Inside A Gentleman Never Tells
Warning! In describing relations between characters, I may wreck a book for you by making it clear who someone marries, or the outcome of a book. Please do not read about The Inside Take if you're wary of knowing who is paired with whom!
- The idea for the story sprang from rereading the Essex Sister series when I was writing its Companion, particularly Pleasure for Pleasure, Josie’s story. Josie is ostracized in London’s so-called polite society because of a nasty name—“the Scottish Sausage”—passed around by a group of fashionable young men. But Josie wasn’t the only one; another girl was labelled a “Wooly Breeder,” because her father made a fortune in wool. In an aside, one character says that her fiancé had jilted her. With this story, I wanted to revisit that girl, but also one of the bullies. My hero, Oliver, was part of that circle of young men, and he’s never forgiven himself.
- On a lighter note, the story was also inspired by the famous games of pall mall in Julia’ Quinn’s Bridgerton novels. I love them, and I was reading the latest Bridgeton when it occurred to me that a truly madcap game of pall mall (or croquet) would take place in a drawing room. With the hoops nailed into the floor! That made the note for the specularly silly, sexy game of croquet in the novella.
- I’ve written lots of novels (around 25, when I’m writing this), and one of my favorite tropes is the virgin widow. Hey, this is fiction, not real life. I wanted my heroine to feel humiliated by something far more grave than the mean names that Oliver passed around. Her husband was genuinely unkind, neglectful, and deceitful. Helping Lizzie to heal is part of Oliver’s recompense for his foolish actions as a young man.