Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Carrying the Gentleman's Secret"

Helen Dickson lives in South Yorkshire with her retired farm manager husband. On leaving school she entered the nursing profession, which she left to bring up a young family. Having moved out of the chaotic farmhouse, she has more time to indulge in her favorite pastimes. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling, reading and music. An incurable romantic, she writes for pleasure. It was a love of history that drove her to writing historical romantic fiction.

Dickson applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Carrying the Gentleman's Secret, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Carrying a Gentleman’s Secret is representative of the rest of the book. The story is set in the Victorian era. Alex has come to Gretna Green in Scotland to prevent his brother-in-law entering in a bigamous marriage with an unsuspecting Lydia. He succeeds and in doing so finds himself attracted to the “bride” – she is not immune to him either, but when he suggests they spend the night together – no strings attached, she is shocked, her refusal fierce.
Furious with himself, more than with her, after all she had been through that day, Alex understood how insulted she must feel by his improper suggestion. ‘If you are going to cast doubt on my good intentions, then there is nothing more for me to do than bid you goodnight and wish you a safe journey.’

‘Goodnight, Mr Golding,’ Lydia said in a shaky, breathless voice, trying to ignore the dull ache of disappointment in her chest, regretting this new turn of events that had ruined the closeness that had developed between them throughout the meal.

Alex looked at her face, drawn by the candlelight reflecting softly in the depths of her eyes and the appealing pink of her lips slightly parted to reveal shining white teeth. His conscience rising up to do battle at what he had suggested, he tried flaying his thoughts into obedience, but he could smell her perfume in the air, which weakened his resolve.

He had known and made love to many beautiful women, but he could not remember wanting any of them on first acquaintance as he wanted Lydia Brook. What was it about her that he found so appealing? Her sincerity? Her innocence? Whatever it was he could not deny that she affected him deeply.
What will Lydia do? Is she about to forget her mother’s moral teachings and fall into bed with a stranger? What happens next drives the story forward. Alex’s seemingly change in character and his suggestion poses a challenge to Lydia, and when they part - Alex to remain in Scotland and Lydia to return to London and her humdrum life - is crucial to their relationship when they meet again.

Lydia is a working girl, a seamstress. She is ambitious to rise above her humble beginnings and open her own establishment. Her father, a convicted criminal, was transported to Australia years earlier. Lydia lives in fear of him coming back into her life when she receives a letter informing her that he has served his sentence and is returning to England.

She is shrewd and her enthusiasm for her work shines through. She wears her determination like chainmail – such is the result of having ambition in a world dominated by men. Alex is impressed by her knowledge of her subject and to get her started in opening her own dress shop they form a business arrangement.

Alex’s own dark past weighs heavily on his broad shoulders. Lydia’s image of him is of a wealthy English gentleman, a man who succeeds in everything he does. Her illusions are eventually shattered when his dark past is revealed to her. We see Lydia’s transition from a working girl to a woman of independent means. But she is vulnerable to Alex’s charms too – a man who is her social superior and one to rule her heart.
Visit Helen Dickson's website.

My Book, The Movie: Carrying the Gentleman's Secret.

--Marshal Zeringue