Elizabeth Bailey writing about Fated Folly

fated_folly2_2I always feel when writing my Regency and Georgian romances that I am penning fairytales for grown-up little girls! For me, the attraction both in writing and reading these novels is the magical element of reaching into history and leading an impossible partnership into the happily ever after.

It fascinates me how the major fairytale themes come up again and again, in all genres of romance. Cinderella is forever popular, even when turned on its head with the heroine taking the unattainable prince role and the hero becoming Cinderella – like the film Notting Hill.

But a close second is, I think, the Beauty and the Beast scenario. Is it a similar thing in that the hero is unattainable? Rather than simply outclassing the heroine in the fortune or status stakes, he is too wounded to be won.

Whether his scars are external or internal doesn’t matter. They are so deep that it seems impossible for the heroine to assuage his pain. Can she tame the beast? We are hooked into the story by wanting to know how.

My story Fated Folly, a tale of the ogre and the minx, is a combination of these two themes. Rupert is a widower in his early thirties, far too old for a girl just turned eighteen. But that doesn’t stop mischievous Clare from tumbling into love with him.


When youthful Clare Carradale beards the ogre in his den, she is instantly smitten with Sir Rupert Wolverley’s raw and powerful attraction. In an attempt to prevent her brother eloping with Sir Rupert’s niece, Clare is herself compromised. She must either marry his young cousin, Lord Ashendon, whom she detests, or Rupert himself.

Can Clare’s hopes of a radiant future be realised in this uneven and improbable match? Both Fate and Ashendon conspire against her. But Clare’s true battle lies in overcoming Rupert’s inner demons, if she is to save her marriage and win through to a promise of happiness.


‘Sir Rupert, are you offering yourself up as a sacrifice on the altar of matrimony?’

He grinned. ‘Miss Carradale, I am.’

He might have guessed, Rupert thought, that she would turn it all into a joke. He was glad. It made it easier. He must feel his way, for he was on delicate ground. Truth to tell, he had shocked himself almost as much as he had shocked the child. She was speaking again, and he was obliged to force back an extraordinary heady lightness that had invaded his mind.

‘It is quite enchanting of you, Sir Rupert, but I cannot let you do it. You had no hand in compromising me. Besides, you don’t want to marry me. You said it was preposterous.’

‘No, that was your father’s word, not mine. I dare say it will be thought a trifle eccentric, but that, I imagine, should not trouble you.’

‘No,’ Clare agreed, eyes dancing. ‘After all, we must not forget that I am a minx who is going to lead my husband a dance.’

He laughed. ‘And I am an ogre. How in the world shall we manage?’

Clare’s face clouded. ‘You didn’t mean it.’

‘I did. I do.’ He found her hand and lifted it to his lips. He felt the quiver of her fingers and folded them inside his much larger clasp. ‘Don’t be afraid.’

‘Oh, I’m n-not,’ Clare stammered, struggling with her churning emotions. ‘Only—only shocked.’ She hazarded a naughty twinkle. ‘But pray don’t offer me any brandy this time. You cannot wish for a wife who is addicted to the bottle.’

‘I don’t wish for a wife at all,’ he returned, laughing.

Clare’s spirits plummeted, and did not rise even when he instantly retracted.

‘No, I don’t mean that. Rather let me say I am not hanging out for a wife. I have an heir, you see. Marriage—a second marriage—had not seemed…’

‘And now you mean to disrupt your life, all to save my face,’ Clare stated flatly, the disappointment a lead weight in her bosom. She felt her other hand taken and both were held so strongly that she was hard put to it not to wince, despite the deep delight his touch engendered.

‘Listen, Clare, this is not in any sense an ideal solution, I know that. But your case is desperate, and it is in some sort my fault—’

‘It most certainly is not!’

‘We will not dispute that. Say then, my responsibility, for it is my relative—I refer to Ashendon—who put you in this situation.’

It was not at all what she wanted to hear, and she tried to protest.

‘But that is—’

‘Hear me out. I am sure you will not “disrupt my life”. I only hope I may not altogether wreck yours by such a marriage. For I know it cannot be a real marriage, not at first at least. You are so very young.’

She heard a wistful note in his voice and wondered at it. ‘Well, but I have heard of many marriages unequal in age. And you are not so very old either.’

‘I am three and thirty, and that is old enough. You are exceptionally young, and cannot be expected to know your own mind.’

‘But I do know it,’ Clare protested with a touch of indignation, hardly aware of how she returned the pressure of his fingers. ‘You have not asked me what is in my mind, Sir Rupert.’

His grip relaxed, and he smiled a little. ‘Under the circumstances, I think, don’t you, that we can dispense with the title?’

She let out a gurgle. ‘You mean I should call you “Rupert” instead of “ogre”?’

‘That was not precisely the exchange I had in mind,’ he said drily, and released her hands.

Clare looked down at her own fingers. They were tingling from his hard grasp, and her heart was pumping so hard it threatened to choke her. What had possessed her to challenge him so? At any second he would ask her what was in her mind and she could not answer him.

She felt his fingers under her chin and lifted her eyes to meet his questioning glance, schooling her features to hide the confusion of her mind and heart.

‘What is it?’ he asked, unnervingly aware of her change of mood.

Clare summoned her twinkling smile. ‘Are you quite sure you wish to make this chivalrous gesture?’

‘Gesture?’ He released her chin. ‘I am offering you the protection of my name, Clare.’

Her lip trembled in spite of herself. ‘Nothing more?’

‘My God, so that is it! My poor child, I am not a monster. You need not fear that I shall importune you with unwanted attentions.’

Fear? Unwanted? Good heavens!


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