by Kathleen Bittner Roth
I’ve always been passionate about books. Even when I was too young to read on my own, I constantly badgered my older siblings to read to me. I had to see every word on the page they spoke, had to burn the images and words into my brain. Soon, I was telling stories to lull my younger sister to sleep. It wasn’t many years later before I would sneak my mother’s books off her nightstand. I would read anything I could get my hands on, from National Geographic to Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice were Christmas gifts from my eldest sister when I was eight-years-old (I am proud to say, I still have those very books). One day, when I was all grown up, my mother shoved a historical romance novel across the table and said, “You should write these. I know you can.”
Why historical romance, since Mom and I read across every genre? A couple of reasons instantly jump out at me: The research immerses me in another time and place; the story always has a happy ending; we run through a gamut of emotions and feelings as the protagonists experience personal growth. In my opinion, no genre does it better than romance.
But for me, writing romance has deeper, more complex meanings. Here are a few of them:
Romance was the first step of the evolution of the spirit of man to truly understand the energy of divine love. Did you know that the first romantic notions of love in western society came from the twelfth century? It was in France that a new religious movement put a female in as a sacred godhead (as a way to counteract this movement, the church put Mary back into Catholicism, gifting her with the many powers of the ancient pagan goddesses). The new religious movement was suppressed, and forced to go underground. Thus romanticism sprang from this underground observance of the goddess. Eventually, it resurfaced in the courts of kings and queens, where evidence of it could be found in the chivalric reverence for women. The chivalrous knights would often be “in love” with their queen or princesses, but this romantic love was never consummated sexually because it was considered the myth of love.
What healthy person doesn’t want to experience love? It is the grand intangible. Love is such a wonderful, necessary part of our beings. Without it we would wither and die. Romance, ecstasy and love are such powerful human drives that they have kindled wars, created works of art, consoled the dying, driven kings mad and bankrupted nations. Love is the most important aspect of our existence, yet we spend our lives searching for it when a simple act of vulnerability toward our feeling nature will cause it to spring forward and attach to us like metal to a magnet.
Ultimately, love is the vital, pulse-beating passion within us. It is derived from our important feeling nature that lends us creativity and a sense of joy. It is through our feelings that we experience our purpose and the special, ecstatic moments in our lives. It is through our feelings that our lives are given meaning and worth. It is through our romancing one another in healthy, ecstatic ways that helps us touch the intangible face of God.
And that is why I have a passion for writing romance.
A DUKE’S WICKED KISS
Miss Suri Thurston knows the pain of abandonment. Intent on confronting the grandmother who tossed her to the lions, she travels from England to her birthplace in India. Her plans run afoul when she encounters the man who, ten years prior, left a mark on her soul with one stolen kiss. But he is a duke, and far beyond the reach of even her dreams.
The duke of Ravenswood, secret head of the British Foreign Service, has no time for relationships. His one goal is to locate and eliminate key insurgents involved in an uprising against the British East India Company before it’s too late. But when Suri appears in Delhi, his resolve is tested as he finds his heart forever bound to her by the haunting kiss they shared once upon a time.
With Suri’s vengeful Indian family calling for her death and insurgents intent on mutiny tearing their world apart, can their love rise above the scandal of the marriage they both desperately want?