Can love conquer everything?
In real life, I don’t know that it can. Cheating spouses, spouses who refuse to get help with addictions, spouses with secret second lives, friends who put us down behind our backs, anyone who betrays our trust … can their actions be forgiven? Not easily. Sometimes, not ever.
Fortunately, I don’t write real life. I write fiction. And in fiction, everyone is redeemable, everyone gets a second chance. In fiction, sometimes even the most heinous acts can be forgiven, understood, possibly even cheered for. (Huge Dexter fan here—but let’s face it: The guy is a serial killer. Yet, I cheer for him; I empathize for him. In real, I’d be horrified by what he does.)
I think a part of us relates to the characters who engage in wicked behavior, because we want to know they can be understood, redeemed, and forgiven—because at some point in our lives, we all do something that we wish we could do over. And it’s comforting to read about someone who manages to find happiness in spite of taking a dip in the unforgivable actions pool.
In Passions of a Wicked Earl, released today, Claire Lyons desperately wants a do-over, a chance to be forgiven, an opportunity to reclaim what she didn’t even realize she was losing when she made an error in judgment. She was a very impressionable, naïve, and frightened girl who only turned seventeen a week before she married the Earl of Westcliffe. She barely knew the man even though her father had arranged the marriage before she was born.
The Earl of Westcliffe has often felt a stranger in his own family. He is the oldest of three brothers. Stephen holds the lion’s share of their mother’s love and Westcliffe has grown to manhood having to rely upon the generosity of his youngest brother, the Duke of Ainsley, who possesses a more prestigious title and immense wealth. It grates.
But marriage to Claire will provide him with a substantial income so he can stand tall and be his own man. Unfortunately he’s never really taken the time to court her and on their wedding night, he finds her in the arms of his younger brother, Stephen, and banishes her to his country estate while he returns to London to cut a swathe through the bedchambers, in a vain attempt to mend his tattered pride.
While Claire may have begun the battle of unforgivable sins, Westcliffe is quick to follow suit. We have two characters who treated each other shabbily.
Five years later, having matured while tending Westcliffe’s estate, Claire comes to realize what a silly girl she was. Now her sister has turned to her for help. She has one Season to find a match or she will be forced to marry the old gent her father has chosen for her. Claire must return to London and face the sins of her past.
But her husband wants nothing to do with her. So Claire—who has no experience being either coy or flirtatious—is determined to win her husband over, gain his forgiveness and his love. Westcliffe, in agreeing to see to his duty and assist her sister with her Season, will be awakened to the realization of how young his wife truly was and how selfish he was in denying her a Season—in rushing into marriage for the sake of his pride.
Love is the key. In romance novels, it can conquer everything.
In real life … I’m not so sure. What do you think? What do you think would be completely unforgiveable? Or do you believe that love can conquer all?
- Lorraine Heath
You can pick up your own copy of Passions of a Wicked Earl on shelves today!