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Have you ever read a classic novel or watched a movie adaptation of a great book and found yourself wishing there was less… Well, let me put it this way: More romance? More interaction between the hero and heroine? More sparks flying?
One of my favorite novels is Jane Eyre, but the first hundred pages (or more) are spent on Jane’s bleak childhood. Of course this sets up a great backstory for the rest of the novel. But romance readers don’t necessarily need all that backstory. We’re smart readers who pick up on the subtleties that are filtered in once the action commences. How about The Count of Monte Cristo? I’m pretty sure the intrepid hero spent most of the first two hundred pages in prison. OK, that was definitely interesting and set up strong motivation for his desire for revenge. But come on. Give me less of that – more romance, please.
Which is what I set out to do in Seducing the Governess. Jane Eyre was the inspiration for this book, but I wanted to do more than put her into the position of having to seek employment to earn her keep. I wanted to create a mouth-watering hero, and put some believable obstacles in the path to their true love.
It is 1816, almost a year after Waterloo. The heroine, Mercy Franklin, meets Nash Farris on the road approaching Ashby Hall, his home in the English Lake District. She has never met anyone as brash and commanding as Nash, and the sparks fly. Her reaction to him borders on rude, although if she’d known he was her new employer, she would probably have tempered her reaction to him.
But Mercy finds it quite liberating to speak her mind, when for years, she’s had to be quiet and respectful of her harsh vicar father. Now that her parents are both dead, she learns that they were not her real parents at all, and that she was given to them to raise when she was about three years old. Mercy has no idea who she really is; not that it matters at the moment. She is nearly penniless, which is why she answered the advertisement for the position of governess at Ashby Hall.
In the meantime, Captain Nash Farris has recently returned to Ashby Hall after months of recovering from the wounds and facial burns he sustained at Waterloo. He is scarred and discouraged, never having expected to inherit the family lands or his father’s earldom. Both his elder brothers have died, leaving Nash in charge of the rundown estate.
And then there is his shy little niece, Emmaline. If ever there was a situation with which Nash Farris was unsuited to deal – it’s guardianship of an orphaned seven year-old child. Her new governess is a spark of bright light in Nash’s life, but he knows there can be no future between them. Because the only way to get Ashby up and running again is by marrying money. One of Nash’s wealthy neighbors has a daughter who is perfect for that purpose. The old man would like her to become a countess, and she is the epitome of beauty. But while the heiress shies away from Nash’s scars, Mercy seems hardly to notice them. Mercy’s loving caresses seduce Nash completely, and he is not sure if he can give her up to marry the money.
I’ve added tension and mystery in Seducing the Governess. Nash’s brothers died under suspicious circumstances, and Mercy is in some danger because of her actual parentage. It all works out satisfactorily in the end, although there is no aborted wedding and no madwoman to jump off the roof of Ashby Hall as there is in Jane Eyre. I hope you’ll forgive me for that, and give Seducing the Governess a try!
- Margo Maguire
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