I can’t believe the blog tour for Inspired by Grace is almost over! Everyone has been so kind to let me talk about my latest release. I was lucky enough to meet Sophie Andrews in England in June so this is especially thrilling to be hosted on Laughing with Lizzie. She has been the dearest friend to me over the last two years and solidified out friendship when she treated me and my girls to a real English picnic on the grounds of Basildon (2005 Pride and Prejudice Netherfield). I have attached a few pictures for you as well. She really went all out and I felt so special.
English picnic at Basildon Park
Lovely to finally meet Jeanna!
Many of you have followed the blog tour and know what the book is about, but just in case, here is the blurb on the back cover:
“She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her. What had started as friendship had evolved into something quite tangible . . .”
A lady always hopes that the man she falls in love with will sweep her off her feet in a dramatic and graceful way. Well, for Grace Iverson, at least it was dramatic. Her childhood best friend, Gavin Kingston—now His Grace, the Duke of Huntsman—is still just as clumsy as ever.
Despite their painful separation as children, a chance encounter has offered them a second opportunity for happiness. But after ten years apart, they both carry hidden scars. Trust takes time. And soon, forces from the past threaten to destroy the love they both have hoped for all of their lives.
Can Grace’s best friend break down her emotional fortress and prove his love before she disappears from his life a second time?
This lovely Regency romance started well before either of them knew what they wished for in a partner; but it will surely be one that stands the test of time.
As you can see, it is different than my other books I have written, which are variations of Pride and Prejudice. I thought it would be hard to spark your interest or help you understand the excerpt I will share if I didn’t prep you with understanding the original characters or the plot. So I found a method of sharing that is a fabulous teaching tool. TV tropes! You might already know what a TV trope is from your own personal experience in research, or maybe you simply have learned a bit on this blog tour, if so, I’m glad! But I will explain why I will use TV tropes on a book tour. TV tropes are a way to classify or characterize different plot tools or events that occur frequently in media. They are found in everything from movies, to books, to animation, to theatre, to television!
The TV trope I will introduce you to is the “Green-Eyed Epiphany” trope. I bet by the name alone, you can probably guess what kind of plot tool this describes. Here is the actual definition straight off www.tvtropes.org :“The jealousy-spurred Love Epiphany of a character who's in love with someone else, but has been in denial about this up until now. Before the crisis, the character is perfectly fine being Just Friends or totally platonic bickering partners with another. But then, that other character gets romantically involved with an interloper, causing their not-at-all love interest to suddenly feel the sting of their absence. Once they finally admit to themselves their feelings, the Romantic False Lead's got hell to pay.”
Here are some examples in media and literature that help you get a feel for the trope.
· Ron and Hermione and Victor Krum n Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
· Mr. Knightly and Harriet and Emma in Jane Austen’s Emma
· Buttercup and Westley and Countess Rugen in Princess Bride
· Julianne and Michael and Kim in My Best Friend’s Wedding
Get the picture? I hope so, because this is what happens to the main character, Gavin, when he is forced to introduce his friend, Mr. Silence, to his newly rekindled childhood best friend, Grace, or Gigi, as Gavin calls her. In this scene, Gavin just won a chess match, something that Grace was ill prepared to experience. They just finished a very deep discussion about how his brother, Spencer, died prematurely and the title of Duke of Huntsman fell to him. Enjoy this excerpt:
Grace stared at the chessboard, worry etched in every corner of her face. Gavin felt a twinge of guilt for winning.
“Do not be a sore loser, Gigi. Surely you have grown out of that by now.” Gavin watched her flush even redder. “I am sorry,” he added. “It was unfair for me to distract you.”
He had always softened the blow when she lost, as he knew just how painful it was for her to admit defeat. Grace was the kind of girl who excelled at everything she put her mind to. She never held herself back from a challenge. It didn’t matter that she was a girl and two years younger and in a dress. No matter the challenge, she fought with a spirit of endurance and self-sacrifice that only Grace had.
Just as he was about to offer a rematch, there was a familiar, patterned triple-knock on the study door. He turned to find his friend, Kenneth Silence, letting himself in, closely followed by a frustrated Mr. Robison.
Silence and the poor butler, Mr. Robison, were engaged in a long-standing war. It was Robison’s job to announce guests before they entered, but Silence, determined to announce himself, always managed to weasel his way ahead.
“Silence, Your Grace,” Robison called out, rushing into the room.
Silence’s laughter rolled, and he replied, “Robison, I am impressed! Not many servants would dare hush their masters so boldly.”
“Your Grace, I would never attempt such a thing,” Robison quickly added. “Mr. Silence is here, as you can see. Shall I bring in refreshments?”
Gavin chuckled and said, “Yes, please do.”
“And bring some sherry,” Silence requested. “I see there is a lady here, and if she has spent any time at all with Kingston, she is surely in dire need of fortification.”
“I do not require sherry,” Grace replied.
“No?” Silence asked. “Have you given up the drink like Kingston?”
Gavin cleared his throat and stood up. “Grace,” he said, “I would like to introduce you to Spencer’s close friend, Mr. Kenneth Silence. Silence, this is Miss Grace Iverson.”
She stood and curtsied, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Silence.”
“Please, call me Silence. Everyone else does.”
Grace smiled back, far too wide for Gavin’s taste. “But then what shall I say when I need you to stop talking?” she asked. “Must I really stutter, ‘Silence, Silence!’?”
Is she flirting with him?Gavin wondered.
Silence laughed, bowed deeply, and kissed her hand. “The pleasure is entirely mine, Miss Iverson. Now, how is it that we have not met before? I know I would have sought an introduction to such a handsome lady if I had seen her. Kingston, how is it you have hidden this gem from me? Do tell me she is a cousin. Hopefully a distant one who has no chance of passing on your ugly features or your innate lack of humor. Oh, come now, Kingston, you must wipe that frown off your face; it limits your attractiveness even further.”
Gavin turned to Robison and said, “Please bring tea, thank you.” He then turned toward Grace and saw that charming smile again being bestowed upon Silence and felt the need for a drink for the first time in three months.
“Now, Miss Iverson,” Silence began, “do not tell me that you too have given up drink like Kingston.”
Grace’s questioning look forced an explanation from Gavin. “I was a captain,” Gavin conceded, “so, of course I drank. We all drank as if we had hollow legs. There are few sailors, if any, who do not mute the hardships of sea with a bit of spirits. But I have recently sworn it off.”
“I see,” Grace replied. “Well, to be honest, I rather detest the stuff myself. I do not like feeling like I am not in control of myself.”
Grace smiled at Gavin, and he felt his heart begin to relax again. How on earth will I introduce her to anyone if I don’t even want to share her smiles with Silence?
Grace turned back toward Gavin’s friend and said, “I was sorry to hear about Spencer, Silence. I spent many summers tagging along behind him. I grew up in Suffolk with the Kingstons and have very fond memories of him.”
“Then we have something in common,” Silence said, “for there are few people who still hold Spencer in high regard. Gavin and I have been through it all together. We both saw Spencer walking the tightrope he called life and knew that sooner or later gravity would win. His untimely death was a terrible blow, but Gavin helped me through it. Unfortunately, Kingston tried for a while to drink his way through it, and that proved unsustainable. But in the end, he gave up the drink. I admire him for it, although it took him banishing all the alcohol from Willsing Manor and the rest of us enduring a few days of him in high dudgeon. He has not touched alcohol now in . . . how many months?”
“Three,” Gavin answered. “So, stop trying to order Robison to bring you sherry. You know there is not a drop of it in the house.”
“Indeed. But it never hurts to try. That is my life’s motto, which brings me back to you, Miss Iverson. Has anyone ever told you how beautif—”
Gavin quickly cleared his throat and pronounced, “Silence, Silence!” Everyone laughed.
“Well, Miss Iverson,” Silence chuckled, “thanks to you, I will never know whether Kingston is trying to quiet me or whether Harrison’s stuttering has become contagious. Speaking of which, Kingston, I am here to pass along a message: Harrison’s mare is ready if you wish to breed Zeus with her.”
“Is that all you needed?” Gavin was hoping he would just leave. He found himself feeling quite protective of his time with Grace.
“Kicking me out without tea? It is bad enough that you did not offer any port, but at least let me cool my saddle.” Without waiting for a reply from Gavin, Silence kissed Grace’s hand again and sat down on the sofa, motioning for her to join him. “Now, Miss Iverson, do not let Kingston’s coolness interfere with our short acquaintance. Please, sit down, and we shall hear what Kingston and his brother were like as children. No, wait, I have a better idea. Let us play a game. I shall act out something, and you tell me which brother it resembles.”
Grace smiled again and said, “Only if I get a turn.”
Silence’s eyebrows rose. “Indeed!” he declared. “I would be delighted to see you act!”
Grace sat down and, reluctantly, so did Gavin. He would have preferred to be alone, or at least alone with Grace. He sighed. The morning was not turning out as he would have liked. First, he had remembered that terrible day ten years ago when he realized Grace considered him only a friend, and then he had recounted the grisly details of everything that happened six months ago. Undoubtedly the worst memories of his life. Now, it seemed he had to watch Silence flirt with Grace while they mocked him in his own house.
But it really wasn’t so bad; he had spent the last hour entirely in Gigi’s presence. He would endure far worse to spend time with her. He took a seat that allowed him to observe her without being obvious.
I know the excerpt was rather long but it was important to let you see the Green-eyed Epiphany that just barely began in this scene. He comes to the epiphany a bit later but you at least saw the jealousy emerge with the simple introduction!
Thank you all for stopping by and reading the excerpt of Inspired by Grace. It was a pleasure to be on your blog, Sophie.
You are welcome! Thank you for coming, and with such a great excerpt!
To say thank you, I’d like to give away a signed paperback (unless you would prefer an ebook), open internationally to one lucky commenter. You can tell me anything you would like! Can you think of any other examples in media where this trope is used? Anxious to read more? I promise you that if you enjoyed my writing or books in the past, you will not be disappointed in Inspired by Grace. (And I won’t tell if you fall in love with someone other than Darcy! J).
Please also leave your email address so the winner can be contacted! Good luck! The giveaway will end Tuesday July 28th.
Your affectionate friend,