Author Karen Booth's new release, Bring Me Back, features a heroine who gets to meet—and do more than that with!—the musician she had a crush on back in the '80s. Karen herself has a music background, and her books interweave her current life as a writer with her music biz past. Today she's here to talk about what makes her all tingly—British accents. Thanks for joining us, Karen!
We all have at least one weakness—chocolate, wine, expensive shoes, bad movies. I hesitate to call them guilty pleasures, because I don’t believe in that. If you enjoy something, you should do so without guilt.
One of my biggest weaknesses is British men, or more specifically the things they say and the way they say them. Is it just the accent? Maybe, but there’s no denying that anything said with a British accent sounds more intelligent, certainly believable, and ultimately awesome.
My car is parked in a tow-away zone? Tell me in a British accent and I promise I won’t be the slightest bit upset.
When you’re reading, you have to imagine the accent, which can be its own fun. I don’t put much thought into the hero’s voice with most books, unless the author makes a point of noting any unusual qualities. If the hero is British, it’s a whole new ballgame, and in my head, it sounds amazing.
There are some great recent contemporaries with British heroes who know how to deliver a line and then some. In Ruthie Knox’s About Last Night, Neville is the Brit hero whom Cath dubs “City” before she knows his name. She quickly learns there’s a lot going on beneath his smooth-as-hell exterior.
In the kitchen, after he’d rescued her the night before from her own intoxication:
“No trace of a hangover, then, Mary Catherine?” His voice. She had no defenses against his voice. Low and hungry, that haughty accent such a delicious contrast to his naughty mouth.
“Much better, thanks.” He licked her collarbone, kissed her ear, nibbled her lower lip. She had to lean against the countertop, having gone knock-kneed. “Call me Cath.”
“No, I don’t think I shall.” He grasped her by the waist and lifted her, and she locked her ankles behind his back. “I’m taking you to bed now, Mary Catherine.”
Later, when she’s digging in her heels about spending time with him:
Nev’s mouth curled up at the corners, and he lowered his voice, leaning closer. “Of course I’m trying to get you back into bed with me. I loved having you in my bed. I’d like to chain you to my bed.” He trailed a finger down her bare arm, leaving a trail of sighing nerve endings. “But I’d also like to have lunch with you.”
In Karen Stivali’s Meant To Be, the Brit hero is the charming and unassuming yet swoon-worthy English professor, Daniel. Marienne is powerless when he speaks.
Marienne watched as Daniel grabbed a bottle of Coke out of her fridge.
He unscrewed the cap and took a drink. “It’s quite difficult to understand American slang when English isn’t your native tongue.”
He continued speaking but Marienne’s mind was caught on the words native tongue. Or, more specifically, tongue. More precisely still, Daniel’s tongue. She’d always loved the sound of his voice, the expressiveness of his choice of words, but sometimes she just enjoyed watching his mouth. This was one of those times. She studied his tongue as it moved to form his words, as it licked his lips when he paused to think, as it pressed against the Coke bottle when he drank. Heat prickled through her.
Is it hot in here or is it him?
Later in the book, the first time he gets her into bed:
“Please,” he whispered, lips on her jaw, then beneath her ear. “I want to see you. I need to see that you're here with me and not just a fantasy inside my head.”
“A fantasy?” She'd never thought of herself as anyone's fantasy.
“Yes.” His voice was serious. “I've been with you like this a thousand times in my mind, maybe more.”
Molly, the main character in Megan Caldwell’s Vanity Fare, comes face-to-face with the power of a British accent. She’s in trouble from the first time she meets Simon, the unfairly sexy baker, even when she can only hear him:
He had a British accent, the upper-crust, devil-may-care Hugh Grant kind of accent. The kind that made me a little weak at the knees, so I was glad I was sitting down.
“John, just give me a sec while I flirt with this lovely lady out here.” Only when he said it, it sounded as if he had just said something much naughtier.
And moments later, after they’ve met and she’s subsequently discovered a pastry crumb on her lip:
“You like my baked goods, then?” Simon’s eyes glowed.
He definitely knew what he was saying. A slow heat began to build in my stomach. It wasn’t the coffee.
“Yes,” John answered, “she was practically licking the bag.”
Simon’s lids dropped halfway down, and he swept his gaze from my feet to my head. “Was she? I would’ve liked to see that.”
I know it’s not just me who would probably buy swampland from a smooth-talking Brit. There’s no way it’s just me. Who else is ready to own up to their weakness for British men who know how to use that lethal accent to their best advantage? Any other contemporary British heroes you’d like to share?