Mea Culpa

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Mea Culpa, When the Duke Returns

  • Isidore wanders into the garden, where a blackthorn tree “was scattering seeds everywhere, like a child feeding birds in a dizzying circle.” Philip wrote me from England with the following observation: “Blackthorn may be a tree with seeds in North America, but in the U.K. it is a bush, commonly found in hedgerows. It does have seeds, but they are in the centre of small blue/purple plum-like fruit that tend to stay on the bush into winter. The fruit are bitter and known as Sloes.” Ouch! I still like my metaphor, though.
  • Ann pointed out that in chapter 37, Villiers declares himself the 2nd cousin twice removed to the Marquise de Perthuis. He also states that they were “thrown [played] together as children”. The term “twice removed” when referring to cousins means that they are two generations apart. So it’s unlikely (though not impossible, the way generations migrate apart) that they were children together.
  • Time is always a problem for me. And not only in the way of T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock either (“I shall grow old…I shall grow old…I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled”) but because I lose track of my own characters, and their particular timelines. There are a couple of errors in When the Duke Returns. Kit pointed out that on page 137 in An Affair Before Christmas Jemma tells Poppy Elijah and his mistress had been together for three years at the time Elijah married Jemma. But then on page 106 in When the Duke Returns, Elijah says that he ended his relationship with Sarah when Jemma found them together – and that the relationship had been six years in the making. Sigh.
  • And there are, alas, a few small typos. Girlie Grace pointed out that on page 227, Elijah says “I’m been” rather than “I’ve been.” Cayks discovered that on page 220, Isobel says that since she’ll be looking for a spouse she won’t “have to time to” (an extra “to”), and FanLit found Simeon being extra-gymnastic on page 204, when he put his hands on Isobel’s bottom and managed to “pull him against her.” There’s a glaring repetition on page 307, when Jemma says “Not to strange, after all. After all, we are all…” That’s so like me. I say “after all” far too often, and obviously I gifted Jemma with the same terrible trait.
  • Deb noted that on the bottom of page 227, Elijah stops making sense (not normal for him!), when he says, “I’m been.” It should be “I’ve been,” of course.
  • Candice realized from a sneak peek before the book was even out that on page 350 Isidore tells the tedious Turquoise Coated man that she must retire to the “lady’s salon.” Of course, she should make her way to the “ladies’ salon,” which is, in fact, where she finds herself on page 352.
  • Annelies found another mistake in the same sneak peek (yes, I am rethinking the advisability of excerpts!): On page 348, Isidore points out that a swim would be disastrous: “If I fell overboard, I would sink like a stone. These stones are quite small but put together, they’re quite heavy.” Jemma very sensibly suggests that she “sit in a throne to receive the admiring hoards.” Well, as Annelies pointed out, those hordes of suitors aren’t “hoards” unless Isidore is storing them in the folds of her dress – which means she really would sink!

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