Paris, 1871. In the aftermath of war and revolution, cavalry officer Olivier Valencourt, the comte de Chaumenay, only wants peace. But his discovery of his deceased brother’s child in a Montmartre hovel leads to a battle of wills with the lovely but evasive American struggling to provide for him. Determined to gain custody of his nephew, Olivier sets out to win the audacious bohemian’s trust with patronage and patience, but her courage, wisdom, and innocent sensuality divert his agenda.
Painter Jeanne Delancy has good reason to despise the portrait-worthy count before she ever meets him. She believes he’s the man who seduced and deserted her friend long ago. Unfortunately, the talented and persuasive Olivier is hard to dislike or resist in person.
Conflicted by loyalty to her missing friend and her duty to the abandoned six-year-old she’s vowed to protect, Jeanne feels obligated to give the war hero the opportunity to prove he’s worthy of knowing his son. But the independent woman who thinks herself immune to temptation underestimates Olivier in many ways and reveals far more than she ever anticipates. While the strong-willed opposites struggle to reconcile their deepest longings, dangerous alliances and scandalous secrets threaten a tragic repetition of history.
Targeted Age Group: 18+
Book Price: 2.99
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
I try to avoid cliches, and I use less common settings for my stories. I also strive to create extraordinary and sympathetic main characters. You will find more history in my novels than the typical historical romance, but the focus remains the love story. My writing falls into a niche between historical romance and historical fiction.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Outline extensively before you write.
I grew up in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh and graduated from Cornell University and University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Before coming to the conclusion that I should pursue my passion and become a novelist, I worked as a journalist for several newspapers, as a lawyer, and as a waitress (disastrously). I am a lifelong aficionado of romantic literature and currently live in Northern Virginia with my husband, three children, and overly affectionate chocolate Labrador. When I am not dreaming up and researching new stories or driving my children somewhere, I enjoy traveling, walking in the forest, and adding to my growing collection of native Virginia plants. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired by several biographies of creative people who lived during the nineteenth century, especially those about Mary Cassatt. This boldly independent woman defied many norms in the late nineteenth century when women’s choices in life were so curtailed by the double standard. Living by her own terms, she managed to achieve acclaim as a painter in Paris despite being a foreigner and a female. She was also wise enough to leave Paris prior to the Franco-Prussian War.
I was eager to begin writing a story about a female American painter in Paris in the pre-Impressionist era. But I thought, what if my character was not as fortunate as Mary Cassatt? What if her struggle did not end in recognition of her talent? Many such struggles don’t. And what if she could not or chose not to leave Paris before the war because of personal ties? That’s what I wanted to write about: complications, bad timing, adversity. These things are part of life, and romance is more powerful if it doesn’t deny that reality. Difficulties define character. So it became a story about finding strength and courage amid harrowing circumstances, about selflessness, the importance of individual acts of goodwill and compassion, and the unlikely love that results.