Grace Burrowes | Love, Honor and Torture
May 3, 2012
As romance authors, we're often told to "Torture the hero!" Make him a deeply
conflicted, wounded (irresistibly attractive) fellow, and spend the next 376
pages having the heroine drag him, entice him, lure him and goose him toward
love and healing.
I thus considered it required research to ask a bunch of guys how to bring a man
to unbearable pain. Most of them looked at me like I was nuts, but my brother
Dick—a hero in my eyes if ever there was one—said, "Make him
choose between the competing demands of honor."
I think he got it in one, and his advice has been tremendously useful.
With LADY MAGGIE'S SECRET
SCANDAL, I more or less knew what to do with my hero. Benjamin Hazlit has
been living half a life, traveling under a nom de guerre to hide from a family
scandal, hiding his parliamentary responsibilities, and hiding, generally from
his right to pursue happiness. Benjamin feels responsible for the things that
have gone wrong in his family, and has dedicated himself to making sure other
families' potential scandals are diffused quietly.
And for his sins, Maggie Windham does, in fact, drag him kicking, screaming (and
occasionally, um, kissing) into the warmth and sunlight with her love.
So: Torture the hero? Check.
But what about the ladies? Woman suffer deeply, though I've yet to hear a
workshop presenter tell authors to "Torture the heroine!" The concept is
inherently repugnant on the one hand, and—I'm guessing here—too
obvious to need emphasis on the other. Lady Maggie showed me how this works.
She has been raised since early childhood in the ducal household, has loving
siblings, and ducal parents who consider her just as precious as their other
children—and in some ways more precious. Maggie dodged every offer of
marriage and keeps to herself, though it breaks her Windham family's heart to
The loneliness of such an existence, and the knowledge that she's somehow
disappointed her ducal family breaks Maggie's heart too (though Benjamin has 376
pages of plans for her, so fear not). Maggie is trying to strike a balance
between her loyalty to her maternal roots (which promise her she does not
deserve to be happy), and her loyalty to her ducal family.
She is making herself choose between the competing demands of love, and
she's so torn up with it, maybe she deserves honorary hero status. Her situation
makes me ponder the differences between love and honor, and to conclude there
are none of any significance.
Torture both hero and heroine with an irresolvable dilemma of the heart, and
their happily ever after will resound in the hearts of readers.
Have you ever had to make an impossible choice? Ever faced a situation where
every option came at too high a cost? Has love ever dragged you into the
sunlight? Lady Maggie and her dashing swain Benjamin (and I) want to know.
Lady Maggie Windham Has Secrets...
And she's been perfectly capable of keeping them...until now. When she's
threatened with exposure, she turns to investigator Benjamin Hazlit to keep
catastrophe at bay. But Maggie herself intrigues Benjamin more than the riddle
she's set him to solve. As he uncovers more and more of her past, Maggie
struggles to keep him at a distance, until they both begin to discover the truth
in their hearts...
Praise for LADY MAGGIE'S
"Delicious... Burrowes delivers red-hot chemistry with a masterful mix of
playfulness and sensuality, and her themes of healing and familial strength give
this page-turner unusual depth. Charming and original with superb characters
ready to walk off the page, this is a splendid addition to any Regency fan's
bookshelf." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"An unconventional tale of strikingly unique characters with realistic emotions
and exciting antics. It's always a delight to read one of Burrowes'
creations..." —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is a prolific and award-winning author of historical romances. Her debut, THE HEIR, received starred
reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was selected as a
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010 in the romance category.
Both THE HEIR and its
follow-up, THE SOLIDER,
are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. She is a practicing
attorney specializing in family law and lives in a restored log cabin in western
Maryland without a TV, DVD player or radio because she's too busy working on her
next books. Please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com/, follow her on Twitter: @GraceBurrowes,
and check out www.sourcebooks.com for more information.
47 comments posted.
Re: Grace Burrowes | Love, Honor and Torture
Hmm... nope... my life isn't that dramatic... hence the reason I read books! :) But I think love should drag you into sunlight and make you happy or it's not really love.
(May Pau 1:19pm May 3, 2012)
Sounds like a great book! Cant wait to read it
(Julie Parrish 2:29pm May 3, 2012)
No I have not had to make any drastic choices... thanks for sharing a bit about Maggie & Benjamin's story with us... sounds like a book I would enjoy!
(Colleen Conklin 3:15pm May 3, 2012)
Absolutely been dragged into the sunlight! Best of all he
managed to do so calmly with patience and persistence. Each
time, I didn't realize until we were a mile past my self-
made obstacle...Sneaky Man. Then he told me his best horses
were skittish mares who he bonded with, and the light
dawned. Being managed by a good horseman is a-ok.
(Larisa LaBrant 3:38pm May 3, 2012)
Congrats on the new release. Luckily I have not had to make an impossible choice. I would like to think I could make an informed decision.
(Jane Cheung 3:59pm May 3, 2012)
I guess if I had been faced with such
difficult decisions, I would have written
a book about it! ;-) However, that is
why I love to read about a hero and
heroine being faced with a situation
like this and see how the author
"helps" them come to the right
decision. I love your novels, Grace,
and I'm so looking forward to reading
"Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal." The
plot sounds utterly delicious!
(Connie Fischer 4:01pm May 3, 2012)
The biggest choice I had to make was what to do after getting fired from my first 'real' job after college. But that choice lead me to my husband. Other than that, not too many dramatic choices. When I had a funny mammogram, I blurted out what I would do if it was cancer, without even thinking about it or before I even knew. So, apparently, for me, the choice was easy. But my families love surely helped.
(Sue Peterson 4:43pm May 3, 2012)
Choose between the really cute guy on the bus and his friend
(whom I married 45 years ago). I won. Hope that I win again.
(Mary Hay 5:10pm May 3, 2012)
I was once dragged screaming into the sunshine by a man looking for love, but competing demands of honor ended that relationship before I became too sunburned. Would love to win this book.
(Linda Skillen 6:02pm May 3, 2012)
May, my life used to have a lot more drama in it, but I've become a fan of getting the drama from the books too--particularly the books that guarantee me the drama will resolve happily.
Julie and Colleen, thanks for stopping by, and here's a well appreciated quiet life.
Larisa, I have entire blogs on how my horse taught me to write, and I can often spot a horsemen or horsewoman because they truly, truly, have a handle on their emotions, and take responsibility for themselves.
Jane, some of us have the knack of avoiding the tight corners. The rest of us end up staring at two walls and wondering if we can call somebody to install us a window.
Connie, thanks for those kind words. I hope each book is a little better than the last, but Lady Jenny (her book comes out October 2013) glowers at me when I say that.
Sue, when does a loving family NOT help--or at least try to. Glad the mammo resolved. One of my favorite bumperstickers is the pink ribbon with a slogan: Save the Ta-Tas, Get Your Mammogram.
Mary, that is marvelous! And by now, the really cute guy probably isn't much cuter than any other fellow on that bus.
OOOh, Linda. Excellent twist on the sunshine metaphor. Hope the next fellow was packing some SPF 70 when he came looking for true love.
(Grace Burrowes 6:27pm May 3, 2012)
My Best friend and the love of my life has dragged me many times into the sunshine and I have dragged him into it many times as well, over the last 25 years together. And we have had to face many impossible choices and heart-wrenching situations, but we have always faced them together, hand in hand. There is no greater force than two loving people who have faced, endured and if not always conquered, at least survived everything thrown at them and still stand closer together because of it. I truly look forward to reading your book I love books that show us what people are capable of overcoming when giving up or giving in is not an option.
(Joy Gifford 6:44pm May 3, 2012)
Love your books Grace, still waitinng for love to drag me into the sunshine.
(Sheila Mulholland 7:04pm May 3, 2012)
I have been faced with making difficult and impossible choices at high costs. I learned through these experiences not to be too trusting and have a back-up plan. A lot can be said of and learned through Suzie Ormann. Love reading and anything with a little romance. Looking forward to reading this one!
(Linda Luinstra 7:21pm May 3, 2012)
Joy, my parents have been married for more than 65 years, and my dad says they hardly have to talk any more, so closely attuned are they to each other. Not sure Mom sees it quite the same way, but it's a sweet notion.
Sheila, I'm on the barstool next to you, waiting, waiting...
Linda, Suze has some wisdom, true, and she's so kind about how she delivers it. I hope the impossible choices and high costs are behind you, and more than a little romance finds its way to you.
(Grace Burrowes 8:01pm May 3, 2012)
Deciding to get divorced and later to move to another state on my own was difficult. I was completely daunted by the idea of starting over in a place where I knew absolutly no one. It was a gamble and it paid off.
(Stacie Deramo 8:49pm May 3, 2012)
You have a very smart brother. He gave wonderful advice.
About the hardest decision I had to make was whether to home school my diabetic daughter when she was in third grade (she is 21 now and a junior in college). I did home school because her health and safety was in jeopardy and the school would not work with us. I home schooled her until 7th grade when she was old enough to do more for herself concerning her care at school. Plus, by then I knew my legal rights concerning her care and health at school.
(Gigi Hicks 9:43pm May 3, 2012)
Stacie, I'm a lawyer, and I ought to know that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce (the rate is dropping), but when it was my turn in the barrel, I was still bumfuzzled for a while. Like you, I can look back and see it was right decision, but geesh, those were some tough years.
And Gigi, I have FOUR very smart brothers, lucky me. My sisters, however, are wise.
I home schooled my daughter for grades 10, 11, and 12. Best decision I could have made, wish I'd made it sooner. You'd have thought I handed that kid the keys to the Chocolate Factory when I told her we'd give home schooling a try. Made everybody's life easier and improved the quality of her education--though it's certainly not for every family.
(Grace Burrowes 9:49pm May 3, 2012)
I have such a blissfully boring life! I've never had to make such a dramatic choice. t makes for great reading but doesn't make for good, peaceful reality.
(Catherine Lee 9:52pm May 3, 2012)
I can't go into a lot of detail, because my story would make a great book, but I will tell you this. I was doing all of the right things to make everyone else happy - the usual story. When I finally got up the nerve to put my foot down and decide to do what I felt was the right thing for me to make me happy, all hell broke loose, and I was the one that was happy, yet a bit miserable, because everyone else started in on me to let me know how they felt about my decision. I wasn't a child at this point. I was already near 30 years old, and felt that what I did with my life was my own business. What they should have done was kept their thoughts to themselves, and just been happy for me. I have been happily married for 29 years, and although there have been a couple of bumps along the way, all marriages go through them. It was destiny that brought us together, separated us temporarily, and got us back together. End of story. I would love to read your book to find out a little bit more about the torture part of your book. lol Just kidding about that, but I would love to read your book!! The cover is very sensual, but tastefully done.
(Peggy Roberson 10:46pm May 3, 2012)
I must say I've been blessed to have a pretty peaceful life. Sure there have been snags here and there, but nothing overly terrible or dramatic. Life with my hubby has always been so easy and it everything just feels so natural and in place. I love him to bits... even though neither of us had to walk through fire for the other. We both are just lucky.
Sometimes though... being pushed to the limits or facing an impossible choice will show you who you really are. I'd like to think if I ever had that problem I would be strong and do the best I could.
But for now, I love my peaceful love and life.
(Sharon D 10:57pm May 3, 2012)
I've really liked all 4 of your books so far, but my favorite is THE SOLDIER. Perhaps that's because my father was a survivor of WWII, on the German side, and would rarely mention his time in the forces. He had wanted to become a missionary doctor but was not allowed to enter university when he finished his high school education in 1937. He had to do his military service first. He ended up among the troops who had to march into Czechoslovakia and didn't get out until the war was done. He had to flee from a Russian firing squad, and since he was a good long-distance runner, he succeeded in getting away from a Stalingrad area firing squad, swimming across the Danube River, and with the aid of some Romanian peasants, gaining access to the rest of Europe and the American sector of Germany at war's end. He had several injuries that were not revealed until more than 25 years later: a piece of shrapnel that wandered through his head being the most serious. Of course I never knew him before the war but my mother said he had changed a lot during the years of the war. He was never a light-hearted person when we knew him, and I can still remember once when he tried to make a joke, all the older family members looked at him very strangely and my grandfather's second wife was very upset. I think he suffered from PTSD for most of his life.
(Sigrun Schulz 1:25am May 4, 2012)
Oops, "entered" before I was finished. I must say that I've never really had to make an impossible choice between honour and love. But I think my mother did. When my father reached home after the war, he was apparently very changed, so changed that my mother wanted to divorce him. Her mother cautioned her and tried to make her see why he was so different from the man she had married. So my parents went to see the pastor who had married them in 1942. Of course, I don't really know what they talked about, though my mother once tried to tell me, but he got them to try to make peace with each other and the rest of the family. They worked it out, though my mother was very upset because part of it was how he had treated her mother. They were eternally thankful to that elderly pastor for leading them back to what was required of them by God.
(Sigrun Schulz 1:36am May 4, 2012)
I cannot think of any situations that I have had where every option came at too high a cost. I do not do much other than read to escape into other worlds and see new perspectives.
(Chelsea Knestrick 5:58am May 4, 2012)
Not an impossible choice, but certainly one that took courage.
(Mary Preston 6:13am May 4, 2012)
As the others have commented, I too live a very blissful life with little conflict but your heroine and hero sound
delightful and I would love to win this book to read! Your
brother sounds as if he supports you in every way. Thank him for loving you that much!
(Ann Thaxton 7:48am May 4, 2012)
My life is blissfully calm right now but with 6 children and 13 grandchildren..well you just never know. HA I'd love to read this book.
(Bonnie Capuano 7:51am May 4, 2012)
i have been wanting to read this book i have been reading
alot about this on heroes and heartbreakers .com website also
so i would really love to win this book
(Denise Smith 8:25am May 4, 2012)
Peggy, my parents stopped seeing each other, much my my mother's family's relief. Stuey was not a "nice. Catholic boy," (though he eventually became one). Dad went off and thought for a while, and realized he'd made a Big Mistake. When he called Mom's house, he was constantly told, "She's not here." She wasn't. She was off in nurses training.
Dad happened to get a job in the post office over Christmas break, and saw a letter go by addressed to Mom at nurse's training, and penned her a "I was wrong, I love you," letter. They got back together and have lived lovingly, if not always blissfully thereafter (seven kids, ya know)? I love stories like that. Love them, and I hope you write yours down.
Sigrun, your parents' tale is another one that deserves elaboration, maybe as an inspirational romance. My dad is also a WWII vet, and maybe it's their generation, but he won't talk about unless it's to tell us of the day he got the orders to go home at the end of the war.
Chelsea, you're doing something right if life hasn't tried to skewer you in an impossible dilemma. The worst challenges I've faced have been because I used poor judgment, then had to deal with the consequences.
Mary, you've put it in a more accurate light. We all make tough choices, but some of us choose out of courage (at the end of the book) and others choose out of fear (at the beginning).
Ann, I am most, most blessed in my family--you're right about that. I have no husband and no sons, so I think my father and my brothers are dear to me in a way another woman might not experience.
Bonnie--got the "right now." Six children? Right now means, "this second."
Denise, best of luck, and I'll be blogging at H&H later this month. The whole tour is available on my website (under events) graceburrowes.com.
Thanks much to everybody for stopping by, and for giving me a peek into your own heroic moments.
(Grace Burrowes 8:45am May 4, 2012)
Luckily no impossible decisions. Some sad and unwanted, but in the end it was the right thing to do. This book sounds super! Can't wait to read it.
(Jana Ferguson 10:30am May 4, 2012)
Thank goodness I haven't had the impossible decisions to make, but I enjoy reading about them.
(Anna Speed 11:45am May 4, 2012)
sounds like a great book. thanks for the draw
(Barbara Studer 1:00pm May 4, 2012)
yes I have When I was younger. I was lost out here in society a place me and my boyfriend use to call it because we were young and nobody understood the boundaries we would cross to be with eachother. He was my first love and we had to let each other go because all the pain and mysery we endured
(Valencia Williams 3:36pm May 4, 2012)
the most difficult choices I had to make were how to handle
what ended up to be my parents final days. Reading about
characters who come out of the dark into the light always
leaves me with a happy feeling.
(Diane Sallans 3:40pm May 4, 2012)
Thanks for a great post! I've got a vanilla, steady life and
I'm not complaining :)
(Erin Fender 3:48pm May 4, 2012)
I guess I lead a boring life without impossible decisions. Would love to win your book. Thanks.
(Brenda Hill 4:59pm May 4, 2012)
i love this kind of book
(Debbi Shaw 5:10pm May 4, 2012)
I think I have had to make some pretty tough choices in my life. Looking back I didn't always make the right one. There are many lessons I've learned the hard way and actually laughed when I actually told my daughter once that I was watching her go down a road I've travelled and I know where it leads and she said "where?" We actually had a pretty good talk afterwards but I couldn't believe she actually asked...lol
(Patti Paonessa 5:11pm May 4, 2012)
First let me say that your cover artist does lovely covers for you. All have
I was in a no win situation years ago with my family. My mother had died and
my dad remarried a real nutcase. I got married 3 weeks before my dad and
my husband shipped out to Vietnam 5 weeks after our wedding. Shortly after
he left I discovered I was pregnant. My siblings were calling me daily telling
me of all the terrible things the stepmother was doing (all true), them my dad
would call complaining my siblings were interfering with his marriage, and my
stepmother would call and complain about all of them. I tried my best to get
them all to see the other's point of view and understand. Nothing worked.
After a year of this, I finally threw up my hand and gave up. You can't make
people grow up or understand. I told them I still loved them all and wasn't
going to take sides. Deal with it yourselves. They weren't happy with me, but
they all eventually got over it. I am the oldest sibling and the "problem
solver." Sometimes you can't solve a problem. It has to take care of itself.
(Patricia Barraclough 5:57pm May 4, 2012)
I've luckily never had to make an impossible choice. Tough choices -of course.
(Pam Howell 6:01pm May 4, 2012)
I would love to win
(Rita Wray 7:05pm May 4, 2012)
An impossible choice? No. But love has dragged me into the light. Although, I can honestly state that I wasn't fighting too hard. Once I opened my heart to the possiblity the my now husband was "the one" everything else fell into place. When it's right, it's right!
(Jennifer Beyer 7:34pm May 4, 2012)
No really impossible decisions but a few that were pretty hard. It's always difficult not to second guess oneself but my life was definitely brighter afterwards.
(E Felder 9:50pm May 4, 2012)
Thankfully I don't have that much drama in my life... but I LOVE reading about
it. Reading is an escape because the H/h always have problems much worse
than mine! Lol.
(Jane Limback 10:12pm May 4, 2012)
I did take the option of taking the blame of not being there when my father was rushed to the hospital. My brother caused our delay of being home within 15 minutes. He was trying to trade some video games and the cashier missed up the transaction. We had to wait for an whole hour and a half just to get my brother's account corrected. Since my brother was the only son in the household, I held my tongue and took the blame which should have been him.
(Kai Wong 10:47pm May 4, 2012)
Can't say that I have had to make any drastic choices. this looks like a great book.
(Janie McGaugh 11:35pm May 4, 2012)
I caught my former husband with another woman but I couldn't confront them since I had my then 6yr old daughter with me. That was a truly impossible moment.
(Denise Boyd 11:49pm May 4, 2012)
Sure, I've had "tough" choices and almost wrote "touch" choices, because if I'm not touched in some way, the relationship is going nowhere. Confronting difficult events in the light of day makes them seem larger than normal, but at night, there's something about want to smoothe things out that gets to me. It sure is hard to rest when you or someone else is all riled up.
(Alyson Widen 8:19pm May 6, 2012)
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