As you can guess from the title, My Unfair Lady was inspired by the movie My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. About an American heiress who goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady, I’d like to celebrate the release by telling readers what I love the most about my heroine, Summer Wine Lee.
Although I like that Summer is bold, and a bit dangerous, and a product of her environment (she’s more of an Annie Oakley than she is an Eliza Doolittle), I think my favorite thing about her is her compassion. It’s her greatest strength, and sometimes her greatest weakness.
She can’t turn her back on the suffering of ‘critters’, and picks up quite a menagerie of hurt and stray animals. Since she spent most of her life growing up on an Arizona mine, she relieved her loneliness by adopting her first friends, some coatimundi’s. (These are really cute animals native to the Southwest desert.) As an adult, she picked up a cat named Moo-moo who has issues which makes her climb to feel secure, a three-legged dog named Lefty, a large dog named Sweetie who is a bit of a coward, and a tiny little Chihuahua named Chi-chi. Unfortunately, she can only bring Chi-chi with her on her voyage to London, but Summer and her friend Maria manage to rescue a monkey and a baby fox while in England.
Summer’s compassion also allows her to see beyond the surface appearance of a person. She does this with the hero’s mistress (which, unfortunately for my hero, the Duke of Monchester, causes their immediate breakup). Summer hires the duke to sponsor her and sees beyond his façade of arrogance as well, although it will take some time before she can truly unveil the entire character of the man that lies beneath.
Unfortunately, Summer’s compassion is also the reason for her insecurity. She carries a secret from her past. An action that she was forced to commit, but can’t forgive herself for. She thinks she wants to be turned in to a lady because she’s engaged to a man in New York who is connected to the Astor family, and they’ve made it clear to her that she’s an unacceptable bride. But as she works toward this goal, her secret creeps out to haunt her again and again, until she finally realizes why she wants to be a lady. And that it might be impossible.
But the duke finds out her secret, and is determined to help her.
And Summer’s compassion gets her into more trouble. She’s beginning to find out some contradictions about the duke and his family, and resolves to help him as well. When she discovers that someone might even be trying to kill him, she cannot turn her back on him, even when it would be in her best interest to do so. As she uncovers even more truths about the duke, she also finds herself growing more attracted to him. And her compassion for her fiancé prevents her from acting on those feelings, throwing Summer into more confusion. But her strength carries her through, and although sometimes she’s forced to make some difficult decisions, I can’t help but admire those that she does make. And eventually Summer will use her compassion for herself, as well, to discover her own inner truths.
Although Summer’s compassion might have made her story a deeper, more serious study of her character, her personality, penchant for outrageous behavior (at least as far as London society is concerned) and habit of caring for her critters makes the book a fun and light-hearted journey of self-discovery. The predicaments she gets into, and her unique way of solving them, are always fueled by her compassion…for better or worse.
So what is one of the traits you admire the most in your favorite heroine? And why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
With My Best Wishes,
PS. Join me today for my Virtual Book Tour at: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/
My Unfair Lady
By Kathryne Kennedy
$6.99 US/MM Paperback
Starred review from Publishers Weekly! A Library Journal Editor’s Pick! 5 book rating from Long and Short Reviews/5 stars from Huntress Reviews/WRDF Reviews says “A fantastic read!”/Romantic Times BOOKReviews says “Kennedy’s writing is witty and enjoyable.”/Merrimon Book Reviews says “A pure delight.”/Booklist says “Plenty of sexy romance.”
He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…
For the arms of another man...
Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…