Welcome, Maya! Tell us about yourself.
I’m a New York City girl who loves to read and write romance novels (12 and counting!). I enjoy Beyoncé dance parties, romantic comedies, and talking about why romance novels matter. The hardest part of my day is staying up past 9pm. I married a great guy who thinks all my books are about him and I have the most fabulous dog who knows everything is all about her (Peek at pictures here!). My website is www.mayarodale.com, check it out!
I read Dangerous Books for Girls in a single day—definitely recommend!
What three things about you might surprise your readers?
- I once lived in London for a summer for graduate school and spent much of it researching in the British Library and trekking around to every museum and historical house (and gift shop). It has proven to be tremendously helpful when writing my Regency romances.
- I’m very short—4 feet, eleven and three quarter inches, barefoot. Do not forget my three/quarters of an inch.
- I keep a list of all the books I read, organized by year, color-coded by month. As one does.
I am infinitely jealous over #1.
Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
I have plenty of stories in my head and even some drafts under the bed that aren’t romance and I would love to write them (read: the muse insists I must write them). One is a Young Adult novel, the others are grown up lady fiction. But all of them will end happily 🙂
Excellent! A happy ending is key.
Tell us about CHASING LADY AMELIA.
Lady Amelia Cavendish is sister to a duke and hates it. Alistair Finlay-Jones is heir to a baron who hates him. A series of events involving scandal, laudanum and lost shoes result in these two running away for a perfect day around London, taking in the sights and falling in love. When Amelia finds out Alistair had been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming…will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?
Spoiler alert–yes! But he’s going to have to pay first…
Where did the idea for the storyline come from?
The idea for Chasing Lady Amelia came from two distinct, but oddly compatible, stories. The first is Pride & Prejudice, which is the inspiration for book one in the Keeping Up With The Cavendishes, Lady Bridget’s Diary. In both those novels, there’s a runaway sister who definitely needs to have her story told (where did she go!? With whom!? What kind of sexy fun trouble did she get into?!) And then I noticed that the plot of my favorite movie of all time, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, would dovetail perfectly. While her story inspired by that film, Amelia quickly takes over and makes the story uniquely her own.
Ha! I knew it was Roman Holiday! Thank goodness it has a happier ending than the movie, though 🙂
What do you think readers will like/love about Alistair and Amelia?
Things to love about Amelia: her irrepressible spirit and love for her family.
Things to love about Alistair: his kindness, determination to do the right thing and the way he pleases Amelia, if you know what I mean 😉
LOL—yes, yes we do.
What was your favorite scene from the book?
My favorite scene in Chasing Lady Amelia is a spoiler! (But don’t worry, no spoilers here). I’d been having trouble with the ending (I wrote it, oh, three different ways) and over dinner and drinks with my husband we schemed and plotted an alternate ending that is both funny, humorous, plays on the Alistair’s worst fears and gives Amelia a say in her own destiny. It was a riot to write and is hopefully a delight to read!
It definitely was!
Who are some of your book boyfriends? What draws you to them?
Not Lord Darcy! I’m much more partial to Gilbert Blythe (If you don’t know who that is, I’m so sorry). But my book boyfriends tend to be the ones I’m writing currently about, so right now they are a hot, hunky Marquess (Lord Fox, of Lady Claire is All That) and a rebellious, American duke (the final book in the Cavendish series). I’m a lucky girl 😉
Wait…there are people out there who don’t know Gilbert Blythe? Inconceivable!
If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be? (It can be non-alcoholic too)
Something sparkling! Whether it’s champagne (or Prosecco, I’m not picky) or sparkling water with extra limes please thank you very much. Cheers!
What’s next for you?
I am Keeping Up With The Cavendishes! I’ve just finished up book three in the series, Lady Claire is All That (12/27/16). Readers will see this smart heroine make an unexpectedly perfect match with the hunky “jock” of the haute ton, Lord Fox, in a story that riffs on the rom com She’s All That. Oh, and then I’m writing the duke’s romance…
I’m seeing a movie re-watch in my future! 😉 Can’t wait for James’s story, either…
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
“Ah, Lady Nansen. Lord Nansen!” The duchess and her charges paused before a couple that looked just like all the others Amelia had been introduced to: they were of an indeterminate middle age, decked in an array of brightly colored silks and satins, and honestly, a bit jowly and gray.
“I haven’t yet introduced you to my nephew and nieces.”
“And we have been dying to make their acquaintance,” Lady Nansen said, fanning herself furiously. “The ton has spoken of nothing else.”
The duchess performed the introductions. Upon meeting James, the new duke, fawning ensued.
Everyone fawned over James these days—but then when his back was turned they whispered about how his father was a horse thief and that James had been raised in the stables and how tragic it was that Durham was now in his hands.
“And Lady Claire.”
Amelia watched as they took in Claire’s spectacles and her distracted, impatient demeanor. She had not mastered the slightly vacant look of a simpering miss and with a brain as sharp as hers, never would. Amelia watched as Lady Nansen decided that Claire would never be an “incomparable,” or whatever they called the popular girls of the ton, and flitted her attention to the next sister.
Amelia watched as her middle sister glided into an elegant curtsy. The duchess beamed. Lady Nansen judged.
“Your practicing is paying off,” Amelia murmured. She’d caught Bridget curtsying in front of the mirror in the ballroom for an hour last Thursday.
“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said through gritted teeth. Unlike the other Cavendish siblings,
Bridget actually cared about fitting in here. She was obsessed with learning and following the rules.
“And Lady Amelia.” She gave a smile somewhere between gargoyle and simpering miss, but perhaps more on the gargoyle side of the spectrum.
“You must have your hands full, Duchess, trying to make so many matches.”
“It does give one something to do all day,” the duchess replied, with a tight-lipped smile that
Amelia dubbed the One Where I Am Smiling Even Though I Hate What You Just Said. “But I do have every confidence that they will make splendid matches. In fact, I have someone special in mind for Lady Amelia this evening.”
The duchess beamed at her charges, as if they hadn’t been foiling her every effort to marry them off. Amelia began to dread meeting “someone special.”
“I say, Duke,” Lord Nonesuch or whatever began, “do you have an opinion on any of the horses running Ascot?”
The lords always asked James for his opinion on which horse would win a race, so they might win a wager. And then they turned around and made snide remarks about his experience raising and training horses—as if he were beneath them because of this knowledge. Even though he now outranked them.
“I do,” James said, smiling easily.
“Don’t suppose you’d tell a friend who you think will be the winner?” Lord Nansen or Nancy said jovially, with a wink and a nudge.
“I might,” James replied.
This was a conversation he’d had before and Amelia had begged him to do something nefarious, like deliberately suggest a losing horse. But James refused and just smiled like he knew the winner and never said a word.
“I suppose you’re going to build up Durham’s stables,” his lordship said.
“Nansen, he doesn’t have time for horses,” his wife said in that exasperated way of wives. “He must find a bride first.”
The duchess beamed, an I-told-you-so smile.
Then Lady Nansen turned and fixed her attentions on Amelia. Her fan was beating at a furious pace.
“And Lady Amelia, have you found any suitors you care for?”
“After having met nearly all of England’s finest young gentlemen, I can honestly say that no, I have not found any suitors that I could care for,” Amelia said. “But I do have a new appreciation for spinsterhood. In fact, I think it sounds like just the thing.”
Just the thing was a bit of slang she had picked up. Sticking forks in her eye was just the thing (but only with the good silver!). Flustering old matrons with an honest and direct statement was just the thing.
Lady Nansen stared at her a moment, blinking rapidly as she tried to process what Amelia had just said.
“Well your sister seems to have snared the attentions of Darcy’s younger brother,” she said, evidently disregarding Amelia and focusing on Bridget, the one who cared about fitting in and finding suitors.
“Are Lord Darcy and Mr. Wright here tonight?” Bridge asked eagerly. Too eagerly. “I haven’t seen them.”
“It’s not a party without Darcy,” Amelia quipped.
Darcy spent the majority of every social engagement standing against the wall, glowering at the company, refusing to dance, and begging the question of why he even bothered to attend.
But that was neither here nor there and no one deigned to reply to Amelia, so she sighed and lamented her choice in footwear quietly to herself. When Lord and Lady Nansen took their leave and sauntered off, the duchess turned and fixed her cool, blue eyes on Amelia.
“You might endeavor to be a touch more gracious, Lady Amelia.”
The Duchess always said everything in perfectly worded, excruciatingly polite phrases. Translation: Lord above, Amelia, stop acting like a brat.
“I’m just . . . bored.”
And homesick. And unhappy. And dreading the future you have planned for me. And a dozen other feelings one does not mention when one is at a ball.
“Bored?” The duchess arched her brows. “How on earth can you be bored by all this?” She waved her hand elegantly, to indicate everything surrounding them. “Is all the splendor, music, and the company of the best families in the best country not enough for you? I cannot imagine that you had such elegance and luxuries in the provinces.”
Everyone here still referred to her home country as the provinces, or the colonies, or as the remote American backwater plagued by heathens, when Amelia knew that it was a beautiful country full of forthright, spirited people. It was her true home.
They operated under the impression that there was no greater fun to be had than getting overdressed and gossiping with the same old people each night, in crowded ballrooms in a crowded city.
She missed summer nights back home on their farm in Maryland, when she would slip outside at night with a blanket, to look up at the vast, endless expanse of stars.
This, no matter what the duchess said, just did not compare.
“We already met half these people at the six other balls we have attended this week,” she said. “The other half are crashing bores.”
Crashing bores was a phrase Amelia had read in the gossip columns. The violence of it appealed to her.
“I suppose it would be too much to ask you to pretend to act like an interested and engaging young lady.” Then, turning to Lady Bridget, the duchess said, “I daresay she couldn’t.”
With that, the duchess turned away.
She turned away, leaving the words hanging in the air, floating to the ground, just waiting for
Amelia to pounce on them.
“Well that was a challenge,” Claire said.
“I’m not certain she could manage it.” Bridget sniffed.
“Is that a dare?” Amelia asked, straightening up. Oh, she would pretend all right. She would pretend so well they’d all be shocked. It would give her something to do at least. “Because I will take that dare.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Bridget replied. Then, muttering under her breath she added, “For once.”
Amelia reddened. Admittedly she hadn’t been taking this whole sister-of-the-duke business seriously. But she would show them. So instead of sticking her tongue out and scowling at Bridget, Amelia stuck her nose right up in the air and turned away.
If you’d have told me last February that I was going to loveChasing Lady Amelia (and Lady Amelia) even more than I loved Lady Bridget’s Diary , I’m not sure I would have believed you. Because, Lady Bridget. And Darcy.
But–Lady Amelia. I loved her story. It’s Roman Holiday, but with the happy ending the movie (sadly) never had…and shows a slightly different view of the P&P/BJD story that we got in Bridget (Amelia’s the less-annoying, and ultimately better choice-making Lydia character). I laughed. (A lot.) I cried. (Slightly less, and mostly for happy reasons.) I actually clapped at the end, and at seeing the excerpt for the next book (oldest sister Claire’s! And it’s a She’s All That / My Fair Lady/Pygmalian story! Woot! Even though this means poor James and Miss Green have to wait…) I highlighted the story all over the place. (Thank goodness for ereaders.)
In other words. SO. GOOD.
I loved that the events of this one are happening right along with the events of book one–we get another angle of some of the events, and of course see what Amelia was up to when she “disappeared”. Claire’s book looks to be more of the same–so fun!–and fingers crossed that James’s will too. Fortunately for Josie (AKA the Duchess, their sponsor/aunt), it looks like all of her charges will be spoken for much sooner than she originally thought! (Despaired of? Felt it would be possible to hope for?) In fact, Josie was so awesome by the end of this story, I actually wished I could reach in and give her a hug.
Except I probably wouldn’t. Because she’s still kind of scary. Alistair’s right about that.
Though the events of this one are intertwined with book one, it shouldn’t be a problem to read them out of order if you had to. Amelia’s story probably could be read as a standalone–but I’ve got to warn you, you won’t want to stop with just one.
Once again I loved, loved, loved watching all four of the Cavendishes interact with each other. If it weren’t for the romance (because, Amelia and Alistair! Kissing! and other stuff) I’d almost be tempted to say that it’s my favorite part of the series. I definitely can’t blame poor Alistair for wanting to be a part of it all (though of course he fell in love with Amelia first–her awesome family was just a bonus). Every time they’re all together on the page you’re guaranteed a giggle. Or seven. And probably a tug at your heart while you’re at it.
Have I mentioned I’m anxious for books 3 and 4?
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.