Comparing Summer Wine Lee to Eliza Doolittle

by Guest Blogger on January 8, 2011 · 21 comments

in Dukes and Earls, Eliza Doolittle, Guest Blogger, Heiress, J-L, Victorian, Western

guestblog

by Kathryne Kennedy, guest blogger and author of My Unfair Lady

It’s a pleasure to be here today on Love Romance Passion! Thanks so much for having me. Since my upcoming book was inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion (and the movie, My Fair Lady), I’ve decided to compare my heroine, Summer Wine Lee, to Eliza Doolittle.

First, a little bit about My Unfair Lady. Raised in a Wild West mining town, Summer knows she’s an unacceptable bride for her fiancé’s knickerbocker family. So she goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady. The Duke of Monchester reluctantly takes on the task, and Summer’s penchant for carrying a knife in her boot, picking up stray animals, and not knowing the least thing about acceptable polite society, makes his job difficult. When the duke starts to fall in love with her just the way she is, it becomes nearly impossible. But they are both determined—even when things get more complicated when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill the duke.

There are a few similarities between Summer and Eliza. They are both products of their environment, their speech and mannerisms determined by where they were raised. Eliza in the East end of London, with her cockney speech and crude behavior. Summer in the untamed west, with her uncultured speech and masculine pursuits. They both have indifferent fathers, men who are more concerned with their own happiness and pursuits than they are with their daughters’. But in Summer’s case, she wants to become a lady, and Eliza was pretty much bullied into it. Summer couldn’t be bullied into anything. But I think this aspect of their character is also a product of their environment. Eliza is a product of the Victorian attitude that men are superior persons. That their needs are more important than a woman’s. Whereas, Summer pretty much raised herself. She made her own rules, and although her father’s opinion is important to her—perhaps too much so—in her every day life she’s used to making up and following her own rules. Because of this, I have a tendency to think of Summer as more similar to Annie Oakley. A girl who can compete in a man’s world. Who can ride and shoot and fight with the best of them.

Although Eliza has compassion, I think this is one of Summer’s strongest traits. Especially her compassion for injured animals. She picks up quite a menagerie, which provides for some humorous moments in My Unfair Lady, and also allows us to glimpse Summer’s fears and insecurities.

The way Summer interacts with men is different from the way Eliza does, as well. Summer trusts her instincts, knows a good man when she sees one, despite what persona he chooses to reveal to the rest of the world, and acts accordingly. She doesn’t fear men, doesn’t see them in the role as her protector, or her superior. She considers herself an equal and treats them accordingly. I think this allows her to see beyond the surface of a man, and in many ways, get closer to him on a more equal footing. Eliza never views herself as an equal to Henry Higgins, even after she is successfully transformed into a lady. Perhaps this is why there is no happily-ever-after for the two of them. And why the author left it open as to whether she goes off with Freddie, or stays with Higgins.

This is why I love writing romance.

In My Fair Lady, Eliza does come to respect and stand up for herself. Summer has always done so. But in many ways, I think Eliza is more accepting of her true nature. Summer has a long journey before she even begins to understand herself. And her hero is going to help her toward that realization, not bully her into it.

I hope you enjoy the journey that Summer must make in order to finally become the person she truly wants to be. I’ll be checking back in throughout the day for comments, so please take a moment to say hello.

Wishing you happy reading,

Kathryne
my unfair lady cover

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy—in stores December 2009!

He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man

Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…

Buy: My Unfair Lady

kathryne kennedy

About the Author

Kathryne Kennedy is the author of the Relics of Merlin series, acclaimed for her world-building and best known for her historical paranormal romances. She has also written a fantasy romance and this Victorian historical romance. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the “Writers of the Future” contest. She has traveled a great deal and has lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S. She is a business owner and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. For more information, please visit http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/

Leave a Comment

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karin November 20, 2009 at 8:40 AM

I enjoyed this book and would love to win a copy!

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2 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 8:51 AM

Hi Karin! So great to hear. :}

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3 Catherine Anne Collins November 20, 2009 at 10:21 AM

I love the looks of your books. Anything related to merlin (as you can tell by my e-mail addie) and the paranormal. My first published book related to King Arthur and Avalon, but mainly Merlin and the Lady of the Lake. I will definitely check out your Relics of Merlin series.

Have a great day,
Catherine

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4 Robin Kaye November 20, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Great Blog, Kathryne! Love the premise, and love any hero with an English accent almost as much as Brooklyn accents. Yum

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5 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 11:05 AM

LOL! I couldn’t agree more, Robin! :}

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6 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Err, about the English accent, that is. I read that back and it didn’t quite sound right. :}

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7 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Hi Catherine, So sorry, I must have missed your post. Great to hear about your books! I must caution you, my Relics series are Victorian Fantasies…the relation to Merlin is in the history of the world. Thanks so much for commenting!

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8 JOYE November 20, 2009 at 4:30 PM

I like the Eliza Doolittle story lines because I like to read about achievements and happy endings. This book sounds good and I added it to my TBR list.

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9 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Thank you so much, Joye! It does, indeed, have a very happy ending. :}

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10 Virginia C November 20, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Hi, Kathryne! Congratulations on “My Unfair Lady”! I have seen only the highest ratings in the reviews for this book, and I would love to read Summer’s story. American ladies love to Dally with Dukes, Liason with Lords, Entangle with Earls, and Consort with Counts! We love them even when they are starchy, crabby and uptight. We love them even more when they are courtly, sensuous and compelling!

“Elizas” are captivating creatures, and it is great romantic fun to watch them win over the omnipotent male who becomes undone by love.

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11 Laska Leopoldo November 20, 2009 at 8:12 PM

I love when American heiresses and English lords fall in love because it is hot! Everyone knows English men are amazing lovers and you can’t forget the accent. I guess that is what excites me the most about this novel.

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12 Kathryne Kennedy November 20, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Hi Virginia! So great to meet you. What a wonderful comment! Thanks a million for visiting me today. :}

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13 Pat Cochran November 20, 2009 at 10:47 PM

They are both unusual women but I feel I would more easily become friends with Summer. Eliza has always
seemed to leave me hanging in the breeze.

Good luck with My Unfair Lady!

Pat Cochran

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14 Beverly G November 21, 2009 at 6:26 AM

your book sounds awesome cant wait to read it its in my wish list good luck with the book and i hope you get many many sales its an awesome peice from what i read

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15 Kathryne Kennedy November 21, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Thanks a million, Pat!
And thank you, Keira, for having me as a guest at your blog, and for the wonderful review for My Unfair Lady. So very, very much appreciated!

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16 Deidre November 21, 2009 at 9:52 AM

I love the Eliza Doolittle plot. I was fortunate enough to get to see the play Pygmalion when I was a young girl and it started a love and fascination for My Fair Lady. Also, in high school drama class, we worked on Pygmalion and I got to play Eliza cockney accent and all. It was a lot of fun and we all got a lot of laughs out of it. It makes for an interesting romance story too, sort of like falling in love with your teacher, loads of sexual tension and humorous moments.

Deidre
deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

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17 catslady November 21, 2009 at 2:10 PM

What a great title and it’s the kind of cover I enjoy the most. Let’s me fill in the blanks. I enjoyed hearing about your book and hope to read it some day!

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18 Brenda November 25, 2009 at 8:38 PM

I Loved MY FAIR LADY…Read it 3 or 4 times. And saw the movie I know 2 times. I love this type story. Young girl comes from nothing and re-create ‘s herself and takes on the world. Love books with romance everywhere in the book. Would love to read your new book.

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19 Wanda November 25, 2009 at 10:32 PM

I love the idea that a “proper” lady can carry a knife. Sounds awesome! Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.

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20 Keira December 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Giveaway Update: 4 Winners of 3 Contests

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