With the release of her new novel, author Elizabeth Lawrence stopped by with a guest post
My grandfather died at the age of ninety-five. Old Cliff was still living on his own in a small ranch house in a quiet little town in Kansas when he fell. It wasn’t much; a high school football knee injury played up, and he tumbled down one small step and hit his head. He took his sweet time about shuffling off this mortal coil, confounding his medical care providers for months. During this time, my mother and I flew down to Kansas and helped go through the lifetime of possessions that were squirreled away in the house. My cousin had done a preliminary sweep before we got there, but she and I worked together to stay at least one room ahead of my mother. She was upset enough about her father without discovering any of the little shocks that we knew were hidden in odd places.
Old Clifford had tried his hand at writing a book, you see. I cannot begin to describe how disturbing, twisted, and just generally WRONG this book was. No one in their right mind would publish it. I can’t even bring myself to read it. I’ve tried.
I already knew my grandparents had been a bit kinky back in the day. Granny had an impressive library that contained novels I’m STILL not old enough to read. (It killed me not to be able to keep those books, but I’ve got impressionable boys to raise.) My cousins and I had done a lot of exploring when we were kids, which is why I knew what nipple clamps were before I’d learned Algebra. It may also be the reason why it takes a lot to shock me now.
Cliff’s pornographic magazine collection had long since gone to the Boy Scouts’ paper recycling drive (true story), but my cousin and I knew that we wouldn’t have a moment’s peace again in our lives if my mother found her daddy’s smut stash. There are just some things you shouldn’t have to know about your parents.
Despite the general awkwardness of having kinky grandparents, one thing is certain: I come from a long line of novel lovers.
My mother is also a book-lover, but her tastes are somewhat more refined. She loves the classics and would time-travel to Georgian England if she could, I think. Around the same time that I was discovering that Asian prostitutes wrote memoirs (thanks, Granny), my mother was introducing me to books like Jane Eyre and Little Women. She eventually got a doctorate in English literature and persists in hoping I’ll write the Great American Novel one day. I don’t share in that particular delusion.
Still, it’s hardly surprising that I grew up with a love of books and writing. I suppose that The Truth Seekers reflects the more dignified, intellectual side of my literary influences. Even though there aren’t any nipple clamps (or any sex at all – sorry, Granny), I did try to convey the passion of those racy paperbacks, as well. I like to think that books are in my blood and that, by sharing mine, I am honoring the less eye-popping aspects of my literary heritage.
Maybe someday I’ll write a real scorcher in memory of Granny and Cliff. But I’m still not going to read that book he wrote. There are some things you shouldn’t have to know about your grandparents, after all.
At the turn of the century, the Victorian upper classes live in a vibrant but strictly-ordered world that encourages gentle, intellectual pursuits. Theirs is a life of ease and elegance, but it can be snatched away from them in an instant if the rules of polite society are not followed. Gothic novelist Geoffrey Hawes has never been willing to let such restrictions hold him back, and he refuses to honor conventions for which there is no discernible value. When he spends a social season in a community created to celebrate the Arts, music, and philosophy, he is unexpectedly befriended by the daughter of the Governor, Miranda Claridge.
Bitter and disenchanted with the privileged and wealthy, Geoffrey finds his beliefs repeatedly challenged by the intelligent and vivacious Miranda. In the midst of their heated debates on the mores of the upper class, this unlikely friendship blossoms into a passionate love. He encourages her to pursue her interest in painting and gives her a new understanding of what relationships between men and women should be. Meanwhile, Miranda begins to open his eyes to all that is wonderful and beautiful and good in the world.
Geoffrey at last accepts that he has fallen in love with Miranda, but misunderstandings and lies come between them. Knowing that Miranda believes it is her duty to marry, he prepares himself to hear news of her wedding. Geoffrey attempts to escape the pain of her perceived rejection by traveling and throwing himself into his work. However, he cannot run forever. One day, he encounters Miranda again and soon discovers that she is not the same woman he left behind. Can the couple realize that they each must relinquish some of their prejudices and preconceived notions before it is too late? Can love really conquer all?
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Elizabeth Lawrence is the author of both contemporary and period romances. Each book incorporates its own unique blend of humor and reverence, the peculiar and the mundane. In addition to her novels, Elizabeth serves as a freelance editor. A lifelong writer and former paralegal, Elizabeth divides her free time between her husband and two sons, her three cats, her collection of cozy murder mysteries, and her mildly severe caffeine addiction. A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Elizabeth now works from her home in Cleveland, Ohio.
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