Charish’s new book, Hearts on Hold, releases next week, 2/3 and she stopped by to talk a little bit about the inspiration behind it.
FYI- I finished this book last week and will have a mini review tomorrow, it was good, so you should go ahead and preorder it :)
I saw the 1999 The Mummy when I was thirteen-years-old and sang it’s cinematic praises for about four months straight. I’m certain my friends grew exhausted by my excessive fan-girling… But what I loved most was the blossoming romance between American adventurer, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), and mousy librarian, Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz). Those two characters, specifically “Evie,” have been in the back of my mind since 1999 and now, as a romance writer, I wanted that same Universal Studios magic in my latest novel, Hearts on Hold.
As librarians go, Evie is an incredibly curious and determined. She’s willing to risk it all to prove she’s smart enough to work alongside the Bembridge Scholars (a stand-in for the academic patriarchy). It was this kind of fight and bravery that made me swoon as a teenager. In many ways, I modeled my heroine, Dr. Victoria Reese, after Evie, making her a little prim and buttoned-up, but fiercely loyal to the belief that she is a worthy scholar. Although Professor Reese’s goal is not to find The Book of the Dead, she does find herself rebelling against authority figures who doubt her work on the basis of her gender and race.
In The Mummy, Eveyln is constantly reminding the men in her life that she can do this. This, being: keep up, read hieroglyphics, and solve mysteries. The only man who consistently supports her is Rick O’Connell. Sure, her hard-headed shenanigans frustrate him to no end, but he believes in her abilities. My librarian character, John Donovan, plays that role for Victoria. He takes her nervous energy and soothes it with his laidback nature, while giving her enough room to work in peace, make choices, and have agency. By accepting her tightly-wound eccentricities, John accepts Victoria for her. That’s the kind of relationship I wanted to replicate.
One of my favorite scenes from The Mummy, highlights the goofy sexual tension between Rick and Evelyn. After a long day of digging at Hamanaptra, Evie gets a little drunk with Rick and he asks her what brought her to this Egyptian adventure. What drives her? She tries her best to explain herself, in the way that seemed humorous as a kid. But now, as a woman in her 30’s, I understand the scene as a frustrating example of shouting your competence to the first man who dares to ask you “who do you think you are?”
Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I… am a librarian.
She and Rick get their happily-ever-after once they’ve defeated an ancient curse, and in the sequel, they marry and she’s still a kick-ass scholar (who now wears pants). Admittedly, there’s far less dramatics and danger in Hearts on Hold, but the spirit of fighting-female-scholars remains. Victoria Reese beats her enemies and gets her guy, all while hitting the books.
About the Book
Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid, release date February 3, 2020
Professor Victoria Reese knows an uphill battle when she sees one. Convincing her narrow-minded colleagues at the elite Pembroke University to back a partnership with the local library is a fight she saw coming and already has a plan for. What she didn’t see coming? The wildly hot librarian who makes it clear books aren’t the only thing he’d like to handle.
When a tightly wound, sexy-as-hell professor proposes a partnership between his library and her university, children’s department head John Donovan is all for it. He knows his tattoos and easygoing attitude aren’t quite what she expected, but the unmistakable heat between them is difficult to resist.
And then there’s the intriguing late fee on her record. For the Duke’s Convenience… A late fee and a sexy romance novel? There’s more to Dr. Reese than she’s letting on.
John might like to tease her about her late fee, but when he teases her in other ways, Victoria is helpless to resist. Mixing business with pleasure—and oh, it is pleasure—always comes with risks, but maybe a little casual fun between the sheets is just what Victoria needs.
About the Author
Charish Reid is a fan of sexy books and disaster films. When she’s not grading papers or prepping lessons for college freshmen, she enjoys writing romances that celebrate quirky black women who deserve HEAs. Charish currently lives in Sweden, with her husband, avoiding most forms of exercise.
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