Tuesday, November 21, 2023

"Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord"

Celeste Connally is an Agatha Award nominee, and a former freelance writer and editor. A lifelong devotee of historical novels and adaptations fueled by her passion for history—plus weekly doses of PBS Masterpiece—Connally loves reading and writing about women from the past who didn’t always do as they were told.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord, and reported the following:
From page 69:
He paused. “You are well aware of the way to the lavender drawing room, Petra. Whom or what did you wish to find instead?”
My page 69 of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord is only half a page, ending chapter seven, and for those who like some romance with their mystery, I think it’s a very good representation of what to expect from my headstrong, Regency-era protagonist, Lady Petra Forsyth, as well as my historical mystery in general.

This scene takes place at the Duchess of Hillmorton’s spring ball and finds Petra caught in the act of her first attempt at investigating by Duncan Shawcross, her childhood friend turned frenemy, as well as the duchess’s illegitimate grandson.

The paragraphs show just how well Duncan knows Petra, and how much he cares for her, even as he enjoys needling her a bit. As for Petra, they show that, despite some earlier claims, she’s not immune whatsoever to Duncan like she thought.

But even more, this short scene proves that Petra’s determined to discover what has really happened to her friend Gwen, Lady Milford, who has been reported as having died from a fit relating to her melancholia. That is, until Petra happens upon her friend’s former footman, who claims to have seen Lady Milford alive.

All in all, the Page 69 Test rings true in my opinion, displaying Lady Petra’s independent nature and her willingness to seek out the truth, all while showcasing her complex relationship with the man who knows her and respects her best. Most of all, however, this interaction with Duncan serves as one of the lines Petra crosses, going from the sheltered daughter of the Earl of Holbrook to committing herself to her path of becoming a clever and tenacious amateur sleuth.
Visit Celeste Connally's website.

--Marshal Zeringue