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Archive for November 10th, 2008

jg_marrychristmas

Jane Goodger makes a triumphant return to historical romance with this captivating Christmas tale of an arranged marriage that becomes a passionate union.

A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.

Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent-and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul.

Jane Goodger here, blogging for the first time (gasp). For those of you who’ve never heard of me (and I’ll just bet there are a lot of you out there), I’ll tell you a bit about myself and my books. People are always shocked to learn I’ve had eight historicals and four contemporaries (under Jane Blackwood) published since 1996. I was told by my first agent and publisher that I was going to be a star. Umm…not yet, obviously. After writing seven historicals, my new agent kindly suggested I try my hand at contempories. That was a nice change, but I couldn’t stop my brain from coming up with idea after idea for historicals. I guess that’s where my heart is. So when Kate Duffy at Kensington told me to write a historical, I did a major happy dance. I’d had an idea brewing for years and had been lamenting that I’d never be able to write it. Do you know how tough that is to have characters living inside your head for years and not be able to bring them to life? Torture!

I happen to live in one of the most historically interesting places in the country. Newport, RI, is across the bay from me. In the late 1800s (my favorite American time period), Newport was the place to be in the summer. The steel giants and robber barons built massive mansions and fashioned themselves after England’s aristocracy. The problem was, these Americans had all the money but lacked social standing. The American mama’s were incredibly ambitious women, who could think of only one way to be rich and social climbing: get a peer to marry their daughter. Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of those poor daughters (well, not poor, she was a Vanderbilt, after all). Her mother was incredibly ambitious and wanted nothing less than Duke for her daughter. When she was just seventeen, she brought her to Europe in search of a duke desperate enough to marry an American girl. She found the Duke of Marlborough. This was not a love match, and that’s an understatement. By all accounts, they disliked each other from the start. Consuelo was in love with another man, but her mother locked her in her room and threatened to kill the man she truly loved unless she agreed to marry the duke. She did.

When I heard that story, I felt so sorry for Consuelo. I could not imagine being eighteen years old, in love with another man, and forced to marry a man who turned out to be a real tool. According to Consuelo’s biography, he once hid a valuable object, brought out all the servants and demanded to know who stole it. Only after the maids were in tears did he laughingly bring out the object. That was the kind of guy Consuelo was forced to marry. I decided to give my American heiress a much happier ending, with a much nicer (and hotter) duke…and that’s how Marry Christmas came about. It’s a sort of historical “ripped from the headlines” kind of story.

I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails asking if Marry Christmas is part of a series, and yes, it is. I’ve never written books that are tied together, and I didn’t set out to this time, either. But during the writing, another couple emerged who were so wonderful I thought they deserved their own book. That one is coming out next October and will also be a Christmas book. I’ve got one more swirling around my head, too.

One more thing: Half the people I talk to hate the title Marry Christmas, half think it’s witty and clever. Just for fun, I’d like to know what you all think!

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a signed copy of MARRY CHRISTMAS and a Christmas ornament! Good Luck! 🙂

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