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Archive for November 7th, 2011

London, 1810

Former actress Georgiana Knight always believed she and her brother were illegitimate—until they learn their parents were married, making them heirs to a great estate. To prove their claim, Georgy needs to find evidence of their union by infiltrating a ton house party as valet to Lord Nathaniel Harland. Though masquerading as a boy is a challenge, it pales in comparison to sharing such intimate quarters with the handsome, beguiling nobleman.

Nathan is also unsettled by Georgy’s presence. First intrigued by his unusual valet, he’s even more captivated when he discovers Georgy’s charade. The desire the marriage-shy earl feels for his enigmatic employee has him hoping for much more than a master-servant relationship…

But will Nathan still want Georgy when he learns who she truly is? Or will their future be destroyed by someone who would do anything to prevent Georgy from uncovering the truth?

 

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Thanks for having me over to Novel Thoughts to talk about my Regency romance, The Lady’s Secret which is released today by Carina Press.

 

In a nutshell, my heroine, Georgy Knight, embarks on a quest to prove she and her twin brother Harry are legitimate and that Harry is the true Earl of Dunsmore.  To gain access to Dunsmore Manor to search for evidence, she dresses as a man and obtains a post as Nathan (the hero’s) valet, as Nathan is due to visit Dunsmore Manor over Christmas.

 

This set-up gave me a number of fun ideas to play with: the fact that Georgy is pretending to be a man, her proximity to Nathan in his most intimate moments, and the complication of him being master and her being servant.  Today I thought I’d talk about the last of these: the master-servant relationship.

 

I adore historical romance in general and Regency romance in particular, but I find that master-servant relationships is an area I often struggle with as a reader.  My own particular hot button is the deliriously-happy-to-be-at-your-beck-and-call-servant, closely followed by the terribly-concerned-with-servants’-welfare-and-happiness-master.

 

That’s not to say that I find such characters totally implausible.  It’s more that I particularly enjoy the more ambiguous and troubling areas of master-servant relationships and I’d like to see a bit more variation in the portrayal of these relationships.  After all, when you consider (to take just one example) that some servants were required to turn and face the wall when their masters and mistresses passed them in hallways, it’s not difficult to see that there would have been tensions and ill-feeling in many households.

 

In The Lady’s Secret, Georgy is an upper servant with a relatively privileged existence within a pleasant household.  Nevertheless, she is very aware of the power Nathan and his peers wield over servants and I tried to show the resentment and irritation she experiences as a consequence of having to constantly defer.

 

But it’s not all one-way.  Nathan might be the master, but he worries about showing unseemly interest in his valet.  During intimate scenes, the power dynamic shifts: Georgy is able to stare at Nathan to her heart’s content while she dresses him, while Nathan has to look studiously away—not that Georgy is aware of his inner struggle.

 

Silence. This was his way. Most mornings, he would say little more than “Good morning” and “Thank you.” Georgy took her cue from him, speaking only when spoken to, and then keeping her comments brief. Nor did Harland much look at her. While she buzzed around him—shaving him, helping him on with his coat and boots, tying his cravat, brushing away each and every speck of lint—his eyes simply drifted past her, uninterested, as though she were invisible.

The Lady’s Secret

 

What’s the most memorable fictional master-servant relationship you’ve come across?  I’ll be giving away a copy of The Lady’s Secret to one randomly chosen commenter!

 

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Thank you Joanna for joining us today!

 

To learn more about The Lady’s Secret, please visit:

http://joannachambers.com

reader blog at http://tumperkin.blogspot.com

Twitter – @ChambersJoanna

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002993543568

Don’t forget to leave a comment answering Joanna’s question for a chance to win. Good luck! 😀

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