My thanks to Melissa for inviting me to participate in a round of Elemental Storytelling. If you’ve been following these posts, you’ll know that each author creates a molecule from the tropes (the common situations and archetypes) that we all use.
Here’s mine for my new release, A Baron for Becky
Tropes in A Baron for Becky
Date Published: 5 August 2015
Genre: Historical romance
Word Count: 49,500 words
Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde – the indulged mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.
Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?
The devil-may-care face Hugh shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn’t want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.
When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.
BB=Broken Bird: the character who copes with her dark and troubled past by being emotionally distant. My heroine Becky has had a difficult life. Forced into prostitution before she was 16, she has climbed to the top of her profession, as the mistress of a rich and generous marquess. On the surface, she is as calm as she is beautiful. But she cannot find happiness when all beneath is turmoil.
TbC=Troubled but cute: the hottie, usually male, whose first name is spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Aldridge is rich, powerful, and a rake of the first order. He rescues Becky and her little daughter from a dreadful fate, then installs her as his mistress. He is not the hero.
WC=Wish child: the wish child is the longed-for child whom the characters believe will solve all their problems – in this case Aldridge’s bastard, Hugh’s longed-for heir, and Becky’s passport to respectability. Of course, things seldom work out as we might hope.
HFG=Hero with an ‘F’ in good: this character doesn’t have a problem with doing heroic things, but he does have trouble when it comes to other aspects of being good. Hugh is a loving, if neglectful father, a bit of a prig (though not about his own behaviour), and has a lot to learn to be the hero Becky needs.
The three characters are joined by plot tropes.
WGF=wrong guy first links Becky and Aldridge.
AM=Arranged marriage links Becky and Hugh (with a subplot of WC=wish child subverted).
BCF=Beleaguered childhood friend links Hugh and Aldridge
Aldridge was early. She crossed to the sideboard where she kept his favourite brandy, and was pouring him a glass by the time she heard his steps in the hall. Two sets of steps? Who did Aldridge have with him?
The other man was as tall as Aldridge, but dark to his fair. He must once have been stunningly handsome, and one side of his face was still carved by a master; subtle curves and strong planes combining in a harmonious whole that spoke of strength and, in the almost invisible network of lines at the corners of his eyes, suffering.
On the other side, dozens of scars pitted and ridged the skin, as if it had been torn and chewed by an animal; an animal with jaws of flame by the tell-tale burn puckers. Thankfully, whatever it was had spared his eye, which, she suddenly realised, was glaring at her.
“Well,” he demanded, and she was shaken anew by his voice, rich and mellow. She had been staring. How rude. But for some reason, she didn’t apologise as she should, but instead blurted, “I was just feeling glad that what injured you spared your eye.”
He looked startled, and suddenly a lot friendlier. “Thank you. I am glad too.”
That voice! He could charm bird from the trees with it. Becky wondered if he sang.
“An unusual approach to an introduction,” Aldridge observed. Becky collected herself and smiled at her protector. “No one is more important than the man who keeps you,” a mentor had once told her. “When he is present, you notice no one else except as it reflects well on him.”
And Becky had never before had her attention so focused on a guest that she had been unaware of presenting her cheek to Aldridge for his kiss, giving him the expected squeal in return for his squeeze, and returning the kiss.
“An introduction would be polite, Aldridge,” she said.
“My dear, you have heard me speak of my friend, Baron Overton.”
Jude is a member of the Bluestocking Belles, a group of historical romance writers with books set in the regency and an appetite for fun.
Jude Knight is the pen name of Judy Knighton. After a career in commercial writing, editing, and publishing, Jude is returning to her first love, fiction. Her novella, Candle’s Christmas Chair, was released in December 2014, and is in the top ten on several Amazon bestseller lists in the US and UK. Her first novel Farewell to Kindness, was released on 1 April, and is also sitting on a couple of bestseller lists. It is number one in a series: The Golden Redepennings.
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