Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday's Child Guest Post by Author Jeannette Baker

TUESDAY’s  CHILD – the Muse

I discovered Georgette Heyer when I was 18 years old and subsequently fell in love with England’s Regency and Georgian periods. It was during my first visit to London in 1971 that I found THESE OLD SHADES, still one of my favorite novels. I spent the rest of my trip with my nose in one after another of Heyer’s wonderful books.
I’ve always been a reader, happy to spend long hours curled up in a chair mentally transplanted to other eras, other worlds. My mother’s aunt, a woman who disliked children on principle, made a practice of inviting me for a portion of every summer because I could be counted on to remain invisible as long as I had a book in hand. For the longest time I wasn’t loyal to a particular genre. I read Ray Bradbury and Theodore Taylor with the same enjoyment as C.S. Lewis and Judy Blume. In high school I graduated to the Bronte sisters, Alan Paton and Tolkien.  Now, as an adult, free to choose my own reading material, I gravitate toward Anna Quindlen and Joan Didion, but it was Georgette Heyer and her brilliant depictions of “the Ton” that drew me back again and again to that narrow world of rigid class mores, scintillating dialogue and those brave heroines who defied the social order even if ever so slightly. The inevitable happy ending gave me confidence that my read would be a satisfying one.
TUESDAY’S CHILD was inspired by Georgette Heyer, a woman who ordered pancakes and maple syrup for dessert and who scribbled plot points on napkins. Because of her, I was called to write about glittering galas, Almacks, first seasons, gaming, riding in Hyde Park and the brittle, stiletto-like ripostes of men and women  born to excessive wealth and privilege.
Even more, I wanted to expose the differences between England’s upper class, 200 families who dictated behavior and dominated the politics of their generation, and America, a land of colonists who believed that “earning ones fortune” was preferable to inheriting it. I wanted the conflict to be as strong as possible. What could be stronger than a staunch American Federalist, the newlywed daughter-in-law of a United States Senator, a war hawk whose son had been impressed by the British navy, and an English duke, Wellington’s confidante, recently returned from Waterloo due to a war injury, unwillingly enlisted to find the missing son and husband all taking place on the eve of the War of 1812.
               Unlike Heyer’s novels and the earlier Regencies, TUESDAY’S CHILD is extremely sensual. It is a love story that stretches the limits of marriage, of betrayal, of reconciliation and redefines the meaning of loyalty.  Although I’ve published 16 novels, TUESDAY’S CHILD is my first American historical, the first of two. If you enjoy it, please consider THE RECKONING, a Last of the Mohicans-type story.

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If you would like to read my review from yesterday, click here.


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