#7 on the Waldenbooks bestseller list.
Romance Readers Anonymous voted Eloisa’s novella in Talk of the Ton, “A Proper Englishwoman,” as the Best Novella of 2005!
- The most important thing to know about this story is that after writing it, I was heartbroken to realize that I had taken a fabulous plot and boiled it down to a hundred pages. It would have made a great novel (and my editor agreed!).
- I don’t know about you all, but for me there are few pleasures more delicious than scandal (mind you, the few that do exist are very nice!). Still…what would a girl be without a good gossip now and then? Talk of the Ton is all about gossip, scandal and rumors. I jumped at the chance to write a story for the collection.
- I got the idea of opening with a set of gossipy letters from one of my favorite mystery novels, Dorothy Sayers’s Busman’s Honeymoon. If you like mysteries at all, try this one! Lord Peter Wimsey marries Harriet (thus the honeymoon), so there’s a bit of a romance, and the mystery itself is perplexing. The novel opens with some hilarious letters expressing well-bred dismay that Peter, the younger brother of a duke, has brought himself to marrying Harriet, whose only claims to fame are writing detective novels and having stood trial for the murder of her love (that was in another book and Peter got her off).
- The quote that Gil rattles off in reference to Emma, his fiancée, comes from Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well. In that play, Bertram, a particularly repellent young man, says that he won’t accept his wife until she has my baby in her belly and my ring on her finger. Naturally, he’s put in his place by Shakespeare’s heroine who talks the young woman Bertram is trying to seduce into letting her get into his bed instead. I couldn’t see writing a story about a man as horrid as Bertram, so I merely let Gil’s ill-advised quotation get out of hand.
- My favorite scene in this story is when Gil takes Emma back stage at the theater. I had a lot of fun imagining how remarkable it must have been when theaters went from being lit by candlelight to being lit by gas. The twirling colored silks used on side flats was innovated by Philip De Loutherbourg, scene designer for Drury Lane, beginning in 1771.
- There’s a sweet story behind the dedication to this story. At some point in 2004, I got a letter from Bethany Lynn Miller’s husband. I’d never met either of them. But Bethany’s husband wrote me so persuasively, saying that he wanted a very special birthday present for his wife and what with one thing and another (he really was a nice man)…Bethany ended up in the book! Please don’t write me and ask to be put in my next novella; this was a one-time occurrence.
- Darn it, it seems that Emma’s home county ended up as Hertfordshire. It’s supposed to be Herfordshire (minus the ‘t’). Apparently there is a Herefordshire as well, but that’s closer to Wales. Sigh.
- “All her Christmas presents rolled into one.” But did they have Christmas presents before Prince Albert’s time? I admit to being unsure, so I’m listing this reader’s query here. If anyone knows, tell me!
- And a note from an English reader: “The break between Acts in an Opera is surely an ‘Interval‘ rather than an ‘Intermission‘, isn’t it?” Eloisa…stumped by this one but willing to go for it. All intervals from now on.