Thursday, December 2, 2021

"A Counterfeit Suitor"

Darcie Wilde is the award-winning author of stylishly adventurous historical mysteries and romances, including the Rosalind Thorne Mysteries, a Regency-set series inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, as well as the Regency Makeover Trilogy. She has also written, under the name Sarah Zettel, Locus and Philip K. Dick Award-winning novels, including Fool's War, a New York Times Notable Books of the Year selection.

Wilde applied the Page 69 Test to her new Rosalind Thorne Mystery, A Counterfeit Suitor, and reported the following:
From page 69:
…Russell Fullerton also breached the crowd. His long legs carried him forward far faster than Rosalind, encumbered by her evening gown, could manage. He strode directly up to Sir Reginald, but he addressed himself to Alexi. Rosalind was too far away to hear, but she could easily interpret what he said. He was apologizing for his friend’s behavior. He would take charge of him now. The countess would not be inconvenienced again.

Alexi hesitated, clearly caught between his mistress’s instructions and the reassurances of this gentleman. Sir Reginald straightened himself up as much as he was able and assumed a swaggering air.

In the end, Alexi took the path of least resistance. He stepped back from Sir Reginald, bowed, and headed away toward the salon and, presumably, to Countess Lieven’s private box.

With every fiber of her being, Rosalind wanted to turn and run, to hide away and pretend this choice was never hers. She felt how alone she was. She felt all the fear, anger, and loss of the girl she had been.

But she could not run. She straightened herself. She set her features into an expression of gentle concern that was the furthest thing from what she actually felt. Free of the crowd, she was able to move smoothly forward. There would be no more scenes.

Of course the two men saw her. She had nowhere left to hide. Fullerton turned first. Then her father. “Ah! She returns!” Sir Reginald tugged at his jacket lapels. “The youngest of my poisonous brood!”

Rosalind bit the inside of her cheek, hard. She reached deep into her mind and her heart for a fund of old memories she had believed she would never need again.

She remembered when she loved this man without reservation and believed that he loved her.
Page 69 of the latest Rosalind Thorne, A Counterfeit Suitor, gets straight to the emotional heart of the book. Readers of the series will know that Rosalind’s deadbeat, drunken, father — Sir Reginald Thorne — abandoned her and her mother when Rosalind was still a teenager. Since then, he’s been cared for by Rosalind’s older sister.

On page 69, Sir Reginald has escaped, and vowed to revenge himself on Rosalind. Unfortunately, he also has help from Rosalind’s enemy, Russell Fullerton. On this page, the softness of the action belies the intensity of the conflict, both internal and external. What we see most strongly is Rosalind’s long buried anger and emotional conflict as she is forced to confront her father, and try to get him away from Fullerton. The ongoing dilemma between the wish to acknowledge private feeling, the need for immediate action, and the unyielding requirement to maintain public appearances is also on display.
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--Marshal Zeringue