Susan here, very pleased today to be interviewing Jo Beverley about her latest release, A Shocking Delight, new this week in stores and online--and already getting much-deserved praise, including a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews:
"Beverley, with her masterful writing and keen knowledge of the Regency, sets the tone for a new novel in the Rogues series. With her ability to build sexual tension and emotional intensity into a lively story, she combines dynamic characters with a secret, smugglers, and a cast of secondary characters, including a few of those wickedly handsome rogues from previous novels to round out the plot. Simply savor this read."
The man she shouldn’t want. The woman he shouldn’t marry...
David Kerslake, smuggling master from The Dragon's Bride, is now Earl of Wyvern and must survive the ton as well as the Preventive Officers. Lucy Potter, daughter of a wealthy merchant, is more interested in trade than in the men after her dowry . . . but in London, when she meets the notorious Earl of Wyvern, her resolve weakens—even though she senses danger . . . . The Earl of Wyvern has a dark secret—but must win a rich bride. Lucinda Potter seems ideal—especially because at first glance, she seems unlikely to realize the truth . . . but soon, marrying Lucy would mean living a lie with the woman he has come to love. . . .
Susan: Jo, please tell us something about A Shocking Delight.
Jo: The title comes straight out of the book, because both Lucy and David are avoiding love. Lucy doesn't want to fall in love because marriage would hinder her ambitions, and David needs to make a cool-headed marriage to a rich but feather-witted woman. Love gets them anyway, and the delight is both a shock and irresistible.
It came directly from Lucy, from this passage. David has realized that such a sharp-witted bride would be a disastrous, but she's begun to accept his attractions. Being a lady who goes after what she wants, she teases him into pretending to woo her for a little while to deter her irritating suitors. Tangled in her expert negotiating skills, he demands a kiss a day as payment.
She’d won the means to spend time with him, to learn him better, to find the way. She had to suppress a smile at how he’d seen the daily kiss as a bargaining point when the prospect filled her with a shocking delight.
Susan: She is very clever, even though she's trying to hide it in order to fit in with the ton.
Jo: Lucy is the only child of a very wealthy London merchant, and he's involved her in his world. She's always assumed she was his heir and successor, but her mother has died and he plans to remarry with the clear desire to have a son to follow in his footsteps. He even encourages her to take part in the ton season and find a titled husband. He doesn't understand her at all.
She's devastated, but she goes to Mayfair as an escape while she decides what to do. She can't possibly marry at this point, as it will make it even more challenging to be accepted in the man's world of business and trade, but she's looking forward to the entertainments. However her fortune means she's pestered by fortune hunters.
Susan: David should have been one of them, shouldn't he?
Jo: Definitely. He's in London to find as rich a bride as possible. At the end of my novel The Dragon's Bride, David, the heroine's brother, reluctantly agrees to claim legitimacy which means he'll be Earl of Wyvern. He does it for his sister, and it is a sacrifice. He hasn't been raised to fill such a position, he's the local smuggling master, and the earldom's coffers are empty. If he's to look after all his responsibilities he must marry money. He targets Lucy, but soon realizes she's too clever not to realize that her husband has a secret life as a smuggler. To make it worse, at their first meeting he discovers she's firmly opposed to the Free Trade.
David says, “I wouldn’t have thought the Freetrade of interest to anyone in the City.”
“There, sir, you are wrong. Those wretches bring in foreign goods to compete with British-made ones, and they avoid taxes that honest traders must pay. In addition, I understand their practices are vile.”
He resolves to seek another bride, but where she's concerned his will is weak.
One of the themes of the book is love at first sight. Both David and Lucy's parents made scandalous matches because of rampant love; matches that could have been even more damaging than they were. Both David as Lucy are sure they can be more resolutely sensible.
Question for the blog: Do you believe in love at first sight? Please comment below!