The Reluctant Bride: passive or passionate, she’s a woman of her times
Passive heroines don’t go down well with modern audiences so as an historical romance author I’m often faced with a balancing act … or an exciting challenge: how to invest my heroine with what it takes to triumph over adversary in a time when she had minimal resources.
A woman who is entirely dependent on her closest male relative knows she has to tread carefully if she’s not to have her only support withdrawn.
She’s not going to give lip if it means she might no longer receive her pin money … or have a home.
As a writer of historical fiction I think it’s important to emphasize the powerlessness of my heroines in the first chapters of my stories. I like to show their pent-up desperation against circumstances seemingly beyond their control. After that, depending on the personality of the heroine and what gets thrown her way, her clawing back of the rights she deserves, including happiness, is as integral as the plot itself.
Jen of The Crafty Cauldron describes my Napoleonic espionage romance The Reluctant Bride as having ‘…a slow boil. It starts as a romance story and ends in a fantastic mystery/action storyline. I was blown away at how much I liked this book. I really thought I wouldn’t. The author has a way of snaring you before you even realize…’
So, ‘a slow boil?’ I think that characterizes most of my books as I show my heroines trapped by social convention and domesticity before they emerge, like butterflies, to realize their potential.
The Reluctant Bride has also been described as ‘the darker side of the Regency’, with spies, lies, traitors and a passionate, self-controlled hero who will do anything to win the heart of the woman who’s become his ‘reluctant bride’…
Revealing Emily’s development in a sympathetic light was difficult. She’s had no choice but to marry a man she doesn’t love after her fiancé is killed. Her father has disowned her and the only home she has is the one offered by the man who’s married her in order to save her honour – or rather, because he’s loved her from afar and her potential ruin is an opportunity for him to win the wife of his dreams.
Unfortunately, long before Angus had any expectation of marrying Emily, he has told her a lie to spare her the pain of learning how her dead fiancé really died. A lie which comes back to haunt him.
This lie, and so many others, enmesh the pair as they struggle to make sense of their pasts so they can embrace the future.
The Reluctant Bride is a story of a slowly developing love between a husband and a wife as much as it’s an adventure story of how a wife behaves when the wool is drawn from her eyes, forcing Emily into proving her love – in a most dramatic way.
I understand why Emily might appear passive for part of the book, and therefore irritating for some readers. However, the young woman has just lost her beloved fiancé and the main events in the story span eight months, which isn't terribly long to grieve.
So is Emily passive? Not for her times, and not in the final analysis.
Though ultimately that’s for my reader to decide.
Thank you for dropping by to read my post on passive heroines. Here’s the blurb:
THE RELUCTANT BRIDE
Emily Micklen is proud, passionate – and left with no option after the death of her loving fiancé, Jack, but to marry the scarred, taciturn, soldier who needs to secure a well-connected wife.
Major Angus McCartney hopes that marriage to the unobtainable beauty whose confident gaze about the ballroom once failed to register his presence will offer both of them a chance to put the past to rest.
Emily’s determination to be faithful to Jack’s memory is matched only by Angus’s desire to win her with honour and action. Sent to France on a mission of national security, Angus discovers how deeply Emily has been duped, but the secrets he uncovers lead them both into danger. Can Angus and Emily unmask the real conspirators before they lose everything?
Beverley won the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star competition with The Reluctant Bride.
Two lucky readers who comment on my blog will be randomly selected to win a book each from my backlist. Good luck!
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