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Bookcode: ado

Inside Much Ado About You

  • After Much Ado was published, a reader named Ashley pointed out that Lucius Felton and Lucius Malfoy, from the Harry Potter series, seem quite similar in their overall appearance, “snake-like” qualities, and the fact that they both carry canes. She also noted that the actor who plays Lucius’s son, Draco, in the movies is named Tom Felton. Eureka! I read each of J.K. Rowlings’s first three books aloud THREE times to my son, who at that point couldn’t read for himself. So I was startled by Ashley’s literary analysis – but after thinking it over, not surprised.

  • The Earl of Mayne first appeared in Your Wicked Ways. At that time, I thought of him merely as a useful bad boy, to be tossed at the end of the novel. But in the way of bad boys, he refused to go away. And I received so many letters asking about his fate that I knew he had to return.
  • Tess and Lucius trade lines from Catullus, the Roman poet. I have taught Catullus’s work in poetry survey classes at my university, and students are always stunned by the frank way he talks about love and sex. Catullus was an upper class Roman who lived in Julius Caesar’s time. He rebelled against his parents by becoming a poet, and even as a poet he was considered fairly outrageous because he used colloquial language in his verse, and talked mostly of love. (Well, love and sex).
  • Lucius Felton first appeared in the novella “A Fool Again”, published in The One That Got Away. Do try to find this story – it brings together Tobias, who is the brother of the hero of Fool for Love and Lucius, together with a perfectly delicious heroine.
  • Draven Maitland is modeled, to some extent, on Prince from Louisa May Alcott’s Rose in Bloom. If you’ve only read Alcott’s Little Women, this is a wonderful book too–about a little girl who is orphaned and raised by her uncle. Eight cousins swirl around the book, and Prince, beautiful, petulant, rash Prince was my favorite when I was a girl. I cried and cried over Rose in Bloom
  • Miss Pythian-Adams is kind of a joke on myself. After teaching Shakespeare for ten years, I have managed to memorize a great deal of verse without trying. There are moments when I have to restrain myself from boring everyone by dropping a particularly great bit of poetry into a conversation just because it occurred to me. So Miss Pythian-Adams’s technique of getting rid of her unwanted fiancé by quoting poetry at him seems a natural!

  • Much Ado About You is also available in manga format in Japan!

Readers Dream Up a Wife for Lucius Felton

In the months before Much Ado About You was published, Eloisa ran a contest on this website asking readers, who had first met Lucius Felton in the novella A Fool Again, featured in the Anthology The One that Got Away, to describe the kind of woman he ought to meet, love, and marry. Some of the entries were so fantastic — thoughtful, creative and intuitive — that she was truly sorry to have already written Much Ado, and been unable to take advice about Lucius’s wife. With the authors’ permission, here are the four winning entries.

Jennifer from Dallas:

Mr. Felton deserves …a woman who can bring him to life. I sense there is a fascinating man underneath the starched-shirt we saw in A Fool Again. I think he has great potential–there is passion and verve simmering under that cool facade and I think there is some (lucky) hoydenish miss out there who can cause our reserved Mr. Felton to crackle to life.

I think he can love, and love deeply; and the woman who can bring the greatest joy must be a challenge to him. He can’t have an easy time of it–nothing so easy as marrying his dead partner’s wife. He needs a Beatrice; although, I daresay, he’s nothing like Benedick in temperament–no histrionics there. (Although there was that kissing episode in A Fool Again. Perhaps he does have a little performer in him…)

Carolyn from Philadelphia:

Lucius Felton seems like a man who would be a protector, and a down & dirty & dangerous one if need be. He should fall for a young woman who gets through his aloof façade – one who arouses all of his protective instincts, even if it’s against his will. His dubious respectability, his sometimes shady dealings would provide him with contacts from the seamier side of society – contacts that he could use in helping her. The young woman should be in dire & desperate straits; but she must not be an adorable ninny, like Genevieve. His lady must be strong & sensible, just desperate & powerless.

Bonnie from East Greenbush:

What do we know about Mr. Felton? He is passionate about horses, but denies he’s capable of love. He is very rich, but has some shady business dealings. He is a patron of the arts, but rarely expresses any deep emotions. He is an opportunist, but honorable (e.g. letting Tobias win Genevieve). He’s also being chased by marriage-minded debutantes and their mothers.

So who would make the perfect wife for Lucius? I think a woman who is an innocent and somewhat naïve, to help heal whatever hidden wounds Mr. Felton is afraid to show. She may be poor and therefore he believes her interest is strictly financial. And I think she’ll have to be spunky, someone who’ll be able to not take him too seriously and challenge his calm, controlled demeanor. It wouldn’t hurt if she were afraid of horses, too! Lucius could have an interesting time teaching her about his passion for horses while discovering his passion for her.

Danielle from Indianapolis:

Every girl carries memories of that one perfect boy in high school. You know, the captain of the football, basketball, and swim team. The one who was not only athletic, but also intelligent, witty, and ….well…hot. He tended to be worshipped by men and women alike. He was elusive and utterly unattainable. There was nothing and no one that he couldn’t have, and he knew it. A man who is adored by all can easily be ruined.

It seems to me that Lucius needs a woman who is not impressed with him. Oh she knows he’s incredibly handsome and intelligent, but good looks and a clever tongue are not going to win her heart. She wants a man with integrity. I have no doubt that Lucius possesses great character. He just doesn’t let anyone get close enough to him to see it.

The woman Lucius needs doesn’t necessarily have to be beautiful in the way that Esme Rawlings (who is probably my favorite character with Sophie York Foakes trailing closely behind) is. What she does need is an innate ability to read people. Lucius strikes me as the type who does not like to wear emotion of any kind on his sleeve. He is very controlled. A woman who could read him like a book would throw him off guard and make him feel a little vulnerable. She also must amuse him. Lucius is a man in dire need of laughter. His woman may not intend to be funny, but he still needs to find her so. My father and stepmother have been married for nearly twelve years. I know that the bible says “love covers a multitude of sins” but I think that laughter covers a manifold of follies. A couple that can laugh together is a beautiful thing.

She must also be affected by his touch. She needs to desire him even if she doesn’t wish to. Even if she is afraid to risk her heart she needs to want him. Do you know why a woman can have any man she wants if she puts her mind to it (provided he is not in love with someone else or gay)? Because she learns how to cater to his ego. That’s not to say that she turns into doormat or spends the day worshipping him for his greatness. But she makes him feel needed. He feels good about himself when he’s with her.

Isn’t it a glorious irony that Cupid is always painted as a naked baby with those cute, little arrows? A more accurate depiction would be an ogre with a toothy grin and Thor’s Mjollnir.

Mea Culpa, Much Ado About You

  • Cherie wrote from England to point out a hideous historical error: on page 286, Lucius describes a portrait of three “children of a roundhead cavalier.” Well, the Roundheads and the Cavaliers were on opposite sides during the English Civil War! And that war took place between 1642 and 1651, so the children would definitely not be wearing “the height of Elizabethan finery,” as they are described on page 359 (Queen Elizabeth died in 1603). I have no defense for this. But may I add a fascinating fact? Much Ado About You was re edited and copy-edited for the English edition by English editors and English copyeditors — and their edition features a roundhead cavalier too!
  • Writing books is like any other job: there are those moments when you wonder, “How could I have done that? How could I have been so absent-minded / foolish / careless?” When I wrote Fool for Love, I gave Darby two little sisters, Anabel and Josie, and Henrietta one sister, Imogen. Then a few years later, I started a series about four sisters. I must have changed their names a hundred times. For a while, the youngest sister was Petronella. Eventually I named the eldest sister Tess, and then I found three names for Tess’s sisters that just sounded…right. Yep!  Annabel, Josie and Imogen sprang back into life. There is no connection between my earlier characters and these; please forgive me if I confused you. A reader named Carol was kind enough to point this out to me.
  • Katheryn Carrier wrote me to point out that while Much Ado About You is set in 1816, Hans Christian Andersen didn’t write The Princess and the Pea until 1835.  Therefore Rafe could not possibly have had a mural of the story painted on the nursery walls in Holbrook Court.
  • Erratum! On page 315, paragraph 3, Imogen makes a reference to Lucius that should, in fact, be a reference to her husband. The sentence SHOULD read: “Draven has all his hopes riding on him.”
  • From Fanny, who once read history at Oxford: “When you talk about a horse’s breeding, you say BY [the sire] and OUT OF [the dam].” Needless to say, I messed this up somewhere in Much Ado About You.