I am happy to announce that The Spinster and the Duke has been officially released! Right now it is available exclusively on Amazon as an ebook, but remember -- even if you do not have a kindle you can still read ebooks on your phone, computer, ipad, tablet, blackberry, etc (for FREE!).
The Spinster and the Duke was a little different for me in that the characters are much older than the average hero and heroine in romance novels. Reginald is fifty-two. Abigail is forty-seven. They were in love as young adults, but went on to live separate lives: Reginald married and moved to France and Abigail devoted her life to caring for her niece Dianna (a character who plays a large role in The Runaway Duchess).
I am not sure when or why main characters in their early twenties became so popular. I know I've read some books where the heroine is as young as eighteen, which, now that I'm twenty-six, seems flat out ridiculous. I still wasn't quite sure how to iron my clothes at eighteen (okay, okay, so I still don't really get it) let alone prepared to meet the love of my life.
And yet, in romance novels (and other ones too, especially YA and New Adult) that is precisely what happens. A twenty something woman meets a twenty something man. Some angst follows, a few good ol' fashioned fights, they make up in the end and go on to live happily-ever-after. I know how it goes. I've been guilty of writing the same exact formula myself. But for The Spinster and the Duke I wanted something different. I wanted something out of the box. I wanted something challenging.
Abigail was never supposed to get her own story. While she does appear as a secondary character in the The Runaway Duchess, she was really only there to play chaperon for Charlotte (the heroine) and Dianna (her best friend and Abigail's niece). When I finished TRD I actually sat down and began to write Dianna's story, but I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters. Another voice kept needling me. Yep, you guessed it. Abigail.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a crazy person. Okay, maybe sometimes (although, on the off chance my boyfriend is reading this, I'm never crazy -- I swear). What I'm trying to say is Abigail didn't actually talk to me. But she wouldn't get out of my head either. I felt like a terrible person for giving her such a sad back story: a sweet, loving girl with her heart on her sleeve who fell in love with a dashing duke, only to have her heart broken when he left her. The most interesting part about it all, the part that stuck out in my mind and made it a story worth telling, is that Abigail wasn't angry with Reginald. In fact, she maybe - quite possibly - still loved him... and even after all these years, he still loved her.
Could two people who loved each other as babies (which is how I prefer to think of anyone under the age of twenty and no, I'm not having a premature life crisis
okay maybe a little) still love each other as grown adults? Does love, true love, have an expiration date? That's what I set out to explore in The Spinster and the Duke... and I guess you'll just have to read it to find out what happens!
Young and blissfully in love, Reginald and Abigail were once engaged to be married. Their lives should have ended in happily-ever-after, but he was destined to be a duke and she was the third daughter of a baron. Curtailing to his mother’s demands, Reginald broke the engagement… and Abigail’s heart.
Thirty years have passed since then. Now a confirmed spinster, Abigail has forgiven the boy she loved, but she has never forgotten the man. When Reginald unexpectedly returns to England she wants nothing to do with him, fearful of stirring up old feelings that should have died long ago.
Reginald made the worst mistake of his life when he left Abigail. She is the only woman he has ever loved, and he is willing to risk everything to get her back. But once lost trust does not come easily, and Abigail is reluctant to give her heart away a second time.
Can Reginald and Abigail come to terms with their painful past? Or are some second chances best left untaken? Find out in The Spinster and the Duke, the newest novella from historical romance author Jillian Eaton.