Guest Author: Patricia Burroughs & Gift Card Giveaway!!

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I’m so pleased to welcome bestselling romance and epic fantasy author Patricia Borroughs to the blog today.  Pooks, as she’s called, is here to talk about her latest book, This Crumbling Pageant–which has an interesting movie-related twist.

Remembering Gigi

I never consciously thought about Gigi when I was plotting and writing This Crumbling Pageant.

I was a very small girl the first time I saw that lush, gorgeous movie musical describing a different world and a different culture from my own. I had no idea what a courtesan was, or what Gigi was being raised to be. I just knew that I fell in love with the tale and several times since have watched it again, a bewitching romance in the old school way—a young girl raised to be a courtesan, who brings the hero to his knees both figuratively and literally.

They first met when she was a young girl, and part of the fun for me was watching scenes like this one, and anticipating the moment when he would see her—really see her—for the first time as a woman.

Louis Jordan and Leslie Caron

I certainly wasn’t remembering Gigi when I was plotting the early part of my trilogy, when Persephone is smitten with Sir Robin Fitzwilliam and he sees her as a precocious young lady deserving of his protection and affection but certainly not a love interest. The plot required that moment, and that age difference. And yet, I also didn’t shrink back in dismay. Historically, matches were frequently made between young women and more mature men.

I understand being turned off by the idea of a relationship that began, innocently, when Persephone was too young, even though it didn’t progress as a love relationship until she’s old enough to be presented to the queen. But in the 21st Century few of our readers would be thrilled to have their 17-year-old daughters fall in love with thirty year-old men. I get that.

But even though This Crumbling Pageant does tell a complex and complicated—and ultimately, passionate—love story, it is first and always a fantasy. I can tell my story as it needs to be told, with the ages and situations demanded by the plot, without worrying about contemporary rules that might stand in the way if I were writing only about Persephone’s romantic story arc—an arc, I must add, that won’t end until the entire trilogy is written.

Alas, a youtube search did not turn up the moment when Louis Jordan takes a look at Gigi and realizes she is a woman, when he experiences that gut-clench of possession and realizes that she means far more to him than he ever dreamed. I guess I’ll have to watch the entire movie again. (As if that’s a sacrifice!)

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In the meantime, I will give you that moment for Persephone and Robin.

Robin stepped onto the first floor landing to realise that from below him, people were gathered, looking up. Guests who had been milling near the ballroom entrance were now turned, also looking up expectantly. He followed their gazes up the stairs.

Persephone’s brothers—Dardanus and Cosmo—descended, Dardanus’s expression one of ill-masked concern that caused Robin’s heart to leap.

Cosmo, however, exuded confidence, his eyes glittering.

And why did that leave Robin uneasy?

The Duke Regent descended next, as regal as if he already bore the crown. The slight rigidity around his eyes was all that betrayed that he, too, might have concerns. It was a detail few would detect.

When the three reached the foot of the stairs, they turned as one and awaited the announcement of her name.

And finally, the slow, graceful descent of Apollo Fury and his daughter.

A soft gasp echoed through the assemblage.

And he… he could do nothing but stare up as Persephone came into view…

Wearing a dress of purple so dark, it was almost black.

Her hair was unfashionable, a sleek fall of ebony. Usually so flat in colour, it shimmered, with a silver laurel wreath its only adornment.

Her skin wasn’t the milky white of her sister, but in this light, against such a dress, it had a honeyed cast that glowed with life. The wide neck of the gown was low on her shoulders, exposing the delicacy of the joining of sinew and bone, the hollow at the base of her throat. Her mouth was wide and tinged with rose.

But it was her eyes, large and liquid, that dominated her face with their dark intensity.

Her presence was magnetic. There was no way any eye could have been on any other woman in the room.

She appeared to have stepped from a medieval portrait at Erinyes Manor, despite the fact that her dress was of the most recent fashion, with snow-white gloves that covered her from fingertip to above where sleeve met wrist—an effect obviously created by a modiste of the first stare. Down to the finest detail, it could not be faulted in any way.

Except for its hue that no young lady of fashion would ever choose.

A hue that made her glow.

The blood-draining grip at his elbow, the carefully composed expression on Electra’s face as she looked—simply looked—at Cosmo, and his return smirk told Robin everything.

This presentation was Cosmo Fury’s doing.

And Persephone’s sister Electra, the Duchess of Aubyn, was rigid with rage.

Persephone drew closer. Robin looked into her eyes, and his breath caught at the intensity of her apprehension.

Oh yes, her chin was high, her shoulders straight, her posture impeccable. Few would know that she reeked of tension, only those who knew her well.

And yes, he knew her so well.

And it hit him.

Persephone didn’t know. Electra had yet to recognise. The first shock had not worn off.

None of them with the exception of Cosmo had quite yet realised.

Persephone Fury was stunning.

Whether trope of cliché, this is one of those moments I love to read and to write, that moment when an awkward duckling appears as a swan to the man she’s been yearning for.

How does Gigi hold up today? I didn’t even address the fact that she was raised to be a courtesan here.

Can you still enjoy it as a love story, or does it squick? Is it still a fabulously romantic tale of a girl who rises above her ‘station’ and wins the world be bring the hero to submission? Or is it one of those stories best left behind to another time and place, a guilty pleasure at best and a glamorization of a dark time for women at worst?

Vanessa, here.  Readers, what do you think of Pooks’ question? I love the idea for this book and I also love Gigi, so let’s talk about it!  Pooks will give away a $10 gift card and I’ll give away a copy of my latest book, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, to one person who comments.

This Crumbling Pageant

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

England, 1811. Few are aware of a hidden magical England, a people not ruled by poor mad George, but by the dying King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon.

The Furys are known for their music, their magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. When Fury ambitions demand a political marriage, Persephone is drugged and presented to Society—

Only to be abducted from the man she loves by the man she loathes.

But devious and ruthless, Persephone must defy ancient prophecy and seize her own fate.

Get swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.

 

59 thoughts on “Guest Author: Patricia Burroughs & Gift Card Giveaway!!

  1. I have loved the movie Gigi for a long time and am not bothered by the subject matter. I guess because she is such a fun character and stands up for herself. I will probably sing all the songs from the movie in my head today! Thank you for spot lighting Patricia Burroughs, it sounds like my kind of book!

  2. I have never heard of or seen the movie Gigi, but I will now. It doesn’t bother me, the content, it makes me intrigued. I’m one of those who likes to figure out how things work. I just have to figure out how I’m gonna fund this movie.. Lol

  3. I love the idea of a parallel magical society in Georgian England! I enjoyed “Gigi” when I was younger, and not bothered by the age difference or her choice of “careers” (maybe I would be now?) but I wonder if you have a little “Harry Potter” influence there too, with the existence of a parallel magical society?

  4. I have never had the pleasure of watching Gigi but it reminds me of another book, which later became another beautiful movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. Set in 1930-40s Japan, she is raised to be a Geisha but her heart always belonged to one and one man only. Love is so hard to find that once it’s found one should go for it regardless of age differences or social circumstances. Does it still hold? … would I like my brother to fall for a “courtesan”? … hmm, I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be my choice to make.

    • I never read Memoirs of a Geisha but of course have many friends who loved it. You make an excellent point about choices. And just as there might be many who won’t like the age difference in my book, the current reviews are showing that many are on board. That’s the glory of books. Something for everybody.

  5. I love that movie, Gigi. I know of three versions of the movie and it does make a great plot line. I like your excerpt of your book and can’t wait to read it. I know that it was the times that “women” were thought of as possessions and not as a person with a brain or logic. However, it would not make for great reading in that time period if it would be today’s ideal of what women are. I know that there were some that were called “bluestocking” because they used their brains and it was frowned upon, but I would have loved to be friends with them as they are the original “women’s lib” and someone that I would have called “an Original Diamond” not what the general opinion would have been.

  6. I loved the movie Gigi! Patricia, I really enjoyed your interview and the excerpt from THIS CRUMBLING PAGEANT. I will definitely have to read it. The thought of a courtesan doesn’t bother me as long as the woman is treated properly. They are a product of circumstance.

  7. Oh yes. I would absolutely adore it~! The magic of it sounds delightful! Thank you so much for the opportunity.
    Connie

  8. I loved the movie Gigi and hope to see it again when it comes on TV. I like reading about romance and magic.

  9. I also have not seen Gigi. The subject matter would not bother me, and I have to say the book sounds very interesting so far. The only thing I’m really concerned about in the novels I read is free choice.

  10. I love the film Gigi and I can enjoy it for what it is, a lovely romance in another time and place from today.

  11. Gigi is one of my all-time favorite musicals! as for the stories, because of the time periods in which they are set, I can forgive the age difference–I wouldn’t find it acceptable in a contemporary story.

    Leslie Caron played that “type” multiple times–but that has nothing to do with your question.

    I love how Gigi is able to rise above and out of her situation.

    And, I cannot wait to finish Persephone’s story.

    • Yes, Leslie Caron did play that type several times. I was thinking of that earlier today. I didn’t have the same response to Daddy Longlegs. When I was a little girl that one didn’t do anything for me. Louis Jordan, on the other hand… Oooh la la!

  12. There were parts of Gigi I have problems with, particularly how the grandmother pushes her, but the music & the ending make up for the negatives. It holds up as a representation of another time, but there are still girls around the world that may be in similar situations or at least struggling with family expectations. Last week was Barbara Walters “retirement” – in an interview she said Gigi was her favorite movie.

  13. I am reading The Crumbling Pageant right now and resent anything that takes me away from it. I am desperately hoping that Robin gets a clue before the end of the first volume. I already know I am going to be Very Cranky waiting for volume two.

  14. I love Gigi even when i was little and didn’t know what they were traing her to be. And i love it now for the strong romance of it. I love that excerpt it made me feel like i was there. I do want to read all of it, a slow budding love that is a punch in the gut realization when it finally becomes obvious.

  15. I love the movie “Gigi”. I can watch it every time it’s on cable. I love the songs and the costumes. The story line does not bother me.

  16. I love the movie “Gigi”. In fact, this past winter I saw it on the big screen at our movie theater as part of their past Best Picture winners celebration. Personally, I try to not judge books, movies, etc. from the past by today’s standards. After all, I loved the romance novels from the 1980’s when I read them in the 1980’s. Some of them are rather cringe-worthy by the current mindset.

  17. I’ve loved Gigi since I was a teenager & it’s one of the few classics that I own on DVD & watch at least once a year. Maurice, Louis & Leslie transport you to another time effortlessly.

  18. I, too, loved “Gigi” when I watched it as a child, even though she was trained to be a courtesan. The music did a lot to take the attention off that bit.

    Besides, it was a whole lot more wholesome than “Irma La Douce”. 🙂

  19. I always loved the movie Gigi — such great music/songs (little girls, I remember when), beautiful clothes, a lovely & sweet growing up/love story. though I admit, grandma & the uncle are my fave parts of the movie 😉

  20. It’s been ages since I watched GIGI. Worth a watch before I can properly answer your question I think. It is what it is. A fabulous movie.

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