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