Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's Special - - Christina Brooke

Christina Brooke is with us today!  (Hi Christina!  *Waving*)  Christina is one of our favorite Aussies and the author of a unique and delightful historical romance series called the Ministry of Marriage.  The third book is the series, A Duchess to Remember, released yesterday and it's another winner.  Fans of the series will be delighted to know Christina has signed a contract for three more books in the series so get ready for the Westruther men!

Christina is a former lawyer who is also a busy mom and in the midst of a long-term house renovation.  She holds the distinction of being the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart award.  She's also been an RITA finalist twice, with books written as Christine Wells and as Christina Brooke.  Heiress in Love, the first book in her Ministry of Marriage series is a finalist for the RITA this year.  And, if all that isn't enough, she's also a regular blogger at Romance Bandits! Take it away, Christina!

Hello everyone! I'm delighted to be back dishing with the lovely ladies at the Romance Dish.

So many readers of the first two books in my Ministry of Marriage series, HEIRESS IN LOVE, and MAD ABOUT THE EARL, have been begging for Cecily's story. I'm so happy to announce that Cecily's book, A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER, is out this week. I hope you all have as much fun with this couple as I did!

Today I'm going to dish a little about smart heroines. Or should I say smart-mouthed heroines? *G* Lady Cecily Westruther is certainly both clever and witty, but in A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER she is perhaps just a little too clever for her own good.

You see, Cecily has her life very nicely mapped out. A fiancé who not only happens to be a duke, but a very mild-mannered, compliant duke, who can be guaranteed to let her to live her life precisely as she likes. He also has two sons by a previous marriage, so she doesn't have to suffer the marriage bed with a man she doesn't find in the least attractive.

However, what Cecily wants and what Cecily needs are two different things. So luckily, she has me to play God and throw a rock in her all-too-smooth path. When the brilliant, enigmatic, powerful Duke of Ashburn comes into her life, he challenges every one of her preconceived ideas about the kind of husband she needs.

Their first meeting occurs when Cecily breaks into Ashburn's house, searching for an incriminating letter that would ruin her and jeopardize her betrothal. But even when she's caught, Cecily is not abashed. She says:

“… you, my lord duke, suffer from the eternal ennui of the pampered aristocrat. You're intelligent enough to perceive that I am no common housebreaker. I, in fact, am a novelty.”

“You, in fact, are a criminal,” he said.

“But you are curious about me,” she murmured, staring up at him with those big, pansy brown eyes. “Admit it.”

Ashburn's taste must run to the criminal element, for he quickly decides he must have this woman as his duchess. He sets out in hot pursuit of her, disregarding her betrothal entirely.

Despite her best intentions to resist, Ashburn gets under her skin.

Cecily plastered a society smile on her face and spoke between her teeth. “Not only are you mistaken, you are impertinent. This conversation is highly improper.”

“Not half as improper as I'd like it to be,” he said. “But I promised to behave myself in public, didn't I?”

“It's a good thing for you we are in public or I'd punch you in the nose,” she said, smiling relentlessly.

But despite her readiness with a witty riposte, Cecily is totally unsettled by Ashburn. She might be clever about some things but Lady Cecily Westruther is an utter dunce when it comes to love…

So who is your favourite smart heroine from romance and why? Please comment for a chance to win a signed copy of the entire MINISTRY OF MARRIAGE series!

Find more information about Christina at her website and connect with her on Facebook,  Twitter and Goodreads.


  1. I don't know that I have a favorite smart heroine. Though, I do love a heroine who can run rings around a hero.

  2. Looking forward to this book, it's at the top of my 'to buy' list, I loved Mad about the Earl. I think my favourite smart heroine has to be Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels. I loved the way she handled Dain, nothing ever fazed her, she just persisted until she got what she wanted. :)

  3. Hi folks! Very frustratingly, I'm having technical difficulties today so I'm going to answer in batches here and hope it goes through!

    Hi Marybelle, thanks for dropping by:) I know what you mean. I like the heroine to keep the hero in a state of perpetual confusion but I also love it when he has a few wins, too, and shows her he's not going to be a pushover.

    Beebs, thanks so much for the compliment on MAD ABOUT THE EARL. Oh, yes, Jessica is fabulous, isn't she? I also love Daphne in Mr. Impossible. She thought he was a perfect blockhead but he surprised her time after time.

  4. Congratulations on the new book and the new contract, Christina. A Duchess to Remember is on my Kindle. I've been hooked on the Ministry of Marriage books since the first book.

    I love smart--and smart-mouthed--heroines. Since I have too many favorites to choose one, I'll go with one of the earliest ones: Sophy Stanton-Lacy from Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy.

  5. While it would be difficult to zero in on one particular character in a book as a favorite smart mouth, I think I would have to choose Jen Lancaster's novels as those that would closest fit that category. She is a total hoot and I enjoy her special humor.

    I would love to read "A Duchess to Remember" to see if Cecily's smooth path does indeed have some bumps in it after all!

    Thanks for sharing your synopsis and excerpt, Christina! I've just put this novel on my Wish List.

  6. Congrts Christina for new release book and especially "signing contract for more 3 books", it's party time :D

    smart heroine, i haven't have it but i love isabela, a heroine from annie gracie's book - a bride by mistake because she's not a weak woman, she has a good heart, she even can struggle in outside world (his father taught her how to live in outside world such as capturing animals for food using knife etc) and em.. i think she is smart too :) and other heroine is amy malory from magic of love by johanna lindsey, maybe because she has a six sense =D

  7. Christina, congrats on your new contract and latest release! I love the excerpt. My copy is waiting at our local indie, and I can't wait to read it.

    Favorite smart heroine? Hmm. I love Rowan, the strong, savvy, brave smokejumper from Nora's Chasing Fire, but Donna MacMeans's latest heroine, Edwina from The Casanova Code, and Jeanne Adams's first heroine, Dana from Dark and Dangerous, are very smart. Edwina is a codebreaker, and Dana has kept herself and her son out if her mobster ex's clutches for years. Plus Dana blows things up!

  8. Hi Christina! Congrats on the release of Heiress in Love! I can't wait to read Cecily's book, and am looking forward to more Ministry of Marriage books. (Like I told you, I am particularly excited to see how Xavier falling in love cracks that hard outer shell and does a number on him ;) )

    One of my favorite smart heroines would be Minerva Highwood from Tessa Dare's A Week To Be Wicked, who is a budding geologist/paleontologist.

    Julie James's heroines are always smart, witty, and sassy which is why I love her books so much.

    And who can forget SEP's Jane Darlington Bonner, physicist extraordinare from Nobody's Baby But Mine. Love that while she's brilliant, she's also the typical absent minded professor who will gaze off into the distance deep in thought, and will write on anything, lol.

  9. I like the heroines written by Julia Quinn best because they are not only 'smart' they are also a bit sassy tool. Gotta love anything Julia writes, IMO.

  10. Congratulations on the new book. It sounds interesting.

    I enjoy Julie James' and Susan Elizabeth Phillips' heroines. They're always smart and funny.

  11. I like the suggestions from several other folks today. Still, for me, it's hard to top Jessica Trent in Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels.

    Congrats on the new release.

  12. Hi Christina! Congrats on the new book and contract! I love this series and am so happy we have more books on the way.

    So many wonderful, smart heroines out there. It would be hard to name just one. Lots of great ones in the comments!

  13. Waving hello to everyone who stops by today. Sorry I'm not responding individually but no Internet and limited phone battery this week.

  14. Usually the one I'm reading about is my favorite. And when I thought of your question I decided the books that I choose are ones that all have smart heroines! I don't think I'd enjoy it otherwise.

  15. I absolutely loved Dr. Jane Darlington from Nobody's baby but mine by Susan E. Philips

  16. I usually enjoy whichever heroine I am reading about. Recently I enjoyed sisters Minerva & Celia Sharpe from Sabrina Jeffries Hellions of Halstead Hall series. Minerva is an author in a time that was very unusual and Celia was an expert with guns (also very unusual).

  17. Congrats on the new release, Christina. My favorite smart heroine is Lydia from Loretta Chase's "The Last Hellion." I love that she's a bluestocking journalist in the 19th century.

  18. Thanks for a fun post! Congrats on the newest release!!!

    I really liked Liliana Claremont from Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow. I loved that she was Chemist in a time that was not tolerable to women in science.

  19. *waving* Hi, Christina! We are so glad you are dishing with us today. Congrats on your newest release! I'll be picking it up on my next trip to the bookstore. :)

    As for smart heroines, I will second Kim's response of Julie James's heroines. I will also add my all-time favorite heroine, Kate Sheffield from JQ's The Viscount Who Loved Me. *g*

  20. Hi there, back again! Sorry to have been away so long. The time difference is a killer.

    Janga, thank you so much, you're very kind. I so agree about Sophy! I love the way she waltzes in and fixes everything.

    Connie, thanks so much! I haven't read Jen Lancaster but I must try her now! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Eli, isn't Anne Gracie's latest wonderful! I love a heroine with special skills like that.

    Nancy, LOL I'm laughing at your penchant for 'boom'. I LOVED that first scene in Jeanne's book. Haven't read Donna's yet but I must do so.

    Hi Lisa!! Isn't Jane Bonner a classic? I love SEP and it just kills me when a genius can be so dumb about love.

    Karen H, I so agree! JQ is a master at likeable but sassy heroines.

  21. I'm another one who loved Jane Bonner's character ... I think that was the first SEP book I read ...
    There's nothing better than a smart heroine!! And congrats on the new contract!!!

  22. Hi Kim, I'd have to say SEP is one of my top five favourite authors! Haven't read Julie James but clearly I must fix that.

    LSUReader, I so agree! Jessica is never at a loss, is she? Loretta Chase is another fave of mine.

    Jo's Daughter, you couldn't get much smarter than Jane Bonner, could you? She's a very popular smarty pants!

    Di, wow, it seems I must brush up on my Sabrina Jeffries reading. Those heroines sound like my kinda gals!

    Jane, ah, Lydia in The Last Hellion is fantastic, isn't she? I love Daphne from Mr. Impossible, too.
    Hi PJ *waving madly*. Thank you so much for inviting me here today. I wish I could hug you in person!

    Catslady, how interesting you've identified one of your 'must-haves' in a romance.

    Erin, the lady chemist sounds very intriguing!

    Hi Andrea!! Thanks so much for having me here today. Ah another JQ fan. I must re-read The Viscount Who Loved Me. An old favourite!

  23. Girlygirl, there's nothing like a very smart woman who is clueless about love, is there? Seems like Jane Bonner wins hands down on this blog!

  24. Hello again, beautiful lady! Over at the Lair yesterday I said that Eve Dallas is my fave smart heroine----still the same. LOL That being said, there are many smart heroines out there. One of the many reasons we love romance. ;-)

    BTW, I love the cover of A Duchess to Remember. Simply stunning!

  25. Hi christina and all the ladies at TRD. I don't have a specific heroine that i love, simply love them all but i do have a type. I love the smart sassy sort who are not overwhelmed by a handsome rougue. I am sorry to say i have not read any of the books in the 'Ministry of Marriage' series but have heard such raving reviews that it is on my must read list. Wishing you all the success for A Duchess to Remember.


  26. I thought Linnet Berry Thrynne was a smart heroine, as well as being witty and charming in When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James. I really enjoyed Liliana Claremont from Heather Snow's Sweet Enemy as well. I loved her scientific expertise and her ability to use her knowledge to beat the smug gentlemen. :D

  27. My favorite heroine is Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. she is a smart young lady who always concerns about Marianne's sensibility. Elinor is also a brave woman and always use her sense to face the troubles that happen to the family. She also sacrifices her happiness for others.
    Elinor is a romantic person. She has a dream to marry Edward though she rarely shows her emotion as Marianne does. The greatest love is a willingness to put the ego aside and think about other's happiness. That's what Elinor does. In the end, She gets her own happiness.

  28. Hey, Christina, lovely to see you here with the lovely Dishies! Waving madly to the Dishies! I can't wait to read this book. I've been looking forward to Cecily's book ever since I read Heiress in Love. And I love that she's found a hero who's going to give her a run for her money. I love it when fate aka author intervenes and gives our hero and heroine the last person they expected but just the right match! Good luck with A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER!

  29. Hi Gannon! Thank you for having me here, my lovely! LOL I didn't realize I'd asked the same question twice. *smacks head* Thanks for answering again. It is a beautiful cover, isn't it? Thank you!

    Thanks, Sonali! I'm with you on loving the smart, sassy type! Thanks for commenting today.

    Barbara E. I'm just now reading Linnet's book--what a coincidence! Several people have mentioned Heather Snow's books. Must get them too. Thanks for commenting today!

  30. Congratulations on the book! I like a smart heroine, but don't have a favorite one.


  31. Hi Christina! I can't wait to read Ashburn's and Cecily's love story.

    The heroine I like the most is always the one I am reading about at the time. Love the strong, sassy ones that rumple the heroe's feathers.

  32. A tough choice. I love the Sharpe sisters from Sabrina Jeffries Hellions series. They are both strong women, confident, and able to take care of themselves. Also love the Bridgerton daughters and the mom, from Julia Quinn. They are also strong and take great care of others and themselves. Christina is a new author for me. Congrats on the new release.

  33. Not sure I have a favourite smart heroine because they are all pretty smart in their own way.

  34. Thanks BN100!

    Cathy P, I'm with you on the strong and sassy:)

    Thanks for the congrats, Chrisbails! I am hearing a lot of good things about the Hellions. I must read them. And oh, yes, the Bridgertons are so much fun, aren't they? Thanks for dropping by today.

    QuiltLady romance readers and writers tend to like the smart heroines, don't they? And of course there are all different kinds of intelligence. Thanks for commenting!

  35. since smart strong heroines are my preferred kind & they tend to be featured most of my reading. therefore hard to pick just one so will have to go with what ever book I recently finished if not the one reading at that moment (I know, a copout - but true) :D

  36. Ack! Juliana and Anna I missed you! So sorry!

    Juliana what a great summary of Elinor. I love her as a character. She is good and sensible without being in the least dull. A major feat, but then of course, we are talking about Austen.

    And Anna, how lovely you are to say such nice things! I was going to take the easy route and give Cecily a stick-in-the-mud hero who would be the perfect foil for her. However, that would have made it far too easy for her to refuse to change and she needed to grow up a bit! Hope you enjoy this one!

    Gamistress, not a cop out--I couldn't pick just one favourite heroine either.

    Thanks for dropping by today everyone! Thanks for having me, PJ, Andrea, Buffy and Gannon!

  37. I would pick Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels.