Inside An Affair Before Christmas
Warning! In describing relations between characters, I may wreck a book for you by making it clear who someone marries, or the outcome of a book. Please do not read about The Inside Take if you're wary of knowing who is paired with whom!
- This is the second book in the Desperate Duchess series. So, although it stands alone, there are a number of characters that appeared first in Desperate Duchesses, such as the Duke and Duchess of Beaumont (Jemma and Elijah). An Affair Before Christmas opens at the same party that closed Desperate Duchesses – a party thrown by Jemma to celebrate her brother Damon’s victory over the Duke of Villiers in a duel.
- A hint about the next book in this series, Duchess by Night: it opens at the same masquerade that closes An Affair Before Christmas.
- When I wrote the prologue to An Affair Before Christmas, I was thinking of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I admit it: wrong time period, wrong country… but oh, the lush, vivid sense of Christmas delight!
- In each of the Desperate Duchess series books, I leave one small question unanswered. In Desperate Duchesses, who is Teddy’s mother? In An Affair Before Christmas, why did Lord Strange sell only the queen in his chess set? You will learn more about the chess set – and Teddy’s mother – in the final book of the series when all will be answered (I admit it: I probably admire J.K. Rowling a bit too much).
- I had a wonderful time writing Villiers’s fever scenes. To give credit where credit is due: it was Oscar Wilde who, during in a university examination, was told to stop translating the New Testament, but told his examiners that he wanted to know how the story ended. The line, “Lord, what fools these mortals be,” comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- I put a few characters in here from former books, just for fun. Here’s an example: Jemma sends Poppy off to the brilliant young hair-cutter she’s just heard of, Monsieur Olivier. Remember him? He’s crucial to two of my former books, Potent Pleasures and Your Wicked Ways.