The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Annie Grace
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
August 24, 2021, by Berkley
Starting a New Series — by Anne Gracie
There’s something both exciting and intimidating about a blank slate — exciting, because anything’s possible, and intimidating because everything’s possible and OMG where do I start????
In my case, I start with a character (generally a woman) with a problem. Sometimes the problem also affects other women, who will then become heroines in subsequent books.
The next decision in a series is how are the various characters are going to connect across subsequent books. I generally connect them through family — often “found family” where women form a kind of family to support each other in adversity. But this time I wanted something different.
All the heroines in this new series live on Bellaire Gardens, a large private garden square in London, entirely surrounded by houses. The only access to the garden is via the back gate of each house, so the occupants can meet in the gardens.
In The Scoundrel’s Daughter, I have two heroines — Alice, Lady Charlton, 38 and gratefully widowed (her husband was a pig) and Lucy Bamber, 18, whose scoundrel father has decided she needs to marry a lord — even though they’re not of that class
He blackmails Alice into sponsoring the reluctant Lucy into society. Lucy’s happy to find a husband — what choice does she have? She has no money and she wants something better — but not a look-down-his-nose lord. She’s met that type before.
Of course, the man she attracts is Alice’s nephew, a former soldier who has just inherited a title. Lucy doesn’t want a bar of him, not only because he’s a lord, but because they met briefly in a former existence, when she was a kind of servant and now she’s pretending she’s a lady.
But the more Lucy tries to put him off, the more interested Gerald becomes. Even when he finally recognizes her, she continues to give him a hard time.
“We met on the Brighton road, not two weeks ago,” Gerald said. “You were carrying a goose. I knew I’d seen you before, and it only just came to me.”
“I? Carrying a goose?” She sounded utterly incredulous. She glanced at his aunt and Tarrant, as if inviting them to join in her incredulity. “What were you doing on the Brighton road, Lord Thornthwaite, when this goose and I supposedly met you?” Her voice and expression were serious, but her eyes glinted with knowing mischief.
“I was—” he broke off and felt himself redden slightly. He hadn’t told anyone how a goose and an impertinent farm girl caused him to lose his race. If it got out, his friends would never let him hear the end of it. “It doesn’t matter. What I want to know is why a common goose girl is attending the theater with my aunt.”
“Is she?” The wretched girl looked around eagerly. “Where? Point her out to me.”
And Alice? She meets a gorgeous former soldier, a man who has experienced love and is determined to teach her its joys. So we have two romances — one full of cheek and sparks and banter, and the other more emotional and intense. I hope you enjoy The Scoundrel’s Daughter.
When Lady Charlton is forced into becoming London’s most reluctant matchmaker, sparks fly and romance ensues, from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet.
Alice, Lady Charlton, is finally free of her dominating husband, but on the verge of her new life, she is trapped when a blackmailer threatens to publish letters that could ruin her. To protect the secrets of her past Alice must find a lord for his daughter, Lucy, to marry.
Alice reluctantly agrees to find the girl a noble husband but when Lucy arrives, she’s difficult and uncooperative and has no interest in her father’s scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she’s having none of that!
Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse widow and sets out to change her mind. And each time they meet, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks off each other.
To find happiness, Alice and Lucy will have to be brave and trust in each other and the men who are attempting to win their hearts.
Meet the Author:
Anne Gracie is the award-winning author of the Marriage of Convenience Romances and the Chance Sisters Romances. She spent her childhood and youth on the move. The roving life taught her that humor and love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are. Anne started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world, writing by hand in notebooks. Since then, her books have been translated into more than sixteen languages, and include Japanese manga editions. As well as writing, Anne promotes adult literacy, flings balls for her dog, enjoys her tangled garden, and keeps bees.