Thanks so much Maria Grazia for hosting my on your blog to talk about Inspired by Grace! I have always loved being your guest. Mostly because I get to talk about my books and writing! But today I am going to not just tell you about the book with the intrigue and excerpt, but I will introduce the main female character by using TV tropes. What is a TV trope and what does it have to do with a book blog tour? Tropes are a way to classify characters that seem to follow patterns and they are called TV tropes because they were first noticed in TV sitcoms and movies but since then, they are recognized universally throughout all media.
Although Inspired by Grace is not JAFF, I have to say that Jane Austen inspired all my writing (this book happens to have a loose Persuasion correlation). One of my favorite things about Austen is her ability to create memorable characters. Here is a quick video link for you to watch a sketch that a comedy group called Studio C from BYU created. The skit is called, “Teddy’s Story Joint” and the idea is author’s come and order plots like it is a fast food restaurant. My favorite is when Jane Austen orders her “usual” which is “girl likes a guy, looks like she won’t get the guy, but then she does. With a witty social critique on the side.” If you want to see the full sketch, click here
I had already finished writing Inspired by Grace when I was introduced to the concept of TV tropes. I was really intrigued by this concept that there could be repeated characterizations throughout TV and literature. So I tried to classify Grace Iverson, the heroine of Inspired by Grace. I found that she fits two tropes; English Rose and Spirited Young Lady. The English Rose trope is a character who is virtuous and possess a certain amount of modest beauty. She is also dignified in a social setting but may not be upper class, but acts like it. Jane Bennet is somewhat of an English Rose. But Grace has some spunk to her too that makes English Rose not entirely fitting. She has quite a bit of the Spirited Young Lady trope too. I probably do not have to define this one . . . if I just say Elizabeth Bennet then you will know what I mean. She is intelligent, often outdoorsy, witty and has a will of her own that prevents her from always conforming.
So now you have a brief understanding of who Grace is, but I will add one more bit of information about her. Gavin, the hero and her best friend, learns to really respect her ability to live up to her name––Grace. Here is the intrigue and the excerpt to help you understand Grace’s finest qualities.
“She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her. What had started as friendship had evolved into something quite tangible . . .”
A lady always hopes that the man she falls in love with will sweep her off her feet in a dramatic and graceful way. Well, for Grace Iverson, at least it was dramatic. Her childhood best friend, Gavin Kingston—now His Grace, the Duke of Huntsman—is still just as clumsy as ever.
Despite their painful separation as children, a chance encounter has offered them a second opportunity for happiness. But after ten years apart, they both carry hidden scars. Trust takes time. And soon, forces from the past threaten to destroy the love they both have hoped for all of their lives.
Can Grace’s best friend break down her emotional fortress and prove his love before she disappears from his life a second time?
This lovely Regency romance started well before either of them knew what they wished for in a partner; but it will surely be one that stands the test of time.
When Grace and Gavin returned from their walk, Robison was waiting for them. “Mr. Ellis, Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Harrison are in the parlor with the duchess,” he announced.
“To see me?” Gavin teased. “How thoughtful of them!”
Robison cleared his throat and clarified what everyone already knew: “To see Miss Iverson, sir.”
Grace turned to Gavin with a worried look on her face. “Which one was Mr. Ellis?” she asked.
Gavin tried to act natural, but his response was edged with a bit of sarcasm. “The handsome, intelligent chap who gave no indication that he would be calling today. He sat on my end of the table.”
“Oh, yes, I remember meeting him. But I only spoke to him once the whole night. I cannot imagine why he feels so encouraged.” Grace took a deep breath. “Gavin, how do I do this?” she asked anxiously. “I feel as if I must put on a show. What if I do something wrong?”
“Gigi, just be friendly. You could never fail at that.” Gavin took her hand and squeezed it. “Do you want me to come with you?”
“Of course. There is nowhere I would rather be than with you. Especially when three men are falling at your feet.”
Gavin had been expecting a retaliation, so when Grace playfully took a swing at him, he easily dodged it. And when she sent him her most-irritated look, he didn’t mind in the slightest. Instead, he enjoyed the opportunity to admire her pouty, tempting lips.
“Now, Gigi,” he teased, “with that pout on your lips, it almost looks as if you are puckering up for a kiss!”
Grace glanced at the butler with a rather embarrassed look, but Robison had the dignity to pretend he hadn’t heard anything. Gavin leaned in and whispered, “Forgive me. As your best friend, I should know better than to embarrass you.” Then he cleared his throat and proclaimed, “I believe it is time to help you choose your husband. Come, they have waited long enough.”
The visitors stood as Gavin and Grace entered the parlor. For a moment, Grace appeared unsure about whom to acknowledge first. Each suitor had brought flowers. Mr. Harrison had bluebells, Lewis had daisies, and of course the flagrant Ellis had the largest batch of all. Red roses! Rather bold of you, Ellis. At least I chose yellow to represent friendship. Ellis was almost as much of a dandy as Mr. Woods. “Good morning, Mr. Harrison,” Grace began. “I hope you do not mind taking tea before our ride.”
Ah, perfect, Grace! Let Lewis and Ellis know you will take tea with them, but make it clear you had a previous engagement with Harrison. It was evident, despite her concerns, that Grace could handle the situation without him. But Gavin had no intention of leaving. He wasn’t about to grant a suitor unrestricted access to the woman of his dreams—definitely not three of them at once.
Harrison replied, “It is rather ch-chilly outside. I have no problem delaying our ride until it is warmer.”
Mr. Ellis laughed haughtily. “Harrison,” he snickered, “most people go riding in Hyde Park in the early evening! I am sure that is when Miss Iverson was expecting you!”
Grace smiled and ignored the barb, “I am quite looking forward to our ride, Mr. Harrison. Thank you for the bluebells. My father used to tell me that my eyes are the color of bluebells. How very thoughtful of you! And thank you for the roses, Mr. Ellis. They are so beautiful. It is good to see you again, Mr. Lewis. I used to play with daisies as a child, and they always bring me pleasant memories. Thank you all for coming, but really, there was no need for any of you to bring me flowers.”
She directed the servant to take the flowers to her chambers and proclaimed that it would be the best-smelling room in the neighborhood. Everyone took their seats, and the tea was brought in.
Gavin moved to take the tray but froze when he heard his mother gently clear her throat behind him. He forgot he had promised her to not carry her nice dishes anymore. He glanced at his mother and then at Grace, who had also seen his mother’s subtle warning. He couldn’t help but smile at Grace’s poor attempts to hide her amusement. When no one was looking, Gavin winked at her.
The duchess directed the servant to place the tea in front of Grace. Grace’s smile faded slightly. He knew what she was thinking. She was wishing that his mother would pour the tea herself, but Grace understood her role as debutant. Every move she made was to be scrutinized as if she were applying for a position in a shop.
Gavin sat back and thought, Let the interview begin.
For the next half hour, Grace was the epitome of genteel society. She politely smiled at each gentleman’s efforts to engage her attention and gave enough encouragement to make each man feel like he was the favored one. The time passed quickly as he marveled at her ability to handle the situation. He thought to himself, This is what real grace looks like. Indeed, she had taught him more about grace in the last hour than he had learned in his entire life.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Grace Iverson. I really enjoyed writing her character and must say that a good deal of her best qualities were based off of my daughter, Paige, who also happens to be on the cover!
I will give away either a paperback or eBook of Inspired by Grace to one lucky commenter! And yes, because Maria is outside of the U.S., this contest is open internationally! Of course, if you simply cannot wait to read this book, here is the link to buy it from Amazon.
Thanks again Maria for hosting me, it is always a pleasure!
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