A note from Abbi…
Just as the title isn’t your typical Regency Romance title, neither is this story. When I decided to write a historical romance, I had a lot of questions. However, three things I knew without a doubt:
This would be set in Regency London. I have a love/obsession with England and its history. I have for as long as I can remember. Did this help me with my writing? Not really. I found that I averaged at least an hour of research a day while writing this. Simple things like “When were mirrors invented?” or better yet “What year did England start having afternoon tea?” and then there was “Did they have ice in London in the early 1800’s” possibly my favorite “When was glitter invented?”
I would write it in first person. I have been reading historical romance novels since I was fifteen years old and picked up “Whitney, My Love” by Judith McNaught in the library. I could not read enough of them after that book. So, I know full well they are written in third person. At least every historical romance novel I have ever read has been third person. I am a first person writer so I knew that I would write this book in first person. I wouldn’t change that.
The writing would still sound like me. I never went into this intending to sound as eloquent as Jane Austen. I knew no amount of research was going to keep me from making mistakes in my dialect. It was just going to happen y’all. Facts remain- I’m from Alabama no matter how badly I wish I had been born British. This is a new world for me as far as writing goes. However, I will tell you, I enjoyed the hell out of it! I fell in love with the characters and I hope you do too.
With each movement, be it a full turn or slight move of hand, Miriam knew she was being watched closely. The smile she kept on her lips wasn’t easy and she had no doubt that her dance partner noticed the less than genuine expression she was trying hard to keep in place. This was it, tonight would be the last night she attended a ball as simply Miss Miriam Bathurst. There was no more time to decide. Her decision had been made.
Miriam felt her body stiffen as she moved in the arms of the man she had agreed to marry this morning in her aunt’s rose garden. He, however, wasn’t who she loved, and she wished desperately that he was. She did not have forever to wait for the man she had thought might love her to make up his mind. Her mother and sister needed her to marry. Glancing up into beautiful green eyes, her smile became genuine, even if it was sad.
Tonight would be the last time she was given this freedom to enjoy his friendship and the simplicity of his company. So much would change and she hoped it didn’t destroy them all. For after she became his wife, the man her traitorous heart loved, would hate her. That was a pain far worse than any she could comprehend. Yet, she knew she would never have been his choice. He had made that clear with his failure to choose.
Six months earlier…
Miriam Bathurst - age eighteen years and one month
One would believe that being given the chance to go to London and be thrown into the marriage mart, with fancy gowns and a pretty face being all you truly needed, was the most brilliant moment in a girl’s life. At least, if they were listening to my mother speak of it. If one cared to hear my opinion, which they obviously did not, then they’d get a different description. I didn’t care for all the silliness a season in London promised. Who wanted to be squeezed into ball gowns that were terribly heavy and uncomfortable, added to the weight of the hair piled high on top one’s head and laced with pearls, flowers and the like? It all sounded dreadful in a way that I would very much like to miss every last aspect of it.
“Just to dance among all the loveliness would be truly magical. Can you imagine the way they all shine and glimmer?” my twelve-year-old sister Whitney said in her dreamiest of voices. The guilt came as it always did. A reminder that what I wanted nothing to do with was the one thing Whitney wanted so desperately, yet would never experience. The limp that remained to this day, after a dreadful fall from her horse when she was nine years old, would keep her from dancing in a ballroom. She would never have a dance card on her delicate wrist filled with men who wished to spend a moment in her presence. She would never be seen for the true beauty she was, unless I changed it all. Me, it was all up to me to ensure my sister had the life she dreamed of and I’d do anything for her. Even sacrifice my own.
I placed a smile on my face before turning to look at her. She was sitting on the settee in the bedroom we shared, watching as I packed my things. Since the death of our father last year, our world had abruptly changed. Mostly due to the fact my father was a gambler and left us in debt. Along with no more servants, we also had no silver in the house. Mother had sold all she could find of value to keep us fed and pay off my father’s debts. I didn’t mind the simpler way of life. In truth, I embraced it. Less fuss and worry over dressing. No formalities at dinner. It was an unexpected ease that I felt we were lucky to experience. I didn’t mind fetching my own breakfast and serving my mother and sister the meals I managed to prepare. Although I had many failures in the kitchen thus far, I had become adequate at making a proper pot of tea.
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