Alice, Lady Charlton, newly-widowed and eager to embrace a life free of her domineering husband is devastated when a scoundrel appears, brandishing letters that could ruin her. To prevent their publication he wants Alice to find a noble husband—a lord!—for his daughter, Lucy.
Alice is forced to agree to his blackmail but when Lucy arrives, she has absolutely no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!
Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse lady and sets out to teach her about love. Meanwhile, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks each time they meet.
Hi Anne! Welcome back to The Romance Dish! It’s always fun to celebrate the release of a new Gracie novel.
Thanks so much, PJ — I'm always very happy to visit. Thanks for inviting me.
The Scoundrel’s Daughter launches your Brides of Bellaire Gardens series. What should readers expect from this series?
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens is a series about women who live on Bellaire Gardens which is a large, (fictional) private garden square in London, only accessed by the residents' back gates. Each of the women is trying to live down her father's/mother's/family reputation and make a life on her own terms. And of course, each of them will eventually become a bride. (Photo of Bellaire Gardens inspiration below)
In The Scoundrel's Daughter, Alice, our main heroine—there are two—is a 38 year old widow, thankful to be released from an unhappy marriage and planning never to marry again. Our hero, James, Lord Tarrant has his work cut out to change her mind about that, but he's up to the challenge. Alice has also been blackmailed into bringing an 18 year old out into society — a girl she doesn't know and, in the beginning at least, doesn't like. There's also the scoundrelly blackmailer to be dealt with.
Will we see more of James and Alice, or other characters from The Scoundrel’s Daughter, in future books?
In the second book in the series, The Rake's Daughter (out next year), we do see some of the characters from The Scoundrel's Daughter — they meet up in their beautiful shared garden, of course, but Alice also takes the two sisters in the second book under her wing and chaperones them on occasion.
I enjoyed the additional romance in The Scoundrel’s Daughter. Will a secondary romance be included in each of the books in this series or is that limited to book one?
Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. A secondary romance (Lucy and Gerald) was necessary in this one, because though Lucy and her scoundrel father were the catalyst for the story, it is Alice's romance that is the main focus of the book. But I didn't want to leave Lucy and Gerald hanging.
I also enjoyed the contrast in the two romances. Lucy and Gerald's romance is a kind of enemies-to-lovers story with a lot of sparks and banter and a good dose of mischief, whereas Alice and James's romance is more of a second chance of love — more emotional and intense.
I did think of having two romances in the second book as well, which is about two half-sisters, but then I realized that each girl deserved her own full romance. There might be a secondary romance in book #3, but no promises yet.
What books are you cuddling up with on these cool Australian nights? Any new titles or authors you recommend?
If you want a book with a lot of laughs as well as a yummy romance, snap up BIG SEXY LOVE by Kirsty Greenwood. It's a contemporary romance about friendship, learning to take chances and, of course, love. It's also one of the funniest books I've read in years — seriously, it's laugh out loud in so many places.
I'm also a big fan of Kylie Scott — who also writes contemporaries. Try her YA book TRUST, or her series about members of a band — the STAGE DIVE series. Very sexy, great dialogue and wonderful characterization.
One of the things I most enjoy about your writing is the vividly depicted characters who leap from the pages of your books. The Scoundrel’s Daughter shines with a memorable cast but it’s little Debo, the youngest of James’ three daughters who steals every scene she’s in. You captured her personality so beautifully. Was she inspired by a real-life person? And do these wonderful characters of your creation steal your heart as completely as they do the readers’?
Thank you — I love it when a character just steps onto the page fully formed, and little Debo was one of those. She's not inspired by any real person, although I've known a few imperious toddlers in my time. <g> She took me by surprise in that scene where she first appears to readers and to her father, being very much herself, and as the book progressed she continued to demand her own little spotlight. And yes, she did steal my heart, as no doubt you could tell.
There's a snippet here, where James meets his daughter for the first time — she's four. https://www.annegracie.com/meet-debo/
Characters like Gideon in The Perfect Rake, and Lady Beatrice, Daisy and Freddy in The Autumn Bride, and others in other books also appeared in the same way, fully formed and refusing to leave until they have a bigger part in the story — or a story of their own in some cases. When it happens, it's like an unexpected gift.
However sometimes one of these unexpected characters doesn't fit into the story, or maybe would derail it completely, and in that case I have to prune them firmly back. Gives another meaning to "killing your darlings". <g>
What fills the hours when you’re not writing? Have you discovered any new hobbies or interests?
Not really. I make jewelry — really it's just stringing beads together — and I almost keep the garden weeds under control. We've been in Lockdown for much of the last year — one time it was for nearly four months, where we couldn't go anywhere except to shop for food, medicine etc. So I read a heap. And wrote. And cooked and ate and walked my dog and . . . occasionally thought about doing housework. <g>
I also got into a new writing habit where 5 days a week I meet up with a couple of writer buddies and we write for a couple of hours while we're on FaceTime. It's a bit like working in an office together — we can see and hear each other working, but once the timer is on, we don't talk, and we don't watch each other. It kept us being positive and productive — and of course, broke down a lot of the isolation caused by LockDown and Covid.
Where can readers connect with you online?
I'm on FB and twitter and Instagram. Plus I blog regularly with the Word Wenches as well as having my own more personal blog, which also has occasional craft-of-writing posts. And I have a newsletter of course. You can sign up for it and the blog on my website.
Anne Gracie links:
FB AuthorPage: https://www.facebook.com/AnneGracieAuthor/
The next book in the series is called The Rake's Daughter and it's about a pair of half-sisters, one legitimate, the other illegitimate. The illegitimate one is the heroine of this story, and the hero is the man who insists that London society will not accept a bastard girl of beauty and no fortune. Izzy, my heroine, vows to prove him wrong.
And with any luck I'll find the time to write another Christmas novella to self-publish. I did that for the first time last year with The Christmas Bride, which was a spin-off of the Chance sisters series, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
Thanks so much for graciously answering my questions today.
Thank you, PJ for hosting me — I'm delighted to be here.
Would you like to add anything or ask our readers a question?
Yes, and of course I'll be giving away a book. I'd love to ask readers, what's your favorite romance trope? (For instance Convenient Marriage, Enemies to Lovers, Beauty and the Beast, Second Chance at Love, Mail Order Bride, Friends to Lovers, Lovers Reunited, Chick in Pants, a Bad Boy (Rake) romance, Secret Baby, Fake Betrothal. . . and many more.)
One randomly chosen reader who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, August 27 will receive a print copy of The Scoundrel's Daughter.
*No geographical restrictions
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited