Today we have the awesome and amazing Ashley March with us today! For more information of Ashley March or Elise Rome (her other pen name) please visit her websites. Now, Maidens help us welcome, Ashley March! Take it away, Ashley!
First of all, thank you very much to the ladies at Under the Covers for inviting me to participate in the Scandalous Affair event this month!
Scandal... I don’t know about you, but there’s something about that word that just thrills my historical romance reading heart. Perhaps it’s because the word brings to mind our hero or our heroine (or preferably our hero and heroine together!) acting naughty. Although scandal could refer to inappropriate behavior regarding money and politics, as romance readers we typically see the word associated with romantic or sexual relationships.
For example, there are the books that feature the hero and heroine involved in a scandal and we get to see the consequences as they unfold. Perhaps the hero and heroine are caught together in a compromising situation and must face the rest of their lives together as husband and wife due to a marriage of convenience. This is one of my favorite scandalous scenarios because—whether the couple was guilty of something or not when they were caught—this marriage of convenience usually pits them against the rest of the world (meaning they must learn to turn to each other) and also usually pits them against each other (meaning that sparks are going to fly).
There are also books where the hero and/or heroine are trying to keep a scandal from being discovered. In my last book written under Ashley March, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, Leah and Sebastian share the secret of their dead spouses’ affair. When Leah decides she wants to live a life of freedom and independence, Sebastian fears that her behavior will lead others to suspect that everything isn’t as it should be and might also cause rumors of his son’s legitimacy. Although the scandal is a secret to society, it still brings together the hero and the heroine in a way where they must interact; they can’t just walk away from the situation and lead their own separate lives.
But there’s also another type of book where the hero and/or heroine are actually trying to prevent a scandalous situation. Of course, although they might have good intentions, usually the consequences end up being equally as bad or even worse than the scandal itself might have been. In my upcoming novella THE SINNING HOUR (written under my new pseudonym Elise Rome), the hero dismisses his maid rather than trying to pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with her. This type of relationship in itself would be a scandal if anyone discovered they were together, but he sends her away because he doesn’t want to exploit her position as a servant in his household. The consequence, however, is that after he fires her, he realizes that letting her out of his life was a terrible mistake, and he tries to find her…only to discover that she’s disappeared.
Although each of these three types of books are quite different, the fact is that the values and strictures of society in 19th century England (used specifically because the time and place is so popular among historical romance readers) make it possible for them all to include the concept of scandal in some way, whether it’s the result of a scandal, a secret that would become a scandal if it were known, or the prevention of a scandal. And perhaps this is what makes scandal so appealing: because despite all the rules and propriety of society during that time, there were still people who were flawed, people who made mistakes, people who were passionate and fell in love and couldn’t by choice or accident be bound by the expectations of their peers.
I have to be honest and say that these are the types of heroes and heroines I like to read and write about, anyway. =)
What do you think, dear readers? Why do you believe the concept of scandals in historical romances is appealing to you? What’s your favorite scandalous romance novel?
Make sure you answer Ashley's question and leave your email so we can contact you if you win!