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Eileen Dreyer | When Romance Isn't Easy


At different times I'm looking for different romances. When I'm working hard, or hip-deep in the problems brought to an Irish matriarch (sounds awful, doesn't it?), I want something light, frothy. Regency romances, drawing-room comedies. Barbara Metzger, Julia Quinn and the like. When I finish a bad deadline and I don't have any words left of my own, I love beautifully written, poetic romances that linger long on the tongue. Laura Kinsale, Sherry Thomas. Or I might want romantic adventure, a la Patricia Veryan and Marsha Canham.

But there are quite a few times, when what I really want is a good emotional wallow. I want to not just laugh, but sob. I want my chest to hurt, knowing that it's safe to feel devastated for the characters, since I know that in the end,end all will be well.

As a romance author, I write books the same way. I've been lucky enough to write all manner of romance in my career: contemporary and historical, issue books and comedies, adventure and suspense. Well, when Grace Fairchild walked onto the pages of BARELY A LADY, I knew she had to have her own story. There was something very special about her that told me she was going to bring me to a great wallow. I knew that she wasn't going to be an easy heroine, and I knew that she wouldn't end her book with an easy hero. I knew her path would be rocky, but that her triumph would be all the sweeter.

Grace is plain. She's not 'one-good-haircut-away-from-beautiful' plain, or 'she'll-be-beautiful-after-losing-twenty-pounds' plain. She's plain. She's crippled, and she's never been allowed to forget it. So to feel any value, she has spent her life being whatever other people want her to be; daughter, nurse, housekeeper, friend, burial and birth assistant, stalwart friend. As she says at one point in her own book, NEVER A GENTLEMAN, she had no idea how idea how to earn her hero's love. But she was very good at being needed.

I knew, the minute I met her, that it would take something cataclysmic to shake her out of her self-image. I knew that it would take something cataclysmic to shake loose her hero Diccan's preconceptions and see the rare beauty that lies beneath Grace's dull exterior. Even more important, I knew that the events to shake the foundations of these two people, would be deeply, heart-wrenchingly emotional.

Well, it was for me. I know from the reviews I'm getting that it has been for my readers. Not everybody is happy with Grace's story. Some I think were upset because they weren't in the mood for a real emotional cage-match. Some, I think, because they wanted Grace to respond as a 20th century woman who had the self-confidence to stand up to her enemies with impunity. They think when Diccan is forced to marry her, he should have seen her worth right away and not taken so long to see past her well-developed facade.

If you read NEVER A GENTLEMAN, you'll see that I don't agree. I don't believe either of them achieves the goal esaily or without repercussions. I do put Grace and Diccan on an emotional roller-coaster, but to me it just makes the end better. And along the way, I got to have a good cry. If you've read Gentleman, what do you think?

Eileen Dreyer




36 comments posted.

Re: Eileen Dreyer | When Romance Isn't Easy

I've actually had the pleasure of reading 'Never a Gentleman" and it is one of my most favorite books ever. I love that the heroine is able to capture the love and attention of all the men that she meets on the battlefield following her father because she is willing to give so much of herself and ask for nothing in return. I love how Diccan falls in love with her -though he pretends he isn't to protect her life- for the very same reason, and while I wanted to hate Diccan at times, I couldn't because he was hating himself enough for all of us. I know the part Eileen is referring to where some people have criticised Grace for not acting like they would act - but they weren't thinking like someone who was Grace - someone who doesn't have expectations that a man like Diccan can ever love her, that she was married only because of being compromised, and that she was throwing herself at him to tell him that she was willing to be his everything if he was willing - I thought it was one of the most powerful and emotional part of the whole book! This was writing at its best - you will laugh, you will cry, you won't want to put this book down, its just that good.
(Wendy Pariseau 6:29am April 26, 2011)

I'm sorry to say that I haven't read "Never A Gentleman" yet. I have read "Barely A Lady" and really enjoyed that. If "Never A Gentleman" is anything like your other books then, I just know that I will enjoy this book too. I'm intrigued by the review of this in that Grace is just a "plain crippled girl", as opposed to the "usual beauty" that is the norm. I would love to read this book.
(Diane Diamond 10:51am April 26, 2011)

I haven't had a chance to read "Never a Gentleman" yet, but I'm sure it will be as great as your other books. A love that you have to work for is so much sweeter than one that just falls in your lap :)
(Betty King 11:50am April 26, 2011)

Well, "Never a Gentleman" just went to the top of my reading pile! People generally don't appreciate things that come too easy... Thanks for taking the hard road!
(Cate Sparks 2:49pm April 26, 2011)

i have not read this book yet but i have to say that from reading your blog that your heroine feels like ever women i know. not all weomen in this day and age are confident,go-getters. most of us are not super models are can be described as plain if we are standing next to one and even if we are not if you asked us we would probably say we needed to change something about ourselves. i also think that most men could identify with a hero that wants to do the right thing and may just not know how to do it especially when it involves the heart.
i for one can not wait to run to the store and get my hands on a copy of this book! thank you for writing about a heroine that an everyday woemen can idenify with.
(Tammy Ramey 3:19pm April 26, 2011)

I think this book will go to the top of my soon to read list.
(Brenda Rupp 3:29pm April 26, 2011)

I have never read "Never a Gentleman" but your description of Grace pulls at my heart strings. It sounds interesting. I love a good cry about the characters in the books I read, as long as it all comes out ok in the end,
(Robin McKay 3:54pm April 26, 2011)

Eileen - I have already read Grace's story and I loved it! I can't wait to see what happens in the next book in the series. I am glad that Grace's hope for a real relationship with Diccan came true!
(Marguerite Guinn 4:21pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read this book yet but I can't wait to. I too have seen some of those reviews and it just makes me want to read Grace and Diccan's story all the more.
(Danielle Gorman 4:28pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read "Never a Gentleman" but I did just add it to my
must read list.
(Lisa Richards 4:40pm April 26, 2011)

I have not yet read "Never A Gentleman" but I am intrigued. Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 4:49pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read this book yet, but I often wonder how authors deal with criticism. You try your hardest to write something, but not everyone is going to love it. Are you philosophical about it or does it bother you when this happens?
(Kim C 4:59pm April 26, 2011)

I am always looking for a book that tugs at one's emotions. Thanks for sharing!
(Colleen Conklin 4:59pm April 26, 2011)

This sounds like a good book. I'd love to read it.
(Wilma Frana 5:15pm April 26, 2011)

I have not read this author as yet, but I like the strong woman under a mouselike girl. I want to read this
(Shonda Abercrombie 5:28pm April 26, 2011)

Haven't read , Never A Gentleman, but hope to.
(Deb Pelletier 6:01pm April 26, 2011)

Got the book, hope to find time to read it.
(Frances Namuth 6:19pm April 26, 2011)

This book sounds amazing! I am a huge fan of historical romance, but
sometimes I just get tired of the all perfect, beautiful main character! I am
also a huge fan of Fresh Fiction! I have found so many great authors and
new books here! Thanks :~) <3
(Stefanie Finn 6:50pm April 26, 2011)

This author is new to me as are her writings. This book
looks to be interesting throughout. I enjoy historical
romnace. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win. I
hope I win!
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx.rr.com
(Barbara Shelton 7:06pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read 'Never a Gentleman' yet but it sounds like a good combination of adventure & interesting characters that learn some lessons.
(Diane Sallans 7:37pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read "Never a Gentleman" but I do love emotional roller coasters. It does make for a dramatic ending!
(Pamela Stewart 8:20pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read "Never a Gentleman" yet, but with things going on in my life at the moment, I'm ready for a book that will give me a good cry right now!! Those books are good for the mind and soul, and everyone needs those. They're also good books for reflection on your own life, even if they're written about times long ago. You can always draw your own parallels somewhere along the line. Congratulations on your new book. It is definately on my TBR list!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:19pm April 26, 2011)

Enjoyed your blog, haven't read "Never a Gentleman."
(Sheila True 9:25pm April 26, 2011)

I was in tears just from your description of the book. Sniff. All right, I can identify with Grace. (I like the name and have a cousin called Grace.) Just like the question recently about a "nice" guy, it's great to have a book about a challenged, plain, but helpful and "nice" heroine. Love her.
(Sigrun Schulz 9:42pm April 26, 2011)

I haven't read "Never a Gentleman", but it sounds like a book I would like a lot. I get irritated when a book features a plain heroine and a fancy hairdo and lovely clothes make her gorgeous. It seems very superficial. Now, it's okay with me if her intelligence, kindness, and inner beauty transform her in the hero's eyes into a beauty. That makes sense to me.

I hope NAG is very successful.
(Elaine Carlini-Davis 10:10pm April 26, 2011)

Really enjoy reading historical romance. Have added this one to my TBR list. Thanks for the contest!
(Teresa Ward 10:53pm April 26, 2011)

I like the sound of "Never a Gentleman". My most memorable reads take me on
an emotional journey.
(Sue Ahn 11:28pm April 26, 2011)

I like the sound of this book...but I would definately not want to read it when I was already feeling a little depressed. It sounds like it would definately make me cry and very hard so I don't know how I would be able to see the words to keep reading. Maybe I should get this one on audiobook.
(June A, Manning 11:39pm April 26, 2011)

I knew I wasn't an isolated wallower. It's so good to have company when I reach for that box of kleenex. I really hope you find a good catharsis with Grace and Diccan. Please let me know. Stop by the website and say hi.
Thanks again so much to my buds here at Fresh Fiction for asking me back to play. It's been so much fun.
(EILEEn Dreyer 12:38pm April 27, 2011)

I haven't read it but I need to!!!
(Robin Daily 12:40pm April 27, 2011)

I have not read NEVER A GENTLEMAN - yet, but I know I will. It sounds wonderful.
(Mary Preston 1:32am April 27, 2011)

Haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet-but its on my list!
(Amber Kuehn 2:25am April 27, 2011)

I haven't read this book yet, but after hearing your description it is definitely on my list! I love it when it takes time for romance to bloom; makes the story so much more interesting.
(Jody Hollenbeck 7:44am April 27, 2011)

I haven't read "Never a Gentleman"---but now I want to.
(Sue Farrell 11:58am April 27, 2011)

I've never read your books, but now I will. They sound like good reads of my sort!!!!!
(Joanne Bozik 3:17pm April 27, 2011)

Oh my...THANK YOU! I was so surprised! I can't wait to read this book...you guys are fantastic. I have never entered the contests here, but now I will. I am soooo excited.
(Shonda Abercrombie 11:00pm April 27, 2011)

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