Today 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.