A Reunion Story mixes Austen with Spies
Kate Moore, Reader’s Crown winner 2011, RITA Finalist, 2012, talking about her current release from Berkley Sensation: BLACKSTONE'S BRIDE.
Hello all, Thanks for inviting me to join you today.
BLACKSTONE'S BRIDE is set in London at the end of the Regency, a turning point in English history when the former Prince Regent is now George IV. England faces a more complex Europe with Russia looming as a distant enemy. My new heroes are trying to find their way in this changing London landscape, as the excesses of the Regency and the decades of war with Napoleon become yesterday’s history. In a way you could say the story is like Jane Austen—with spies. And what heroine can resist a spy—that quick-witted, dangerous man, who notices everything about her!
The story’s hero is Lyle Massing, Baron Blackstone. When Blackstone’s father died, all London believed the young lord was in the bed of his Spanish mistress. A disreputable painter showed a revealing painting of the woman that insured Blackstone’s reputation as a rakeshame, and the scandal cost Blackstone his betrothal to banking heiress Violet Hammersley. After insuring his reputation for seduction, Blackstone disappears during the war for Greek Independence that claimed Byron’s life. Only he knows about the promise he’s gone to fulfill.
Since Blackstone’s betrayal, Violet, the story’s black-haired, dark-eyed heroine, has imposed a rigid discipline on her unruly heart. As a motherless child Violet was something of what we’d call a nerd, who needed to know things in order to feel she had some control over her world. When the scandal broke over Blackstone, she felt she’d been unforgivably foolish and ignorant of men. Ever since she has filled her days and nights with charitable works.
The story begins with Blackstone’s to London with the help of a mysterious stranger who offers him employment as a spy. Still considered scandalous and now penniless as well, Blackstone agrees to use his reputation for seduction to serve the country by detaching a certain diplomat’s wife from too close a friendship with a Russian count. Blackstone takes to his new line of work without complaint until his mysterious employer asks him to pose as Violet’s fiancé in order to find her missing brother.
Now all that stands between the former lovers is--that scandalous painting, their broken engagement, a missing brother, a royal visitor, and a deadly assassin.
I hope you like a reunion story as much as I do. Austen’s Persuasion has always been my favorite of her novels. What’s fun about Violet and Blackstone is the way they think alike in spite of their best efforts not to fall in love again. Like Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy, these two anticipate and echo each other’s thoughts. In one scene she challenges him saying, “You don’t know how it would be between me and my chosen husband.” He comes right back with, “Yes, but I know how it could be.”
Older and wiser, they must learn to forgive themselves for being ready to believe the world rather than to believe in the other against all odds. That’s the lesson that they must finally learn if they are to defeat a powerful enemy. Of course, they almost leave it too late.
The story continues where the Sons of Sin trilogy left off and allows one of the minor characters from that trilogy, Nate Wilde, to have a subplot and a romance of his own. BLACKSTONE'S BRIDE is the first book in a series about an exclusive club for young lords who have ruined their reputations and their fortunes and get a chance for redemption by spying. The club is more than a little eccentric and always under construction. Like other gentlemen’s clubs, the Pantheon Club, has strict membership requirements, but only the mysterious Samuel Goldsworthy knows what they are. Even Blackstone’s fellow spies can’t quite figure out why they were chosen for the job.
Thanks for joining me today. I welcome comments and questions and will give away two copies of BLACKSTONE'S BRIDE to two people who comment on the blog!