Please give a warm welcome to historical romance author, Pamela Sherwood, who is joining us with her recent release of A Song at Twilight!
An Equal Match
by Pamela Sherwood
An ongoing challenge of writing a historical romance is portraying the hero and heroine’s relationship as one of equals, no easy task when the eras most authors choose to write about are seldom noted for gender parity. In the eyes of the law, women were second-class citizens, first the property of their fathers and then, upon marriage, of their husbands. Although the Victorian and Edwardian eras brought reforms that improved women’s legal standing, gave them more control over their property, and even allowed them to retain custody of their children in the event of separation or divorce, the freedoms which many of us take for granted today were as yet an unrealized dream.
All the more important, then, for a heroine to find the right hero, someone who will see her as a partner and, if not his full equal, then at least as someone whose thoughts and feelings merit consideration. As a person in her own right, with her own dreams and aspirations, rather than as an appendage or an extension of himself.
In both of my Victorian-set romances, Waltz with a Stranger and its sequel, A Song at Twilight, the couples must deal with the issue of partnership and the necessity of facing crises as a team. Aurelia and Sophie both insist on being taken seriously by the men they love, of not being “wrapped in cotton wool” and shielded from unpleasant realities. Ultimately, they prevail, though not without some debate--and even an outright quarrel or two!
In defense of my heroes, both of whom are reasonable men, James and Robin are products of their time, gentlemen raised with the understanding that women (and children) were to be cherished and protected. Letting the women they love risk their lives and reputations alongside them doesn’t come naturally. James’s anxieties on this score are twofold: he first meets Aurelia when she’s a physically and emotionally fragile cripple, and, all apart from her condition, she’s a sheltered American heiress, insulated by her family’s love and wealth, and seemingly ill-equipped to deal with adversity and danger. And even after she’s grown stronger in body and mind, James still feels obliged to spare her from whatever trouble he faces…until she makes him see that they are stronger together than apart.
By contrast, Robin doesn’t have the worries about his heroine’s health that James does. And Robin’s mother was an army wife who followed her husband through various postings, including India, so he’s aware of how strong women can be. On the other hand, Robin has concerns about Sophie’s youth and relative inexperience. They meet when she is seventeen, just out of the schoolroom, and he is almost twenty-six, with several unwise choices in his not-so-distant past. He worries continually--and not without cause--that his past will damage Sophie and drag her down.
Robin’s overprotectiveness both touches and frustrates Sophie, because it contrasts so sharply with how he pushes her in other ways. He recognizes her musical ability almost at once, tells her bluntly that she’s “wasted” performing at musicales and family soirees, and encourages her to set her sights higher--on a career as a professional singer. He recognizes her potential as an artist, even as he tries to deny her suitability as a romantic partner for him, and ironically, that’s what saves her when his past does drive them apart … at least for a while.
But when fate reunites them years later, Sophie renews her efforts to be accepted as Robin’s partner in all things, telling him, “You don’t have to protect me anymore. Not as you did when I was seventeen.” Old habits die hard, but ultimately, in the face of tragedy, Robin finds the wisdom to accept the support and resources that Sophie offers, and they face the crisis before them as a united couple.
Readers, do you enjoy watching a couple come together as a team? And who, in your opinion, are the most evenly matched couples in romance?
Thank you for hosting me today on Reading Between the Wines!
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Late in England’s Victorian age, the world is changing–new freedoms, new ideas, and perhaps a chance for an old love to be new again…
A love too strong to let go …
Aspiring singer Sophie Tresilian had the world at her feet–fame, fortune, and true love–until the man of her dreams broke her heart. Now she’s the toast of Europe, desired by countless men but unwilling to commit to any of them. Then Robin Pendarvis walks back into her life …
Four years ago, Rob had hoped to make Sophie his bride, but secrets from his past forced him to let her go. Seeing her again revives all the old pain–and all the old passion. It might be against every rule, but somehow, some way, he will bring them together again…
Pamela Sherwood grew up in a family of teachers and taught college-level literature and writing courses for several years before turning to writing full time. She holds a doctorate in English literature, specializing in the Romantic and Victorian periods, eras that continue to fascinate her and provide her with countless opportunities for virtual time travel. She lives in Southern California where she continues to write the kind of books she loves to read.
Pamela is giving away one copy of A Song at Twilight, to one commenter. (US and Canada only, please). To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!
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I enjoy seeing couples come together as a team, I like them to be able to contribute equally. I think Eloisa James' couples are usually pretty evenly matched, especially Theodora and James in the Ugly Duchess.ReplyDelete
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Barbara, I haven't had the pleasure of meeting that couple. One more to add to my TBR pile!ReplyDelete
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I like the premise of the story and am looking forward to reading it. I do like couples who come together as a team but I read so many books that no couple comes to mind at the moment.ReplyDelete
Yes! I love it when they work as a team. Not many stories show that, except maybe at the very end of a book. That's partly why I like a series because you get to see the couple working together. One of my favorite couples that works as a team is Catherine Coulter's FBI team of Savich & Sherlock.ReplyDelete
Rita, I think that's because the trope of couples becoming a team is so popular!ReplyDelete
Di, mystery and romantic suspense are tailor-made for couple-teams. My favorites might be Eve and Roarke of the In Death series!
I think the most evenly matched couple is Darcy and Elizabeth.ReplyDelete
yadkny, Another excellent choice! And I might add Jane and Rochester to the list--frail she might seem, but she makes him accept her as an equal.ReplyDelete
I'm excited for this book! I'm just wondering if there is going to be a third book to the series even though it is categorize as well.ReplyDelete
Sandy, thanks for your interest! I do have a third book planned in the series, but its fate has yet to be determined. Any news of future books would appear on my website first.ReplyDelete
I love books from this time period. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Leslie, you're welcome! I'm very fond of the late Victorian era!ReplyDelete
Yes I do and I think Jennifer Ashley's couples in her highland series are awesome matched couples.ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to reading your book. Thanks :D
Beautiful Disaster, I've read some of the entries in Jennifer Ashley's series, and I would agree that her couples are very compatible. Thanks for your interest in my book.ReplyDelete
Yes I do!ReplyDelete
I have many favorites.
Thanks for the chance to win!
I think it's great when a couple comes together as a team. Outlander's Claire and Jamie make a great team.ReplyDelete