Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ladies Make Passes at Viscounts in Glasses

Sebastian Iverley, the hero of THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, is not your average romance hero.

1. He wears spectacles.
2. His clothing fits badly and it’s years out of fashion.
3. His hobby is rare book collecting.
4. His favorite means of communication is the grunt (which might be OK in a caveman romance but this is a Regency)
5. He despises women. That’s not so unusual but…
6. He has never had anything to do with women. Nothing. Nada. In fact he’s a [whisper] … virgin.

So what happens to this unpromising male specimen? He falls in love. He takes one look at Diana Fanshawe’s accidently exposed leg and he’s a goner. But sadly for Sebastian, Diana wants to be a duchess and she bets Sebastian’s detestable cousin Blake (a ducal heir) that she can get Sebastian to kiss her.

Poor Sebastian! When he finds out he’s devastated, he’s miserable, and hell hath no fury like a bookworm scorned. With the help of his buddies in the Burgundy Club he gets an extreme makeover and the fun begins.

Sebastian cleans up really well, and Diana can’t help noticing that he’s really quite the hunk. On the other hand she kind of misses the clever, inarticulate guy he used to be…

So romance readers. Are you ready for a nerd hero? Would you love him even if he didn’t get cleaned up?

[this blog has also been posted at]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting ready for Tamara Lejeune Day

October 2010 is a big month in the world of historical romance. There are new books on the way from Liz Carlyle and Elizabeth Boyle, eagerly awaited debuts from Jenny Brown and Tiffany Clare, and not one but two books by Janet Mullany. There’s even a new book from yours truly. But all these events, thrilling as they may be, pale into insignificance beside the Really Big News. A new book by Tamara Lejeune. I for one will be beating on the doors of my local Borders, itching to get my hot little hands on CHRISTMAS WITH THE DUCHESS. And by God, Borders, you’d better have it in stock or There Will Be Trouble.

I discovered Ms. Lejeune by accident. SIMPLY SCANDALOUS is, I believe, the only book I’ve ever bought because Amazon told me I’d like it. Also, it was only $3.99 and I thought that was a special deal, just for me. (When I learned Zebra was selling books to every Thomasina, Richenda and Henrietta for $3.99 I stopped being excited about it.) Also, the color was such a repellent shade of pink I couldn’t resist. Best $3.99 (plus shipping) I ever spent. I had no idea.

Look at the cover. Think the cover model is good looking? It doesn’t matter. Lord Swale, the hero of Simply Scandalous is one hundred times as hideous; he’s ugly, ill-mannered, crude, and borderline illiterate. Take this dinner table discussion of Shakespeare.

So that’s Hamlet, is it? The man’s mother marries his father’s brother—have I got it right?” asked Swale. “Fairly beastly, what? I must say, I can’t approve. English people ought to behave better, set an example for the world even in our plays.”

The Family Cary did not know what to say.

“Ancient Rome, yes, obviously. And the Greek chap who married his own Mamma–Octopus or Edifice or what is it?”

“Oedipus,” Horatio said contemptuously.

“Well, foreigners, after all. But one expects better from the English race, by God.”

“They’re not English, you ridiculous man,” said Juliet severely. “They’re Danes.”

“They’re what?”

“Danes. The play is set in Denmark.” Juliet shook her head, almost unable to credit the extent of his ignorance. “for heaven’s sake, it’s called Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”

“Which explains his rather poor grasp of the English language,” said Swale.

How can one possibly resist such a man? Actually, as Swale himself claims, he had hidden depths with knobs on. And Juliet has her issues, like being a towering bitch. She calls him Ginger and sets fire to his food; he swears to break her heart and stomp it into the ground. They are perfect together. I laughed out loud all the way to the last page of this inspired farce and counted the days till the sequel.

SURRENDER TO SIN did not disappoint. The hero, Juliet’s brother Cary, wears nothing but purple, right down to his tinted glasses. The heroine, unlike your standard feisty lass, is so shy and amiable she can’t bring herself to disagree with anyone. I’m not going to discuss the third book because I hated it (hey, even the Beatles recorded the occasional dog) but Tamara came roaring back with THE HEIRESS IN HIS BED.

Julian is not only penniless but a stockbroker (a word that usually makes my eyes glaze over) and Lady Viola Gambol (great name) the most charmingly willful, spoiled, over-the-top sweetheart of a heroine I’ve ever read. They made an adorable couple and I hope they will reappear in CHRISTMAS WITH THE DUCHESS. (Knowing Viola, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d managed to have her penniless stockbroker made a duke.)

The author is a mystery. She has no website and seems to exist under the romance social network radar. The only person who reviews her is Mrs. Giggles, who loves her as much as I do. (BTW I love Mrs. Giggles even though she said my couple reminded her of puppies. No one can insult a book with such panache). Since Ms. Lejeune refuses to publicize her own books, I have decided to undertake the job for her.

So people: get out next month and buy CHRISTMAS WITH THE DUCHESS. Pick up the back list too.