The trouble with lies is they have a tendency to catch a man out.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, wants is a wife.
But since the only way to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay is the promise of impending nuptials, Hugh takes the most logical action: he invents a fake fiancée.
It’s the perfect plan – until Hugh learns that his mother is on a ship bound for England to meet his ‘beloved’. He needs a solution fast, and when he collides with a mysterious beauty, he might just have found the answer to his prayers.
Minerva Merriwell is desperate for money to support her sisters, and although she knows that posing as the Earl’s fiancée might seem nonsensical, it’s just too good an offer to refuse.
As the Merriwells descend upon Hugh’s estate, the household is thrown into turmoil as everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight. And with Hugh and Minerva’s romantic ruse turning into the real thing, is true love just one complication too many?
The First Rule of a Fake Engagement—Never Fall for Your Fiancée!
Never Fall for Your Fiancée is a book I wanted to write for a long time, but with a busy diary full of publishing deadlines already I had to wait two years for a gap big enough to actually write it! I knew it was going to be a longer book than I usually write, I also knew it was going to be a slightly different sort of historical romance than I usually write too. There is always humour in all of my books, that seems to come naturally to me but it is never intentional, but I really wanted to make my Merriwell Sisters series a straight out, unapologetic laughter-packed Romcom.
I say that as if I had a clearly defined vision and plot outlined before I started writing this book, but alas, my odd brain refuses to work like that so all I had was the germ of an idea— a sort of cross between My Fair Lady and The Importance of Being Earnest, with a bit of Bridget Jones in a corset and some of the farcical aspects of TV’s Frasier tossed into the mix. I’ve always had a love of Oscar Wilde and the old Hollywood musicals—sad but true—and even though I had no clue what to actually write, I was certain I wanted to make my readers laugh. A lofty plan which genuinely started and ended there when I first stared at that blank page and typed the following first line which suddenly popped into my head out of nowhere. “The trouble with lies is they have a tendency, if not well managed to catch a man out. Hugh’s grossly over-embellished falsehood was like a snarling, rabid dog about to sink its foaming teeth into his backside and there was not a thing he could do about it…”
And then I was off as bit by bit the next sentence of the story cantered over the horizon to join it, followed by the next and the next.
That is genuinely how I write.
I have no plan, no notes, no end goal in mind, no pre-arranged stopping off points to help guide me along the way. I simply blindly follow where the characters that also appear out of thin air take me. I see and hear a story live in my head like a film and basically type what happens. I never know what that is going to be from paragraph to paragraph, let alone chapter to chapter, so its as much as a surprise to me how the novel twists and turns as it is to a reader. It’s a peculiar process, I know, but one that has worked for over twenty books so far, so I don’t question it. I do, however, realise that it’s a bit weird!
That process worked a treat in Never Fall for Your Fiancée because I think it is one of the best books I have written. In homage to Oscar Wilde, my hero Hugh is a lovable rogue a bit like his Earnest, and his match-making mother has elements of Lady Bracknell about her. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched My Fair Lady, and Eliza Doolittle’s journey from the gutter to the highest echelons of society certainly formed part of the inspiration for Minerva Merriwell my heroine. There is also a vivid cast of side characters who popped up along the way to help, or more often hinder, my lead protagonists on their convoluted journey to their happily ever after. Minerva’s two younger sisters, who will both get books of their own, Giles, the hero’s sardonic best friend, the long-suffering and unflappable butler Payne and a Regency method actress all gave me plenty of opportunities to add some farce into the story. I am incredibly proud of the result—even if I have no earthly idea where it all came from!
Thank you, Virginia Heath and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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