For those who have been pining for a straight historical romance from me—the time has come! It’s good to be killing off heroes again. <g> Of course, anyone who has read many of my books probably realizes that main characters aren’t as dead as they might appear, and that’s true of Loving a Lost Lord, first book in my new Lost Lords series.
In 2008, my only releases were reprints from hardcover and the like. Changing publishers often means a gap in the publication schedule, plus my editor wanted to find exactly the right time to release LALL. Hence—June 30th, 2009. Though usually books start showing up in stores a few days earlier.
The series is set in the Regency, mainly because I love the period, but also because it’s such a fascinating point in time. Romanticism, revolution, war, social change—the Regency is eternally balanced on the intersection between the ancien regime and modernity. And men look very fine in full Regency fig. <G>
The second book of the series is finished and scheduled for May 2010. (No title yet.) I’ve got several other guys who are hero material, so I’d like to do an open-ended series. Trilogies are just so skimpy. <G>
Over the last several years, I’ve received a ton of e-mails from people who wanted to see more of the characters created in The Marriage Spell. I’d originally intended that to be the beginning of a new series, but then I changed publishers, and a new house wants a new series.
But those characters were in my head, so when I came up with the Lost Lords idea—young men who bonded at the Westerfield Academy, a school for boy of “good birth and bad behavior,” several of the characters were definitely akin to those in The Marriage Spell. The hero of LALL is the Duke of Ashton, a sort of non-magical cousin of Ashby in the earlier book.
I gave him pretty much the same story, too. The book begins with Lady Agnes Westerfield, the unconventional duke’s daughter who founded the Westerfield Academy. In the middle of a dark and stormy night, three young men come to her door to break the tragic news that Ashton, who had been their classmate in Lady Agnes’s first class, had been killed in the explosion of his steam yacht in Scotland. Her former students had come to her as much for comfort as to share the news.
But when Lady Agnes learns that no body has been found, she returns to full schoolmistress mode and orders them to go searching for Ashton, and to by God bring him home, dead or alive!
So off go Randall, Masterson, and Kirkland, figuring that will be pure luck if they find his drowned body, but at least they’re doing something, not feeling helpless.
Meanwhile, on the far northwest coast of Cumberland, lovely Mariah Clarke is rejoicing in finally having a home. As a girl she’d lived with her part-Gypsy great grandmother while her father, a gamblin’ man survives on his charm, skill, and ability to get himself invited to house parties. After Granny Rose’s death, Mariah traveled with her father. They're close, but she isn't fond of their unsettled life. After several years, he wins a pleasant estate in Cumberland, and she becomes Miss Clarke of Hartley Manor.
With shocking abruptness, Mariah’s father is killed on a journey south and she is alone in the world. Alone, and being pressed for marriage by the former owner of Hartley Manor. Afraid that in a moment of weakness she might say yes, she performs a Gypsy ritual asking for her help—and then finds a half-drowned man rolling onto the shingle beach of Hartley Manor. An exotically handsome man with no memory, mesmerizing green eyes—and a complete willingness to believe Mariah’s impulsive claim that she’s his wife….
Okay, one of the reasons I love historical romance is because one can write over the top plots, and this is one of them. I was recently asked why I like amnesia plots (this is my third—I do about one a decade <G>), and the reason is simple. Strip away a person’s memory and even more important, the expectations of everyone around, and what emerges? I think this is a chance for a person to become more truly him or herself. And that’s what happens for Adam, a half-Hindu duke who spent many years learning how to appear absolutely conventional. Now he’s himself—whoever that is.
There are lots of adventures, of course. One of the most fun aspects of the book was a scene with a diving bell as Adam’s friends work with a salvage operator to find the wreckage of Adam’s steam yachts. Diving bells are very cool—Aristotle mentioned them, and it’s said that Alexander the Great descended in an early bell. The things one learns in this business!
In more blatant self-promotion, Loving a Lost Lord received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and is a Romantic Times Top Pick:
“The enchanting first Lost Lords novel confirms bestseller Putney as a major force in historical romance….Sensual romance heats up between the couple until Mariah reluctantly reveals the truth. When she learns of Adam’s real history, Mariah must make a terrible choice. Entrancing characters and a superb plot line catapult this tale into stand-alone status.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Compelling, flawless prose, gentle humor, exotic elements (courtesy of Adam’s half-Hindi heritage), and irresistible characters caught in a sweet, sensual dilemma will leave readers smiling, breathless, and anxiously awaiting the next adventure in Putney’s new “Lost Lords” series. Readers who loved Putney’s “Fallen Angels” series are in for a rare treat; fortunately, there are more delicacies to come! Putney (A Distant Magic) writes some of the most sensitive, exquisite historicals in the field.”
Bette-Lee Fox, starred review, Library Journal
“TOP PICK! If you loved the Fallen Angels, you'll adore the Lost Lords: men who formed unbreakable bonds while at a school for boys of "good birth and bad behavior." Only the incomparable Putney could bring them to life and have readers yearning to be close to such dynamic heroes and the women who tame them.”
Kathe Robin, Romantic Times, four and a half stars
But ultimately, what matters is if readers like the book. If you pick up a copy, I hope you enjoy it. If you want to sample the goods, there are two excerpts on my website, http://maryjoputney.com/ (First chapter and first meet.)
I’m giving away a signed copy of Loving a Lost Lord to someone who comments on this post between now and Thursday midnight. Also, some time in the next week, a video for LALL should go up on my website, if you enjoy such things.
So–after all the years and zillions of classic historical romances that have been published, do you still like them? Or have you grown jaded? What makes you love a historical romance? I love hearing the opinions of intelligent readers like those who come to Word Wenches!