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Monday, November 7, 2011

Author Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: Please Welcome Ashley March!

Please join me in welcoming Ashley March to the blog!

ROMANCING THE COUNTESS: As Told by Miss Pettigrew

Thanks so much to What Book is That? for having me on the blog today as I continue the celebration of my latest release, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS!

However, today I have a surprise for you—it won’t be me blogging today, but Miss Pettigrew, one of the secondary characters in the book. You see, she asked to be able to tell her version of how Leah and Sebastian fell in love after their unfaithful spouses died, and since Miss Pettigrew is a sort of underdog (a banker’s daughter whose father is desperate for her to marry into the aristocracy) and I am partial to underdogs, I just couldn’t turn her down. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to Miss Pettigrew!

Thank you, Mrs. March, and greetings, dearest Readers. You might notice that Mrs. March introduced me as Miss Pettigrew. This is because she has yet to give me a first name. *sends meaningful look to author* But no matter; I am not here today to plead for a common courtesy normally given to other characters. Instead, I am here on a much nobler mission: to tell you what happened between Mrs. Leah George and the Earl of Wriothesly (albeit from my very limited perspective).

When I first received the invitation to attend Mrs. George’s house party, my then-companion (she has since been relieved of her duties, thank the good Lord) Mrs. Thompson was adamant that we decline it. However, my father (whose only purposes in life are to spoil me with things I do not want and thwart me in everything I do want) was excited by the opportunity for me to mingle in such close quarters with lords and ladies, especially since I hadn’t been invited to much of anything up until then.

With barely restrained ill humor, Mrs. Thompson agreed to accompany me to the house party. I, of course, being hopelessly and passionately in love with Mr. Price, my father’s clerk, did not wish to go. How could I wish to go, when it would only be another opportunity for Mr. Price to think of me as someone most concerned with the reach for a title? But go we did, and upon arrival it was plainly evident that Mrs. George, though with a smile on her face, was frankly uncomfortable as hostess. It was a curious thing since she invited us, not to mention the fact that she’d decided to host a country house party only a few months after her husband’s death. But I had no one to discuss these matters with, as Mrs. Thompson’s contempt for me did not allow her to speak to me beyond necessary social requirements.

However, when the Earl of Wriothesly appeared later the first night, something seemed to change in the very air. They each acted the consummate gentlewoman and gentleman, but if one observed with a close eye (as I am very skilled at doing), it was clear that something was between them.

At first, I suspected it was animosity. In fact, I still believe it to be so. But over the course of the house party, it became apparent that Mrs. George and the Earl of Wriothesly developed a hopeless tendre for one another. Of course, I did not confide my observations in anyone else, and I’m sure neither the hero nor heroine of our story ever suspected that I knew, but it was obvious to me. As I said, I am skilled at such observations of human behavior.

But then he left! Of course, after what Mrs. George did the last night of the house party, Mrs. Thompson made me leave immediately, too (although, honestly, I thought it was absolutely wonderful, and don’t really understand what all the fuss was about). Yes, we returned to London so as not to be tainted by the scandal (I think, however, it was so Mrs. Thompson and the other guests could spread word of the scandal). Although I was saddened for Mrs. George and the earl, I was even more saddened to find when I returned that Mr. Price hadn’t even noticed my absence. If there was one good thing that came of Mrs. George’s actions, it was that my father terminated Mrs. Thompson’s employment. I don’t think it was a fair action on his part, but I must tell you, dearest Readers, I have never been so happy as when I found out that I would never have to listen to that woman criticize me ever again!

After the house party, I did see Mrs. George in London and am very glad I was able to help her somewhat in her hour of need. And shortly after that, what happy news I received, to learn that the Earl of Wriothesly asked Mrs. George to marry him. But oh, the rumors I heard about that one! Your ears, dearest Readers, your ears would burn!

I am very pleased to tell you that, all in all, things turned out well for the present Countess of Wriothesly and her earl. I visit them from time to time when I’m able—Father is frequently pushing me to attend various soirees and such now that I’ve begun receiving more invitations (which leads one to believe that perhaps it was not I who was not favored, but rather my previous companion…hmm). Although I have not given up hope for Mr. Price—

I just realized that his surname begins with a P, as does mine—this is fate, is it not, dearest Readers? If we are married I shan’t even have to buy new luggage or kerchiefs or…oh, bugger it, I’m tired of waiting on fate and on Mr. Price, too.

If Mrs. March ever deigns to give me my own story (and first name), dearest Readers, I promise you that I shall be the one to control fate, not the only way around. Mr. Price will be mine.

Er, thank you, Miss Pettigrew. I feel appropriately chastised about the name thing. As for your own story…how does 2012 sound? =)

And what do you think, dearest Readers of ours? If Miss Pettigrew were to have a first name, what would it be? Obviously you can see she’s quite a stubborn—I mean, determined—individual who’s convinced she can win the heart of the man of her dreams by persistence alone. So we need a strong name for her, because obviously she likes to battle against the odds. To make this even more fun, I promise to acknowledge the person whose suggested name I choose in Miss Pettigrew’s book. C’mon—help a new heroine (and an author!) out!

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com! 

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