This week’s Inheritance Books are from the romance novelist Grace Burrowes.
Hi Grace, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Before I attempted to write romance, I read it, sometimes at the rate of a book a day, for thirty five years. Romance novels have towed me over more shoals, as a mom, a child welfare lawyer, a woman, a person, than any other coping mechanism save perhaps really good chocolate. I believe we need the happily ever afters, we need the relief from life’s challenges, and we need the inspiration of characters who grow through love into the best people they can be.
I couldn’t agree more about the need the happily ever afters.
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
My bequest would be “Starlit Surrender,” by Judy Cuevas, originally published in January 1988, and reissued as “Angel in a Red Dress” (under the pen name Judith Ivory) in September 2006. It’s not so much a book I inherited from the generation above, but I feel that it was bequeathed to me by my daughter before she made it into this world.
I came upon this book when my first and only pregnancy turned high risk. I was permitted an hour out of bed every day, and fortunately for me, “Starlit Surrender” was a new release because I used that hour (more or less) to make a raid on the nearest book store. For the first time, I read a book, finished it, and started right over reading it again. I learned what a keeper is, and that there are books so well written, so beautifully crafted, and so compelling in their characters and story, that you don’t want to leave their world.
Christina Bower is a soon to be divorced young lady of good breeding whose fault lies in her inability to conceive a child with her husband of three years. Her barrenness serves as a metaphor for what an “advantageous” marriage has done to the hopes and dreams of an indulged heiress, and in her unusual and daunting circumstances, Christina takes temporary shelter at the home of a cousin’s friend.
The friend unexpectedly turns up while Christina is trying to sort her life out, none other than Adrien Hunt, the wealthy, handsome, and oh-so-naughty Earl of Kewischester. Adrien is very much a “before” sort of hero at the start of the book. He’s randy, arrogant, and calculating about his involvements, but he also offers to help Christina negotiate the terms of her divorce settlement, makes no apologies for desiring her, and eventually, inspires her to accept a liaison with him—divorce alone has left her reputation in tatters, so why not enjoy the earl’s company, and all the pleasure he offers?
The premise is unusual for a late Georgian, and—25 years ago—relying on the French Revolution to intensify the external conflict was also daring. By the end of the book, it’s Christina challenging authority on every hand to rescue Adrien from what his dashed hopes and dreams have made of him.
Ivory is a colossal talent, with a grasp of history, language, culture and the heart few can match, and by God, the woman is a courageous writer too. “Starlit” is a late Georgian that includes addiction and divorce in its plots twists—with absolute credibility—and nicely anticipates more recent French/English spy series such as Joanne Bourne’s brilliant Spymasters. Ivory was the first author I’ve come across to tackle the Edwardian setting—LONG before it was popular—and she’s equally comfortable with Victorians.
This is not talent, friends, this is genius.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
“The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie,” by Jennifer Ashley. Ashley does the impossible, and makes a man regarded in his own time as daft and dangerous into a hero you will cry for, and want to see in every installment in the MacKenzie family series. “Lord Ian” is a monument to excellent writing, brilliant plotting, and well researched insight into the varied and strange realities of the Victorian society (which is not at all the uniformly constrained, genteel landscape some of its members wanted their progeny to think it is), and into certain mental health challenges that baffle us to this day.
That sounds like a really interesting book. I’ll have to look out for it. Thank you very much for sharing you Inheritance Books with us, Grace. All the best your books.
Grace’s newest book is Gabriel: Lord of Regrets , which is available to buy now. You can find out more about Grace and her many books from her website (www.graceburrowes.com), Facebook or by following her on Twitter (@graceburrowes).
2022 update: Grace’s newest book is Lady Violet Pays A Call (Book 7 of the Lady Violet Mysteries). You can check it out here.