How the Voice of Thomas, the Tudor Knight Won the Heroine’s Heart for Nicholas, the Modern Duke of Burnham
Writing a novel that combines two separate stories is not an easy task as I discovered when I began to write Dance For A Dead Princess. For the book as a whole to work, I knew that the stories, although distinct, would have to have to contribute to each other. In other words, one story would have to give the reader information about the characters and events in the parallel story in order for the reader to feel they belonged in the same novel. Here’s how that happened.
I knew that one of the themes of the book would be the hero’s attitude toward being the last member of an aristocratic family dating back to the sixteenth century and the court of Henry VIII. As Nicholas Carey puts it, “he didn’t deserve a lifetime of subbing for Arthur,” his older half-brother, who was born to be the Carey heir. Nicholas resents being yanked from his life with his classical pianist mother in America and being shipped off to England at age fourteen. He hates his father, Christopher, the Seventeenth Duke, and he resolves never to produce an heir and to transform Burnham Abbey, the ancestral home of the Careys, into a girls’ school.
When Taylor Collins finds the first duke’s diary in the Abbey’s library, she sees Nicholas only as a spoiled and selfish man; and she is indifferent to the Abbey’s fate and the fate of the Carey family. But as Taylor reads Thomas Carey’s account of his consuming passion for Elizabeth Howell, she begins to see parallels between Thomas, the first duke, and Nicholas, the eighteenth. Just as Thomas fell immediately and forever in love with Elizabeth one day in Queen Katherine of Aragon’s garden, so Nicholas fell deeply in love with Deborah Downing at Princess Diana’s wedding. And just as Thomas was willing to do anything to win Elizabeth, so Nicholas was willing to appeal to Deborah’s desire to be a duchess to persuade her to marry him. Taylor’s attitude toward Nicholas is transformed when she realizes that Nicholas reacted to Deborah’s death exactly as Thomas reacted to Elizabeth’s. For both men, they could bear their loss only by withdrawing into indifference and bitterness. After reading Thomas’ story, Taylor sees that, behind his ducal facade, Nicholas is a deeply wounded man capable of the greatest love imaginable, who longs to share his heritage with someone who can return that love.
In January 1997, Princess Diana received a phone call telling her she would be assassinated. She recorded the information on a secret video tape, naming her killer and gave it to a trusted friend in America for safekeeping. It has never been found.
Diana's close friend, Nicholas Carey, the 18th Duke of Burnham and second richest man in England, has vowed to find the tape and expose her killer. After years of searching, he discovers Diana gave the tape to British socialite Mari Cuniff, who died in New York under mysterious circumstances. He believes Wall Street attorney Taylor Collins, the executor of Mari's estate, has possession of it. He lures Taylor to England by promising to sell his ancestral home in Kent, Burnham Abbey, to one of her clients, a boarding school for American girls. Nicholas has dated actresses and models since the death of his wife, ten years earlier, and has no interest in falling in love again. But he is immediately and unexpectedly overwhelmed with feelings for Taylor at their first meeting.
Taylor, unaware that Diana's tape is in her long-time friend and client's estate and nursing her hurt over her broken engagement to a fellow attorney in her firm, brands Nicholas supremely spoiled and selfish. She is in a hurry to finish the sale of the Abbey and return to New York. But while working in the Abbey's library, Taylor uncovers the diary of Thomas Carey, a knight at the court of Henry VIII and the first Duke of Burnham.
As she reads Thomas' agonizing struggle to save the love of his life and the mother of his child from being forced to become Henry's mistress, she begins to see Nicholas in a new light as he battles to save his sixteen-year-old ward Lucy, who is desperately unhappy and addicted to cocaine. But just as Taylor's feelings for Nicholas become clear and at the moment she realizes she is in possession of Diana's voice from the grave, she learns that Nicholas may be Lucy's father and responsible for his wife's death at the Abbey at the time of Lucy's birth. When Nicholas is arrested for Lucy's murder and taken to Wandsworth Prison, Taylor sets out to learn the truth about Nicholas, his late wife, and the death of the Princess of Wales.
Dance for A Dead Princess is a the story of two great loves that created and preserved a family that has lasted for five hundred years.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance,Mystery
Rating – G
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