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Putting the “Perilous” into “A Perilous Passion” | Elizabeth Keysian

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I just threw everything into this book that made my heart skip a beat. I had to have a hot but humiliated hero, with a huge amount to prove. I wanted a vulnerable but resourceful heroine, with a shady past, a domineering mother, and a kind-hearted maiden aunt with a soft spot for a gypsy healer. I wanted villains too, oodles of them, so I created a nefarious smuggling ring under the control of a coldly calculating traitor who could, if not foiled, betray Regency England straight into the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In fact, I wanted my hero to be like a Jane Austen version of James Bond. Imagine 007 in breeches, and you have the resourceful Rafe Pomeroy, Earl of Beckport. He’s not as fickle as Bond but equally seductive, and he displays a touch more humour, combined with a dash of gallantry.

And he wears a tricorn hat. I don’t know what it is about them, but these three pointed hats on a handsome man just make me MELT. I guess I fell in love with Dick Turpin on TV when I was a kid—for those who don’t know, the character was based on a real-life highwayman back in the 1700s, who became a bit of a folk hero. I adored the romantic image of the dashing highwayman, holding a swooning damsel in his arms as he courteously relieved her of her jewelry.

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Guest Post

Thoughts on Naughtiness in Regency Romances by Elizabeth Keysian

Occasionally a reader will tell me, “A Regency young lady would never have behaved like that.” In answer, I say, “Ah, but can you prove that she wouldn’t?

Miss Cassandra Blythe, heroine of my latest book, Unmasking the Earl, does break the rules, I admit. In order to win the man she wants, she comes up with, “A plan so bold, so wicked, she could hardly believe her own mind had conjured it up.”

Let’s face it, Cassie’s story could end up rather dull if she only did the right thing all the time…

There were plenty of contemporary manuals written about how women should conduct themselves, but just because these existed, doesn’t mean everyone followed them. If they had, Georgian and Regency Britain would have been deadly dull—there would have been no gossip for the rumor mill, and nothing to talk of but the high price of corn, infant mortality, war and the latest fashions from France. Ugh, spare me.

If you want to find naughty women in Regency Society, it’s not difficult. In fact, I challenge you to find much mention of well-behaved ones, because then, as now, these paragons of virtue tended to escape the public notice.

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