Well, when one book ends, a new book starts. 🙂 It didn’t take me terribly long to dive into a new story — not only because I, well, wanted to, but also because I realised that there should be another story between Novella #1 and Novella #2 in that series I sent to my editor on Thursday.
So this morning, right after breakfast, I spent an hour putting together the first chapter (or perhaps it’s going to be a prologue). One of the underlying themes in all three of the other novellas is the restrictions women had to deal with in their everyday lives. Thus two of my heroines are dependent on the charity of their relatives; one is a poor widow, the other an old maid, who has been relegated to the role of nursemaid to ailing family members. Both of them are painfully aware how disadvantaged they are, but they also know that they have little other choice than to submit to their fate. The heroine of The Bride Prize is in a much better position as her father’s adored only daughter. Yet even she is aware that she doesn’t have a free choice in certain matters; for example, she cannot freely choose whom to marry. Moreover, in The Bride Prize the heroine’s aunt is a poor widow who is dependent on the charity of her brother.
So when it came to plot the new novella, Falling for a Scoundrel, I wanted to use this theme as well, but in a slightly different way. Lady Sophia is a typical pampered young woman of the upper class, who has led a very blessed, very easy life. She lives on her father’s beautiful country estate and since she was fifteen she has been engaged to marry the handsome (and rich!!) Lord Manton, who is always very courteous to her and compliments her on her singing and her skill at the piano. Sophia isn’t even aware what a restricted life she leads and how little she knows of the world. This whole premise was inspired by one of the literary fairy tales I taught last term, namely by Anne Thackeray Richtie’s “The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood.” So yes, there are probably going to be references to Sleeping Beauty in my novella, and Sophia is rather rudely wakened from her sleep right at the beginning of the story.
Here’s the first sentence, which you can just see on the AlphaSmart in the picture above:
Up until that cold day in January, when Death presented to her his cruelest face, Lady Sophia had led a truly charmed life.