Today I would like to welcome to the blog the lovely Tessa Dare. Tessa is stopping by today to celebrate her newest release A Night To Surrender from the Spindle Cove Series. So please give a warm welcome to Tessa Dare.
Book Blasting, and Other Confessions
I'm a romance author, but I also work as a librarian. I've worked in libraries for most of my life, actually-- when I was a tender 15 years old! And before I got paid to work in libraries, I just happened to hang around them a lot.
So books are important to me. And the preservation of books is important to me. Libraries exist to collect, organize, and preserve materials for their communities. We train small children to hold them carefully with un-sticky fingers, and turn the pages by the corners. Librarians are the first to jump to a book's defense when book banning, or -heaven forfend!--book burning is suggested.
Imagine my quandary then, when writing a romance heroine who actively and unrepentantly defaces and destroys books! Perfectly good books!
Well, to be fair--Susanna Finch, the heroine of A Night to Surrender, would argue that she does not "destroy" books. She repurposes copies of a particular book. And, she would add, that particular books is not a "perfectly good book"--it is a perfectly dangerous and damaging book.
The book in question is called Mrs. Worthington's Wisdom for Young Ladies, and it's a literary thorn in Susanna's side.
Here's an excerpt to explain:
Charlotte reached for the book and opened it, then cleared her throat and read aloud in a dramatic voice. "'Chapter Twelve. The perils of excessive education. A young lady's intellect should be in all ways like her undergarments. Present, pristine, and imperceptible to the casual observer.'"
Mrs. Highwood harrumphed. "Yes. Just so. Hear and believe it, Minerva. Hear and believe every word. As Miss Finch says, you will find that book very useful."
Susanna took a leisurely sip of tea, swallowing with it a bitter lump of indignation. She wasn't an angry or resentful person, as a matter of course. But once provoked, her passions required formidable effort to conceal.
That book provoked her, no end.
Mrs. Worthington's Wisdom for Young Ladies was the bane of sensible girls the world over, crammed with insipid, damaging advice on every page. Susanna could have gleefully crushed its pages to powder with a mortar and pestle, labeled the vial with a skull and crossbones, and placed it on the highest shelf in her stillroom, right beside the dried foxglove leaves and deadly nightshade berries.
Instead she'd made it her mission to remove as many copies as possible from circulation. A sort of quarantine. Former residents of the Queen's Ruby sent the books from all corners of England. One couldn't enter a room in Spindle Cove without finding a copy or three of Mrs. Worthington's Wisdom. And just as Susanna had told Mrs. Highwood, they found the book very useful indeed. It was the perfect size for propping a window open. It also made an excellent doorstop or paperweight. Susanna used her personal copies for pressing herbs. Or, occasionally, for target practice.
Although this all felt very true to Susanna's character, I have to admit - writing it cause my librarian heart to twinge, just a little.
So, how do you treat books? Do you buy or borrow? Are you the kind to turn each page carefully and read without cracking the spine? Or do you dog-ear the pages with abandon and use them as doorstops?
Welcome to Spindle Cove, where ladies with delicate constitutions come for the sea air, and men in their prime are...nowhere to be found.
Or are they?
Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men. It is a haven for those who live there.
Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn't belong here. So far as he can tell, there's nothing in this place but spinsters...and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It's a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch--a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram's makeshift army.
Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle...but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?
Thanks to Tessa Dare for such a wonderful post. Everyone, Tessa Dare and Harper Collins will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So make sure to check out all of Tessa Dare's tour stops and comment to increase your chances of winning.
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*Open until September 2nd.