Mine, that is. :)
The Redemption of Philip Thane is out TODAY!
I’m SO excited for you to meet . . .
A little tidbit about Philip and Margaret: they’re both big readers — it’s a shared passionate interest between them. In fact, if I could add a subtitle for the book, it would be . . .
For more info, and all your purchasing options in print, ebook, and audio, click here!
In honor of one my all-time favorite authors, whose birthday is today, I’m reupping a little think-piece I wrote with great pleasure for Bookish. Hope you enjoy it!
How Jane Austen Continues to Inspire Romance Authors
More than 200 years after their publication, Jane Austen’s books still speak to us — still make us think, laugh, and swoon a little, too. The novels themes of love and marriage also continue to inspire historical romance novelists everywhere. What is it, exactly, that keeps her work so relevant to us writers, as well as to the romance community at large? I suggest it’s because Austen embeds her stories with enduringly powerful ideas and motifs. Here are a few of them.
Intelligence is a game-changer
Set in an era during which women were all too often viewed as decorative objects, Austen’s heroines — despite intense familial and social pressure to conform — think their way through things. For Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price to reject Henry Crawford? Astonishing! Today’s historical romance readers expect heroines to make self-affirming choices too, whether it’s through book smarts, emotional intelligence, business acumen, or any of the other various qualities that denote solid brainpower.
Appearances can be deceiving
Oh, that dashing John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, literally sweeping Marianne Dashwood off her feet. But, alas, he’s got a rotten core. And what about cold, condescending Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice? Turns out he’s hiding a good heart and a passionate nature. In the high-stakes game of love, people can go to great lengths to conceal their flaws, fears, and desires. Our historical heroines often struggle with the same dilemma — how to sort out the real from the false — as they fight for what they want and deserve.
Laughter is sexy
Among Austen’s wide range of characters, those who deploy humor are often cited as favorites. Consider witty, playful Elizabeth Bennet in P&P who famously declares, “I dearly love a laugh,” and Northanger Abbey‘s adorable Henry Tilney. As “Advice Goddess” Amy Alkon says, we’re instinctively drawn to people who make us laugh: “Humor is a reliable, hard-to-fake sign of genetic quality.” Today we still love a laugh, as the many fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Tessa Dare — three of the best-known purveyors of fun historical romps — will attest.
People can change
Austen herself said that Emma Woodhouse was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Emma is a tough sell. She’s annoyingly smug and bossy. But not only does Emma learn some hard lessons about herself, she’s able to take this information and become a kinder, wiser person — leaving us confident that she really has earned her happy ending. And that’s what we want from our historical characters too. We love seeing them change, grow, and flourish, both as individuals and as a firmly bonded couple.
Still waters run deep
My two favorite Austen heroines — Persuasion‘s Anne Elliot and Mansfield Park‘s Fanny Price — are quiet, sensitive, and deeply emotional. Others may think they’re pushovers or take them for granted, but it’s their unwavering moral compass, their steadfast inner strength, which ultimately gains them their hearts’ desires. This trope is an eternally popular one, and for good reason: Who doesn’t root for the wallflower, the introvert, the underdog? There’s something very special about the against-the-odds happily-ever-after.
In Austen’s day, marriage was often a woman’s only bulwark against deprivation, degradation, or worse. That her books are wedding-obsessed reflects a very real and practical response to her world. Yet she also, radically, makes the case for personal happiness over pragmatism. Elizabeth Bennet really should accept icky Mr. Collins’ proposal for the sake of her family’s security. But she doesn’t, and that is a stunning act of subversion. This bold championing of happiness over every other consideration is why romance novels continue to not only outsell other genres, but also to joyfully illuminate the human heart and mind.
These images via Wikimedia commons.
. . . from Zoe, the Canine Cashew. ♥
Thrilled to let you know that three more Penhallow Dynasty books are coming your way!
Featuring the younger brothers of Captain Hugo Penhallow in The Bride Takes a Groom — all grown up and the heroes of their own stories!
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
A BookPage Best Romance of the Year
A Fresh Fiction “Fresh Pick”
A Publishers Weekly “Big Title of Spring”
Would you like to meet — or renew your acquaintance with — Hugo? Click here to read the prologue and Chapter 1.
And if you’d like to keep abreast of further news about these next three books, feel free to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already! Click here to go to an easy-peasy, no-spam signup form.
We romance authors will NEVER do this to you!
As you know, happy endings are our specialty. :)
As a total JQ fangirl (and gaga for Bridgerton!), this is SUCH an epic compliment. ♥
Want to learn more about The Worst Duke in the World, read Chapter 1, check out some of the other nice things people are saying about it, and see all your ordering options? Click here!
So honored by Seduced By A Book’s lovely review for The Worst Duke in the World!
This was a sweet and lovely romance which slowly builds from a budding friendship to something much more. . . . I loved that while Jane was out of her element, she managed to hold her own with the ton, and knew her self-worth. I liked how she made Anthony a better version of himself, and I adored the scenes which included Wakefield, the duke’s son. There was a ton of humor as well as a nod or two to other books. See if you can find the Charlotte’s Web reference. With all the craziness and madness going on in the world, this was just the book I needed. The romance in it simmered for a while before coming to a slow boil. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a FAN rating–the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice. This one left me with a grin on my face and a smile in my heart.
Want to read the full review? Click here.
To learn more about The Worst Duke in the World, order, check out the other nice things people are saying about it, or read Chapter 1, click here.
So very pleased and thankful for the nice things people are saying about The Worst Duke in the World! Here are some of them.
“Sparkling . . . Series fans will be thrilled.”
“There are pigs, pumpkins, and pamphlets, oh my! And a charming, fairy tale-like sensibility powering the latest blissfully romantic addition to Berne’s Penhallow series. . . . Filled with endearingly quirky characters, plenty of droll wit, and a number of clever literary grace notes, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it homage to the most perfect porcine-inspired piece of children’s literature ever written, this is a transporting, transcendent triumph.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Attention, Bridgerton fans: if you’re ready to delve deeper into the world of historical romance, The Worst Duke in the World is a fun place to start.”
“As light as a meringue and as sweet as honey, this romance is deliciously satisfying down to the last drop.”
“Deftly funny . . . A nice portrait of what courtship is like for a dedicated single parent.”
“A light-hearted, humorous escapade [and] a delightfully fun read. . . . The writing is brilliant, and readers will thoroughly enjoy The Worst Duke in the World.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“Lovely. . . . The romance is thrilling. . . . Cuddle in for an excellent read!”
—The Reading Cafe
“Unique. It isn’t like any other historical romance novel you may have read. This book features a Duke completely different than any other Duke one has ever met. . . . A bright, hilarious, yet romantic tale.”
—Urban Book Reviews
“I enjoyed every minute of this book. It was simply delightful from start to finish. . . . I found myself smiling throughout.”
Want to learn more about The Worst Duke in the World, order, read Chapter 1? Click here.
Loved this thoughtful review from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for The Worst Duke in the World!
What this book contains: humor, affection, mutual respect, animals, a consistently amusing child, consent (with regard to kissing and general making out), good food, pretty dresses, a decent amount of end-of-book groveling, discussions about the wives of Henry VIII [and] happy endings all around. . . . A lovely cozy read.
Click here to read the full review.
Want to learn more about The Worst Duke in the World, order a copy, read Chapter 1? Click here.