I’ve been a fan of Shehanne Moore’s work since The Viking and the Courtesan. Now she brings us the Writer and the Rake, which is even better! I absolutely loved the concept. For certain people who happen to be Time Mutants, a kiss can take them backwards or forwards in time to a completely different century. This is what happens to struggling romance writer Brittany Carter, who is frustratingly whisked away into the past just as she is about to make her ex-boyfriend’s life a living hell.
I think I mentioned before how I hate romance heroines who are the paragon of all virtues. Well, Brittany is definitely not. This heroine is a vindictive, manipulative, chain-smoking alcoholic, and I love her. If romance heroes can be rakes, why shouldn’t the heroine be a ‘rakette’?
Brittany arrives in 1765 dressed in nothing but a bathrobe, landing in Mitchell Kilgower’s teenage son’s bed. Mitchell, a long-suffering, brooding gentleman thinks his son has finally stopped being such a milksop and become a man, or rather the kind of man his father wants him to be. Brittany is just confused. She thinks her ex-boyfriend has murdered her and she is now in some sort of strange afterlife. Mitchell thinks she’s insane.
Of course, one can’t blame him as for all he knows, a woman has appeared out of nowhere and keeps babbling on about him being good fodder for her next romance novel. Mitchell’s uncle and slightly incestuous aunt (or former sister-in-law) show up, and the only way Brittany’s presence can be explained is in a lie hastily concocted by Fleming, Mitchell’s son, that she is Mitchell’s new God-fearing wife.
Hilariously unsuited to the role, Brit goes along with is because she needs to figure out a way to get back to the 21st century. She may be a romantic novelist, but unlike her naive heroines, she’s not going to swoon and fall into Mitchell’s arms just because he has a gorgeous body and amazing cheekbones. All the same, there is an attraction simmering beneath the surface of her pretense.
As for Mitchell, he starts out wanting to get rid of her, but he is by turns enraged and captivated by a woman the likes of which he’d never seen. A modern heroine unleashed on an unsuspecting 18th century world is a force to be reckoned with.
Brittany wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. She is a truly comedic heroine, though Ms. Moore deftly alerts the reader to how easily things could turn tragic if these characters don’t find love very soon.
Mitchell treats Brittany terribly, though she’s no picnic herself. However, she shows real resiliency and even keeps writing while in her 17th century imprisonment. One of the most beautiful lines of the book is, “A writer could write without paper, without ink, without hope.”
Enchanted by romance on page and screen, I have always tried to write my own numerous versions of the perfect fairytale. No matter whether the story takes place in Ancient Rome or on one of the moons of Jupiter, romance always beguiles and charms us with its fairy tale magic. My first inspiration to sit down and write came from watching the movie The Princess Bride.
This was a “modern” fairy tale with plenty of action, humour, and of course, true love. I resolved that my stories should have the same light-hearted, fun, and romantic spirit.
As for real life… I believe I may have already found the man of my dreams, but I still haven’t found the dog of my dreams. Currently, I am obsessed with greyhounds, but I live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. I guess this means my perfect dog is still a fantasy, and I hope it is a story yet to be told…
I usually live on the west coast of Canada, but I’m currently in Oxford, UK, not actually attending the university but absorbing all the smartness that emanates from its general vicinity.