Message From The Author

Author's Message

Peeping Time

By Sabrina Jeffries

I was writing MARRIED TO THE VISCOUNT when my husband and I visited New York City. We only had three days and all of them were crammed full, so I was annoyed when our quick visit to the New York Public Library's print room turned into a major ordeal. While waiting for my husband to fill out paperwork, I noticed they had an exhibit on the curiosity cabinet. Lo and behold, there was something interesting at the library other than books! I walked around fascinated, looking at everything.

Then I found the child's peepshow box. I'd never even seen one before, and the exhibit had two from the Regency period. Imagine a box about the size of a shoebox (or even longer, for the one I saw stretched out accordion-style when you unlatched it). At one end is a hole to see through; at the other a hole (or cutouts covered with colored paper) to let light in. But inside is whatever you like—the first one I saw had cutouts of people dancing in a ballroom, set in layers like stage sets to give it a 3D quality. My creative juices started flowing.

What if my hero had a collection of these from his childhood? Maybe he wasn't the uptight workaholic I thought. I knew he avoided children (with good reason), claiming to dislike them. So wouldn't it be interesting to see how he'd react if his peepshow boxes brought him into contact with the little devils? What a great way to expose his soft side to the heroine!

After doing some research online and in the library (information about peepshow boxes is harder to find than you'd think), I discovered that peepshow boxes weren't limited to images for children, as you might imagine. What if the hero also had a few adult boxes—the sort that were sold only in those seedy little shops tucked away in dark alleys? Wouldn't that make for interesting love scenes! Especially if the heroine is looking at an image while the hero is… ahem… acting it out. Did I mention that the curiosity cabinet exhibit also had some displays of 18th-century erotica... ?

For more on peepshow boxes, pick up a copy of Sabrina Jeffries' MARRIED TO THE VISCOUNT (Avon, Jan.) or visit Additional information is available online at:

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