I adore reading Regency romance, especially romances with strong, fun heroines. Think Sophy in Heyer’s The Grand Sophy. So when I’m writing them, I avoid dumb/ unbelievable heroines. You know the kind of thing: one minute she hates the hero (for good and proper reasons), the next she’s chatting him up or getting naked with him.
That’s why I adore Bess Fleming in my novel, Lady Saville’s Lover, A Regency Romance.
Bess is fun and competent; she has no qualms at all about refusing six offers of marriage. She takes a lot of time to warm up to Lord Darius, because she overheard him calling her a “savage.” She considers him a wastrel, a gambler, and a womanizer — and doesn’t hesitate to tell him so.
Darius compromises Bess by accident, and he decides to marry her… after his father ordered him to, but that’s by the by. 🙂
Here’s how Bess learns about her upcoming wedding.
Regency romance: the last man Bess Fleming wants to marry
“Lord Darius has agreed to marry you,” Jane said.
“What?!” Bess blinked at her aunt.
“It’s the only solution. People see what they want to see, and are only too happy to believe the worst. He brought you back into the house, looking disheveled, after you were doing heaven knows what, out in the garden — and in full view of two of the biggest gossips in the ton.” Jane took a deep breath. “He offered, even before Rose said anything, so that’s all right.”
The full horror of her situation dawned on Bess.
“He agreed to marry me?” She stared at her aunt. “But he didn’t do anything — it was Melrose who attacked me.”
“Yes, and he’ll pay for that. Lord Darius has called him out.”
“No, and no. No, I won’t marry Lord Darius. And no, he mustn’t call Melrose out.” She wanted to kill Melrose herself, but that was of course impossible. She knew that. But she didn’t want Lord Darius to do it either.
“Yes, you will marry Lord Darius. He’s sent word to your brother, and his father the Duke of Saville. It’s no good at all you saying you won’t marry him. It’s necessary, and for once that young man is showing good sense.”
Bess felt numb with horror. She couldn’t marry Lord Darius. He didn’t like her. His father was a duke — she couldn’t marry into a ducal family. His lordship thought she was a savage. She shuddered. There had to be a way out.
“I can’t and I won’t marry Lord Darius,” she said firmly.
Jane, she decided, had lost her senses. She wouldn’t marry anyone. She would go home to the highlands. In disgrace, yes, but that couldn’t be helped.