Hello! I’m Lilian Darcy and Jane has asked me to be a guest on JaneBlog, posting from far away Australia. I’m feeling the weight of responsibility, because I always love the things that Jane chooses to write about and I’m wondering what I can possibly add.
There’s a whole mix of themes in my head right now. Firstly, Jane and her journey as a single parent, her handling of a long-distance relationship, her going-with-her-heart decision to have another baby with Surfer Ty. I’m not the only one who is frequently in awe of what she accomplishes, both professionally and personally, and the vibrant way she pulls it off. She’s an inspiration not just because of what she achieves but maybe even more because of the things she sometimes *doesn’t* achieve and the way she talks about all of that – the pets who go missing, the home-cooking plans that fall flat, the times she loses it with the kids. There’s an emotional truth to Jane’s writing about women – I can’t wait for Shey’s story! – and I don’t think there’s anyone else out there writing in quite the same way about the same kind of truth.
Then there’s the book cover I’ve posted here – not too hard to tell there’s a single parenthood theme there, also. Actually, they’ve left off one of heroine Tammy’s kids in the picture – she’s supposed to have five. This book has been nominated for a Rita Award from the Romance Writers of America this year, and I’m so happy it was *this* book, because it’s one of my favorites among the long list of Harlequin Medical romances I’ve written. I love that the judges responded to the story of a plump, down-to-earth mum (which is how we spell it here in Australia) who captures the man of her dreams with humor and warmth and a mother’s values.
Finally, there’s the book I’ve chosen to include as a giveaway. It’s not one of mine, or by a friend, or by the latest hot best-selling author. It’s not even a novel. It’s a biography, and if Jane’s ultimate theme on her blog can be summarized as Real Women, and Real Women’s Lives, then this book is about a real woman’s truly incredible life, lived nearly two hundred years ago but still fascinating and resonant for any of us who’ve ever dreamed of an all-consuming love, or who’ve found one, who’ve followed our hearts, done crazy things, regretted and lost and re-discovered and lived every heart-beat.
Fittingly, the subject of A Scandalous Life was also named Jane. She was Jane Digby, she was a better as a lover than she was as a mother even though she ultimately bore six children, and she caused a scandal in upper-class England in the 1820’s when she left her aristocratic husband for a German prince and her divorce case made the front pages of The Times newspaper.
Guess where she ended up? Not with the German prince. Not with the German baron who fell in love with her after the prince had abandoned her. Not with King Ludwig I of Bavaria, with whom she had a passionate affair and almost certainly a child. Nope, and not with later lovers such as the supposed Greek “count” or the Albanian brigand, either. Jane Digby, former Lady Ellenborough and lover of a king, found ultimate happiness in her late forties with a Bedouin sheikh in the Syrian desert. He fell in love with her while escorting her to the ruined desert city of Palmyra, even though he was twenty years younger than she was. He respected her as an equal in horsemanship and intelligence, and they married and remained happy together until her death in 1881 at the age of 74.
So there you go, two Janes and a Tammy, linked as women across time and space and the blurred line between truth and fiction, linked by being mothers, lovers, daughters and wives, skilled and intelligent, passionate and brave, lost and found.
Jane, sending you and all your boys a ton of love from Australia, and for Jane’s readers, I’m giving away a copy of A Scandalous Life by Mary S Lovell. It’s a fascinating biography and I think you’d enjoy it. Share with me what you’re reading right now and you’re entered to win. Jane will draw the winner’s name Tuesday night at midnight PST and post the winner’s name Wednesday morning in the comment section below. Do check back on Wednesday to see if you have won!