Romancing the Gilded Age
Once upon a time, early in my romance reading journey, I noticed something about the books I was reading: every heroine was perfectly beautiful and All Of The Good Things a heroine should be. Like the number of hot and rich Regency dukes in romance, this struck me as somewhat statistically improbable, so I rang my romance novel dealer (my mom) and asked, “do you have anything where the heroine isn’t so freaking perfect?”
She directed me to read After Innocence by Brenda Joyce, about Sofie O’Neil, a beautiful girl and aspiring painter whose prospects are dim because she has a limp from some childhood accident. Still, she catches the attention of Edward Delanza, a diamond smuggler (#HeroJobsFTW) and so begins a sweeping love affair from New York City to Paris. In 1901. From there, I devoured Joyce’s Deadly Series, about an amateur sleuth/heiress (#HeroineJobsFTW) who races around the city solving crimes and tangling with the hunky police chief of police and his dangerous brother (which one will she choose?!!? #HardChoices)
And I fell in love with the New York City Gilded Age historical romance.
The Gilded Age—a phrase coined by Mark Twain—is defined roughly as 1860 to 1900 in America. This is the age of the Robber Barons, Dollar Princesses and their massive fortunes, magnificent mansions, and the exclusive “400 hundred” upper crust Manhattan society (read: NYC’s Haute Ton). It’s also an age of reform, especially for women who had new opportunities to get out of the house, form clubs and advocate for themselves.
It’s a fascinating, dramatic and romantic time period. The heroes are wealthy, powerful, upstart rogues. The heroines are ambitious and adventurous. And the frocks are fabulous.
And, I found, there were not enough books to satisfy my cravings. So as so many romance readers have done before me, I wrote the books I wanted to read.
And so, my dear readers, I’m delighted to announce my new romance series: The Gilded Age Girls Club featuring Love, liberty and happily ever after in Gilded Age Manhattan.
That’s right—I’m leaving the Regency era (for a few books at least)—and embarking on a trio of new romances set in 1890’s New York City. Don’t worry, there will be still be dukes! In fact, the first book in the series, DUCHESS BY DESIGN, features an English duke who travels to New York City in search of an American heiress but ends up falling in love with a penniless seamstress instead.