The Jaunty Quills are excited to present debut author Lily Dalton, author of Never Desire a Duke. The buzz around this book is fabulous and the reviews are amazing! We’re talking an RT Book Reviews 4 ½ Stars and a starred Publisher’s Weekly review. I just got my copy and cannot wait to start reading it. Readers, keep reading to find out how to win your copy.
Lily Dalton: Hello there, Shana! Thanks to you and the rest of The Jaunty Quills for having me! Never Desire a Duke is indeed the first in the series of “One Scandalous Seasons”–Sophia’s being a Christmas Season! Each book tells the story of one of the three Bevington sisters, who are the Earl of Wolverton’s granddaughters. Sophia is the eldest, and is already married. In a nutshell, Duke is the story of a couple who has become estranged after a terrible tragedy, but become snowbound and as a result must confront not only their present hurts, but the past.
I’ve always loved historical romance novels, but I’m also very much a realist, and I became intrigued by the idea of telling the story of what happens after the “happily ever after”. When the novel opens, Sophia has already had her wonderful London Season, and she has won the prize…Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, the most eligible bachelor in London, a handsome nobleman with a scandalous past. Ooooooh, a scandalous past! That’s not necessarily a bad thing, right? Sophia, like the rest of us who love historical romance, had found that aspect of him intriguing. Because things were going to be different once they married, and theirs was a love match. Or was it? I wanted to explore the idea of what might come after, when married to a man with a past.
Shana: I think it’s fascinating that you’re exploring what happens after marriage to a rake. For that reason alone, I want to read the book. But give us all the details about your hero, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton. He sounds like a rake crossed with a tortured hero. Yummy!
Lily Dalton: Vane, on the outside, is a very cool character. He’s smart, disciplined and very much in control of his world. He is also a respected diplomat, trusted by the Crown to undertake the negotiation of treaties on its behalf. But there are rumors about his past, whispered of but hardly spoken. Vane has no memory of his father until the age of twelve, when the old duke appeared at his mother’s funeral to take him away. Life before, at the country estate of Camellia House, was a happy time. His mother loved him, and instilled within him a care for his world and the people around him. Afterward, everything changes. His father, the duke, has no such care for people, let alone his son, who he believes has been raised “soft”, so he undertakes to make him a “man”. His idea of a man. Life is so torturous that Vane runs away and joins the army under another name, preferring the miserable life of a common soldier than life with the duke. Of course, there’s more to the story, but this is the man with whom Sophia tries to make a happy future, and as a young wife, who has been raised by two loving parents, she finds herself unprepared for Vane’s complexities.
Shana: What about your heroine, Sophia? I love writing books with married characters and reading them. They can be complex, though, because the couple already has emotional backstory.
Lily Dalton: Sophia is a confident and self-assured young woman. Unlike Vane, she enjoyed a happy childhood, and was raised by a mother and father who remained deeply in love, although tragedy has since taken her father. She understands the society in which she lives, where marriage is more about furthering familial wealth and connections, than love. But she wants more. She demands more. And if Vane can’t give her his heart completely, she doesn’t want the rest of him either.
Shana: Never Desire a Duke is a Christmas book. Did you have to do some research into Regency holiday traditions?
Lily Dalton: I did! And let me tell you, in Regency times there wasn’t a Wal Mart or Hobby Lobby selling Christmas decorations starting in September. The holiday was celebrated in a much more subdued manner than what we put ourselves through now. Christmas was a religious observance, and the day was spent with family, perhaps enjoying some games and a nicer than usual meal. At this time in history, the Christmas tree wasn’t really an English tradition, although there is a small tree in Wolverton’s house in honor of Sophia’s Hanoverian grandmother–Germany being a country where Christmas trees were enjoyed. My favorite tradition, that I’ve included in this book, is the kissing bough.
Shana: Tell us about Lord Tango and Sir Oscar.
Lily Dalton: Those two rascally fellows! I see their reputation precedes them. Lord Tango, my flame point Siamese, is my feline business manager and Sir Oscar, a big ginger cat, is in charge of my research library. They are my constant companions as I write my books, and keep me laughing and feeling loved. Both are adoptions from the local shelter, and despite their continued destruction of my leather furniture and area carpets, I can’t imagine my family without them.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Lily Dalton: Duke is all snowbound splendor! But my April release, Never Entice an Earl is set in springtime London, in the middle of all the activity and romance of the Season. This book tells the story of Daphne, the “middle” Bevington sister. Daphne’s one of those friends we’d all be blessed to have, in that she’ll do anything for someone she loves. Which not only gets her into big trouble, but throws her into the path of an earl who has come to town for the sole purpose of revenge against a man who may—or may not–be very close to her.
NEVER DESIRE A DUKE by Lily Dalton
The magic of Christmas reunites an estranged husband and wife in the debut of this charming and sexy, new regency romance trilogy from Lily Dalton
A MARRIAGE BEYOND HOPE
The Duchess Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, His Grace, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?
A LOVE BEYOND REASON
Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?
Readers, now it’s your turn. Have you ever wondered what life for your favorite hero and heroine is like after the book ends? Do they go on to live happily ever after? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Never Desire a Duke. Open internationally! The winner will be announced in the wee hours Monday morning and contacted via email.