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
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!
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
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)