Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whitney Finalist: Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth

I'm a firm believer that writers should read stories outside their favorite genres. For me, Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth is one of those books. It's a Regency-era, light romance with a bit of comedy.

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this story, but once I did I found it had quite a bit of humor and some interesting character perspectives. As I expected, there isn't a lot of action in the book, although there were some fun scenes near the end. Instead the drama lies in who knows what and who has what power. There were many times I had to stop and remind myself that "Miss Delacourt didn't know such-and-such". And even going so far as to try to tease out the motives behind different character's actions (which made me feel like quite the socialite).

There are a lot of different characters each with their own motives, knowledge, and background. The descriptions of the period were good. I got to "see" the clothing, furnishings, transportation, and social activities. And a lot of time spent working through the social ladder of the day.

I asked Heidi her thoughts on the story:
I wrote the first Miss Delacourt book 15 years prior to this one for a class and never really expected it to be published. As a result, I wrote it to please myself and it turned out to be fairly autobiographical when it comes to the central conflict. So, it was a pleasure to revisit the story between these characters who had a lot in common with my husband and me to give them more air time. After 15 years, I had a different perspective on things and hopefully a more mature one. 
Also, it was a fun challenge to make a sequel work in a genre that "doesn't do sequels". Really fun. Oh--and I adore the cover 
 Here's a taste of the writing from the Prologue:
     Sir Anthony Crenshaw was the happiest of men.
     . . .
     Why, then, did he feel such a presentiment of doom when the butler entered and placed a thick letter, the address scratched out in a familiar chicken scrawl, into his outstretched hand? The vellum inside was sure to be replete with more of the same, and since the author rarely had anything to say that promised even a hint of good news, Sir Anthony was tempted to toss the whole of it, unopened, into the fire that burned merrily in the grate. The thought that the composer of this ominous epistle, though in and of himself a harbinger of doom, rarely committed his nay-saying to paper and ink stayed his hand. Reluctantly, he broke the wax indented with the seal of the seventh Duke of Marcross and took in the shockingly brief message.
     Tony,          Reed is dead. Come at once.                                           Marcross
     Reed dead! Sir Anthony thrust the letter with shaking hand into the fire as he should have in the first place. As tragic as it was for his cousin, a man in the prime of life, to have met his end so suddenly, it was tantamount to disaster for Sir Anthony. He would mourn Reed's death, but he would mourn the demise of his own freedom that much more. Just a moment ago he had been himself, Sir Anthony, a man free of any constraint except for that of impending wedded bliss. Now, he walked from the room with feet like lead, as Crenshaw, the recalcitrant heir to death, duty, and the Duke of Marcross.
If you want to read more you can purchase the book here


Heidi said...

Thanks John! This was fun!

John Waverly said...

Heidi, I agree. Thanks for stopping by.

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