to-wed Archives - Eloisa James

"A reigning queen of romance" - CBS Monday Morning

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Bookcode: to-wed

The Wilde Family Tree

There are a lot of family members in the Wilde family and readers have said it can be a challenge to keep them all straight. Here is a handy guide to who’s who, how they are related, and where they fall in birth order.

*Please note: Some of the names are linked to Wikipedia pages. Since each of the Duke’s children is named for a historical warrior, real or literary, readers can look up the inspiration for the namesake. (Eloisa cannot vouch for the accuracy of the full content of each of these pages, but it definitely serves for reference.)


Hugo Wilde, the duke (1721- ). His Grace has a twin sister and has been married three times. Once widowed, once divorced, now happily married.

Lady Knowe, the duke’s twin sister (1721- ). She is also known as “Lady Know.”

Hugo’s first duchess: Marie (1721-1757) m. 1747
Hugo & Marie’s children:

Horatius (1748-1773)

Roland, “North” (1750- )
featured in: Too Wilde to Wed

Alaric (1751- )
featured in: Wilde in Love

Parth, foster son (1750- )
featured in: Born to be Wilde

Hugo’s second duchess: Yvette m. 1759; div. 1766
Hugo & Yvette’s children:

Leonides (1760- )

Boudicea, “Betsy” (1762- )
featured in: Say No to the Duke

Alexander (1763- )

Joan (1764- )
featured in: Wilde Child

Hugo’s third duchess: Ophelia m.1766
featured in: My Last Duchess

Hugo & Ophelia’s children:

Spartacus (1768- )

Erik (1772- )

Artemia, “Artie” (1778- )

Ophelia’s child by her first husband Peter
(1721-1764), m. 1759

Viola (1764- )
featured in: Say Yes to the Duke


The Books

My Last Duchess – Hugo & Ophelia m. 1766 [A Wilde series prequel, previously titled Wilde Denial. This was a serialized novella available exclusively to Eloisa’s newsletter subscribers that is now a stand-alone book.]

Wilde in Love – Alaric & Willa m. 1778

Too Wilde to Wed – North & Diana m. 1780

Born to be Wilde – Parth & Lavinia m. 1780

Say No to the Duke – Betsy & Jeremy m. 1781

Say Yes to the Duke – Viola & Lucas, m 1782

Wilde Child – Joan & Thaddeus, m 1783

Inside Too Wilde to Wed

The pre-plot of this novel springs from my understanding that Georgian noblemen and ladies must regularly have felt as if they were participating in a costume drama. Their clothing was so exaggerated: wigs that towered above their heads, coats that cost as much as a small British estate, makeup that took up to an hour to apply. Diana is forced by her mother to dress in a gaudily fashionable manner, and Roland dresses that way to catch her attention, to please her (he thinks). The novel stripped them back to something far plainer and more honest.

I enjoyed creating the manservant, Boodle, who considers North’s appearance to be his crowning achievement. I had in mind two famous valets: Bunter from the Dorothy Sayers novels, and Jeeves in the P.G. Wodehouse novels. But Boodle, of course, is far more cunning than Bunter or Jeeves. All the same, the crucial point of those scenes is that his creativity and art are tied to North’s clothing and accessories. It truly is a tragedy for him when North wants the lace torn off his cuffs.

I spent a lot of time reading about PTSD while writing this novel. A hero in a romance novel can be damaged, but not terribly damaged, as there was no therapy or anti-depressants available. I tailored North’s situation to the solutions at hand; I don’t want to imply that post traumatic stress disorder could be solved by handing out toast and honey. Here, toast is symbolic of the simple life, parallel to North’s discarded lace. I wanted my two main characters to pare their lives down to what really matters: kindness and love.

People sometimes ask why all my characters are rich: it’s because I grew up the daughter of a poet, and I do not find lack of money romantic in any way. At the same time, as part of that stripping away of fashionable accoutrement, I brought Diana close to penury so that she could teach North just how precious a pair of shoes can be, even an ugly black pair that didn’t fit particularly well.