My guest blogger, and I hope future contributor, is Kat Sheridan. She's a good friend (and writer) who recently attended a book signing at Barnes and Noble for Donna MacMeans--another very cool writer. Kat shares her thoughts on Donna's latest book and her experience at Barnes and Noble with us.
Let me preface this by saying that over the past year or so, Donna MacMeans and I have become friends, first via her (fabulous!) books and an online chat group for historical romance writers (waving madly at the MR Debutantes!) and then in real life. Those intelligent heroines and deliciously roguish heroes that she writes about? They all have a (more than a little) bit of Donna in them.
In her latest work, Redeeming the Rogue, the central plot is summed up nicely by the hero’s best friend (and intriguing, mysterious, delicious sidekick) Phineas Connor: “Have you considered the absurdity of it all, Rafe? That you, a son of Ireland, are traveling to America to impersonate a British minister in order to catch a fellow Irishman?”
In Redeeming the Rogue, Michael (Rafe) Rafferty is an Irishman working as an agent for the Crown to develop a peaceful, political solution to the question of Irish Home Rule. Ranged against Rafferty are the Home Rule League and the Fenians, who killed his parents and believe violence is the only way to achieve Irish independence. Rafferty, with his network of street urchin spies, is more at home in the rough alleys and taverns of London than in its ballrooms. Unfortunately, the new role he’s been asked to play requires more polish.
It also requires someone to play his hostess. And that “someone” would best be a wife.
Lady Arianne Chambers, the daughter and sister of a duke, has lived her whole life in diplomatic circles. Polish, politics, and protocol are in her blood. But like Rafferty, there are secrets in her past and she has very good reasons for wanting to escape London and head to Washington DC with her reluctant, recalcitrant, delightfully roguish protégé.
I loved that this sensual, sexy, and slyly funny romance included a solid mystery and interesting plot to drive the story. The historical scaffolding on which Donna builds the romance doesn’t overwhelm the central love story, but provides a solid framework for it. Rafferty and Lady Arianne feel like real people. My heart broke right along with Lady Arianne’s (yes, 2:00 in the morning, I’m flipping pages as fast I can and crying my eyes out). Just as she did, I fell in love with Rafferty. And of course, because this is romance, the ending made my heart go pitty-pat. Le sigh.
I had the great fortune of attending my first ever book signing to get my autographed copy of Redeeming the Rogue. Donna’s logo/motif/signature is a peacock feather. She stamps one in every book she signs, and gives you a real one. Since I was a book signing virgin, I’d emailed her to ask what the protocol was. Donna was the Lady Arianne to my rough and unready Rafferty. I asked Donna: “Will there be readings? Is this a white tie affair? Should I wear my tiara? Is it BYOB? Most importantly, will there be cupcakes?”
No, there weren’t readings (although I understand she thought her fellow co-signer, the delightful Susan Gee Heino would be good at that). Casual attire was fine, but since Donna is well known for her to-die-for feather Victorian hat, we decided the tiara would be fine (have you ever worn a tiara in a crowded Barnes & Noble on a Saturday afternoon? The trick is to act with aplomb, as if it’s perfectly normal, and NOT as if one is on a day pass from a nearby “facility” for the off-kilter).
We did discuss if the final “B” in BYOB stood for books (it’s tacky to bring your own from home—support your bookstore and buy your copy there), or if it stood for bourbon (sadly, liquid refreshments are frowned on in bookstores). Also sadly, the “B” did not stand for “baked goods”, in spite of my fervent hope there would be cupcakes. Because Donna always strives to please her fans, she did add a pink cupcake stamp alongside her usual green peacock feather, just for me!
I hope you grab your copy of Redeeming the Rogue by Donna Macmeans and settle in for a read that will have you cheering and crying and smiling and falling in love (best served with an icy Manhattan. And cupcakes).
Have you ever been to a book signing, either as an author or (slightly rabid) fan? What was it like? Most importantly, were there cupcakes?
Kat Sheridan is an aspiring author, fond of shiny things and bourbon. http://katsheridan.wordpress.com/