Genres: Historical Romance
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. But two days later, she was rescued by a young lord, a man she’s never forgotten. Now, she’s devoted herself to save other innocents from a similar fate.
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh, never breaks the rules. Well, once, but that was a long time ago. He’s finally escaped his unhappy past to become one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. The last thing he needs to complete his ideal life? A perfectly proper wife.
When Bryson and Elisabeth meet, he sees only a flawless candidate for his future wife. But a distant memory calls to him every time he’s with her. Elisabeth knows she’s not the wife Bryson needs, and he is the only person who has the power to reveal her secret. But neither can resist the devastating pull of attraction, and as the truth comes to light, they must discover that an improper love is the truest of all.
The Virgin and the Viscount
When I first started this book, I was afraid it was going to be a DNF. I didn’t really care for the hero, Bryson. He seemed a bit cold and closed off. And the heroine, Elizabeth, seemed a bit weird and difficult to understand. But then you read the best backstory ever!! How these two originally met was a great story! I loved how unique and original it was and it totally hooked me!
What kept me reading were the depths of these characters. Elizabeth is more than just a silly girl waiting for some man to sweep her off her feet. In fact, she had already decided that she, at 30, didn’t want or need to get married. She had a ‘career’ that was very fulfilling and she is quite happy. But, she never forgot Bryson and always held him on a bit of a pedestal. Then she meets him and at first, the pedestal seems quite deserving. Don’t worry though-he starts screwing up pretty quickly. He says the wrong things, he does the wrong things. Elizabeth is so kind and caring to those that society has shunned and my heart broke for her every time Bryson screwed up. By the end, I had tears streaming down my face. Seriously, if you don’t get the FEELS for Elizabeth, you are a cold, heartless monster. But, the reward is so worth it.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: So, so, many
- Trope: Virgin
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: Standalone
- Cliffhanger: no
- HEA: View Spoiler »Yes, Bryson stops pushing her away. He gives his viscountancy to his brother and he and Elizabeth live happily ever after. « Hide Spoiler
The Rogue not Taken by Sarah MacLean, Luck is no Lady by Amy Sandas…then you will probably like The Virgin and the Viscount!
Author Q and A!
1. Tell us about yourself.
Well, I’m a 43-year-old wife and mother who has dreamt of writing romance novels since I read ALMOST HEAVEN by Judith McNaught when I was 16. For better or for worse, I live the dream. I wear puffy dresses that are borderline costumes. I love a good garden party. Castles and cottages are the homes of my dreams. I’m a sucker for any television show, book, or movie with a well-done romance and HEA.
I lived in England for a time but I’m a native Texan and Texan at heart. I love the beach but will never turn down a trip to Disney (in the off season).
2. What three things about you might surprise your readers?
I worked at RWA (Romance Writers of America, the trade group for romance authors) right out of college and promoted authors and romance novels for eight years. Dream job.
I wear small shoulder pads with every single outfit (rounded shoulders, what are you gonna do?).
My fantasy guy is a thug with a heart of gold (think Vin Diesel or Channing Tatum), but I would not be able to stand this person IRL. I’m married to the love of my life, a bald lawyer with three fancy degrees who enjoys napping. Heart of gold? Yes. Thug? Not so much.
3. Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
You know, I am all-romance/all-the-time. Although if “sub-genres” count, I definitely would eventually like to write contemporary romantic suspense/adventure (remember those thugs with a heart of gold?). I have a completed romantic adventure just sitting there, waiting for its moment in the sun.
4. Tell us about THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT
This is the story of an incredibly powerful, serious, straight-laced, controlled hero (the viscount) who thinks he wants one thing—a very proper wife—but who falls in love with someone entirely different (the virgin). Slowly, she unravels this man and teaches him the true meaning of nobility and honor. I love a serious hero who loses control, and this one totally loses control.
5. Where did the idea for the storyline come from?
As originally written, the hero discovers a scar on the heroine’s body when they are in bed on their wedding night—and he realizes that she is not who he thinks she is. He’s crushed and angry and just…awful to her. This was originally written more than ten years ago, and I’ve had to revise his reaction and when and where it happens so it’s not so…well, so awful. But the new scene, and how they come back from that horrible place, is so much fun to read. That’s a long way of saying, the idea came from the notion of the hero thinking his new bride is/was a virgin, and then discovering that she might not be. I built the story around that emotional journey.
6. What do you think readers will like/love about Bryson and Elisabeth?
If you like a buttoned-up hero that totally loses control, then you will love Bryson. He’s powerful, in command, dominating, kind of old-school. And then he loses all of that authority because of this woman. You’ve gotta love a man who loses all authority because of a woman! (Or I do.)
The heroine is super capable, plain-spoken, and no-nonsense. But she’s also generous of spirit, kind, and forgiving. I think the typical “unravel-er” of buttoned-up men is portrayed as like a free spirit or a bohemian. Elisaeth is not necessarily this archetype (if free spirit can be considered an archetype). She is not beholden to the social climbing of the haute ton, nor is she interested in doing anything for the sake of appearances. But other than that, she is traditional and confident and hopeful. She falls in love easily. She is curious about sex. She is me or you on our best day.
7. What was your favorite scene from the book?
Oooh, there is a scene in a map room outside a ball where the hero confronts the heroine about when/how they may have met in their pasts, and it is devastating but so much fun. And then when the convene again to rehash it all in the home of the heroine’s aunt? To die for (IMHO)!
8. Who are some of your book boyfriends? What draws you to them?
Is it wrong that I don’t even have to look these up? Lord Dain from “Lord of the Scoundrels.” Any of the Macleod brothers from Shannon McKenna’s Macleod brothers series of romantic suspense, but especially Conner Macleod and Miles Davenport. Captain Asher Flint from “I Kissed an Earl.”
Why? Two words: Tortured and alpha. In that order.
9. If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be? (It can be non-alcoholic too)
Oh, I’m a margarita girl, all the way. Salt on the rim, if you please. Frozen or on the rocks. Any iteration, from classic to pomegranate. Thank you very much!
10. What’s next for you?
I’m furiously trying to finish the third book in the Bachelor Lords trilogy: One for the Rogue, out December 6th. When you read the Virgin and the Viscount you’ll be able to identify the hero of this book right away. He’s a handful but a lot of fun.
Thank you for the interview! Great questions!
So, if you have been reading the blog at all, you know I LOVE a virgin heroine! I always have, always will! So, check out why Charis Michaels loves a virgin as well!
What Is It About a Virgin?
When I revealed the title of my second book to one of my writing buddies, she wrote back: “Nice. Are virgins like the new dukes?” Apparently I’m not the only one name-checking virgins these days. She’d seen it on several other books, not unlike the proliferation of “dukes” of the last couple of years.
So, what gives? What is it about a virgin?
Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that not everyone loves a virginal heroine. In fact, some readers can’t abide them. Certainly, virgins-as-heroines are not as thick on the ground as they were back in the day, when I read my first romance in the late 1980s. In today’s contemporary romance, I’d venture to say that virgins are virtually nonexistent.
But my editor loved the title, The Virgin and the Viscount as soon as I suggested it, and as my friend said, I’m not the only author brandishing the big “V.” So perhaps this means that there are still a few of us virgin enthusiasts out there. Hey, I’ll admit, straight up, that one of my favorite romance tropes is a hero who believes a heroine is not a virgin, only to discover, after he deflowers her, that she is (or was). It’s out-dated and misogynistic, and even I had to tone down some version of this trope (spoiler alert #1) to make my 1811-set Historical match modern sensibilities (although the resulting scene is still pretty devastating, if I do say so myself).
Regardless of who knows who’s a virgin, I still consider an innocent heroine—so long as she’s full of spunk and enthusiasm and healthy curiosity—to be playful and fun and totally sexy. She certainly offers a lot more interesting fodder for a love scene. Every romance author approaches these scenes a little differently, but for me, they must advance the story and up the stakes for the hero and heroine. In other words, they must be remarkable, worth spelling out in graphic detail. And nothing makes an interlude more worthy of remark or lengthy detail than the first time, especially for my over-the-top characters.
Also, virgins are historically accurate.
Also, we were all (or still may be) virgins, so we can relate.
Also, few sexual experiences are more wildly discussed, lamented, celebrated or (circling back) discussed than anyone’s first time. For better or for worse, we relish dishing about this topic. I defy you to think of your best friend and claim you have not heard the story of her first time.
Also—well, maybe this is more like a “primarily”—if you know me in real life, you know that I’m an old-fashioned kind of gal, and I simply prefer the virgins There, I said it. Or, at least, I prefer my eager, exploratory, and totally in-love virginal heroines. But hey—even if you’re not usually a fan of the virginal heroine, consider this: the leading lady in The Virgin and the Viscount (spoiler alert #2) does not know whether she is a virgin or not. Either way, I hope you’ll give Lady Elisabeth a try. And just like your best friend, let’s dish. Let me know what you think!