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The Lady Most Likely...

 

Hugh Dunne, the Earl of Briarly, needs a wife, so his sister hands him a list of delectable damsels and promises to invite them—and a few other gentlemen—to her country house for what is sure to be the event of the season. Hugh will have time to woo whichever lady he most desires… Unless someone else snatches her first.

 

The Lady Most Likely is an utterly charming concoction, a novel written in three parts by three very good friends:
Julia Quinn
, Connie Brockway, and myself.  We wrote this novel on a visit to New Orleans, sitting around madly plotting and writing during the day, then eating fabulous food at night.  I think this novel is even more fun to read than an average romance--because you have all the delight of our three voices both separately, and woven together.  

 

December 28, 2010

The Lady Most Likely...

The Lady Most Likely

Warning! I love giving out little bits of information about the background of the novel—but if you haven’t read A Lady Most Likely, I may well wreck the book for you by making it clear what happens. Please do not read the Inside Take if spoilers ruin a book for you.

» Everybody wants to know how Julia and Connie and I came up with this idea…honestly, I can’t remember exactly. At some point Julia and I realized that it would be great fun to go away together and write a book. We needed to add another writer whose work we not only admired, but whose voice would mesh with ours. We asked Connie, and it was all set!
 
» The Lady Most Likely was deeply influenced by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, a good part of the epilogue is filched from his depiction of jaundiced aristocrats watching the performance of a truly terrible Pyramus and Thisby. The three of us had a wonderful time writing this section, as we each voiced the sarcastic comments of our own (now paired up) characters.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

» Along with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, my particular novella borrows from a creative retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. My Mr. Lear is the ancestor of Stoppard’s morose and very grand Player. (If you haven’t seen the film version of this play, I highly recommend it.)
 
» It was important to me that an intrinsic part of my heroine’s personality mesh with the hero’s. In short, I didn’t want to simply bring together two beautiful people and have them dance into the sunset. Georgina’s doll-making is, in its own way, as quirky as Hugh’s horse-training. As a couple, they will love, sustain, and understand each other’s interests.

Special Fun Extras!

The Lady Most Likely

In honor of their joint release (with Connie Brockway), Eloisa and Julia Quinn hosted an intimate tea party in Seattle, sponsored by University Books, Avon Books, and managed by HarperCollins' BookPerk. Watch the video belowto see some highlights from the wonderful event!
~ April 10, 2011: Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House, Seattle, WA

Lyssa Keusch, editor of The Lady Most Likely..., posted a fabulously fun Romance Author Jeopardy with the novel's three authors as the three competing contestants! Read the Romance Author Jeopardy article, featuring Eloisa, Julia Quinn, and Connie Brockway! ~ January 2011

 

Women's World The Lady Most Likely was featured in the March 7, 2011 edition of Women's World! Take a closer look (in a pop-up window).


"Finally, we come to James’ portion and the Earl of Briarly whose marriage predicament began the entire party, which of course, includes his sister’s best friend, the widowed Lady Georgina Sorrell. These two engage in perhaps one of the top five seduction scenes I’ve ever read! And there’s an epilogue of course, just to tie up all the loose ends. It’s perfectly delightful, and I can’t praise it highly enough. I totally loved it and would give it more stars if I could."

- San Francisco Review of Books, Jan 2011  (posted Jul 5, 2011)

"This charming, lighthearted Regency, written in three parts by bestsellers Quinn (Ten Things I Love About You), James (A Kiss at Midnight), and Brockway (The Golden Season), delivers wit and heart with every page.... The romance's cheerful tone and key plot points carry through seamlessly as each author takes the reins, making three matches for the price of one."

- Publishers Weekly, November 2010  (posted December 28, 2010)

4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!
"This triple threat of talent delivers a delightful continuum set around a wife-hunt at a country house party. Each author takes on a different romance and characters, enhancing the plot by infusing her unique style into each novella.”

- Romantic Times BOOKClub, November 2010  (posted December 28, 2010)

"Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway, three RITA award-winners, team up to create a 'novel in three parts,' and the resulting book is a truly original, delightfully amusing treat. The Lady Most Likely... sparkles with wit, sizzles with sensuality, and, most important, is superbly satisfying.”

- Booklist, December 2010  (posted December 28, 2010)

"Flirty, joyful, and just plain fun, this is a thoroughly delightful historical, as well as the successful result of a novel approach. From the pens of writers like these, what else would one expect?"

- Library Journal, December 2010  (posted December 28, 2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 










 

 

It was only seven in the evening and the air was warm. The sky was the deep pearly blue that promised twilight. Lady Georgina Sorrell wandered into the rose gardens, met by the faint hum of bees catching last sips from roses warmed by the sun.

The stables were beyond the gardens, through a little stone archway, and down a pebbled path. By all rights the man she was looking for should be in the drawing room, chattering to debutantes.

Hugh Theodore Dunne, Earl of Briarly, had lost the first lady on his list to his best friend, and the second to Captain Oakes. He should be at his sister’s side, imploring her for the name of a third candidate. But Hugh hadn’t made it to the table earlier than five minutes after the gong any day in the past week.

The air changed as she left the garden; the earthy smell of warm dirt and manure made roses seem effeminate and cloying. She walked toward the large ring adjacent to the stables. Light poured through the stable window to the rear, but the rest of the ring was in deep shadow.

For a moment she thought he wasn’t here, but then she saw Hugh with his back to her, riding Richelieu slowly around the ring. She leaned against the fence, listening to the deep rumble of his voice as he talked to his mount. The horse was listening intently, perking first one ear and then the other.

Richelieu was a rangy, powerful animal, his coat a color of rich brown so dark that it looked near black in this light. There was something of the devil about him, in the tilt of his eyes and the way he kept shaking his bridle as if answering Hugh.

But it wasn’t Richelieu who caught Georgina’s attention. It was Hugh. Hugh, who was practically her older brother. Hugh, who had picked her off gravel paths when she’d sprawled, wiped her tears, likely wiped her nose, if not her bottom.

He wasn’t wearing a shirt. He was riding his horse around the ring without a scrap of cloth on his upper body. Just like that, her heart sped up and started thudding in her chest.

Her memory presented her, willy-nilly, with a picture of her marriage, one that made her husband look like a faded image in a mirror. Richard had been as sleek and white-skinned as she was. He hadn’t been frail, until he was ill, but his arms were wiry and his chest hairless. He was neat, and elegant, and resembled a well-groomed swallow.

But Hugh -- nothing about Hugh could be described as wiry, or sleek. His chest was pure muscle, the kind that came from fighting thorough-bred horses for mastery, day after day. Even in this light, she could see that his shoulders were enormous, his arms rippled with muscles as he loosely held the reins. He was turned to the side, slightly away from her, so she could see how the muscles marched down his broad back.

Her fingers twitched as her imagination leapt straight from watching to touching, to running her hands down those muscles and feeling him live and strong in her arms. He was like a medieval champion, practicing to defend his lady, or to start a crusade.

She forgot to breath, willing him to turn so she could see his chest. Finally they reached the curve of the stable yard, and Richelieu turned toward her. The horse began to prance a little, lifting up his legs in a graceful, flirty dance.

Hugh laughed down at him, still talking. His skin was a dark honey, so he had probably made a habit of throwing off his shirt when he got too hot. His chest was shadowed with hair that darkened to an arrow just before disappearing into his breeches.

Wincing at her own foolishness, she discarded the idea of a medieval knight and turned him to a god… Apollo, training a new horse so that he could ride the skies to awake the sun.

Georgina swallowed. She should leave. Now. Before Hugh saw her, before she acted on the promptings of her over-heated imagination.

He raised his eyes and saw her. It was a moment she never forgot, in the whole of her life: the great bronzed man astride a perfect horse, backed by sky the color of a dark sapphire. Hugh looked as remote and untouchable as any Greek deity – and yet the moment their eyes met, something flared to life in his face that she had never seen on a man’s face before.

Something that was for her alone. Something that stole the breath from her chest and sent a shiver down her back.

End of excerpt.

Read the Julia Quinn Excerpt Read the Connie Brockway Excerpt