with the crown jewels and menagerie that was “small, ill-contrived, and dirty.”
So what did he like about London? Well he liked shopping, but he mostly liked the jewelry stores because he was glad he had no urge to buy anything in them. (His wife’s feeling about this issue are not recorded.) The only thing he mentions buying is a snack. The pastry shops were a big hit with Simond. The other thing he liked? Let’s get another quote. “The breweries of London may justly be ranked among its greatest curiosities,” he notes, and then he goes on to describe the enormous tanks in great detail.
So here we have it, a guy’s view of sightseeing: the scenery is boring, I’m hungry and hey, did you see all that beer?
Fashions may change, but people apparently don’t.
Thanks for reading!
Kate Dolan writes historical fiction and romance under her own name and contemporary mysteries and children’s stories under the name K.D. Hays. Her latest book, Deceptive Behavior is part of a “Love and Lunacy” series about people who makes lots of bad choices. She blogs about history, fitness and other topics on her website at http://www.katedolan.com.
Geni Bayles has made some pretty poor choices when it comes to men. So she finally agrees to meet the suitor her mother has chosen, a painfully shy baronet from the country. When she encounters Sir Richard Latimer, however, she finds him witty, considerate and charming—but only because he thinks she’s a maid. She decides to continue the deception just long enough to learn his true personality.
Richard knows he has a duty to marry a rich woman to restore the estates on which so many people depend. But he would give anything to marry a fun, clever girl like the maid he’s just met. And just kissed.
He’s fallen for the right girl for the wrong reason. She’s made the wrong move for the right reason. They just might be perfect together—if it weren’t for the complete lack of trust.
Excerpt, if you have room:
“Goodnight, Lady Latimer,” Richard whispered as he slipped away from her.
He nodded. “You have said you do not trust me.”
“What if I changed my mind?” her voice sounded unusually deep and husky.
“You would need a solicitor and three witnesses.”
“You are not in a proper state to know your own mind at the moment, let alone to change it.”
“Are you saying I’m…that I am…” Damn, what was the word she was looking for?
“That wasn’t the word. I meant incompetent.” That was the word that frequently came up in conversations about members of the Wright family.
“That too, if you prefer.”
“I resent your implication.”
“I would so much rather you resent my words than resent me.”
She turned away from him, crossing her arms against her chest. “Well I resent you both.”
“I’m sorry to hear it.”
“I am too.” Now she had to fight back tears. Her advances were rejected by her husband on her wedding night. What could possibly be more degrading?
Warm arms wrapped around her from behind. “You cannot possibly regret this any more than I do,” he said in a low voice.
“Then stay.” Her voice cracked.
He sighed, a deep sound full of longing. “You will understand tomorrow.” His breath made the back of her neck tingle.
She leaned back against him, but he gently pushed her away. “I must go.”
“But it’s our wedding night.”
“Which means nothing if you do not trust me.”
“But I said I do trust you now.”
“Goodnight, my love.”
“You cannot call me your love and then leave.”
The door closed.
Geni flung herself on the bed and hurled her nightrail and dressing gown to the floor. She didn’t need a husband to help her undress. She didn’t need a maid to help her. She could…
She pulled the coverlet over her. She could sleep in her clothes.
“If You Leave Me, Can I Come To?”
Sort of fits the desperation of a romance novel, IMHO!