Of Virgins & Experience

By Susan/Miranda:

In comments posted on my recent blog “The Good Parts”, Francois asked, "Is there a book where the heroine is more experienced than the hero? Please please please. Just one so that I know they exist."

Oh, sure, I thought, there must be ONE such couple in all the zillions of historical romances out there.  Yet though I thought about this a good long time, I couldn’t come up with a single book with a virginal hero and experienced heroine.

Grace_dalrymple_coverFortunately RevMelinda’s memory is longer and better than mine, and she came up with two: Jo Beverley’s Forbidden and Mary Balogh’s No Man’s Mistress.  Mary Jo also came up with another: Seducing Mr. Heywood, by Jo Manning (Jo Manning is also the author of a splendid non-fiction biography — My Lady Scandalous: The Amazing Life and Outrageous Times of Grace Dalrymple Eliot, Royal Courtesan), and I’m sure that you far-reaching, far-reaading Wenchlings will be able to come up with a few more.

Still, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit this week, having just finished reading the copy edits for my two July books  (no, that’s not supposed to happen in publishing, but still, stars do collide, and when both copy-edits were due on the same date, take-out for dinner was the result in this house.) 

The first book, a Miranda Jarrett historical romance called Seduction of an English Beauty (next inAdvent_bride_cover the series that began with The Adventurous Bride) features a young English lady traveling in Italy with her governess, who falls in love with a dashing Roman.  There are certain things that set this story apart from the current run of historical romances –– for one, it’s set in eighteenth century Rome; for another, one of the hero’s friends is a castrato, surely a first for Harlequin –– but it also has more traditional aspects.  The hero is charming and rakish, with many women in his past.  The heroine is a beautiful, with a taint of scandal to her name, but a virgin nonetheless.  At the heart, it’s a love story: the couple overcome obstacles, fall in love, go to bed, and marry.

Royalharlotfront_cover_2The second book I’ve been editing this week was Royal Harlot, a historical novel written by the other evil twin, Susan Holloway Scott.  No true love here: Barbara Villiers (1641-1709) made her own way in the world, and had a high old time of it, too.  She was in love with the man who took her virginity (at fifteen, yikes), had her heart moderately broken by him, and then it was off to the races.  She married a good honest fellow, and broke his heart, too, so badly that he had to retreat to the Continent. She became as close to a female libertine as can be found; love and sex were not necessarily connected in her mind.  Yes, she was Charles II’s mistress for a decade and the mother of six (!) of his illegitimate children, but neither of them were faithful to the other, or particularly bothered by the infidelity, either.  Barbara’s other lovers ranged from actors to earls, street acrobats to young officers, from much older men to much younger, and for the most part, she thoroughly enjoyed herself. 

But she’d never find a place as the heroine of a historical romance.Cropped_gold_barbara

Oh, there are heroines masquerading as Fallen Women, working undercover in a brothel to discover an Important Secret, or pretending to be Ruined for some useful plot development.  There are the occasional widows, too, or ladies who’d fallen in love once or twice, but been jilted at the altar. But most of the time, as the hero eventually discovers, the heroine is in fact a virgin (even among the widows.)

Is virginity the ultimate “gift” to the man the heroine loves –– proof that he’s the only one for her, ever?  Is it a sign of her loyalty even before she’s met him?  Is it the rare reward for his perseverance (for the course of romance-love seldom goes smoothly, or else these books would be twenty pages instead of four hundred)? 

Or is it because in a contemporary world where very few brides are virgins and half of all marriages end in divorce, modern readers find irresistable the dream of innocence saved for the one man who will be the true love for life a wonderful ideal?  Or is it irresistable because it’s so long ago as in a fictionalized historical past?

Just don’t expect the same in return from the hero.  The current crop of heroes tend to be gentlemen with lively pasts and mistresses galore.  It’s expected of them, as, in fact, it often was of gentlemen in the past.  There were women you dallied with for sport and to prove your manhood, and there were ladies you married.  And if you wanted to be sure your heir was yours (in theory, anyway), you made sure your bride was a virgin.

But why is the double standard alive and well in historical romances?  What is it about the fantasy of finding true love and great sex the very first time with an experienced male?  The historical precedent is part of it, but real-life gentlemen in the past did in fact occasionally fall in love with and marry their much-experienced mistresses. 

And why, too, are historical romance heroes so loath to be younger and less experienced?  (I do recall an anthology, In Praise of Younger Men, that included a novella by Jo.) Why are the older, wiser heroines so few and far between –– especially since so many of the readers (and the authors) are aging like all good baby boomers are doomed to do?  Certainly this is a big fantasy for men –- the young greenhorn tutored by the worldly older woman –– but why don’t we get the story from Maggie May’s perspective more often?

I don’t have any answers to these questions, but I bet you all do, or at least some good, strong opinions.  Do you like the convention of the younger virginal heroine and older experienced hero?  Or would you like to see more variety?

(And congratulations, Francois: You’ve earned yourself a book for your question today!)

136 thoughts on “Of Virgins & Experience”

  1. Very rarely is the sexual initiation a wonderful experience, according to the opinion of my friends. There is enough risk of emotional pain when deciding to have sex with a new partner and the addition of physical discomfort is not a turn-on for me. It could be OK if the partner was experienced enough to be patient, but most teenaged boys are not willing/able to wait, which increases the potential for an “owie.” I really prefer h/h who have had some experience so that their first time together can be completely pain-free and mind-blowing. If he’s too much older much older than she it’s a little like child abuse. The author would have to make a convincing case for their falling in love and show how he has changed (if he had been a rake) to be able to commit to the relationship. There was a Heyer that I liked about “the Devil” (can’t think of the title) which met that standard.
    As for an experienced woman and a virginal male partner, Claire and Jamie from the “Outlander” series fit that criterion, at least in the first novel.

    Reply
  2. Very rarely is the sexual initiation a wonderful experience, according to the opinion of my friends. There is enough risk of emotional pain when deciding to have sex with a new partner and the addition of physical discomfort is not a turn-on for me. It could be OK if the partner was experienced enough to be patient, but most teenaged boys are not willing/able to wait, which increases the potential for an “owie.” I really prefer h/h who have had some experience so that their first time together can be completely pain-free and mind-blowing. If he’s too much older much older than she it’s a little like child abuse. The author would have to make a convincing case for their falling in love and show how he has changed (if he had been a rake) to be able to commit to the relationship. There was a Heyer that I liked about “the Devil” (can’t think of the title) which met that standard.
    As for an experienced woman and a virginal male partner, Claire and Jamie from the “Outlander” series fit that criterion, at least in the first novel.

    Reply
  3. Very rarely is the sexual initiation a wonderful experience, according to the opinion of my friends. There is enough risk of emotional pain when deciding to have sex with a new partner and the addition of physical discomfort is not a turn-on for me. It could be OK if the partner was experienced enough to be patient, but most teenaged boys are not willing/able to wait, which increases the potential for an “owie.” I really prefer h/h who have had some experience so that their first time together can be completely pain-free and mind-blowing. If he’s too much older much older than she it’s a little like child abuse. The author would have to make a convincing case for their falling in love and show how he has changed (if he had been a rake) to be able to commit to the relationship. There was a Heyer that I liked about “the Devil” (can’t think of the title) which met that standard.
    As for an experienced woman and a virginal male partner, Claire and Jamie from the “Outlander” series fit that criterion, at least in the first novel.

    Reply
  4. Very rarely is the sexual initiation a wonderful experience, according to the opinion of my friends. There is enough risk of emotional pain when deciding to have sex with a new partner and the addition of physical discomfort is not a turn-on for me. It could be OK if the partner was experienced enough to be patient, but most teenaged boys are not willing/able to wait, which increases the potential for an “owie.” I really prefer h/h who have had some experience so that their first time together can be completely pain-free and mind-blowing. If he’s too much older much older than she it’s a little like child abuse. The author would have to make a convincing case for their falling in love and show how he has changed (if he had been a rake) to be able to commit to the relationship. There was a Heyer that I liked about “the Devil” (can’t think of the title) which met that standard.
    As for an experienced woman and a virginal male partner, Claire and Jamie from the “Outlander” series fit that criterion, at least in the first novel.

    Reply
  5. I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    One of my personal “eye-rolling” scenarios occurs when the virginal heroine is watching her lover undress, sees an aroused naked man for the first time, and starts rhapsodizing about how it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen — why, so beautiful, she’d like to kiss it!
    Hardly the reaction of most women in that situation, I’d say. *g*

    Reply
  6. I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    One of my personal “eye-rolling” scenarios occurs when the virginal heroine is watching her lover undress, sees an aroused naked man for the first time, and starts rhapsodizing about how it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen — why, so beautiful, she’d like to kiss it!
    Hardly the reaction of most women in that situation, I’d say. *g*

    Reply
  7. I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    One of my personal “eye-rolling” scenarios occurs when the virginal heroine is watching her lover undress, sees an aroused naked man for the first time, and starts rhapsodizing about how it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen — why, so beautiful, she’d like to kiss it!
    Hardly the reaction of most women in that situation, I’d say. *g*

    Reply
  8. I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    One of my personal “eye-rolling” scenarios occurs when the virginal heroine is watching her lover undress, sees an aroused naked man for the first time, and starts rhapsodizing about how it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen — why, so beautiful, she’d like to kiss it!
    Hardly the reaction of most women in that situation, I’d say. *g*

    Reply
  9. Oooh, my question, how exciting!
    And to answer your question…I like variety. It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.
    Loretta’s “Miss Wonderful” has a heroine slightly older than the hero, which was a delightful surprise.
    I do wonder why/how do even the experienced men learn to please women in bed? Surely that could be of no concern to them with their various paid mistresses/prostitutes? Yet, meet the right woman and all these skills suddenly surface. Are they secretly gigolos?

    Reply
  10. Oooh, my question, how exciting!
    And to answer your question…I like variety. It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.
    Loretta’s “Miss Wonderful” has a heroine slightly older than the hero, which was a delightful surprise.
    I do wonder why/how do even the experienced men learn to please women in bed? Surely that could be of no concern to them with their various paid mistresses/prostitutes? Yet, meet the right woman and all these skills suddenly surface. Are they secretly gigolos?

    Reply
  11. Oooh, my question, how exciting!
    And to answer your question…I like variety. It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.
    Loretta’s “Miss Wonderful” has a heroine slightly older than the hero, which was a delightful surprise.
    I do wonder why/how do even the experienced men learn to please women in bed? Surely that could be of no concern to them with their various paid mistresses/prostitutes? Yet, meet the right woman and all these skills suddenly surface. Are they secretly gigolos?

    Reply
  12. Oooh, my question, how exciting!
    And to answer your question…I like variety. It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.
    Loretta’s “Miss Wonderful” has a heroine slightly older than the hero, which was a delightful surprise.
    I do wonder why/how do even the experienced men learn to please women in bed? Surely that could be of no concern to them with their various paid mistresses/prostitutes? Yet, meet the right woman and all these skills suddenly surface. Are they secretly gigolos?

    Reply
  13. The virgin/rake scenario seems to be the gold standard in romance. And even though I am one of those baby boomers in the first stages of decrepitude, I still enjoy it. But I do read pretty much anything, so am open if anyone out there wants to experiment!
    Eloisa James wrote Sebastian Bonnington as a virgin hero in Duchess in Love. I remembered him, but actually googled “virgin hero” and found that the All About Romance site has a list, with Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island as the icon!
    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the desire to be “loved properly” makes an experienced hero appealing.
    Kathy, I think you’re talking about These Old Shades, with the Duke of Avon and Leonie, one of my favorites. I even mentioned it once on my blog. The sequel is Devil’s Cub, which is their son’s story.
    I think, despite the explosion of sexual freedom in our society, women are simply held to a different standard than men. The whole whore/Madonna complex is alive and well in fiction as well as real life.

    Reply
  14. The virgin/rake scenario seems to be the gold standard in romance. And even though I am one of those baby boomers in the first stages of decrepitude, I still enjoy it. But I do read pretty much anything, so am open if anyone out there wants to experiment!
    Eloisa James wrote Sebastian Bonnington as a virgin hero in Duchess in Love. I remembered him, but actually googled “virgin hero” and found that the All About Romance site has a list, with Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island as the icon!
    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the desire to be “loved properly” makes an experienced hero appealing.
    Kathy, I think you’re talking about These Old Shades, with the Duke of Avon and Leonie, one of my favorites. I even mentioned it once on my blog. The sequel is Devil’s Cub, which is their son’s story.
    I think, despite the explosion of sexual freedom in our society, women are simply held to a different standard than men. The whole whore/Madonna complex is alive and well in fiction as well as real life.

    Reply
  15. The virgin/rake scenario seems to be the gold standard in romance. And even though I am one of those baby boomers in the first stages of decrepitude, I still enjoy it. But I do read pretty much anything, so am open if anyone out there wants to experiment!
    Eloisa James wrote Sebastian Bonnington as a virgin hero in Duchess in Love. I remembered him, but actually googled “virgin hero” and found that the All About Romance site has a list, with Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island as the icon!
    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the desire to be “loved properly” makes an experienced hero appealing.
    Kathy, I think you’re talking about These Old Shades, with the Duke of Avon and Leonie, one of my favorites. I even mentioned it once on my blog. The sequel is Devil’s Cub, which is their son’s story.
    I think, despite the explosion of sexual freedom in our society, women are simply held to a different standard than men. The whole whore/Madonna complex is alive and well in fiction as well as real life.

    Reply
  16. The virgin/rake scenario seems to be the gold standard in romance. And even though I am one of those baby boomers in the first stages of decrepitude, I still enjoy it. But I do read pretty much anything, so am open if anyone out there wants to experiment!
    Eloisa James wrote Sebastian Bonnington as a virgin hero in Duchess in Love. I remembered him, but actually googled “virgin hero” and found that the All About Romance site has a list, with Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island as the icon!
    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but the desire to be “loved properly” makes an experienced hero appealing.
    Kathy, I think you’re talking about These Old Shades, with the Duke of Avon and Leonie, one of my favorites. I even mentioned it once on my blog. The sequel is Devil’s Cub, which is their son’s story.
    I think, despite the explosion of sexual freedom in our society, women are simply held to a different standard than men. The whole whore/Madonna complex is alive and well in fiction as well as real life.

    Reply
  17. Susan Scott said…”I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    Is anyone else imagining a book that starts with a married couple having bad sex but working on it and ending up with something remarkable? I’m in a contrary mood today.

    Reply
  18. Susan Scott said…”I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    Is anyone else imagining a book that starts with a married couple having bad sex but working on it and ending up with something remarkable? I’m in a contrary mood today.

    Reply
  19. Susan Scott said…”I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    Is anyone else imagining a book that starts with a married couple having bad sex but working on it and ending up with something remarkable? I’m in a contrary mood today.

    Reply
  20. Susan Scott said…”I agree, Kathy. In most real-life situations, the earth doesn’t move during the first time.
    Is anyone else imagining a book that starts with a married couple having bad sex but working on it and ending up with something remarkable? I’m in a contrary mood today.

    Reply
  21. I think virgin heroines also work because romance novels are inevitably about a woman’s sexual awakening. What’s possibly even rarer than a heroine more experienced than the hero is a heroine who’s had a satisfying sexual experience before meeting the hero. Virgin heroines have usually never even thought to touch themselves and widows/fallen women have generally only had inept lovers. This means the hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality.
    Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.
    I’m a sucker for the virgin/rake storyline, but I also like plots that challenge or twist the convention.

    Reply
  22. I think virgin heroines also work because romance novels are inevitably about a woman’s sexual awakening. What’s possibly even rarer than a heroine more experienced than the hero is a heroine who’s had a satisfying sexual experience before meeting the hero. Virgin heroines have usually never even thought to touch themselves and widows/fallen women have generally only had inept lovers. This means the hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality.
    Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.
    I’m a sucker for the virgin/rake storyline, but I also like plots that challenge or twist the convention.

    Reply
  23. I think virgin heroines also work because romance novels are inevitably about a woman’s sexual awakening. What’s possibly even rarer than a heroine more experienced than the hero is a heroine who’s had a satisfying sexual experience before meeting the hero. Virgin heroines have usually never even thought to touch themselves and widows/fallen women have generally only had inept lovers. This means the hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality.
    Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.
    I’m a sucker for the virgin/rake storyline, but I also like plots that challenge or twist the convention.

    Reply
  24. I think virgin heroines also work because romance novels are inevitably about a woman’s sexual awakening. What’s possibly even rarer than a heroine more experienced than the hero is a heroine who’s had a satisfying sexual experience before meeting the hero. Virgin heroines have usually never even thought to touch themselves and widows/fallen women have generally only had inept lovers. This means the hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality.
    Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.
    I’m a sucker for the virgin/rake storyline, but I also like plots that challenge or twist the convention.

    Reply
  25. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the forthcoming Royal Harlot is that she is a harlot. I have plenty of virgins in my books, and non-virgins who didn’t have a happy sex life. But in LORD PERFECT I decided to have a heroine who’d actually loved her husband–passionately–and knew what good sex was. The double standard was fierce in early 19th C England, though there were men who married their mistresses and men who married courtesans. I think, as always, the matter of experience/virginity needs to be part and parcel of character–and with the right characters, one can go beyond the usual.
    As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these. I think Jayne Ann Krentz has done this, too. And Jennifer Crusie.

    Reply
  26. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the forthcoming Royal Harlot is that she is a harlot. I have plenty of virgins in my books, and non-virgins who didn’t have a happy sex life. But in LORD PERFECT I decided to have a heroine who’d actually loved her husband–passionately–and knew what good sex was. The double standard was fierce in early 19th C England, though there were men who married their mistresses and men who married courtesans. I think, as always, the matter of experience/virginity needs to be part and parcel of character–and with the right characters, one can go beyond the usual.
    As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these. I think Jayne Ann Krentz has done this, too. And Jennifer Crusie.

    Reply
  27. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the forthcoming Royal Harlot is that she is a harlot. I have plenty of virgins in my books, and non-virgins who didn’t have a happy sex life. But in LORD PERFECT I decided to have a heroine who’d actually loved her husband–passionately–and knew what good sex was. The double standard was fierce in early 19th C England, though there were men who married their mistresses and men who married courtesans. I think, as always, the matter of experience/virginity needs to be part and parcel of character–and with the right characters, one can go beyond the usual.
    As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these. I think Jayne Ann Krentz has done this, too. And Jennifer Crusie.

    Reply
  28. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the forthcoming Royal Harlot is that she is a harlot. I have plenty of virgins in my books, and non-virgins who didn’t have a happy sex life. But in LORD PERFECT I decided to have a heroine who’d actually loved her husband–passionately–and knew what good sex was. The double standard was fierce in early 19th C England, though there were men who married their mistresses and men who married courtesans. I think, as always, the matter of experience/virginity needs to be part and parcel of character–and with the right characters, one can go beyond the usual.
    As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these. I think Jayne Ann Krentz has done this, too. And Jennifer Crusie.

    Reply
  29. I definitely like the virgin heroine, so it doesn’t bother me. LOL But I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to see more of any other options or combinations, so why not have more books like that, right? 🙂
    As for the first time, especially for a virgin heroine, I know that experience may not be like people usually write it, but hey, to me, reading it that way is like all of us saying how it should be. And that’s okay with me. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  30. I definitely like the virgin heroine, so it doesn’t bother me. LOL But I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to see more of any other options or combinations, so why not have more books like that, right? 🙂
    As for the first time, especially for a virgin heroine, I know that experience may not be like people usually write it, but hey, to me, reading it that way is like all of us saying how it should be. And that’s okay with me. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  31. I definitely like the virgin heroine, so it doesn’t bother me. LOL But I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to see more of any other options or combinations, so why not have more books like that, right? 🙂
    As for the first time, especially for a virgin heroine, I know that experience may not be like people usually write it, but hey, to me, reading it that way is like all of us saying how it should be. And that’s okay with me. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  32. I definitely like the virgin heroine, so it doesn’t bother me. LOL But I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to see more of any other options or combinations, so why not have more books like that, right? 🙂
    As for the first time, especially for a virgin heroine, I know that experience may not be like people usually write it, but hey, to me, reading it that way is like all of us saying how it should be. And that’s okay with me. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  33. I like it when the author mixes it up. If an author ALWAYS does virgin heroines coughDianaPalmercough or always does debutantes who always seem to be seduced by some scoundrel in her past, I get real bored and stop reading the author.
    A great examples of a more experienced heroine is SLEEPING BEAUTY by Judith Ivory since the heroine was a courtesan while James had slept with about 3 women before he met her.
    I applaud authors who show that the first time aint always fireworks. I WISH MORE AUTHORS DID THAT. It’s one of the things I liked about Catherine Coulter’s old romances. As mentioned above, JoBev also has done a few books where it wasnt perfect the very first time. The first time wasnt all that great in Madeline Hunter’s THE SEDUCER either

    Reply
  34. I like it when the author mixes it up. If an author ALWAYS does virgin heroines coughDianaPalmercough or always does debutantes who always seem to be seduced by some scoundrel in her past, I get real bored and stop reading the author.
    A great examples of a more experienced heroine is SLEEPING BEAUTY by Judith Ivory since the heroine was a courtesan while James had slept with about 3 women before he met her.
    I applaud authors who show that the first time aint always fireworks. I WISH MORE AUTHORS DID THAT. It’s one of the things I liked about Catherine Coulter’s old romances. As mentioned above, JoBev also has done a few books where it wasnt perfect the very first time. The first time wasnt all that great in Madeline Hunter’s THE SEDUCER either

    Reply
  35. I like it when the author mixes it up. If an author ALWAYS does virgin heroines coughDianaPalmercough or always does debutantes who always seem to be seduced by some scoundrel in her past, I get real bored and stop reading the author.
    A great examples of a more experienced heroine is SLEEPING BEAUTY by Judith Ivory since the heroine was a courtesan while James had slept with about 3 women before he met her.
    I applaud authors who show that the first time aint always fireworks. I WISH MORE AUTHORS DID THAT. It’s one of the things I liked about Catherine Coulter’s old romances. As mentioned above, JoBev also has done a few books where it wasnt perfect the very first time. The first time wasnt all that great in Madeline Hunter’s THE SEDUCER either

    Reply
  36. I like it when the author mixes it up. If an author ALWAYS does virgin heroines coughDianaPalmercough or always does debutantes who always seem to be seduced by some scoundrel in her past, I get real bored and stop reading the author.
    A great examples of a more experienced heroine is SLEEPING BEAUTY by Judith Ivory since the heroine was a courtesan while James had slept with about 3 women before he met her.
    I applaud authors who show that the first time aint always fireworks. I WISH MORE AUTHORS DID THAT. It’s one of the things I liked about Catherine Coulter’s old romances. As mentioned above, JoBev also has done a few books where it wasnt perfect the very first time. The first time wasnt all that great in Madeline Hunter’s THE SEDUCER either

    Reply
  37. I like smart virgins. Just because a woman hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she should behave like a fool about it. I liked how Loretta’s Jessica Trent in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS knew about sex, knew what to expect, even though she was a virgin. In many ways she knew alot more than Dain!
    I just finished your DUCHESS (which was as fabulous as everyone here says) I thought it was interesting how Sarah insisted on being a virgin until she married John, even though she was ridiculed in the royal court for it. For her her virginity was the only thing she had to bargain with since she had no dowery, which felt very accurate.
    It does seem that alot of virgin heroines in romances give it up awfully fast (not that I’m complaining!), which I don’t think they would really have done in the past.
    I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?) Poor John, she teased him for so long time! An excellent love story, especially because it was true.

    Reply
  38. I like smart virgins. Just because a woman hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she should behave like a fool about it. I liked how Loretta’s Jessica Trent in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS knew about sex, knew what to expect, even though she was a virgin. In many ways she knew alot more than Dain!
    I just finished your DUCHESS (which was as fabulous as everyone here says) I thought it was interesting how Sarah insisted on being a virgin until she married John, even though she was ridiculed in the royal court for it. For her her virginity was the only thing she had to bargain with since she had no dowery, which felt very accurate.
    It does seem that alot of virgin heroines in romances give it up awfully fast (not that I’m complaining!), which I don’t think they would really have done in the past.
    I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?) Poor John, she teased him for so long time! An excellent love story, especially because it was true.

    Reply
  39. I like smart virgins. Just because a woman hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she should behave like a fool about it. I liked how Loretta’s Jessica Trent in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS knew about sex, knew what to expect, even though she was a virgin. In many ways she knew alot more than Dain!
    I just finished your DUCHESS (which was as fabulous as everyone here says) I thought it was interesting how Sarah insisted on being a virgin until she married John, even though she was ridiculed in the royal court for it. For her her virginity was the only thing she had to bargain with since she had no dowery, which felt very accurate.
    It does seem that alot of virgin heroines in romances give it up awfully fast (not that I’m complaining!), which I don’t think they would really have done in the past.
    I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?) Poor John, she teased him for so long time! An excellent love story, especially because it was true.

    Reply
  40. I like smart virgins. Just because a woman hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she should behave like a fool about it. I liked how Loretta’s Jessica Trent in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS knew about sex, knew what to expect, even though she was a virgin. In many ways she knew alot more than Dain!
    I just finished your DUCHESS (which was as fabulous as everyone here says) I thought it was interesting how Sarah insisted on being a virgin until she married John, even though she was ridiculed in the royal court for it. For her her virginity was the only thing she had to bargain with since she had no dowery, which felt very accurate.
    It does seem that alot of virgin heroines in romances give it up awfully fast (not that I’m complaining!), which I don’t think they would really have done in the past.
    I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?) Poor John, she teased him for so long time! An excellent love story, especially because it was true.

    Reply
  41. Lindsey wrote: “The hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality. Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.”
    This is totally true (or at least it should be!) I know it’s an old cliche, but I like a hero who really does feel “it’s never been like this before” vs. endless sexual acrobatics with the heroine. It’s incredibly hard to write well without making the hero sound like a wuss, but when it works, it REALLY works. *g*
    As Loretta says, it has to be part of the character — or a dramatic change in the character. Tacked on, it rings false with a THUD.

    Reply
  42. Lindsey wrote: “The hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality. Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.”
    This is totally true (or at least it should be!) I know it’s an old cliche, but I like a hero who really does feel “it’s never been like this before” vs. endless sexual acrobatics with the heroine. It’s incredibly hard to write well without making the hero sound like a wuss, but when it works, it REALLY works. *g*
    As Loretta says, it has to be part of the character — or a dramatic change in the character. Tacked on, it rings false with a THUD.

    Reply
  43. Lindsey wrote: “The hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality. Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.”
    This is totally true (or at least it should be!) I know it’s an old cliche, but I like a hero who really does feel “it’s never been like this before” vs. endless sexual acrobatics with the heroine. It’s incredibly hard to write well without making the hero sound like a wuss, but when it works, it REALLY works. *g*
    As Loretta says, it has to be part of the character — or a dramatic change in the character. Tacked on, it rings false with a THUD.

    Reply
  44. Lindsey wrote: “The hero gets to be the one to finally awaken the heroine to her sexuality. Heroes usually get a kind of of awakening as well – to the pleasure of sex that has an emotional component.”
    This is totally true (or at least it should be!) I know it’s an old cliche, but I like a hero who really does feel “it’s never been like this before” vs. endless sexual acrobatics with the heroine. It’s incredibly hard to write well without making the hero sound like a wuss, but when it works, it REALLY works. *g*
    As Loretta says, it has to be part of the character — or a dramatic change in the character. Tacked on, it rings false with a THUD.

    Reply
  45. Seton – Judith Ivory’s characters are marvelous, and you’re right, you never know quite what to expect. To me her books always seem to have “adult” characters — which has nothing to do with their ages. I like characters who consider their actions and the consequences, even if they decide to act impulsively. It makes their “world” more real. Though I haven’t read Sleeping Beauty in years, I remember it as an incredibly sexy book because of the tension between the hero and heroine. Lots of . . . simmering.
    Loretta, my harlot was fun to write because she was a harlot by her choice. Lady Castlemaine wasn’t forced by circumstances or poverty. She liked sex, she liked men, and she liked both the attention and the rewards it earned her. She changes in the course of her life, but she never repents, which is why I really enjoyed her.
    Though I hate how Lady C. gets slapped with the “nymphomaniac” label by so many modern historians. It’s such a double-standard word: promiscuous men are gallants, rogues, rakes, all rather dashing; women are sluts, whores, and nymphos, not dashing in the least. Oh, well…..

    Reply
  46. Seton – Judith Ivory’s characters are marvelous, and you’re right, you never know quite what to expect. To me her books always seem to have “adult” characters — which has nothing to do with their ages. I like characters who consider their actions and the consequences, even if they decide to act impulsively. It makes their “world” more real. Though I haven’t read Sleeping Beauty in years, I remember it as an incredibly sexy book because of the tension between the hero and heroine. Lots of . . . simmering.
    Loretta, my harlot was fun to write because she was a harlot by her choice. Lady Castlemaine wasn’t forced by circumstances or poverty. She liked sex, she liked men, and she liked both the attention and the rewards it earned her. She changes in the course of her life, but she never repents, which is why I really enjoyed her.
    Though I hate how Lady C. gets slapped with the “nymphomaniac” label by so many modern historians. It’s such a double-standard word: promiscuous men are gallants, rogues, rakes, all rather dashing; women are sluts, whores, and nymphos, not dashing in the least. Oh, well…..

    Reply
  47. Seton – Judith Ivory’s characters are marvelous, and you’re right, you never know quite what to expect. To me her books always seem to have “adult” characters — which has nothing to do with their ages. I like characters who consider their actions and the consequences, even if they decide to act impulsively. It makes their “world” more real. Though I haven’t read Sleeping Beauty in years, I remember it as an incredibly sexy book because of the tension between the hero and heroine. Lots of . . . simmering.
    Loretta, my harlot was fun to write because she was a harlot by her choice. Lady Castlemaine wasn’t forced by circumstances or poverty. She liked sex, she liked men, and she liked both the attention and the rewards it earned her. She changes in the course of her life, but she never repents, which is why I really enjoyed her.
    Though I hate how Lady C. gets slapped with the “nymphomaniac” label by so many modern historians. It’s such a double-standard word: promiscuous men are gallants, rogues, rakes, all rather dashing; women are sluts, whores, and nymphos, not dashing in the least. Oh, well…..

    Reply
  48. Seton – Judith Ivory’s characters are marvelous, and you’re right, you never know quite what to expect. To me her books always seem to have “adult” characters — which has nothing to do with their ages. I like characters who consider their actions and the consequences, even if they decide to act impulsively. It makes their “world” more real. Though I haven’t read Sleeping Beauty in years, I remember it as an incredibly sexy book because of the tension between the hero and heroine. Lots of . . . simmering.
    Loretta, my harlot was fun to write because she was a harlot by her choice. Lady Castlemaine wasn’t forced by circumstances or poverty. She liked sex, she liked men, and she liked both the attention and the rewards it earned her. She changes in the course of her life, but she never repents, which is why I really enjoyed her.
    Though I hate how Lady C. gets slapped with the “nymphomaniac” label by so many modern historians. It’s such a double-standard word: promiscuous men are gallants, rogues, rakes, all rather dashing; women are sluts, whores, and nymphos, not dashing in the least. Oh, well…..

    Reply
  49. Literature has never been kind to experienced women.
    Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?) and even earlier, the Sirens, Circe, and then Cleopatra, Lucretia Borgia, Madam Bovary, the wicked stepmother in a hundred fairy tales, and etc, etc, etc. They are all lascivious enchantresses and general no-goods.
    But maybe that’s because, historically, so many men were actually terrified of a woman who knew what she wanted.
    (I hope that’s “historically!”)

    Reply
  50. Literature has never been kind to experienced women.
    Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?) and even earlier, the Sirens, Circe, and then Cleopatra, Lucretia Borgia, Madam Bovary, the wicked stepmother in a hundred fairy tales, and etc, etc, etc. They are all lascivious enchantresses and general no-goods.
    But maybe that’s because, historically, so many men were actually terrified of a woman who knew what she wanted.
    (I hope that’s “historically!”)

    Reply
  51. Literature has never been kind to experienced women.
    Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?) and even earlier, the Sirens, Circe, and then Cleopatra, Lucretia Borgia, Madam Bovary, the wicked stepmother in a hundred fairy tales, and etc, etc, etc. They are all lascivious enchantresses and general no-goods.
    But maybe that’s because, historically, so many men were actually terrified of a woman who knew what she wanted.
    (I hope that’s “historically!”)

    Reply
  52. Literature has never been kind to experienced women.
    Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?) and even earlier, the Sirens, Circe, and then Cleopatra, Lucretia Borgia, Madam Bovary, the wicked stepmother in a hundred fairy tales, and etc, etc, etc. They are all lascivious enchantresses and general no-goods.
    But maybe that’s because, historically, so many men were actually terrified of a woman who knew what she wanted.
    (I hope that’s “historically!”)

    Reply
  53. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  54. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  55. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  56. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  57. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  58. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  59. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  60. Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparently.
    I like Madeline Hunter’s more realistic first times, too.

    Reply
  61. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Loretta may mean Veils of Silk, where the hero has to accept that he's impotent as a result of torture when he was in captivity. Poor fellow! Of course, that was the beginning of the book. A lot happened by the end. 🙂 In my recent fantasy, Stolen Magic, the hero turns out to be a virgin, though he's not particularly young and certainly not innocent. It was only a minor point, put in to illustrate that his great psychic sensitivity (among other reasons) made it impossible for him to have casual sex. The experienced hero who makes everything PERFECT is a powerful fantasy, but I must admit that I like seeing variations. Mary Jo

    Reply
  62. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Loretta may mean Veils of Silk, where the hero has to accept that he's impotent as a result of torture when he was in captivity. Poor fellow! Of course, that was the beginning of the book. A lot happened by the end. 🙂 In my recent fantasy, Stolen Magic, the hero turns out to be a virgin, though he's not particularly young and certainly not innocent. It was only a minor point, put in to illustrate that his great psychic sensitivity (among other reasons) made it impossible for him to have casual sex. The experienced hero who makes everything PERFECT is a powerful fantasy, but I must admit that I like seeing variations. Mary Jo

    Reply
  63. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Loretta may mean Veils of Silk, where the hero has to accept that he's impotent as a result of torture when he was in captivity. Poor fellow! Of course, that was the beginning of the book. A lot happened by the end. 🙂 In my recent fantasy, Stolen Magic, the hero turns out to be a virgin, though he's not particularly young and certainly not innocent. It was only a minor point, put in to illustrate that his great psychic sensitivity (among other reasons) made it impossible for him to have casual sex. The experienced hero who makes everything PERFECT is a powerful fantasy, but I must admit that I like seeing variations. Mary Jo

    Reply
  64. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Loretta may mean Veils of Silk, where the hero has to accept that he's impotent as a result of torture when he was in captivity. Poor fellow! Of course, that was the beginning of the book. A lot happened by the end. 🙂 In my recent fantasy, Stolen Magic, the hero turns out to be a virgin, though he's not particularly young and certainly not innocent. It was only a minor point, put in to illustrate that his great psychic sensitivity (among other reasons) made it impossible for him to have casual sex. The experienced hero who makes everything PERFECT is a powerful fantasy, but I must admit that I like seeing variations. Mary Jo

    Reply
  65. Two more Virgin Heroes (though their heroines aren’t experienced women): Carla Kelly’s Dr. Anthony Cook in “Libby’s London Merchant” and Kinley McGregor’s Sin in “Born in Sin.”
    In “Libby’s London Merchant,” the hero’s virginity does become an important plot point. The heroine, Libby, has to choose between 2 offers of marriage–one from bumbly Dr. Cook and one from a charming but rakish Duke. Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”

    Reply
  66. Two more Virgin Heroes (though their heroines aren’t experienced women): Carla Kelly’s Dr. Anthony Cook in “Libby’s London Merchant” and Kinley McGregor’s Sin in “Born in Sin.”
    In “Libby’s London Merchant,” the hero’s virginity does become an important plot point. The heroine, Libby, has to choose between 2 offers of marriage–one from bumbly Dr. Cook and one from a charming but rakish Duke. Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”

    Reply
  67. Two more Virgin Heroes (though their heroines aren’t experienced women): Carla Kelly’s Dr. Anthony Cook in “Libby’s London Merchant” and Kinley McGregor’s Sin in “Born in Sin.”
    In “Libby’s London Merchant,” the hero’s virginity does become an important plot point. The heroine, Libby, has to choose between 2 offers of marriage–one from bumbly Dr. Cook and one from a charming but rakish Duke. Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”

    Reply
  68. Two more Virgin Heroes (though their heroines aren’t experienced women): Carla Kelly’s Dr. Anthony Cook in “Libby’s London Merchant” and Kinley McGregor’s Sin in “Born in Sin.”
    In “Libby’s London Merchant,” the hero’s virginity does become an important plot point. The heroine, Libby, has to choose between 2 offers of marriage–one from bumbly Dr. Cook and one from a charming but rakish Duke. Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”

    Reply
  69. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Politely butting in but I believe you may be referring to Mary Jo Putney's short story "Wedding of the Century" which had to make use of a LOT of lotion

    Reply
  70. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Politely butting in but I believe you may be referring to Mary Jo Putney's short story "Wedding of the Century" which had to make use of a LOT of lotion

    Reply
  71. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Politely butting in but I believe you may be referring to Mary Jo Putney's short story "Wedding of the Century" which had to make use of a LOT of lotion

    Reply
  72. >>As to the non-perfect wedding night/first time, I definitely remember Mary Jo doing one of these.<< Politely butting in but I believe you may be referring to Mary Jo Putney's short story "Wedding of the Century" which had to make use of a LOT of lotion

    Reply
  73. >>Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparentl>>
    Right on, Wendy! That was TO WED A STRANGER,
    But then, I never like rhapsodic first time sex. Mind, there are some women who say it’s possible. I’ve heard them say it. But first time sex is usually ultimately disappointing, for men and women! There are surveys that say it!
    Still, Romance is Fantasy, when you get right down to it. Or at least when your characters do.
    Love cannot always conquer all. Imagination, love, caring, and practice, can conquer all, in time.

    Reply
  74. >>Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparentl>>
    Right on, Wendy! That was TO WED A STRANGER,
    But then, I never like rhapsodic first time sex. Mind, there are some women who say it’s possible. I’ve heard them say it. But first time sex is usually ultimately disappointing, for men and women! There are surveys that say it!
    Still, Romance is Fantasy, when you get right down to it. Or at least when your characters do.
    Love cannot always conquer all. Imagination, love, caring, and practice, can conquer all, in time.

    Reply
  75. >>Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparentl>>
    Right on, Wendy! That was TO WED A STRANGER,
    But then, I never like rhapsodic first time sex. Mind, there are some women who say it’s possible. I’ve heard them say it. But first time sex is usually ultimately disappointing, for men and women! There are surveys that say it!
    Still, Romance is Fantasy, when you get right down to it. Or at least when your characters do.
    Love cannot always conquer all. Imagination, love, caring, and practice, can conquer all, in time.

    Reply
  76. >>Edith Layton did a nice marriage story that started out disappointing in the bedroom… damn, what was that called, something about wedding a stranger? Which of course was the whole point, sex with someone you barely know is not generally very fulfilling, and Regency couples often barely knew each other when they got married, apparentl>>
    Right on, Wendy! That was TO WED A STRANGER,
    But then, I never like rhapsodic first time sex. Mind, there are some women who say it’s possible. I’ve heard them say it. But first time sex is usually ultimately disappointing, for men and women! There are surveys that say it!
    Still, Romance is Fantasy, when you get right down to it. Or at least when your characters do.
    Love cannot always conquer all. Imagination, love, caring, and practice, can conquer all, in time.

    Reply
  77. RevMelinda writes:”Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”
    Awww, that alone makes me want to read this book! *g*
    Mary Jo, now that you remind me, I do remember your poor hero in “Veils of Silk.” But as I recall, he eventually, ahem, recovered. And the “Stolen Magic” hero is a great example of weaving the reasons for a hero’s virginity into his character, and the story.
    And yes, Edith, history & literature are generally not kind to women of experience. (As a “woman of appetites”, Lady C. was called “the great imperial whore”, and viewed as a genuine threat to England’s national security!) They were mighty scary, those women; they might actually have known MORE than the men, and we can’t have that, can we? *g*

    Reply
  78. RevMelinda writes:”Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”
    Awww, that alone makes me want to read this book! *g*
    Mary Jo, now that you remind me, I do remember your poor hero in “Veils of Silk.” But as I recall, he eventually, ahem, recovered. And the “Stolen Magic” hero is a great example of weaving the reasons for a hero’s virginity into his character, and the story.
    And yes, Edith, history & literature are generally not kind to women of experience. (As a “woman of appetites”, Lady C. was called “the great imperial whore”, and viewed as a genuine threat to England’s national security!) They were mighty scary, those women; they might actually have known MORE than the men, and we can’t have that, can we? *g*

    Reply
  79. RevMelinda writes:”Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”
    Awww, that alone makes me want to read this book! *g*
    Mary Jo, now that you remind me, I do remember your poor hero in “Veils of Silk.” But as I recall, he eventually, ahem, recovered. And the “Stolen Magic” hero is a great example of weaving the reasons for a hero’s virginity into his character, and the story.
    And yes, Edith, history & literature are generally not kind to women of experience. (As a “woman of appetites”, Lady C. was called “the great imperial whore”, and viewed as a genuine threat to England’s national security!) They were mighty scary, those women; they might actually have known MORE than the men, and we can’t have that, can we? *g*

    Reply
  80. RevMelinda writes:”Dr. Cook confesses to her that he is a virgin; the Duke confesses that he isn’t; and Libby chooses Dr. Cook because he has offered her “his whole self.”
    Awww, that alone makes me want to read this book! *g*
    Mary Jo, now that you remind me, I do remember your poor hero in “Veils of Silk.” But as I recall, he eventually, ahem, recovered. And the “Stolen Magic” hero is a great example of weaving the reasons for a hero’s virginity into his character, and the story.
    And yes, Edith, history & literature are generally not kind to women of experience. (As a “woman of appetites”, Lady C. was called “the great imperial whore”, and viewed as a genuine threat to England’s national security!) They were mighty scary, those women; they might actually have known MORE than the men, and we can’t have that, can we? *g*

    Reply
  81. Two other Wench departures from the conventional come to mind. Catherine Melbourne in Mary Jo’s Shattered Rainbows is one example of a heroine who certainly found her first sexual experiences painful. One of my all-time favorite love scenes is Michael’s careful seduction of Catherine. And Laura Gardeyne, the heroine in Jo’s Skylark, clearly misses the physical pleasures of marriage even though her husband was a far from ideal mate.
    Another convention-defying heroine is Fabienne Argonac Craigmont in Janet Mullany’s Dedication, which got a lot of buzz last year. Not only is she an experienced woman, but she also found her husband a better lover than the young rake who seduced her and broke her heart.

    Reply
  82. Two other Wench departures from the conventional come to mind. Catherine Melbourne in Mary Jo’s Shattered Rainbows is one example of a heroine who certainly found her first sexual experiences painful. One of my all-time favorite love scenes is Michael’s careful seduction of Catherine. And Laura Gardeyne, the heroine in Jo’s Skylark, clearly misses the physical pleasures of marriage even though her husband was a far from ideal mate.
    Another convention-defying heroine is Fabienne Argonac Craigmont in Janet Mullany’s Dedication, which got a lot of buzz last year. Not only is she an experienced woman, but she also found her husband a better lover than the young rake who seduced her and broke her heart.

    Reply
  83. Two other Wench departures from the conventional come to mind. Catherine Melbourne in Mary Jo’s Shattered Rainbows is one example of a heroine who certainly found her first sexual experiences painful. One of my all-time favorite love scenes is Michael’s careful seduction of Catherine. And Laura Gardeyne, the heroine in Jo’s Skylark, clearly misses the physical pleasures of marriage even though her husband was a far from ideal mate.
    Another convention-defying heroine is Fabienne Argonac Craigmont in Janet Mullany’s Dedication, which got a lot of buzz last year. Not only is she an experienced woman, but she also found her husband a better lover than the young rake who seduced her and broke her heart.

    Reply
  84. Two other Wench departures from the conventional come to mind. Catherine Melbourne in Mary Jo’s Shattered Rainbows is one example of a heroine who certainly found her first sexual experiences painful. One of my all-time favorite love scenes is Michael’s careful seduction of Catherine. And Laura Gardeyne, the heroine in Jo’s Skylark, clearly misses the physical pleasures of marriage even though her husband was a far from ideal mate.
    Another convention-defying heroine is Fabienne Argonac Craigmont in Janet Mullany’s Dedication, which got a lot of buzz last year. Not only is she an experienced woman, but she also found her husband a better lover than the young rake who seduced her and broke her heart.

    Reply
  85. I KNEW you all would come up with lots of book ideas — though I’d no idea there’d be so many Wench-books represented.
    Queen Bee wrote: “I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?)”
    First, thank you for your kind words for DUCHESS! As for John’s & Sarah’s wedding night — no, not even Sarah left a description of that (though some of their other love scenes are drawn directly from the letters she and John wrote back and forth while they were apart.) But given the fervor of their love letters both before and after the wedding, my guess was that it was a pretty satisfying experience for them both. (Besides, though Sarah would never have admitted it, I imagine John learned a thing or two from Lady Castlemaine.)
    And yes, the Churchills were quite a real-life love story, esp. in an era and court where fidelity wasn’t highly prized.

    Reply
  86. I KNEW you all would come up with lots of book ideas — though I’d no idea there’d be so many Wench-books represented.
    Queen Bee wrote: “I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?)”
    First, thank you for your kind words for DUCHESS! As for John’s & Sarah’s wedding night — no, not even Sarah left a description of that (though some of their other love scenes are drawn directly from the letters she and John wrote back and forth while they were apart.) But given the fervor of their love letters both before and after the wedding, my guess was that it was a pretty satisfying experience for them both. (Besides, though Sarah would never have admitted it, I imagine John learned a thing or two from Lady Castlemaine.)
    And yes, the Churchills were quite a real-life love story, esp. in an era and court where fidelity wasn’t highly prized.

    Reply
  87. I KNEW you all would come up with lots of book ideas — though I’d no idea there’d be so many Wench-books represented.
    Queen Bee wrote: “I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?)”
    First, thank you for your kind words for DUCHESS! As for John’s & Sarah’s wedding night — no, not even Sarah left a description of that (though some of their other love scenes are drawn directly from the letters she and John wrote back and forth while they were apart.) But given the fervor of their love letters both before and after the wedding, my guess was that it was a pretty satisfying experience for them both. (Besides, though Sarah would never have admitted it, I imagine John learned a thing or two from Lady Castlemaine.)
    And yes, the Churchills were quite a real-life love story, esp. in an era and court where fidelity wasn’t highly prized.

    Reply
  88. I KNEW you all would come up with lots of book ideas — though I’d no idea there’d be so many Wench-books represented.
    Queen Bee wrote: “I was glad you let Sarah enjoy her wedding night with John (or was that mentioned in her autobiography, too?)”
    First, thank you for your kind words for DUCHESS! As for John’s & Sarah’s wedding night — no, not even Sarah left a description of that (though some of their other love scenes are drawn directly from the letters she and John wrote back and forth while they were apart.) But given the fervor of their love letters both before and after the wedding, my guess was that it was a pretty satisfying experience for them both. (Besides, though Sarah would never have admitted it, I imagine John learned a thing or two from Lady Castlemaine.)
    And yes, the Churchills were quite a real-life love story, esp. in an era and court where fidelity wasn’t highly prized.

    Reply
  89. Susan/Miranda asked… “Is virginity the ultimate “gift” to the man the heroine loves –– proof that he’s the only one for her, ever? Is it a sign of her loyalty even before she’s met him?”
    No, I don’t think it’s a sign of loyalty to him. I think it’s a sign of loyalty to herself, evidence of a strong self-steam and proper understanding of one’s value. It’s not about waiting until you’re married. It’s about waiting until you’ve found a man worthy of the gift. Which, of course, would be the man you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
    Jumping off the soap box…. like Queen Bee I like smart virgin heroines. Just because she hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she needs to be ignorant of it, nor of a man’s body. I have trouble with heroines who’ve never had a sexual thought in their life all of a sudden becoming horny… and they don’t know why. IMHO, there’s too much life and nature too be that ignorant. Never mind the copious amounts of nude to erotic art painted during the 18th century. In truth, it’s hard to connect with someone who’s that unobservant.
    That’s why I really liked MJ’s heroine in THE WILD CHILD. She consciously made the mental equate between nature and man. And thus w/o being taught ‘the birds and the bees’, she seduced her man. Quite admirably, I might add.
    You really made me think today, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.
    Nina

    Reply
  90. Susan/Miranda asked… “Is virginity the ultimate “gift” to the man the heroine loves –– proof that he’s the only one for her, ever? Is it a sign of her loyalty even before she’s met him?”
    No, I don’t think it’s a sign of loyalty to him. I think it’s a sign of loyalty to herself, evidence of a strong self-steam and proper understanding of one’s value. It’s not about waiting until you’re married. It’s about waiting until you’ve found a man worthy of the gift. Which, of course, would be the man you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
    Jumping off the soap box…. like Queen Bee I like smart virgin heroines. Just because she hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she needs to be ignorant of it, nor of a man’s body. I have trouble with heroines who’ve never had a sexual thought in their life all of a sudden becoming horny… and they don’t know why. IMHO, there’s too much life and nature too be that ignorant. Never mind the copious amounts of nude to erotic art painted during the 18th century. In truth, it’s hard to connect with someone who’s that unobservant.
    That’s why I really liked MJ’s heroine in THE WILD CHILD. She consciously made the mental equate between nature and man. And thus w/o being taught ‘the birds and the bees’, she seduced her man. Quite admirably, I might add.
    You really made me think today, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.
    Nina

    Reply
  91. Susan/Miranda asked… “Is virginity the ultimate “gift” to the man the heroine loves –– proof that he’s the only one for her, ever? Is it a sign of her loyalty even before she’s met him?”
    No, I don’t think it’s a sign of loyalty to him. I think it’s a sign of loyalty to herself, evidence of a strong self-steam and proper understanding of one’s value. It’s not about waiting until you’re married. It’s about waiting until you’ve found a man worthy of the gift. Which, of course, would be the man you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
    Jumping off the soap box…. like Queen Bee I like smart virgin heroines. Just because she hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she needs to be ignorant of it, nor of a man’s body. I have trouble with heroines who’ve never had a sexual thought in their life all of a sudden becoming horny… and they don’t know why. IMHO, there’s too much life and nature too be that ignorant. Never mind the copious amounts of nude to erotic art painted during the 18th century. In truth, it’s hard to connect with someone who’s that unobservant.
    That’s why I really liked MJ’s heroine in THE WILD CHILD. She consciously made the mental equate between nature and man. And thus w/o being taught ‘the birds and the bees’, she seduced her man. Quite admirably, I might add.
    You really made me think today, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.
    Nina

    Reply
  92. Susan/Miranda asked… “Is virginity the ultimate “gift” to the man the heroine loves –– proof that he’s the only one for her, ever? Is it a sign of her loyalty even before she’s met him?”
    No, I don’t think it’s a sign of loyalty to him. I think it’s a sign of loyalty to herself, evidence of a strong self-steam and proper understanding of one’s value. It’s not about waiting until you’re married. It’s about waiting until you’ve found a man worthy of the gift. Which, of course, would be the man you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.
    Jumping off the soap box…. like Queen Bee I like smart virgin heroines. Just because she hasn’t had sex doesn’t mean she needs to be ignorant of it, nor of a man’s body. I have trouble with heroines who’ve never had a sexual thought in their life all of a sudden becoming horny… and they don’t know why. IMHO, there’s too much life and nature too be that ignorant. Never mind the copious amounts of nude to erotic art painted during the 18th century. In truth, it’s hard to connect with someone who’s that unobservant.
    That’s why I really liked MJ’s heroine in THE WILD CHILD. She consciously made the mental equate between nature and man. And thus w/o being taught ‘the birds and the bees’, she seduced her man. Quite admirably, I might add.
    You really made me think today, Susan/Miranda. Thanks.
    Nina

    Reply
  93. Francois wrote “It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.”
    LOL Francois! This is EXACTLY what went through my mind when I met my husband for the first time. I wondered, “why is this man 33 and single–what’s wrong with him?” Actually, he was terrific, and there was a simple answer–he was divorced. BTW, he was stunned to find that I was 25 and–er–inexperienced, which was a new experience for him! (Maybe this is why I like romance novels. . .they’re Just Like Real Life . . .smile.) (I’d better hurry and post this before I get too embarrassed.)

    Reply
  94. Francois wrote “It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.”
    LOL Francois! This is EXACTLY what went through my mind when I met my husband for the first time. I wondered, “why is this man 33 and single–what’s wrong with him?” Actually, he was terrific, and there was a simple answer–he was divorced. BTW, he was stunned to find that I was 25 and–er–inexperienced, which was a new experience for him! (Maybe this is why I like romance novels. . .they’re Just Like Real Life . . .smile.) (I’d better hurry and post this before I get too embarrassed.)

    Reply
  95. Francois wrote “It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.”
    LOL Francois! This is EXACTLY what went through my mind when I met my husband for the first time. I wondered, “why is this man 33 and single–what’s wrong with him?” Actually, he was terrific, and there was a simple answer–he was divorced. BTW, he was stunned to find that I was 25 and–er–inexperienced, which was a new experience for him! (Maybe this is why I like romance novels. . .they’re Just Like Real Life . . .smile.) (I’d better hurry and post this before I get too embarrassed.)

    Reply
  96. Francois wrote “It seems terribly odd to have a 40 year old bachelor and not wonder why on earth they are still single. The usual answer seems to be some sort of trauma or mental illness. At any rate they don’t seem much of a catch, unless the heroine is equally demented.”
    LOL Francois! This is EXACTLY what went through my mind when I met my husband for the first time. I wondered, “why is this man 33 and single–what’s wrong with him?” Actually, he was terrific, and there was a simple answer–he was divorced. BTW, he was stunned to find that I was 25 and–er–inexperienced, which was a new experience for him! (Maybe this is why I like romance novels. . .they’re Just Like Real Life . . .smile.) (I’d better hurry and post this before I get too embarrassed.)

    Reply
  97. I only dislike the plethora of virginal/innocent heroines solely because books make such a big deal out of it(as someone mentioned, they sure do give it up quickly), and it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.
    But fear not, I adore all of Charles II’s mistresses–especially Barbara Castlemaine–and will be first in line to pick up Royal Harlot when it’s released.

    Reply
  98. I only dislike the plethora of virginal/innocent heroines solely because books make such a big deal out of it(as someone mentioned, they sure do give it up quickly), and it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.
    But fear not, I adore all of Charles II’s mistresses–especially Barbara Castlemaine–and will be first in line to pick up Royal Harlot when it’s released.

    Reply
  99. I only dislike the plethora of virginal/innocent heroines solely because books make such a big deal out of it(as someone mentioned, they sure do give it up quickly), and it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.
    But fear not, I adore all of Charles II’s mistresses–especially Barbara Castlemaine–and will be first in line to pick up Royal Harlot when it’s released.

    Reply
  100. I only dislike the plethora of virginal/innocent heroines solely because books make such a big deal out of it(as someone mentioned, they sure do give it up quickly), and it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.
    But fear not, I adore all of Charles II’s mistresses–especially Barbara Castlemaine–and will be first in line to pick up Royal Harlot when it’s released.

    Reply
  101. Did I miss a mention of Julia Ross’s GAMES OF PLEASURE? You can add that one to the list.
    Personally, I’m sick to death of virgins and women who’ve only had bad sex up until they meet the hero. I don’t want to read about them, and I sure don’t want to write about them. LOL!

    Reply
  102. Did I miss a mention of Julia Ross’s GAMES OF PLEASURE? You can add that one to the list.
    Personally, I’m sick to death of virgins and women who’ve only had bad sex up until they meet the hero. I don’t want to read about them, and I sure don’t want to write about them. LOL!

    Reply
  103. Did I miss a mention of Julia Ross’s GAMES OF PLEASURE? You can add that one to the list.
    Personally, I’m sick to death of virgins and women who’ve only had bad sex up until they meet the hero. I don’t want to read about them, and I sure don’t want to write about them. LOL!

    Reply
  104. Did I miss a mention of Julia Ross’s GAMES OF PLEASURE? You can add that one to the list.
    Personally, I’m sick to death of virgins and women who’ve only had bad sex up until they meet the hero. I don’t want to read about them, and I sure don’t want to write about them. LOL!

    Reply
  105. Camilla wrote: “it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.”
    LOL, Camilla! I agree; it’s a nice fantasy, and I’m sure it does happen sometimes, but alas, probably just as often doesn’t. Also, depending on the skill of the writer, it can sometimes come across as a creepy cure, like those awful “experts” who maintained that sex with a virgin would cure veneral disease.
    Glad you’re looking forward to Lady Castlemaine! As much as I love the mistresses, too, (I better, if I’m writing about them so much *g*), I have to admit my real admiration is for Charles. Even over the centuries, he is quite a charmer, and even if he weren’t king, I can understand why so many women of every rank fell in love with him.
    Kalen, I agree with you, too. Maybe it’s my age showing (*g*), but on the whole I think the heroines who’ve had a few more experiences in life (sexual and otherwise) are the more interesting ones both to read and write about.

    Reply
  106. Camilla wrote: “it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.”
    LOL, Camilla! I agree; it’s a nice fantasy, and I’m sure it does happen sometimes, but alas, probably just as often doesn’t. Also, depending on the skill of the writer, it can sometimes come across as a creepy cure, like those awful “experts” who maintained that sex with a virgin would cure veneral disease.
    Glad you’re looking forward to Lady Castlemaine! As much as I love the mistresses, too, (I better, if I’m writing about them so much *g*), I have to admit my real admiration is for Charles. Even over the centuries, he is quite a charmer, and even if he weren’t king, I can understand why so many women of every rank fell in love with him.
    Kalen, I agree with you, too. Maybe it’s my age showing (*g*), but on the whole I think the heroines who’ve had a few more experiences in life (sexual and otherwise) are the more interesting ones both to read and write about.

    Reply
  107. Camilla wrote: “it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.”
    LOL, Camilla! I agree; it’s a nice fantasy, and I’m sure it does happen sometimes, but alas, probably just as often doesn’t. Also, depending on the skill of the writer, it can sometimes come across as a creepy cure, like those awful “experts” who maintained that sex with a virgin would cure veneral disease.
    Glad you’re looking forward to Lady Castlemaine! As much as I love the mistresses, too, (I better, if I’m writing about them so much *g*), I have to admit my real admiration is for Charles. Even over the centuries, he is quite a charmer, and even if he weren’t king, I can understand why so many women of every rank fell in love with him.
    Kalen, I agree with you, too. Maybe it’s my age showing (*g*), but on the whole I think the heroines who’ve had a few more experiences in life (sexual and otherwise) are the more interesting ones both to read and write about.

    Reply
  108. Camilla wrote: “it irritates me that the so-called rakehell hero is always
    “cured” of his tomcat ways by bedding a virgin. BLECH.”
    LOL, Camilla! I agree; it’s a nice fantasy, and I’m sure it does happen sometimes, but alas, probably just as often doesn’t. Also, depending on the skill of the writer, it can sometimes come across as a creepy cure, like those awful “experts” who maintained that sex with a virgin would cure veneral disease.
    Glad you’re looking forward to Lady Castlemaine! As much as I love the mistresses, too, (I better, if I’m writing about them so much *g*), I have to admit my real admiration is for Charles. Even over the centuries, he is quite a charmer, and even if he weren’t king, I can understand why so many women of every rank fell in love with him.
    Kalen, I agree with you, too. Maybe it’s my age showing (*g*), but on the whole I think the heroines who’ve had a few more experiences in life (sexual and otherwise) are the more interesting ones both to read and write about.

    Reply
  109. Edith wrote: Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?)
    No, Samson wasn’t a virgin before Delilah. He had a penchant for walking on the wild side. In Judges 14 he saw a Philistine woman he wanted and married her, but it didn’t turn out well. In Judges 16 he consorted with a prostitute. After that he fell in love with Delilah and we know how that turned out.

    Reply
  110. Edith wrote: Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?)
    No, Samson wasn’t a virgin before Delilah. He had a penchant for walking on the wild side. In Judges 14 he saw a Philistine woman he wanted and married her, but it didn’t turn out well. In Judges 16 he consorted with a prostitute. After that he fell in love with Delilah and we know how that turned out.

    Reply
  111. Edith wrote: Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?)
    No, Samson wasn’t a virgin before Delilah. He had a penchant for walking on the wild side. In Judges 14 he saw a Philistine woman he wanted and married her, but it didn’t turn out well. In Judges 16 he consorted with a prostitute. After that he fell in love with Delilah and we know how that turned out.

    Reply
  112. Edith wrote: Take Delila (hmm, was Samson a virgin hero?)
    No, Samson wasn’t a virgin before Delilah. He had a penchant for walking on the wild side. In Judges 14 he saw a Philistine woman he wanted and married her, but it didn’t turn out well. In Judges 16 he consorted with a prostitute. After that he fell in love with Delilah and we know how that turned out.

    Reply
  113. Susan, Mary Jo Putney alerted me to your kind mentions of My Lady Scandalous, the biography I wrote of the celebrated courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott, and of my last Regency romance, Seducing Mr. Heywood. The latter almost didn’t get published because, I was told, readers did not want to read about experienced women and inexperienced men. So much for that! Lady Sophia, the fictional heroine, has a bit in common with the real-life Grace Elliott. Both were uncommonly smart and beautiful women to whom life had not always been kind.
    Thanks again, Jo

    Reply
  114. Susan, Mary Jo Putney alerted me to your kind mentions of My Lady Scandalous, the biography I wrote of the celebrated courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott, and of my last Regency romance, Seducing Mr. Heywood. The latter almost didn’t get published because, I was told, readers did not want to read about experienced women and inexperienced men. So much for that! Lady Sophia, the fictional heroine, has a bit in common with the real-life Grace Elliott. Both were uncommonly smart and beautiful women to whom life had not always been kind.
    Thanks again, Jo

    Reply
  115. Susan, Mary Jo Putney alerted me to your kind mentions of My Lady Scandalous, the biography I wrote of the celebrated courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott, and of my last Regency romance, Seducing Mr. Heywood. The latter almost didn’t get published because, I was told, readers did not want to read about experienced women and inexperienced men. So much for that! Lady Sophia, the fictional heroine, has a bit in common with the real-life Grace Elliott. Both were uncommonly smart and beautiful women to whom life had not always been kind.
    Thanks again, Jo

    Reply
  116. Susan, Mary Jo Putney alerted me to your kind mentions of My Lady Scandalous, the biography I wrote of the celebrated courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott, and of my last Regency romance, Seducing Mr. Heywood. The latter almost didn’t get published because, I was told, readers did not want to read about experienced women and inexperienced men. So much for that! Lady Sophia, the fictional heroine, has a bit in common with the real-life Grace Elliott. Both were uncommonly smart and beautiful women to whom life had not always been kind.
    Thanks again, Jo

    Reply
  117. (Forgive me if this repeats; Typepad made my first version disappear, so I’m trying to recreate it.)
    Thank you, Jo, for the wonderful biography of Grace. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in late 18th century English society — not only do you give a good telling of Grace’s life, but also the times in which she lived, with lots and LOTS of photographs and illustrations. I’d always wondered what the 18th century condoms looked like, and lo and behold, there they are. *g*
    And if I wasn’t already predisposed to like this book because of Mary Jo’s glowing reccommendation, I would have bought it because of Grace’s face on the cover. I’ve always loved that portrait, and if there was ever a deserving “cover girl”, it’s Grace.

    Reply
  118. (Forgive me if this repeats; Typepad made my first version disappear, so I’m trying to recreate it.)
    Thank you, Jo, for the wonderful biography of Grace. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in late 18th century English society — not only do you give a good telling of Grace’s life, but also the times in which she lived, with lots and LOTS of photographs and illustrations. I’d always wondered what the 18th century condoms looked like, and lo and behold, there they are. *g*
    And if I wasn’t already predisposed to like this book because of Mary Jo’s glowing reccommendation, I would have bought it because of Grace’s face on the cover. I’ve always loved that portrait, and if there was ever a deserving “cover girl”, it’s Grace.

    Reply
  119. (Forgive me if this repeats; Typepad made my first version disappear, so I’m trying to recreate it.)
    Thank you, Jo, for the wonderful biography of Grace. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in late 18th century English society — not only do you give a good telling of Grace’s life, but also the times in which she lived, with lots and LOTS of photographs and illustrations. I’d always wondered what the 18th century condoms looked like, and lo and behold, there they are. *g*
    And if I wasn’t already predisposed to like this book because of Mary Jo’s glowing reccommendation, I would have bought it because of Grace’s face on the cover. I’ve always loved that portrait, and if there was ever a deserving “cover girl”, it’s Grace.

    Reply
  120. (Forgive me if this repeats; Typepad made my first version disappear, so I’m trying to recreate it.)
    Thank you, Jo, for the wonderful biography of Grace. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in late 18th century English society — not only do you give a good telling of Grace’s life, but also the times in which she lived, with lots and LOTS of photographs and illustrations. I’d always wondered what the 18th century condoms looked like, and lo and behold, there they are. *g*
    And if I wasn’t already predisposed to like this book because of Mary Jo’s glowing reccommendation, I would have bought it because of Grace’s face on the cover. I’ve always loved that portrait, and if there was ever a deserving “cover girl”, it’s Grace.

    Reply
  121. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  122. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  123. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  124. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  125. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  126. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  127. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  128. I’ll be there waiting for Lady Castlemaine’s story in Royal Harlot right with you Camilia. Bad boys get all the attention, but a good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.

    Reply
  129. Queen Bee wrote: “good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.”
    I like that! *g* If ever there was a “good bad girl” (at least from a writer’s point of view, it was Barbara.

    Reply
  130. Queen Bee wrote: “good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.”
    I like that! *g* If ever there was a “good bad girl” (at least from a writer’s point of view, it was Barbara.

    Reply
  131. Queen Bee wrote: “good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.”
    I like that! *g* If ever there was a “good bad girl” (at least from a writer’s point of view, it was Barbara.

    Reply
  132. Queen Bee wrote: “good bad girl (like Barbara Casltemaine) can make for a great book too.”
    I like that! *g* If ever there was a “good bad girl” (at least from a writer’s point of view, it was Barbara.

    Reply

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