Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Guest post by Bronwen Evans + Giveaway

Today I welcome to Ex Libris historical romance author Bronwen Evans, who is on a worldwide blog book tour to celebrate the release of her latest story in her Wicked Wagers trilogy: To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood! Please give Bronwen a warm welcome and read on to see her take on Regency heroines and could even win some great prizes! ;-)

Heroines – How is the Regency heroine different?
by Bronwen Evans

I’m often asked why I write Regency and part of the appeal is the period my heroines have to live in. The English class system was very much alive in the 1800’s and a peer of the realm could seldom marry beneath him. Therefore, most Regency heroines are ladies of good breeding. Due to being part of Society the Regency heroine is often at the mercy of the men in her life, her father, brother, or husband.

She has very few rights under law. Her property becomes her husband’s upon marriage, unless she is formally left an inheritance entailed only to her. Most ‘estates and property’ including money, were entailed to the eldest son so as to ensure the large estates survived. So what was the heroine’s role? Her one obligation was the job of marrying well and bearing the next heir.

This being the case, to make an exciting story with a heroine who’s main job is to look pretty to catch herself a rich, successful husband, means that the Regency heroine has to have something special to stand out. She can’t have a kick arse job. She can’t be a famous sports personality, or model, or any other occupation where you earned a living. A Regency lady was definitely not in ‘trade’.

When you first read about a Regency heroine you might think what a lovely pampered life. Someone feeds you, dresses you, does you housework, nannies for the children etc. I have to do all of these things myself. Some days I think I’d love to be a lady of leisure.

But think about the other side of this equation – how stifling and patronizing. You can’t go anywhere without your husband’s approval. Her husband could dictate your friends and acquaintances. In fact, he can tell you where and how you will live. He could even get you committed. You have no say in how the household finances are spent; in fact you probably don’t know anything about the family money at all. You can’t even refuse your husband his wifely rights. And you can’t ever be free of him unless your husband dies-no divorce for women. That is why a woman, if she had any intelligence, was very careful when it came to selecting her husband. That of course assumes she had a choice.

In my latest Regency romance, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood, my heroine, Amy Shipton, is facing just such a quandary. Her father is forcing a match, and he isn’t particular who the man is as long as he is titled and rich. But Amy has other dreams. She wants a love match. A man who wants to share his life with her-a true partnership. You can see why this would be important to her. What she doesn’t want is a marriage like her parents, where the pair married to advance titles and financial positions of their respective families, and her mother had to endure her husband carrying on with a mistress- a woman he loved and had a second family with.

So when she is compromised by Henry St. Giles, she quickly tries to hide any evidence of said encounter. After all, when she’s mistakenly in Henry’s arms, he whispers another woman’s name – here’s the blurb...

To live happily ever after...

Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he's searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he's called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman's name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she's determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She's not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.

It’s a Cinderella story! Although Henry works out pretty quickly who is his mystery woman. Being a typical male he has to make everything so complicated and then the sparks start to fly.

Here’s a little taste of the story...

“I haven’t had the occasion to formally thank you for helping Sabine. You’ve made my good friend, Lord Wolverstone, very happy.”

Amy’s face began to heat at Henry’s words. “It was nothing that anyone else would not have done. Marcus was the hero. He got to Sabine in time to save her.”

Henry’s smile momentarily slipped, why she was not sure.

“I’m not sure many young ladies would have helped as you did. Not when they could become Countess Wolverstone by remaining silent.”

There seemed to be some hidden meaning behind his words. His face was alert, searching for…what?

“Marcus did not love me.”

Henry laughed. “That has not stopped women before. The ranks of nobility are full of marriages void of any love or real affection.”

Amy promptly scolded herself. Of course he would laugh at her notion. Yet it hurt. After listening to his late night discussions with his dead brother, she thought Henry wanted what she did—love.

Perhaps not. He was looking for the owner of the earring, even when he’d whispered another’s name. Men. They were all alike. Love was convenient when required to gain what they most desired. Trouble was love lasted only as long as the pleasure.

She rolled the stem of her empty glass between her fingers and wished Sabine would call them all into super.

She risked a glance at him. She wished she could think of something clever to say. Instead she burbled forth quite forcefully, “I will only ever marry for love.”

“Very wise,” he replied.

Was he teasing? She was saved from further conversation by a servant. Henry stepped aside to let the man refill her glass. As soon as he’d left, Henry took the seat beside her on the settee. She gulped back a moan. She should have invited him to sit, but his presence was throwing her off-kilter.

A gleam entered his eyes. He leaned close, his thigh touching her leg through the silk. “Did you have anyone in mind?”

Amy glanced at him uncertainly, wondering if he were making fun of her, but his countenance screamed seriousness. “I beg your pardon?”

“Are you in love? Come, it’s a simple enough question.”

Amy looked quickly around the room, was he serious? As if she would tell him such personal information. She looked across to Marcus and caught his eye, pleading for help. He simply lifted his glass and smiled back at her.

“Marcus is considered to be an extremely handsome man. He has broken many hearts in his time. Not intentionally, of course.”

She tried to repress her flush of embarrassment. “I’m sure you’re right, but I think of Marcus as purely a friend.” She had not meant to have her words come out so sharp but really! “Why are the secrets of my heart so important to you, Lord Cravenswood? Perhaps you’d like to share who your heart belongs to?”

There, that will put him in his place. Who is Millicent? But to her horror he picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. They scorched her skin even through her glove. Suddenly he gave her a slow, charming, devilish grin that seared all her nerve endings. “There are many secrets I’d like to share with you, my sweet.”

She opened her mouth to reply, then shut it again, deciding it wiser to halt this conversation before she got herself into real trouble.

At her muteness, the gleam in Henry’s eyes intensified. “For instance, did you know men find the thrill of the hunt very exciting?”

Hunt? Amy’s eyes flared and she stifled a gasp. Was he indicating his hunt for the owner of her earring? Did he know it was hers or was he simply ferreting for information?

At her confusion he leaned further toward her and whispered, “However, it’s what we do once we’ve caught our pray that is pleasurable.”

Scandalous. His words were scandalous.

Tell me what you’d hate about being a Regency lady, and one lucky winner wil receive an eBook copy of To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood. Open internationally.

The Wicked Wagers Blog Tour runs Monday to Friday for the whole month, and you can WIN copies of all my books and $30 Amazon or B&N gift card (International)... Simply visit each blog post and follow the instructions... Follow the blog tour HERE.


To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood by Bronwen Evans

Book #3 in the Wicked Wagers trilogy

To live happily ever after...

Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But in a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he's searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did.
So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, known as the Sinful Saint for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman's name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she's determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She's not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants in order to force her down the aisle.


Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo

About Bron:

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing contemporary Indulgence release in late 2012, The Reluctant Wife.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com

Connect with Bronwen at her website - blog - Facebook - Twitter


GIVEAWAY RULES:

There are two giveaways going on!

Blog giveaway

Bronwen has generously offered an ebook copy of To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood to a lucky commenter!


Just leave a comment telling us what you’d hate about being a Regency lady.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 7 December 2012!


Grand Prize Giveaway

Enter to win the grand prize of the Wicked Wagers Blog Tour, a $30 Amazon or B&N gift card!

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 30 November 2012! 

Good luck!

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