Harlequin Historicals author Isabelle Goddard chats to CataRomance about the inspiration behind her latest historical romance, Unmasking Miss Lacey!
It was during a performance of Twelfth Night last year that I knew I had to have a highwaywoman as my next heroine. Many of Shakespeare’s plays have mistaken identity as a major theme. Men dress as women, women dress as men, and there’s quite a lot of gender bending going on. And what was good enough for Shakespeare had to be good enough for me!
But if my heroine was to be a highwaywoman and still emerge with a happy ending, she must have a very good reason for taking to the road. Most highwaywomen didn’t end well – I’ve written on a few of their unhappy fates at www.isabellegoddard.com. So why would Lucinda Lacey take such a drastic step? It had to be to help someone very dear to her. And then it came to me, she would have a twin (Shakespeare’s influence again!), and she would be bound to him as only a twin can be. The fact that they shared an unhappy family history would cement the bond even more firmly.
Lucinda’s brother would be in trouble and she would be his rescuer – money, or lack of it, was the most likely cause of his difficulties. So it was that Rupert Lacey found himself in Newgate, arrested for debt and without a hope of ever repaying what he owed. Newgate was the very worst of London gaols at the time – and that’s saying something! He is ill and growing weaker by the day. Add into the mix a stubborn and vain guardian who refuses to see the damage that is being done to his nephew, and I had my story. Lucinda would have to take drastic action to save her beloved brother.
But Lucinda didn’t just need a good reason to become a criminal; she also needed help. She might be a resourceful and daring heroine but working on her own, she was bound to meet misfortune. Enter Jack Beaufort on the scene! As well as being a titled and very wealthy gentleman, Jack is as swashbuckling as my heroine and as willing to court disaster as she. But he, too, has his problems from the past and they threaten even greater complications. It’s not until the two of them have encountered conflict and disaster aplenty that they realise they share a love which will last a lifetime. My highwaywoman, at least, can look forward to a happy ending!
Thank you for chatting to us, Isabelle! Unmasking Miss Lacey is on sale now!