Today we’re happy to welcome Amara Royce on Book Lovers Inc. Her new historical romance, Never Too Late , was released last week. Let’s give a warm welcome to Amara! And don’t forget you can win a copy of her book!
Thank you so much to Book Lovers, Inc. for having me here! I’m very excited that Never Too Late is now “out in the wild.” It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the heroine of Never Too Late, Mrs. Honoria Duchamp, and to explain how she came into existence.
I am a ravenous reader of historical romances, and I noticed a few years ago that older heroines are rather rare in the genre. In fact, “older” in a Regency or Victorian tends to be a woman’s late twenties, when she has been out on the “marriage mart” for a few seasons and is slipping toward “on the shelf” spinsterhood. Regency and Victorian heroines older than age 28 do exist, but they aren’t very common. So I decided to explore what an older heroine would be like, one who is well outside “marriage mart” confines and expectations.
This socially defined tie between age and marriageability in the 19th century was so significant that, by the 1860s, William Rathbone Greg had coined a term for women older than twenty who were unmarried: “redundant women.” You can access full-text online copies of his booklet “Why Are Women Redundant” here.
From our 21st century perspective, Greg’s view of how to solve the “redundant women” problem is, I think, good for a few laughs. Greg basically argued that the large number of unmarried women between the ages of 20 and 40 would be a drain on British society and result in lives of miserable deprivation and loneliness for these women. He proposed that the “surplus” women of marriageable age be shipped off to areas where men were more in need of wives. Ha!
While Never Too Late is set in 1851, it’s easy for me to imagine what the widow Mrs. Honoria Duchamp’s reaction would be to Greg’s ideas. Given her age (she’s 40), she would almost certainly have been counted as a redundant woman, and she would definitely have objected. For one thing, she supports herself by running a moderately successful book shop that she inherited from her father. Between her work at the book shop and her social activism with the Needlework for the Needy association, her life is productive and meaningful. She is far from a drain on society. Another thing she would point out is that she has no desire to marry, no desire to give up her independence and autonomy, no desire at all to engage a husband who might take over the shop or, worse yet, insist that she give up her work, which means everything to her. Finally, Honoria would object—loudly—to the very concept of women (or anyone) as redundant, as essentially unnecessary objects needing to be shipped away or tucked out of sight. As a woman accustomed to making her own decisions about her life and work, answering to no one, beholden only to her customers and to those in need, she has no desire for romantic entanglements to complicate her well-ordered life.
And yet Lord Alexander Devin, who is being blackmailed to ruin her professional reputation, intrudes anyway, making her re-think her own desires…
Expect the unexpected, especially in a room filled with books…
Honoria Duchamp is well aware that men often consider widows easy prey for the role of mistress. What else could explain the attentions of handsome Lord Devin, and his visits to her bookshop? The much younger Viscount has even shown interest in the printing press with which she creates pamphlets on London’s basest injustices. Yet his chief interest appears to be in her
Coerced to investigate Nora’s controversial pamphlets, Devin expected to find a bookish matron. Instead, he is taken with Nora’s womanly beauty, sharp intellect, and quick wit. Soon, what begins as an unwelcome task becomes a pleasure, and Devin’s job becomes more dangerous—for them both. For Nora has no idea of the vicious element she’s crossed. Now Devin will risk his reputation to protect her—and much more to win her love…
Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century literature and history with her addiction to happily ever afters.
She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master’s degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania.
When she isn’t writing, she’s either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family.
I’m giving away an ebook copy of Never Too Late. You just need to answer this question to be entered: What types of romance heroines would you like to see more often?
Amara is generously offering an Ebook of Never Too Late for one lucky US/CAN commenter.
All you have to do is answer Amara’s question: What types of romance heroines would you like to see more often?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
Giveaway ends on Saturday, May 18th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.