How the Voice of Thomas, the Tudor Knight Won the Heroine’s Heart for Nicholas, the Modern Duke of Burnham
by Deborah Hawkins
Writing a novel that combines two separate stories is not an easy task as I discovered when I began to write Dance For A Dead Princess. For the book as a whole to work, I knew that the stories, although distinct, would have to have to contribute to each other. In other words, one story would have to give the reader information about the characters and events in the parallel story in order for the reader to feel they belonged in the same novel. Here’s how that happened.
I knew that one of the themes of the book would be the hero’s attitude toward being the last member of an aristocratic family dating back to the sixteenth century and the court of Henry VIII. As Nicholas Carey puts it, “he didn’t deserve a lifetime of subbing for Arthur,” his older half-brother, who was born to be the Carey heir. Nicholas resents being yanked from his life with his classical pianist mother in America and being shipped off to England at age fourteen. He hates his father, Christopher, the Seventeenth Duke, and he resolves never to produce an heir and to transform Burnham Abbey, the ancestral home of the Careys, into a girls’ school.
When Taylor Collins finds the first duke’s diary in the Abbey’s library, she sees Nicholas only as a spoiled and selfish man; and she is indifferent to the Abbey’s fate and the fate of the Carey family. But as Taylor reads Thomas Carey’s account of his consuming passion for Elizabeth Howell, she begins to see parallels between Thomas, the first duke, and Nicholas, the eighteenth. Just as Thomas fell immediately and forever in love with Elizabeth one day in Queen Katherine of Aragon’s garden, so Nicholas fell deeply in love with Deborah Downing at Princess Diana’s wedding. And just as Thomas was willing to do anything to win Elizabeth, so Nicholas was willing to appeal to Deborah’s desire to be a duchess to persuade her to marry him. Taylor’s attitude toward Nicholas is transformed when she realizes that Nicholas reacted to Deborah’s death exactly as Thomas reacted to Elizabeth’s. For both men, they could bear their loss only by withdrawing into indifference and bitterness. After reading Thomas’ story, Taylor sees that, behind his ducal facade, Nicholas is a deeply wounded man capable of the greatest love imaginable, who longs to share his heritage with someone who can return that love.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance, Mystery
Rating – G
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