Friday, June 1, 2012

Today's Special - - Bronwen Evans

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 2011 debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewers’ Choice awards – Best First Historical.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website

Please give Bronwen a warm welcome back to the Romance Dish!  

Wuthering Heights. Was it all Catherine’s fault?

I’m so pleased I write romance, the happy ever after type of love story, where you have true heroes and heroines.  I’d find it very difficult to write a romantic tragedy because I’m not sure I could write a story where I didn’t like the main characters.

I watched the BBC version of Wuthering Heights again last night. I’m still not sure how I feel about the story or the two main characters.  On the one hand, I understand Heathcliff’s character and the psychological reasons behind his demeanor, but only to a certain extent will I excuse his behavior. In fact, as the story unfolded I began to hate him more and more. Hero material he definitely isn’t. Or is he?

Perhaps he didn’t fall in love with the right woman. They say a woman maketh the man. Perhaps Catherine was not strong enough to help him overcome the ghosts of his past. What would have been the outcome of this story if the heroine had been stronger? I suspect if Heathcliff had fallen in love with my heroine, Rheda Kerrick, from my latest Regency romance, Invitation to Scandal, the outcome of the story would’ve been different.

Rheda Kerrick typifies a heroine. She has beauty, brains and fights for the underdog. She has her own code of honor and although she’s prepared to bend the rules, she only does so when forced to protect her friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, she has her faults and this makes her come across as human.  Here’s a taste…

“I have been beating the odds for over five years, Meg,” Rheda said quietly, “and I will not stop now. Not for the Revenue men, nor fines, nor all the rest.”
Meg paused in adding more stew into a bowl. “Not even if the coin involved in your smuggling ends up in Napoleon’s coffers?”
Rheda hesitated, then shrugged her shoulders. “Incidental, and not my intent. That’s why I only trade in goods which I sell for coin. In any event, when I get my horse stud started, I’ll be helping the war effort. I’ll supply our troops the finest cavalry horses and be done with smuggling.” She tried to end on a triumphant note and smiled brightly. “I just need a bit more time.”
“That’s what you’re running out of. The government’s determined to stem smuggling. And you know what they’ll do to you if you’re caught?”
Rheda nodded and looked away, into the bubbling pot. Yes, she knew. Prison. Or if she was really unlucky—transportation.
Meg shoved a bowl filled with stew into Rheda’s cupped hands. The broth inside was warm, but Meg’s next words chilled her. “There’s been news, Rhe. They’re stepping up their patrols of the beaches. There will be Revenue men in every port, on every beach. Any time. You need to find a way out. Now.”
She looked out the window, down the path to where she’d last seen Lord Strathmore. Was her hunch right? Was he a government man? She cupped the bowl tighter, so that the warmth started to chase away the chill seeping through her bones. Whether he was or wasn’t, he was still trouble. Or maybe he was just what she needed. Her brain began whirling with ideas. “I might just have found a way,” she murmured.
The sound of the boys slurping their food and the crackle of the stove were the only sounds in the stuffy room. Rheda silently ate her stew, all the while thinking up her grand plan.
Glancing at Meg she stated, “I only need a few more months. I’m quitting at the end of summer. I should have enough stores by then to carry everyone until I sell the first foal.”
Meg’s face screwed up. “Foals? What foals? I thought you couldn’t afford a stallion?”
Rheda moved to hug Meg good-bye. “I don’t, but Lord Strathmore may come in useful there. Or at least his stallion.”
Meg pushed her away. “I don’t like that look on your face. It means trouble. What are you planning? You can hardly ask to borrow his horse when you’ve just pretended you’re someone you’re not.”
She slid Meg a sly smile and made her way to the door, her shoulders straight, her step light. “Who said I had to ask?”
“Lordy,” Meg said as if in prayer, “you’re inviting trouble.”

The trouble with making Catherine the heroine in Wuthering Heights is that she is selfish. Selfish is definitely not a pleasant trait in any heroine. Not many of us like selfish people.

Nothing clearly demonstrates the difference being a romance novel and a romantic tragedy than Wuthering Heights. Quite frankly, I think that Catherine and Heathcliff were a pair of tragic, star-crossed lovers that were never going to have a happy ever after, mainly because they were totally ill-suited.

Even if Catherine hadn’t married Edgar, the pair would never have made it as a couple, because not only was Catherine not heroine material, Heathcliff was certainly not heroic.

I agree wholeheartedly with Holly Lisle’s four characteristics of a hero are:

1.      He holds consistent MORAL values – Heathcliff doesn’t appear to have any moral values
2.      He takes responsibility for his actions – Heathcliff was partly to blame. He MUST face the fact that he didn’t send word to Catherine for over three years. No woman waits forever if ignored, nor should she have to.
3.      He cherishes that which genuinely matters – Heathcliff doesn’t seem to cherish anything except revenge.
4.      He takes extraordinary action to preserve what matters—Heathcliff did his best to destroy the one person he said he loved.

My hero in Invitation to Scandal, Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore is a delicious hero. He is fighting to clear his late father of treason so that his mother and younger sister can be accepted back into Society. He sacrifices everything to protect his family. He gives up his life to enter the secret service in order to atone for his father’s sins. He has honor and integrity and a moral code, as this excerpt demonstrates.

Rufus refused to notice the shaking in his fingers as he poured himself a stiff brandy. He could barely swallow the liquid past his guilt.

Had he learned nothing? He’d let his rampant desire for a woman cloud his judgment for a second time. Upon entering her room and seeing her lying naked in the tub, he should have immediately turned around and escaped. He should have let Stephen retrieve her. Could have, should have, would have . . . But one step into the room was all it took for his resolve to crumble, for his driving need to possess her rise up from the ashes like the phoenix and burn every other thought out of his head.
His gut swirled in agony as the fiery liquid hit. He clenched his fist tightly around the glass. The thought of Stephen seeing Rheda’s nude body, touching her body—he wanted no other man to see her, or have her. The words, you’re mine, pounded through his brain. [CLUE TWENTY: SMUGGLER]
She was certainly his now. He’d taken her virginity. He didn’t want to focus on the implications his bedding Rheda wrought. Finding Daniel and capturing the spy had to come first. He’d deal with the aftermath later. He hadn’t even withdrawn. What if he’d gotten her with child?
He took another swig of his drink.
Tonight had been an unmitigated disaster all around. He’d let Daniel slip through his fingers. He’d been knocked unconscious. He’d let smugglers escape, and worst of all he’d taken great pleasure in deflowering Miss Rheda Kerrich.
There would be a price to pay for each of his failures.
With a grim smile he recognized which one of his mistakes would demand the worst punishment. Rheda.
On the heels of his disparaging thoughts, the door opened and Rheda swept into the room. The fresh scent of orange blossom sent his senses reeling.

 “I am here as you commanded, my lord,” she said, her tone sweet and slightly mocking. Then she curtsied deeply, almost to the floor.

For a moment he could not respond, deafened by his own heartbeat. Rheda’s spirited beauty made speech impossible. He gazed, riveted, upon that perfect heart-shaped face, sleekly framed by her long golden tresses spilling over her shoulders like a silken waterfall.
The golden flecks in her tawny green eyes sparkled with anger. Her tall, slender, and luscious body was once more fully clothed, but now that he’d seen the delights that lay underneath, Rufus’s memories became feral.
It took a supreme effort of will to pretend a casualness he did not feel. His pride and the raging hunger to take her again made his voice sound harsher than he’d intended. “Do you know what the Crown does to traitors? Have you ever seen a man hanged?”

Poor Rufus, he’s met his match in the determined and resourceful Rheda. I feel sorry for Heathcliff. If he’d met a woman like Rheda, perhaps his life would not have been the living hell it obviously was.

It just goes to show that the saying ‘behind every great man is a fabulous woman’, is not wrong. I prefer, ‘beside every great man stands a woman’.

The characters in Wuthering Heights prove to me, that when writing a great romance novel, and if you want to ensure the reader gets their ‘happy ever after’, you need pretty special men and women. I hope if you read Invitation to Scandal you’ll think Rheda and Rufus are pretty special too.

Tell me who your favorite hero and heroine are and be in to WIN one of three SIGNED copies of INVITATION TO SCANDAL.  (Giveaway open world-wide.)


Invitation to Scandal

Her secrets are coming undone...

Plagued by scandalous rumors, Rheda Kerrich will stop at nothing to restore her reputation and make an honest living for herself-and she's determined to do it without a husband. But times are hard, and smuggling is a risky though profitable trade. So when a dashing agent for the English government catches her in the act, she desperately resists his charms and conceals her illicit profession. Until she realizes he may be the key to her ultimate freedom-and unbridled passion.

Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore, has never had trouble beguiling the ladies of Kent. When his search for "Dark Shadow," a cunningly elusive smuggler, leads him to alluring and headstrong Rhe, her objections to his amorous advances merely incite a tantalizing game of cat and mouse. Soon, they'll find the very secrets driving them apart could ensnare them in a love they can't escape…

The INVITATION TO ROMANCE Book Tour Grand Prize – A $200 Amazon, or B&N Voucher, PLUS… A Book Basket of a collection of 30 ‘SIGNED by the AUTHORS’ books…
There are 30 clues that must be collected to be eligible for entry into this contest.  Collect all the clues and spell out a paragraph relating to Bronwen’s 1 May 2012 Regency release – INVITATION TO SCANDAL. 


  1. I have a soft spot for Evangeline and Sebastian from Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter. I usually like the sweet unassuming but with a core of strength/passion heroine and alpha male rogue with a big heart hero. They are great weak-in-the-knees-romance material. He is so protective of his woman and although he would hardly admit it, he would be lost without her.

  2. Congrats on the new release, Bronwen. I really love the heroine and hero of Loretta Chase's "The Last Hellion." Vere is the tortured hero we all love and Lydia is the bluestocking we root for.

  3. Thank you for an lovely blog, Brownen. (love your name!) Congratulations on your latest book, "Invitation to Scandal," it sounds terrific I'll have to read "Invitation to Sin" and catch up!

    Darn it, Mina! You got here before I had a chance to put in my two cents about Evangeline and Sebastian from Lisa Kleypas's "Devil in Winter." That is one of my all time favorites of Lisa Kleypas'. So now I have to go with Darek Craven and Sara Fielding from Kleypas' "Dreaming of You." They are very similar protagonists at heart even though one of the heros is an aristocrat and the other is a bastard who grew up on the streets and had to make his own way. Interestingly, they are both involved in gaming houses and Kleypas makes an oblique reference to that similarity in "Devil in Winter."

    Finally, regarding "Wuthering Heights," It has never captured my heart in print or on the screen and for all the reasons you make so clear. Give me Bronte's sister's Mr. Rochester ant day before Heathcliff!

  4. I have just re-read OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, so I have to go with Claire & Jamie. Such a wonderful series & beautifully written characters.

    I have always loved WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Heathcliff for me is such a tormented, twisted soul.

  5. Good evening, ladies

    I love Outlander and I have to admit i haven't read Evangeline and Sebastian from Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter. Off to check it out now!

    It's almost 11pm here on Friday night (New Zealand time) and I am about to go to bed. I'll be back to answer comments in eight hours.

    Bronwen Evans

  6. Hi bronwen! What a lovely name my hero and heroine would be Elizabeth bennet and mr Darcy can't help it I am just so adored the historical story by Jane Austen , devi melina arethababyaatgmailDOTcom

  7. Oh Marybelle you got here first with my choice :) I love Jamie and Claire. Two tortured souls who never give up on on another. There's also Roarke and Eve from the In Death series by JD Robb. I loved reading about Rufus and Rheda. They are just so perfect for each other.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  8. Argh! Choosing one from among so many favorite historical couples is tough, but I'll go with Jessica and Dain from Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels with Harry and Desdemona from Connie Brockway's As You Desire and Josie and Mayne from Eloisa James's Pleasure for Pleasure as close runners-up.

  9. Lovely post today. My favorite hero and heroine is Elise and Kit in The House at Tyneford. Wonderful.

  10. Love the excerpt! My favorite couple would be Rourke and Shanna (Shanna, Kathleen Woodiwiss) but there are too many others to name.

  11. My favorite hero and heroine are Fiona and Joe in The tea Rose. Enjoyable and interesting post today.

  12. I'm loving this book...can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I agree with Christy favorite couple has to be Rourke and Shanna in books...but in film I'm going with Johnny and Baby from Dirty Dancing! Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

  13. Hi Bronwen! Thanks for visiting with us today! Wow, you ask the tough questions, don't you? lol! I have so many favorites (some already named by others) that I doubt I could narrow it down to just one couple so I'll go with the hero and heroine from my all-time favorite comfort read. Gabriel and Johanna from Julie Garwood's SAVING GRACE never fail to make me laugh, make me cry, make me sigh and take me along for a roller coaster of a ride as I cheer them on to their happy ending. I've read this book so many times, I've worn out three copies of it yet I never, ever tire of the story or the characters!

  14. What a thought-provoking post, Bronwen! I had never really considered how very much Catherine and Heathcliff really never stood a chance.

    Previous posters have already named some of my favorite heroes and heroines - Sebastian and Evangeline, Dain and Jessica. Some of my all-time favorites are Ian and Beth in The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, Christian and Madeline in Flowers from the Storm, Wulfric and Christine from Slightly Dangerous, and Verity and Kylemore from Claiming the Courtesan.

    Congratulations on this latest! Sounds FABULOUS!

  15. JOSIE AND Mayne from Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James, and of course Darcy and Elizabeth

  16. To be honest it's usually the couple I am currently reading about - I get totally engrossed in the lives of most characters. It seems to me the classics are usually books that are not HEA - lots of angst and unhappiness pursues. Once in a while I don't mind reading something like that, but I do love my HEA. Your book sounds like something I would enjoy reading to the end :)

  17. I agree with those who chose Evie & Sebastian. Some other choices are Marguerite & Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel, Matt & Meredith from Paradise and Merripen and Win from Seduce Me At Sunrise.

  18. My favorites tend to be whoever I am reading about - currently that is Minerva Sharpe and Giles Masters in Sabrina Jeffries 'How to Woo a Reluctant Lady'.
    I'm really enjoying all the couples in this series - Hellions of Halstead Hall.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  19. Good morning! It's 6am on a cold winters Saturday morning. I suppose I should offer up my favorite (other than my own characters - you have to love who you write).

    I love Alice and Lucian from Gaelen Foley's Lord of Fire.

  20. Hi Bronwen!

    When you mentioned that you had watched the movie Wuthering Heights you took me back to the 1960's where it was required reading in High School! In 1990 when I attended my older son's Parent/Teacher night the one thing I asked her was "Why is Wuthering Heights on their required reading list,and went on to say that it was the worst book I had ever read and it hadn't gotten any better with age! The rest of the parents in the room cheered!

    On the other hand they could have read a book with my favorite hero - Don Quixote by Cervantes. Think of the interesting options she could have discussed with the class about his writing not only had an impact on literature but was considered the best literary work ever written. She could have mentioned that it even inspired the art of Picasso and talked about art over the centuries. She also could have explained how that one author influenced and laid the foundation of literature today!

    Talk about a hero - Don Quixote was a man that could look at Dulcinea and see her as beautiful and without flaw. Who wouldn't love a hero like that in their lives!

    On the other hand I don't actually have a favorite heroine but I'm being to think that Rhe might just fill the spot. I love her fiesty nature and her resolve!

    PS: The next time you want to rent a movie think of picking up The Impossible Dream which is a musical movie rendition of the Broadway musical!

  21. I still melt at the the love affair of Scarlett and Rhett in "Gone With The Wind." I think it is a classic that will forever make heats throb.

    Congratulations on your new release and hope it sells a gazillion copies! :-)

  22. I've always had a soft spot for Heathcliff. Definitely not my kind of denouement.

  23. I like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.

  24. My favorite hero and herione would have to be Adrian and Violet, in the Husband Trap.

  25. Hi Bronwen! Invitation to Scandal sounds delicious. My favorite heroes and heroines are in the books I tend to be reading at the time. My first favorites were Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With The Wind.

  26. Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I've had this book on my wishlist and I'd love a chance to read it :)

    I haven't read Wuthering Heights. Definitely going to have to go give it a try. I'm partial to the oldy but goody pair, Elizabeth and Darcy.

  27. I would have to say one of my favorites would be Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy for their understated honor and dedication to family and what is right. It is odd that this couple would be a favorite because I enjoy stories with action and intrigue with characters that spark off of each other. In a tie for my favorite are the movie version of the hero and heroine from LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Their relationship is similar to that in P & P but with the action. Their compassion, bravery and honor make them special and deserving of each other.

    I started collecting your clues and have lost my list. I'll have to go back and redo them.

    Congratulations on the release of INVITATION TO SCANDAL. It sounds like the type of story I enjoy with intrigue, secrets, danger, and characters of honor. I hope it does very well for you. I will be looking for it.

  28. Angel and Hawk in A Woman Without Lies by Elizabeth Lowell

  29. I love every hero/heroine, or at least the ones I am currently reading! ;) Its hard to pick just one couple. I would have to go with Mr Darcy and Elizabeth for the purpose of this post, just because I cannot pick from all my favorites. They are classic favorites but you can never go wrong picking them. I have never read Wuthering Heights, though I do own a copy, just have not gotten to it yet.

  30. Loving these posts, but forgot to leave my email.

  31. Congrats on the new release!!
    Lovely post and i like the excerpt. My favorite hero and heroine is Roarke and Eve Dallas from In Death series by JD Robb.
    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  32. I have to agree with Filia...Roarke and Eve are my favorite couple. I have to admit that I am fond of Thea Harrison's Pia & Dragos, Patricia Briggs' Mercy and Adam, Eileen Wilks' Lily & Rule...and quite a few others!