Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today's Special - - Cara Elliott


PJ here!  I'm delighted to welcome historical romance writer Cara Elliott back to The Romance Dish to talk about TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST, the second book in her terrific The Lords of Midnight series.  Are you reading this series?  If not, now's an excellent time to give it a try.  I highly recommend both this book and the first in the series, TOO WICKED TO WED!  









The Regency Rake - Gryff and Capability Brown 


The hero of my new release, TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST, is a RAKE. Okay, that’s not so much of a surprise—after all, a great many Regency heroes are rakes. But you see, I sort-of mean the other type of “rake” . . . you know, as in the garden variety. . .

No, Gryffin Owain Dwight, the Marquess of Haddan doesn’t have a lot of pointy metal tines protruding from his head. (He’s actually exceedingly handsome. And charming) It’s true that he loves the ladies, and has a knack for seduction. However, he also has another side to his persona, a secret passion that he feels compelled to keep hidden from all but his closest friends. He’s very interested in landscape design, and as casual dalliances are beginning to lose their bloom for him, he’s growing more serious about  . . . turning over a new leaf.

So, when by chance he encounters Lady Eliza Brentford, a lovely young widow who is also hiding a garden passion—she’s a brilliant botanical artist—an attraction immediately flowers between them. However there are complications . . . but I’ll leave you to discover the details in the book!

Instead, I thought I’d talk a little about the inspiration behind Gryff’s passion. Landscape design was actually a very “male” profession in Georgian and Regency England, and one name in particular comes to mind—Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who is often called “England’s greatest gardener.”

Brown—who earned the moniker “Capability” for often telling clients that their estates had great “capability” for landscape improvement—was born in Kirkharle, Northumberland in 1716. He started his career as a gardener’s boy at Kirkharle Hall, where he was assigned to work in the vegetable gardens. After learning the basics about plants and their growth, he then moved on to Stowe, one of the great English country estates, where he studied under the famous landscape designer, William Kent.

Brown soon made a name for himself by breaking with tradition and creating a new “natural” approach to designing gardens and grounds, as opposed to the formal layouts of the past. He called them “grammatical” landscapes—in explaining himself to Hannah More in an encounter at Hampton Court, he said, “I make a comma, and there . . . where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis . . .” Now as a writer, I of course love this name for his style. And oh, can Brown punctuate!

His style is marked by long stretches of rolling grasslands, with bushes, trees and lakes—manmade if necessary— artfully placed to create visual texture and interest.  Many of the most famous estates in Britain feature his garden designs, including Croome Court, Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, and small traces at Kew Gardens

Now, in addition to designing gardens, my hero Gryff also speaks the language of flowers. (He is a VERY charming fellow, and clearly knows all the right things to say to win a lady’s heart.)  And so does Eliza (for reasons you will discover in the book!) It makes for some interesting conversation between them! You didn’t know that flowers talk? Oh, indeed they do! Now we all know that a red rose symbolizes true love, but did you also know that a pink rose means ‘perfect happiness’?





Here are just a few more examples from the secret language of flowers: a red poppy symbolizes ‘pleasure’; a white daisy means ‘innocence’; a rhododendron bloom means ‘beware’ or ‘danger’; and a hydrangea means ‘thank you for understanding.’ Interested in exploring the full bouquet of meanings? You can look here (link: http://tinyurl.com/blcpqn4)

So, what’s your favorite flower?


You can find Cara online at:


Website:  http://caraelliott.com/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/cara.elliott1
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/CaraElliott_1
Word Wenches:  http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/

33 comments:

  1. I'm going to adore your hero & TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST. A fabulous post thank you.

    I do love roses.

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    1. Marybelle, I can't imagine anybody not liking Gryff!

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  2. Happy Release Day to Cara. My favorite are tulips.

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    1. Tulips are such a happy flower. :)

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  3. Gerbera Daisies! It's so hard to pick just one. I aslo love hibiscus, gardenias, orange blossoms, lilacs, day lilies...

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    1. Love Gerbera Daisies! I plant some every year.

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  4. Morning All! Welcome, Cara! Thanks for visiting with us today. I loved TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST!

    I'm traveling today but will check in as often as I can.

    Oh, almost forgot! Yellow roses are my favorite. :)

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  5. Thanks so much for having me here today, PJ! And thanks Marybelle and Jane for the lovely words. I can see we are going to create quite a lovely bouquet of flowers here! Love all the favorites—have to say tulips and gerbera daisies are high on my list. And pale pink roses, especially the cabbage variety.

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  6. I love Yellow Roses! My hubby knows if he brings me red ones he's in trouble! ;)

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  7. Good morning, Cara! We're happy to have you dishing with us today. Congrats on the new release!

    Roses (any color, but purple is my favorite) are my favorite with carnations and daffodils right behind them. :)

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  8. Hi Cara!

    Congrats on your new book, sounds like my TBR pile will be getting a new addition. :-)

    I like all kinds of flowers, they're just soooo pretty!
    But, my all time favorite flower that will always be #1 for me ~ Calla Lilly.

    Have a great day ladies!

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  9. Thanks for the welcome, Andrea and Dalila! Hmm, roses seem to be leading the field, LOL!

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  10. Too Tempting to Resist is near the top of my TBR stack, and today's post makes me even more eager to read it.

    Choosing a favorite flower is like choosing a favorite book. I love so many I can never choose only one. I love the early daffodils, those harbingers of spring, and cape jasmine with their perfume that takes me back to childhood in my grandmother's garden and peonies that flaunt their beauty and shy pansies and indefatigable late summer roses. I still have pink roses and lilies from a bouquet a friend sent me last week. Today they are my favorites.

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  11. Hi, Cara! As a person who loves gardening, I know your book will be one that I cannot put down! "Capability" Brown did indeed design gorgeous gardens but I didn't realize that he used punctuation marks to separate different areas of a garden. What an interesting tidbit that is! I live in southwest Florida now and I must say that my favorite flower is the Hibiscus. I have planted many hybrids of different colors that put out blooms as large as a dinner plate. The intricate colors of these hybrids are absolutely breathtaking and new hybrids and color combinations are being grown every year. Our local Hibiscus Society has a large show and plant sale each year that brings out lots of viewers and buyers. Just gorgeous!

    Your novel featuring a hero and heroine who both have a gardening passion is quite unique and intriguing. I cannot wait to read it. Thanks so much for sharing this today and congratulations on your new book.

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  12. I've heard such good things about your books and they do sound wonderful. When I was growing up we had an orange blossom bush and honeysuckles and I just love their frangrance.

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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  13. Thanks so much, Connie and catslady! Hope you enjoy Eliza and Gryff!

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  14. Love the comments on floral fragrance! I just love the rich scent of wisteria and honeysuckle . . .and roses of course. Then there's lavendar . . . .Mmmmm!

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  15. Jasmine or White Honeysuckle blooms are among my favorite flowers. Red Carnations are the ones I prefer over Red or Yellow Roses if someone is so kind as to buy me a bouquet!

    Congratulations on the release of Too Tempting to Resist Ms. Elliot, have not started the series but it sounds lovely.

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  16. Thank you for the terrific blog and all the information on garden and landscape design and its history as well as letting us have a peek at your new book,Cara.

    My favorite flower is: Gladiolus : Ready armed; Preparedness; Flower of the Gladiators; Give me a break, I'm really sincere.

    My husband chased me for five years before I married him. He never gave up on winning me so this lovely, regally impressive flower really expresses my DH's gallentry and steadfastness. He always gives me Gladiolas on special occasions like our 34th anniversary which is coming up on May 7th!

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  17. Aloha, Cara! This was a fun post about landscaping! I am very fortunate to live in Hawaii where so many flowers bloom year round. I've come to appreciate Bird of Paradise!

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  18. Oh, I'm very impressed that you speak the language of flowers, fsbuchler. And hats off to the hubby for being so gallant! He sounds like a keeper.

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  19. Lucky you, Kim! So glad you enjoyed the post. Birds of paradise are spectacular, but we don't get to see them all that often here in New York suburbs, LOL

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  20. Hi Cara -

    I live in Rhode Island and since our Spring and Summer season for flowers are fairly short here in New England unfortunately my favorite flowers which are the Iris don't last as long as I would love to be able to see them outside my windows!

    Since I work and week-end are always so busy other then the Irises I have planted wild flowers and perennials so fortunatly that means my garden is full of color from the Spring all the way thru the Fall!

    Too Wicked to Resist sounds like the perfect Spring read and I must admit that the release seemed to take forever! I can't wait to find out what your planning next!

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  21. Cara -

    Oops! Of course I meant to say Too Tempting to Resist (but I did love Too Wicked to Wed).

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  22. Hi All! I have finally arrived at my destination having spent the last 12 hours (minus one hour for lunch and a gas station pit stop) in the back seat of my brother's SUV. We were greeted by the lovely fragrance of blooming lilacs outside my (other) brother's apartment when we arrived. What a nice welcome!

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  23. I like Irises. I always had them when we lived up North and here in the South they do very well. I have six or seven varieties in my garden. Another Spring favorite is the Peony. They go very well together.

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  24. Thanks, Jeanne M! I'm a big fan of wildflowers and perennials too, especially as I don't have a green thumb. Love seeing them develop year after year into a symphony of blooms.

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  25. So glad you arrived, PJ. That's a LONG trip, but the scent of lilacs is the best sort of aromatherapy.

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  26. I do love peonies too, librarypat.

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  27. Love the fact that he is into landscaping! I can't wait to read this book and am going to look for the first in the series also. My favorite flowers are daisies and lilies. I don't have any particular favorite choice of either, I love the beauty in them all. What a beautiful cover for Too Tempting To Resist also. :)

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  28. Hi Cara! I love your books and am looking forward to reading Too Tempting to Resist. Thanks for the interesting history of Lancelot "Capability" Brown. I don't really have a favorite flower. I love roses, violets, lillies, and hydrangeas.

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  29. What a wonderful premise for a story. I picked up guarding when living in England.

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  30. Hi Cara,

    Love the sound of this latest book of yours. And love those rakes with the hidden sides (the better to surprise us with)! I love a bouquet of multi-colored roses. But I think my favorite flowers are wisteria and azalea.

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