Writing Wrongs

February 27, 2006

I went searching for something today on Google and found this. And I wasn’t even looking for this. Imagine that. But I’m kind of glad I found it. I also found a treasure trove of these covers and may have to do a retrospective over the next few weeks. I found a killer site that has the cover and first line from a bunch of old nurse books (my favorite so far: either Ice Show Nurse or Make Up Your Mind Nurse).

But I don’t get a good sense of the story here. Do you? Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a summary. I did find this from the Oxford University Press:

Similarly, in 1955 Alex Stuart came under fire for suggesting a registry office marriage and a mixed marriage in Gay Cavalier. In her initial draft, the secondary characters Sean (who is Catholic) and Penelope (a wealthy Protestant heiress) decided to elope to escape the objections of Penelope’s parents.

This was apparently a problem. A bit further down, after it’s noted that neither character discusses with the other that they happen to be in love with a heathen, there’s this:

Stuart, in her reply, admitted she “was skating on thin ice here” . . . . She was happy to revise, cutting mention of the registrar, and having the wedding in a church (“denomination unspecified . . . leaving the Roman Catholic reader to draw her own conclusions, and the Church of England likewise”). “My sole aim is to keep out of trouble in these matters: I hold no strong views,” Stuart concluded. In the novel, Sean and Penelope are married in St. Wilfred’s, a small but “very quiet and peaceful” church, by a “priest”.

Fascinating stuff. We wouldn’t want to have any strong views now, would we? A long-held tradition in romance. Anyway, I’m trying to figure out the story. Essentially, we have three choices for the hero (as I’m guessing he’s the “cavalier” of the title). Cavalier:

1. A gallant or chivalrous man, especially one serving as escort to a woman of high social position; a gentleman.

2. A mounted soldier; a knight.

3. Cavalier A supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament. Also called Royalist.

I think #3 is out. #2? Maybe. I’m thinking they want the reader to think the hero is a cross between 1 and 2, hence the horse in the background. No doubt Penelope is the heroine’s best friend. Not sure about the hero, except he’s either extremely happy or very secure in his sexuality.

Just wait until I investigate that other Harlequin classic: My Dear Cousin.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 4:30 p.m.