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Showing posts by: Miranda Neville click to see Miranda Neville's profile
Wed
Nov 19 2014 5:30pm

Favorite Christmas Stories from Dickens, Putney, and More!

Christmas in the Duke's Arms AnthologyToday we're pleased to have four authors joining us at Heroes and Heartbreakers. The four—Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Carolyn Jewel, and Miranda Neville—have released a Christmas-themed anthology, Christmas in the Duke's Arms and are here to talk about their favorite Christmas stories. Thanks, ladies!

When Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Shana Galen, and I agreed to write a anthology of connected Regency Christmas novellas, we had to decide how to approach the holiday. Christmas romances run the gamut from inspirational to full blown deck-the-halls Santa/Rudolph/Frosty traditional. Since the Regency era was actually a bit of a down time for Yuletide in England, coming between the ancient folkloristic celebrations and the Christmas of Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria that presaged the modern holidays, we could pretty much do as we pleased.

We agreed that the stories in Christmas in the Duke’s Arms should be warm and romantic and I know that my fellow writers, at least, delivered perfectly. As for the Christmas side, there’s plenty of greenery and mistletoe, a Christmas assembly and lots of love and happiness. I asked my fellow writers about their favorite Christmas stories.

Grace Burrowes:

I love the subtler Christmas tropes—the stranger bearing gifts, miracles in unexpected places, light overcoming darkness, warmth in the midst of winter, family of choice over family of origin (shepherds will do in a pinch, right?), and the community we can find at the margins when there's “no room at the inn.” While “The Gift of the Magi” is my favorite Christmas romance, I also love the children's television specials, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

[They still tug on our heart strings, too...]

Wed
Jun 18 2014 4:00pm

Separated Spouses in Historicals from Balogh, Haymore, Guhrke, and More!

Lady Windermere's Lover by Miranda NevilleToday we welcome author Miranda Neville to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Miranda's forthcoming release, Lady Windermere's Lover, has a married couple who've been apart for a year (his choice, not hers!), only to find that when they do reunite, each has changed in the course of those twelve months. Miranda offers her thoughts on this beloved separated spouses trope, with some excellent examples of historical authors that use it flawlessly. Thanks, Miranda!

Sooner or later, I am convinced, every romance writer gets to every common trope, at least once. For me, with Lady Windermere’s Lover, it’s time for separated spouses and what happens when they meet again. As a storyline, it’s connected to estranged spouses, but not identical. Couples can be separated for reasons that have nothing to do with quarrels, or can be estranged but living in the same house. Writers like Sherry Thomas have almost made a career out of unhappily married couples, starting with her brilliant debut Private Arrangements. Most recently Laura Lee Guhrke tackled the subject with the intense How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days.

The writer I most associate with the trope is Mary Balogh, who has treated the subject on numerous occasions in many different ways. Among my favorites are two of her traditional Regencies. A Counterfeit Betrothal is in theory about the daughter of the couple, Sophia, who sets up a fake engagement in order to force her parents, separated for fourteen years, to meet again to plan the wedding. My goodness, Balogh packs a lot of plot into one slim volume. As a fan of the original Parent Trap movie as well as the children’s book it was based on, I very much enjoy the interfering child(ren) as means of reconciliation plot line.

[Turn that unnhapily-ever-after upside-down...]

Sat
Mar 9 2013 1:00pm

Author Miranda Neville and H&H’er Janet Webb on Mary Balogh’s Heroines

Tempting Harriet by Mary BaloghRecently, there was fast and furious discussion on Twitter DM on the topic of Mary Balogh’s heroines. They have the reputation for being a) too good to be true b) Mary Sues and c) tepid rather than torrid. Janet Webb kicked these canards around with historical writer Miranda Neville, another fan of Balogh’s traditional Regencies. Is the rap on these heroines true, false or somewhere in between?

The books discussed: Tempting Harriet, Snow Angel and The Incurable Matchmaker. If you’d like to refresh your memory on the plots, the following summaries are from Mary Balogh’s website.

Tempting Harriet: Once, when she was a mere lady's companion, Harriet Pope had spurned the attempted seduction of the Duke of Tenby. Now, six years later, she is the wealthy, titled widow of an older man, and she is the one who sets out to seduce* the duke. Yet when she succeeds, it is to the discovery that an affair is not what she wants after all. An affair, though, seems to be all Tenby can offer.

*It may be that this synopsis overstates how much Harriet is the seducer. True, she jumps to the conclusion that he is asking her to become his mistress and agrees, but she doesn’t make the first move.

[Where's the fun in that...]