Three top romance blogs team up to give away free books and celebrate sizzling historical romance…it’s the monthly Round Robin with HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, USA Today’s Happy Ever After, and RomanceatRandom.com!
Stop by all three blogs and leave a comment to increase your chances to win awesome prizes on each site:
· Enter to win print copies of Suzanne Enoch’s A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes and Taming an Impossible Rogue (Scandalous Brides #1 and #2) at Heroes and Heartbreakers*
· Enter to win one of 5 prize pack mixes of print & digital books including: When You Wish Upon a Duke (Wylder Sisters #1); Isabella Bradford’s When the Duchess Said Yes (Wylder Sisters #2); PLUS for contemporary readers Elizabeth Barrett’s Blaze of Winter (Grayson Brothers Star Harbor #2) at Romance at Random.
· Enter to win a grab bag containing several delicious new romance releases at USA Today Happy Ever After.
Giveaways end August 30th. Be sure to stop by each site and increase your chances to win!
Learn more about Suzanne Enoch’s Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke (Scandalous Brides #3, available September 25), as well as about her memorable damaged heroes. And be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win a copy of book 1 and book 2 in the Scandalous Brides series!* Rules below.
Suzanne Enoch’s upcoming release, Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke, features an especially imperfect heroine—an illegitimate daughter of a nobleman who works at “a discreet club for gentlemen,” and the duke, her hero, is a very proper, controlled sort of man who nonetheless finds the heroine’s imperfections irresistible.
Damaged or imperfect characters—especially heroes—are nothing new in romance; if the men in romance novels were perfect, with nothing hidden in their pasts or their personae, there’d be nothing for the heroine to discover as she comes to love him. Perfection is boring.
With such ubiquity, therefore, it is remarkable when an author is able to take a damaged hero and distinguish him enough from other great damaged heroes so he has his own unique personality—you could tell which one he was even if presented with an array of damaged heroes with difficult issues. Such is the case with Robert Carroway, the hero from Suzanne Enoch’s 2004 release, England’s Perfect Hero.
Robert suffers from PTSD, and has been hiding out—from himself and the world—for three years since returning from serving in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. And although his family is caring and loving—sometimes too much so, for Robert’s peace of mind—he’s known as
“Robert. The middle brother. The one who’d been wounded at Waterloo. The one the wags said wasn’t quite ’right.’”
But then there’s Lucinda Barrett, the daughter of an Army general who is best friends with Robert’s sister-in-law. He’s been content to watch Lucinda from afar when she visits the house, but eventually summons up the courage to speak to her. And she, of course, is totally startled. He responds,
“I generally don’t say anything to anyone, Miss Barrett.”
Because Robert has been a shadow for so long, he’s made a practice of observing and listening to things, so he knows a lot more about people than they might suspect. That keen observation is crucial to the plot—not to mention Robert and Lucinda’s love story—as the book unfolds. Robert notices things, things most people wouldn’t, and the fact, for example, that he has figured out what Lucinda’s favorite color is touches her more than compliments on her pretty face.
In addition to the romance, there’s the gradual unfolding of what Robert has suffered, and the panic attacks he continues to have. Again, Enoch does a great job in describing how it must feel for someone suffering a mental trauma as they try to navigate through normal life:
Guests, though, or crowds, meant polite conversation about the weather and fashion and any other meaningless idiocy they could conjure to waste time with. He shuddered just thinking about it. On nights like this, when he rode out from the dark, silent house to the dark, deserted park, he could forget...No walls, no bars, no quiet weeping or screams or death.
Robert has spent the past three years in his room, reading, and one of his favorites is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a passage of which begins each chapter. It’s an obvious choice, but Enoch doesn’t bludgeon the reader with the metaphor, instead referencing it lightly throughout the book, leaving the reader to make her own connections. The same is true when Lucinda offers to teach Robert how to grow roses. Robert himself sees the metaphor, thinking on his new hobby:
Flowers, plants, growing things. Things that didn’t scream or bleed when they died. Things that wouldn’t look at you oddly if you didn’t know what the hell you were doing.
The book could have included many more gardening scenes where Lucinda teaches Robert how to make something come alive again, which would have cheapened the action. Instead, Enoch leaves the reader to observe the events, much like Robert does, and coming to her own conclusions.
Other books, such as Janice Kay Johnston’s Snowbound and A Soldier’s Heart by Kathleen Korbel have tackled the tough issue of PTSD (called “melancholia,” “soldier’s heart,” “hysteria,” and “irritable heart” during the nineteenth century). It’s incredibly moving when done right, and Suzanne Enoch’s England’s Perfect Hero does it beautifully.
*To enter for a chance to win one of six prize packs containing A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes and Taming an Impossible Rogue by Suzanne Enoch, simply leave a comment below.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/08/three-top-romance-blogs-take-on-hot-historical-romance-sweepstakes-and-spotlight-on-suzanne-enoch beginning at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) August 10, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on August 24, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-the-scandalous-bride-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010
Megan Frampton is the Community Manager, Romance, for the HeroesandHeartbreakers site, as well as an author. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son, and has written a few of her own historical romances featuring damaged heroes.