Jaunties, today we are thrilled to welcome bestselling historical romance author Grace Burrowes to the blog. Read on to learn about her newest endeavor and to find out how you can win a copy of Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.
Writers talk about “the book of my heart,” and “the book that writes itself,” usually in awed, respectful tones. We aren’t as vocal about the hard books, but some books come kicking and screaming to the page, even some novellas.
My first historical romance series, about the Duke and Duchess of Moreland’s eight children, will wrap up this fall with “Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait.” Perhaps realizing that the series is coming to a close, or maybe out of genuine curiosity, readers have started asking me about the story behind courtship and marriage of Percival, Duke of Moreland, and his duchess, Esther.
I came up with a house party romance for Their Graces, and was quite pleased with the results. First, it fit with the stories I’d crafted for the series going forward—Percival was not in expectation of the title, and he was a seasoned cavalry officer—and second, it was a fun, romantic read.
Madam Editor was pleased too, but she also pointed out that I’d left a lot of questions unanswered: When did Percival’s two by-blows, Devlin and Maggie, join the ducal household? When did the title befall Percival and Esther? How did Esther cope with these changes?
I didn’t want to write that story, though it took me a while to figure out why: I’d never written a romance for a married couple. Married people love each other. They are living the happily ever after. THESE ARE THE RULES, and they are the rules, says I, despite the fact that in my day job, I’ve handled the legal side of divorces for twenty years.
I recall all too well, though, that awful, uh-oh feeling when a committed relationship hits the rocks. It’s a far, far worse loneliness than when a casual relationship becomes troubled, or when life presents a stretch of solo years. I pondered that miserable, wretched, upset feeling at some length, and then began to write.
“The Duke and His Duchess” is the result, a novella of about 35,000 words. We come upon Percival and Esther when they’re broke and exhausted, overwhelmed with four small children, an aging duke who’s losing his memory, an heir whose heart is not strong, and an estate suffering significant neglect. Add to this two illegitimate children Percival and Esther were unaware of, Esther’s low spirits and lack of energy, and things are bleak indeed.
Some happily ever after, Madam Author.
The novella pretty much wrote itself. From those beginnings, which probably resonate with every married person who’s ever read a romance, Percival and Esther face choice after choice, and what saves them is that they choose to keep their faith in each other and in their love. They show courage despite fear, understanding despite resentment, and determination when giving up beckons.
The happily ever after won this time around is sweeter than the first, because now, now, I know that Percival and Esther’s devotion has a direct impact on the lives of their many children. And when the children grow up and face their own challenges, the example set by the Duke and Duchess helps the Windham siblings choose love too.
What about you? Does the romance crafted for a married couple appeal to you, or would you rather read about a courtship romance?
To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of “Lady Eve’s Indiscretion,” the most recent Windham sibling romance.