Some of you may recall when, last April, I was noodling a new story idea and posted a few paintings for you to choose between for my Regency heroine. We decided on this oh-so-breathtaking work by Frank Dicksee, his interpretation of Miranda from The Tempest.
Well, I'm stealing her. ;-) She fits even better my image of Gwyneth Fairchild, you see, and since I know I do in fact have to write Gwyneth's story, but Arabelle's is on the "maybe someday" list . . .
So allow me to introduce Gwyneth. Born and raised in England, she has spent most of her days in fashionable Hanover Square, London. Her grandfather is a duke, her father said duke's third son, who has risen to the rank of general in the military. Bloodlines--impeccable. Dowry--sizable. Looks--beyond compare.
And so she is the perfect Regency miss. All things lovely and demure and witty, with a remarkable hand at drawing and painting to boot. At the opening of her story (the second book in my Culper Ring Series from Harvest House, which will come out in June of 2013), Gwyneth is in the midst of her first season, which was put off for a year because her mother fell gravely ill and passed away the season prior. Gwyn and her father clung to each other to get through the terrible loss of sweet Mama, and she finds some solace now in throwing herself into the social whirl that her matron had spent a lifetime preparing her for.
Which has obviously been worthwhile, for Sir Arthur Hart, Knight of the Order of St. Patrick and presumed heir to a marquessate, is surely going to propose soon.
There is only one problem. Her father, who is without doubt one of the best men in all England, who she adores and trusts implicitly, has told her she must leave. Leave London. Leave England. And go, of all places, to a country with whom they're at war. And not even France, where at least they're civilized, but to America. Maryland. To a family she met only once, when she was too young to remember.
Much as she wants to argue, especially when Sir Arthur does indeed intercept her before she can climb in her carriage and offer his hand in marriage, she can't. Because minutes later she witnesses a crime that proves her life really is in danger--and that there's nothing left for her here.
And so our little sparrow flies away, with only her pencils and paints with which to express the turmoil inside her, turmoil hidden within the paintings people would expect. And with a letter in hand meant to assure her safe delivery to Baltimore, even if she is set upon by American pirates.
Enter, of course, one dashing American privateer . . . ;-)