“PERHAPS IT IS OUR IMPERFECTIONS THAT MAKE US SO PERFECT FOR ONE ANOTHER.”–– Jane Austen
As a writer, I find that is one of my favorite ways to sketch the “humanity” of my character for the reader. I personally believe that for a reader to truly “fall in love” with a hero, or heroine, they must first see, and more importantly, find an affinity with them. Which means they have to be less-than-perfect.
Why? The average romance reader is less than perfect. So deep, so wise, I know. But the pull, or addiction to reading romance novels, is actually not the “knight in shining armor”, but hope. A reader hopes that his or her imperfect self can someday be accepted, and loved for “ever after”, just like the imperfect man or lady they are reading about.
Most of us have an excellent list of our own faults, fully convinced that our own list is the longest. So it is not hard to find similarities to a wide range of imperfect characters. We are excellent hostesses at our own pity parties.
But, sadly, we forget to invite anyone other than those who are perfect. So, no one comes.
I would love to share with you a scene from Buying the Duke’s Silence where Mr. Kenneth Silence gets trapped in his own head, and overthinks things.
Gorge yourself on his humanity with this snippet. He is pretty tasty.
Why was Miss Hughes on the duke’s land? Why was she not dressing to her station? Why was she in a position to need to carry her own market purchases? Why had pain filled her eyes when he asked if the Duke of Harrington knew she was on his land?
And why, when he crested the hill to leave her as requested, did he have the insatiable thirst to turn back and assist?
Was it her honesty? It was quite invigorating not to have a lady lie to him.
Was it her fiery pale blue eyes that turned bluer as the anger built when she affronted him?
Was it the refreshing way she did not throw herself at him like so many others?
Was it that she had once been someone––who’d been knocked from the aristocratic thrown––yet she still held her head high and proud?
These questions brought him back to his horse, Nimbus, late in the afternoon on the third day when he simply had to have answers. He knew where in the general vicinity that she must be staying.
He told himself he just wanted answers.
He was an information gatherer.
It was his job as an investigator.
He tried to suppress the voice telling him no one had hired him to search her out, but it nagged at his conscience anyway.
It took a few minutes for Kenneth Silence to saddle his horse due to residual pain from being thrown over “Miss Bonnet” three days ago. As he bent over to tighten the chest buckles, he reminded himself that he had all afternoon to find Miss Hughes.
His muscles could perform these functions without thinking, but sadly, that meant his thoughts would not submit to anything other than Miss Hughes.
He doubted she would welcome him openly after calling him ungentlemanly.
His brows knit together momentarily, until he consciously corrected them and mounted.
I am worried for her person, not because of her person . . . Right?
He took off in a gallop to try to sort things out in his head, ignoring the moan from his bruised tailbone. Nimbus slowed prematurely.
What did he hope to achieve in seeking her out?
He didn’t care one bit what happened to that selfish, pompous and entitled chit. He prodded his horse again and tossed the leads a bit too hard.
He glanced to the left, examining the deep cavern. Nimbus too seemed interested. Kenneth was more interested in the fact that she was a lady by birth, but currently, not in circumstance. His brows furrowed again without permission.
Months ago he had decided he knew all he cared to know when he heard her scheming to obtain an offer from Lord Tisdale.
But, her pride was warranted, now more than ever––and yet––unnaturally suppressed.
“Other way, Nimbus,” he grunted more to himself than the horse. She most definitely was a mercenary spoiled brat who got anything she wanted. People like that never change.
But how could she want her changed circumstances, which if measured, was negligible, at best.
“Nimbus, you seem to be confused too.” He redirected his horse up the hill ahead of him, recounting all he knew; ending with a sum of nothing, and a jumble of parts.
She was ungrateful, for sure, to blatantly, and unmistakably refuse his help. His honor was at stake! Honor as a gentleman and as a trained professional.
However, something in her pained expression three days ago told him she didn’t want the circumstances she was currently in. As if herhonor was at stake.
He couldn’t help it.
He couldn’t not help in some way.
It was in his nature.
And he was going to help her even though she was all of the above, wrapped up in a very pretty redheaded package; ridiculously fobbed out with a blue-ribbon bonnet that he despised.
Or maybe the horse wishes to advise him in a more relaxed, Bob Marley-kind-of-way, “Don’t worry, be happy, man.” Doo do dooddledo do dooo. . .
Sorry, I’ll get to the point. As blog lengths goes, I’m over the limit.
I decided to give myself permission to stop overthinking things. Because we all know how it ends. All those imperfect human characteristics and mistakes, are exactly what makes the journey a “must read.” Of course, Jane Austen always says it better: “Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us perfect for one another”.
I hope you all keep your eyes out for the sequel to Inspired by Grace that was published 2 years ago. I know it has been a long time coming, but more of Kenneth Silence will come. I hope you have enjoyed the snippet from Buying the Duke’s Silence. I promise it will be a “must read” too, because, although Kenneth Silence is pretty confused, and overthinking things, it all works out in the end. He decides that Miss Evelyn Hughes is worth it, well, maybe not her bonnet.
Interestingly enough, when I stop overthinking things, I gain clarity in my own life, and remember that it all works out in the end.
Jeanna Ellsworth Lake
Hey Lady Publications