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Making the Leap… Back in Time By: Marie Force

I love historical romance. I love everything about it, from the clothing to the social norms to the rules—god, there were so many RULES! I love the way saucy, smart heroines skirt those strict rules, risking social ruination if they get caught doing something as innocent as kissing a man in the moonlight. After such a scandal, the only way back to salvation would be to marry the man and THEN figure out whether or not they suit each other. Delicious! Because I’m such a rabid reader of historical romance, I suppose it was only natural to want to write one of my own. I started Duchess by Deception in 2010, which was early days in my career as a contemporary romance author. After writing the first half of Duchess, I realized the time wasn’t right for me to introduce a new genre and shelved the book to stay focused on building my contemporary brand.

Fast forward to a luncheon in 2017, attended by my Kensington Books Editor Martin Biro, during which I mentioned that unfinished historical romance I had on my computer. Martin asked to see it, he loved it and wanted to acquire it. Then *gasp* I had to finish it, which I did while on vacation in March 2018. Yes, I know, I have a funny definition of the word “vacation,” but it was fun to return to the world I’d created such a long time ago and revisit characters I’d always loved and wanted more of. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the latter part of the book, so the words flew off the fingers during my beach trip. And now, Duchess by Deception is coming to readers in January 2019. That nine-year incubation period was the longest of any of my more than 70 books.

Funny thing happened on the way to publication. Early readers asked me about the legality of a duke having to forfeit his title and holdings if he didn’t marry by the age of 30. For those who might be wondering, yes, I do know that titles can’t be handed off to the next in line like a pair of hand-me-down pants, but I didn’t explain that well enough in the initial draft. So we’ve added this exchange to clarify my original thinking on the matter of Derek’s matrimonial deadline:

“Whatever could your ancestor have been thinking, with such an utterly daft provision?” the American, Nelson, asked. “Enter into a ‘suitable state of matrimony’— whatever that is—by thirty or abdicate your title? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Of course, he hadn’t, Derek mused. The colonists had left such barbaric practices behind in England. “I suppose he was out to ensure the bloodline. Instead, he placed a matrimonial pox upon each succeeding generation.”

“Is it even legal?” Justin asked.

“Probably not, but the previous dukes married young, so it was never an issue for them, and I chose not to contest it with Anthony waiting in the wings drooling all over the duchy.”

The change was made last-minute to the ebook version but didn’t make the print or audio versions—sorry about that. I hope the historical purists will forgive me this lapse in the original version. Sometimes we get so far inside a story we forget that we can’t assume that everyone is following our logic!

I set Duchess and the next book, Deceived by Desire, in the Gilded Age of the early 20th century, and the action moves to Newport, RI, for book two when Aubrey Nelson invites the cast of Duchess to be the guests of his family in the seaside resort the following summer. Deceived is out in September and available for preorder now.

I hope you enjoy both of my new Gilded books! To read the first two chapters of Duchess by Deception, go to marieforce.com/duchessbydeception, and to preorder Deceived, go to marieforce.com/deceivedbydesire. Thanks for reading!

             

 

Featured Selections
for January

The Temp
Michelle Frances

You Will Suffer
by Alexandra Ivy

Duchess By Deception
by Marie Force

Lavender Blue
by Donna Kauffman

 

 

Don’t Miss These
Great Reads!

Tempt Me With Diamonds
by Jane Feather

The Wayward Bride
by Anna Bradley

Corned Beef And Casualties
by Lynn Cahoon

           

 

Books We Can’t Wait to Share
         
         
     

Reviewed by Michaela

Fans of espionage thrillers, this one’s for you! The Havana Game is John Lutz’s second novel featuring Thomas Laker, an agent of a secret government agency known as the Gray Outfit. Working with Ava North, an NSA codebreaker, Laker discovers the links between a terrorist bombing in a Baltic nation and a Cuban-American billionaire’s ruthless schemes. If you love James Bond, can’t get enough of Robert Ludlum, and devour books by Daniel Silva, will find a new favorite series with John Lutz’s Thomas Laker books. This one contains a bonus story, “Paranoid Enough for Two.” Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a thrill ride!

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Reviewed by Alex

THE TEMP is Michelle Frances’ second book, and after thoroughly enjoying THE GIRLFRIEND last year, I was excited to pick it up. I’m definitely a sucker for British settings and also a big fan of psychological thrillers, so right off the bat, THE TEMP ticked off those two boxes, and the author’s voice and writing had me engrossed in the story almost right away. When you’ve read a lot of suspense with unreliable narrators (we all know the cycle we’ve been reading through since GONE GIRL…), you’re never sure if you’re identifying with a character you will later end up hating. Like any good thriller reader, I was questioning everyone. But about a quarter of the way through the book, I called the editor, and said “Look, I know I might end up eating my words, but seems like a total creep and I hate him/her.”

So, while the suspense and psychological games along with character uncertainly drove the book along and pulled me into the story, it was really the way Michelle Frances wrote of motherhood that made this book an absolute standout for me. Having just become a mother a mere 16.5 months ago, I am absolutely susceptible to the tug on the heartstrings that a baby and the ups and downs of motherhood can provide. Seeing Carrie’s transformation from driven career woman to loving mother who will stop at nothing to protect her baby had so much resonance for me. Watching Carrie deal with the fears of being a mother, being undermined at her job—losing everything she’s worked so hard for, and then trying to juggle it all is absolutely something modern mothers will identify with. The writing was so well-done, the story so good, the character depictions so excellent, that I found myself at one point taking a picture of a passage and sharing it on social because it rang so true as a mother. My mom friends agreed…

And now I recommend this read to all of you. It is a page-turning, twisty, psychological thriller that will have you chomping at the bit to find out the end of the story. But, at its heart, it’s also a story about marriage, women, and mothers. A story about acceptance, parenting, growing up—and the approval we all seek from where we need it most. Get your copy of THE TEMP. You will not be disappointed.

 

My Favorite Passage:

Next to her, Rory stirred, flinging an arm up above his head in his sleep. She looked over at him, his soft blond hair still barely visible, his fat cheeks flushed pink. Her baby—their baby—who had caused such a seismic change in their lives. The most demanding, most exhausting thing she’d ever had to cope with.

She suddenly remembered how she’d been frightened of him at the start, when he’d first arrived and she’d had no idea what to do with him. At what point had that feeling gone away? When had the transition taken place? Now she couldn’t bear the idea of being parted from him.

She had no regrets. Given the choice, she’d do it all again.

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Reviewed by Martin

Romance as a single genre can be tough to define, given the countless subgenres (and sub-subgenres) that abound. Often an author will grow successful within a single one of these subgenres before branching out—if they ever do. No one can be faulted for sticking with the genre that they and their audience feel is their trademark, but an author also deserves to be celebrated for taking a chance on something new. Marie Force has written across the board when it comes to contemporary romance, from sweet to sexy, suspenseful to erotic. But she’s never published a historical romance—until now.

Duchess by Deception is not only the first book in the new Gilded series, it’s Marie’s very first historical romance! It can prove a daunting task, but I can assure you that Marie was more than up to the challenge. In Duchess by Deception you’ll find the things you always love and look for in historical romance—dashing dukes, enticing settings, and of course a compelling romance and plenty of drama. But Marie also isn’t afraid to subvert some of these familiar plot elements, to add to them and infuse her characters with a real world sensibility that makes them feel incredibly true.

We all feel the pressures placed upon us by society (or in the case of the Gilded Age, Society), to live and present ourselves a certain way—the “acceptable” way. As demonstrated in Duchess by Deception, the challenge is to live our lives to match our unique routes to happiness, in spite of, not because of, the expectations of others. It’s amazing how this struggle has endured over the decades, whether told through the lens of the aristocracy in the Gilded Age or any one of us living our own lives in 2019. So I encourage you to take the trip back in time along with Marie Force, to discover things you might not know about the Gilded Age, but also to experience that personal human connection that all great fiction inspires. Those moments we experience when reading a good book where we escape into someone else’s life but also recognize our own.

 

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