Get into Bed with Anne Gracie (Author Interview)

AnneGracie4_2Keira: How does a governess become a companion?

Anne Gracie: In my book The Autumn Bride Abby is sacked from her governess job when she smuggles in her sister and two friends for the night. They have nowhere else to stay — they’ve just escaped after being kidnapped and taken to a brothel. Things go from bad to worse, and in desperation Abby goes to break into an old mansion in search of something to steal. Instead she finds aristocratic Lady Beatrice Davenham in dire straits — bedridden and in the hands of lazy and neglectful servants.

So with the old lady’s cooperation she and her “sisters” pretend to be Lady Beatrice’s nieces, thus improving everyone’s situation.

Keira: Why was Lord Davenham in the orient?

Anne: When he was just eighteen Lady Beatrice’s nephew, Max, Lord Davenham had inherited a title and a mound of debts. For the last nine years, he’s been away in the Orient, making his fortune, and now he’s come home. He’s not impressed to find his home invaded by impostors. Especially when his aunt informs him that he’s got nothing to say about it — if she wants to have nieces, she’ll have nieces!

Keira: What is the most interesting Regency rule you’ve come across in your research?

Anne: I honestly can’t think of one — the thing is, people bent “rules” in those days just as much as they do now. The important thing was not to get caught.

Keira: A governess’s most loveable qualities are. . .

Anne: My heroine, Abby is the kind of person who takes care of other people. She’s a loyal friend and sister, and she’s also impetuous — she can’t ignore another person in trouble — and that’s what gets her into trouble. She’s a fighter, too — she stands up to Max from the very beginning.

AutumnBride64k

There was the sound of a scuffle, and she ran down the last few steps to the landing in time to see Featherby fall to the floor and a tall, dark-haired stranger push past him and enter the house. Before she could gather her wits, he’d crossed the hallway and was racing up the stairs toward her, taking them two at a time on long, powerful legs.

“Stop!” Abby braced herself, flinging her hands out to bar his way. “You can’t come up here.”

She fully expected him to shove her roughly aside, as he’d shoved Featherby, but amazingly, he stopped.

She had an impression of a hard, chiseled jaw, a bold nose, a firm, compressed mouth. And he was tall; even standing three steps below her, he was taller than she. Her heart was pounding. What sort of a man would shove his way into a lady’s house with so little ceremony? At this hour of the morning?

He was casually dressed in a loose dark blue coat, a white shirt, buff breeches and high black boots. His cravat was carelessly knotted around a strong, tanned throat.     Despite the almost civilized clothing, he looked like . . . like some kind of marauder. His jaw was unshaven, rough with dark bristles; his thick, dark hair was unfashionably long and caught back carelessly with a strip of leather. Gray eyes glittered in a tanned face.

A dark Viking—surely no Englishman would have skin that dark, burnished by years under a foreign sun.

“Who’s going to stop me?” He moved up one step.

She didn’t move. “I am.”

Keira: How do you define love?

Anne: I couldn’t — I just know it’s everywhere, all around us, and has many different forms and faces. In The Autumn Bride, for instance, there isn’t just love developing between the hero and heroine, there’s love between the sisters, and between the four girls and the old lady.  The old lady adores her autocratic nephew and even though she drives him to distraction, he adores her too. It’s everywhere — you just have to know how to look for it.

Buy: The Autumn Bride (A CHANCE SISTERS ROMANCE)

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of The Autumn Bride is up for grabs! Enter by leaving a comment or asking Anne a question!

Review: The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick

paidcompanionHero: Arthur Lancaster, Earl of St. Merryn, needs a fake fiance to distract the ton while he’s hunting a murderer. A real one is too much bother and prone to runaway. So how does one acquire a fake fiance without worrying about the silly chit wanting to actually get married? Arthur devises a great plan to solve the conundrum – hire a paid companion! Such a chit needs funds and will have no illusions. She’ll be well-bred and respectable and everything a real fiance must be in order to pass scrutiny. But so far he hasn’t found one to fit the job – you’d think there would be at least one young lady around wouldn’t you?

Heroine: Elenora Lodge, ex-heiress, lost everything she owned because of her stepfather’s get rich schemes. She manages to secure the farm worker’s positions and steal her jewelry when leaving. The jewelry provides a safety net for a better future. Elenora wants to own a book store and is willing to work as a paid companion to get there, except she can’t find a suitable position all the ones the agency sends her to are cretins and drunkards. Can an unusual proposition yield the results she so desires?

Review: If you like steampunk overtones you will love this romance. The alchemy is a science that just seems like magic involving lasers to make Jove’s Thunderbolt. Even creepy criminal butlers get their just desserts. Loved the hero and heroine. Everything was wonderful in this book and hit all my buttons just right. I love it when books do that – this is a keeper!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Paid Companion

[phpbay]paid companion quick, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (The Burgundy Club, Book 3) by Miranda Neville

Heroine: Kidnapped, Celia Seaton is no passive miss. At the first opportunity she gets out of the attic of a two story cottage wearing only her under clothes. Stumbling upon her worst enemy (who doesn’t even know he’s her enemy because she doesn’t register on his radar) conked out across the threshold of the house, Celia hesitates on what to do. When he wakes and doesn’t know who he is a brilliant idea takes shape.

Hero: Tarquin Compton is a rich fashionable dandy (but not gentry) who collects erotic books and books on poetry. When he gets lost in the moors he stops at a cottage for directions and gets knocked out by Celia’s kidnapper. When he wakes he suffers from amnesia and buys Celia’s story that he’s her fiance. Well he buys some of it anyway, there’s no way his name is Terence Fish, which makes him wonder if he tricked Celia about who he was in order to seduce her.

Favorite Moments: When she gives him her web of lies about who he is and what he means to her, the cauliflower incident, and when she gives herself to him.

Missed Opportunity: Tarquin immediately confronts Celia about her ill use of him after the return of his memories, instead of actively trying to be the man she created for him. I thought he was really falling for her at the time and would rather go undercover to discover if she really loved him or was just using him before his confrontation. But apparently he needed to get his head on straight before he could regret his harsh actions/words.

And heroine should have said once when he was still suffering from amnesia that she loved him… all of him even the parts he couldn’t remember, because she was darn near thinking it and that would have been sweet. It would also force Tarquin to come to terms with his idiocy sooner. Luckily she rejects his reluctant and insulting proposal to patch up her now ruined reputation.

Mystery: Why is an ex-fiance/governess who has been tossed aside/dismissed for moral turpitude kidnapped? Terence Fish wants to know and so should you!

Review: A fun romp with witty banter, a plucky heroine, an amnesiac hero, and cauliflower! You won’t regret running out to get this book for your collection.

Rating: ★★★★½

[phpbay]education celia seaton, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Only Mr. Darcy Will Do and the Treasure Hunt

by Kara Louise, guest blogger and author of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

Keira invited me here today and gave me a very interesting suggestion for for my guest blog. She asked me to prepare a treasure hunt similar to what Darcy did in my newest book, Only Mr. Darcy Will Do.

In this variation of “Pride and Prejudice,” Elizabeth is forced to become a governess when her father dies. She is governess to a six year-old girl named Emily Willstone and is treated well in this position.

Elizabeth soon discovers that Mrs. Willstone has a long-time acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. Her sister, Rosalyn Matthews, has had a secret affection for him for a long time. Elizabeth can only hope that they will not discover that he once proposed to her, or worse yet, that she turned him down. She feels particularly awkward when he extends an invitation to the family to Pemberley and cannot fathom that he would even want her there.

As she spends time at Pemberley and in Mr. Darcy’s presence, she begins to see a side of him that she had not seen before. He is kind, caring, compassionate, and he loves his sister dearly. She is surprised by his actions on many occasions and the treasure hunt he plans is one of those. I have included below a portion of the book that takes place in the library following the treasure hunt. Elizabeth and Emily had been in there looking for a book on birds that Darcy recommended. When he finds it, Emily hurries off with the book to show her mother, leaving Elizabeth alone with him.

*~*~*

“I would like to thank you, Mr. Darcy, for a very enjoyable afternoon.” The smile on Elizabeth’s face conveyed a hope that she could be in his presence with a degree of equanimity.

“I am pleased you enjoyed it.”

Elizabeth let out a breathy chuckle. “I would not have supposed you interested in planning such a thing as a treasure hunt.”

He raised an eyebrow and he allowed a very slight smile to grace his face. “My father often used a treasure hunt to help me in my studies. The enticement of finding a treasure prompted me on more than one occasion to learn my lessons well. Truth be told, many of the clues we used today were ones that my father used.”

“I believe your father must have been very wise.” Elizabeth let out a genial laugh.

Darcy’s eyes met hers. “Yes, he was. I can only hope to be half as wise as he was.”

Emily suddenly appeared at the door. “Miss Bennet, may we go for a walk and take this book? I want to see if I can find some of these birds.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow at Elizabeth. “It sounds as if someone desires your presence.”

“Hmm, yes. Duty calls.” She turned to her charge. “Emily, that sounds like a splendid idea!”

They walked toward the door, Emily holding protectively onto the book, and Elizabeth hearing Darcy let out a sharp breath.

*~*~*

In Only Mr. Darcy Will Do Elizabeth realizes that as a governess she is now much more decidedly beneath him. When she discovers that she is falling in love with him, she must prepare herself for the fact that he will never renew his offer, and even worse, that he possibility invited the Willstones to Pemberley so he could further his acquaintance with Rosalyn, as Rosalyn hopes and the Willstones suspect.

I have actually made up a real treasure hunt for you all to enjoy, but instead of walking about the grounds of Pemberley (I know you are disappointed), you will have to use the internet. I have prepared several questions about Jane Austen and “Pride and Prejudice” and if you know the answer, you only need to put the answer at the end of the URL I will give you below. If you get the answer right, you will go to the correct page, and there you will find the next clue. If you get it wrong, you will more than likely get an error page.

Good luck!

Question 1) According to “Pride and Prejudice,” which of the Bennet daughters claims that she is the tallest?

Directions:

  1. Put the correct answer to the above question at the end of this URL into your web browser: http://www.ahhhs.net/ You can copy and paste it or type it in manually. Then you must add your answer after the forward slash. For example if your correct answer is answer, you will have ahhhs.net/answer.
  2. Then hit ‘go’ or ‘return.’ I have not used any capital letters. (For example the answer to a question is Darcy, you would have ahhhs.net/darcy.)
  3. When you have finished the treasure hunt, email me at 2karalouise@gmail.com with the correct answer to the final question of the treasure hunt that you were able to guess. Everyone who emails me (no matter how far you get) will be entered in the giveaway. Everyone who completes it will get an extra chance in the giveaway. The first person to email me with the final answer will get 2 entries, and everyone who gets the extra question at the end gets an additional chance. Hope this makes sense! This makes for a lot of chances to win!

Thanks for letting me stop by and I hope you have fun!

Prize – A copy of Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

Additional details – Open to US and CANADIAN readers. Last Day to Enter is April 1, 2011.

PS: For an additional entry – Leave a comment here on LRP about treasure hunts, but do not give away the answers to any of Kara Louise’s questions! If you do I will delete your comment. :)

Review: Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise

Kara Louise is a must read!

The Story: Elizabeth’s trip to Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle is canceled when Mr. Bennet dies. The only thing for the four girls and Mrs. Bennet to do is to make the best of a bad situation. Jane and Elizabeth take positions as governesses with Jane working for their aunt and uncle in Cheapside and Elizabeth taking a position with the Willstones. There Elizabeth is loved by her charge and respected by her employers.

When Miss Rosalyn Matthews joins the household, Elizabeth forms a friendship with her. This friendship is severely tried when Rosalyn confides she seeks to gain Mr. Darcy’s affections and to marry him. Elizabeth doesn’t quite know what to do or how to feel about the situation.

Even more perplexing is Mr. Darcy’s sudden regard for the Willstones. Rosalyn sees this as a sign that one day soon she will become the Mistress of Pemberley. Can it be as Rosalyn says? Or is there another reason Mr. Darcy engages the Willstone family?

Review: Kara Louise’s Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is stunning, eloquent, and just plain wonderful. It is one of the best Pride and Prejudice variations I’ve ever read! I loved it so much that as I was nearing the end I kept wishing for more pages to magically insert themselves in the back of the book. Have you ever wished that were the case too when reading a really good book? I wanted to devour the ending and yet savor it because I knew there wouldn’t be any more. A keeper for sure!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Only Mr. Darcy Will Do

[phpbay]only darcy will do louise, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire

The story: Nash, the current Earl of Ashby, was never supposed to be the earl. He was the youngest of three brothers. He forged his destiny in war and got the scars to prove it. He hadn’t the first notion of how to manage Ashby Hall and make it profitable once more. It probably meant finding himself an heiress which he wasn’t looking forward to do. In addition, he certainly didn’t know what to do with his niece, but he did know she couldn’t be raised by a parcel of ex-soldiers from the Napoleonic Wars. So he hired a governess… one that stirred his blood like no other… one he couldn’t have if he meant to save the livelihoods of all who counted on him.

Review: Seducing the Governess is heavy on the Jane Eyre influence especially concerning the meet-cute between the hero and heroine… hero falling off horse, twisted ankle, heroine semi-afraid of horses, helping him, and going their separate ways only for her to find out who he really is… he’s even got a girl ward.

I wasn’t too fond the sections devoted to Captain Gavin Briggs, the investigator. They detracted from the overall story. I think it was enough to show that he was hired at the beginning of the novel and not use him until the end because it was obvious that one of the long lost heirs of the Duke of Windermere was the heroine, Mercy Franklin.

About halfway through the story got a little bland. Too much internal conflict… why wouldn’t Mercy just open up and read her adopted mother’s diary and get it over with? The narration was on repeat with that one… Mercy resolved to read it… Mercy couldn’t read it yet…. But she would… just not now… etc. I ended up hurrying through the book and skipping over things in an effort to push through.

Why didn’t Andrew Vale ever turn up? I was ready for some angst ridden jealousy to spice things up a little!

The hero was the best part of the story for me. Nash is wonderful and exactly the type of hero I enjoy.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: Seducing the Governess

[phpbay]seducing governess maguire, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: The Viscount in Her Bedroom by Gayle Callen

bookreview

I loved The Viscount in Her Bedroom by Gayle Callen the third in the Sisters of Willow Pond Trilogy. What I like about Gayle Callen is that you don’t have to read the first two in the trilogy to really enjoy this book. You can pick up at the end and go backwards and have just as much pleasure in the reading of the love matches. The descriptions in this book are so sensual and touching.

The sisters of willow pond found themselves out of money and out of favor in little society, not to mention big society when their father died. Louisa Shelby is the last remaining sister to be unmarried. She doesn’t need to work anymore, but Louisa has found comfort in helping others. Being a companion to elderly women; reading to them, writing letters for them, singing and talking to them makes her feel useful. Louisa left her previous position when the men in the family pursued her as if she were nothing but a common whore. She couldn’t believe that men would treat her differently just because of a lowered status. Never again, she thinks. But when Dowager Wade asks her to come be her companion, Louisa can hardly resist, especially when she factors in Simon Wade.

Simon Wade was blinded in a riding accident. Adrift in the world of the seeing, Simon retreated to his grandmother’s estate. There he has learned to cope reasonably well with being blinded and his manservant Manvil is there for him when he can not let his family into his world. Mostly he is afraid of being seen as a creature to be pitied and refuses to show his personal accomplishments in front of his grandmother, sister… or one Miss Louisa Shelby. Simon is especially worried about Miss Louisa Shelby, before his accident he had heard that she was fast. What kind of an influence would that be on his poor already socially awkward sister? He is determined to make sure nothing untoward happens, but the more he supervises Louisa, the more he’s sure those awful words against her are just that words. Now, however, he wants to ruin her reputation worse than any rumor. He wants her for his own.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Viscount in Her Bedroom

[phpbay]Viscount Bedroom Gayle Callen, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: The Girl at Goldenhawk by Violet Winspear

bookreview2

I would never pick this book up in a secondhand bookstore because the title is strange and the cover is weirder. No wonder Harlequin puts the money and effort into consumer research. It’s all about pretty covers and catchy titles!

The romance takes place in Brazil with references to England and Portugal. Goldenhawk is the name of the hero’s best estate.

The heroine is a very plain girl. Her name is Jaine, appropriate for the phrase plain Jane. Quite often in the novel she is mistaken as a boy. I wanted to jump into the novel and tell her to grow her hair longer and wear less concealing clothes because it’s obvious she’s plain only so much as her aunt and cousin made her so.

Jaine is basically an indentured servant to her cousin and aunt. She’s an orphan and poor relation. Jaine is sent off to take the wrath of the hero as her cousin and aunt depart days before the cousin’s wedding to Pedro de Ros Zanto, a very wealthy landowner and a Duque.

Pedro is amused and determined to hire Jaine out from under her aunt. He promises a life outside of the colorless drab world she’s in and enough money to make it lucrative. Jaine accepts and becomes his son’s companion and caretaker. The son, quite frankly, reads as an excuse for her presence because even with his disability the boy never really makes a big splash or seems to have purpose.

The story is very chaste. We never see anything beyond some passionate kisses. It ends in a bittersweet way similar to Sound of Music. They’re together, but they’re leaving a lot behind in their effort to make it to safety.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Girl At Goldenhawk

[phpbay]Violet Winspear, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]